Normalizing Death & Interrogating Unquestioned Beliefs with Rachael Rice

Rachael Rice is someone who I have held in high esteem for some time. She is first and foremost, an artist — creating magical radical art for living and dying on a ravaged planet. She's also a prolific writer, educator, and death doula. Her work lies at the crossroads of grief, radical togetherness, creative expression, death, learning, and magic. She is a white settler-colonizer of Swedish, Welsh, French, Irish, and Scottish ancestry living and working with her partner and his two daughters with upper-middle class privilege on the lands of the Chinook peoples in so-called Portland, Oregon. Other identities she carries are: queer, neurodivergent, death worker, animist, witch, multi-instrumentalist, and certified weirdo with chronic illness broadly coded as a cis woman. Rachael's art, writing, and speaking have really expanded my lens of the world as I work to decolonize my mind and awaken to a deeper, more real, more radical experience of this world. So I asked Rachael to come onto the Belonging podcast to talk about death, knowing that we would weave a conversation that goes so much deeper than just death — because death is a part of life, it's a part of all things.

I really see this conversation as a continuation of the one I began with my death midwife teacher, Jerrigrace Lyons, on the Belonging podcast last year. Rachael and I recorded this conversation with the nearness of death that felt potent in the height of COVID-19. Together, We talk about how we live in a death-phobic society, a society that believes in unfettered growth — not really taking in that life has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We talk about the consequences when we pretend that things don't end (because they do), being in an underworld journey, somatic grief embodiment practices, and a radical remembering of animism.

"We are students of consequence and limits." -Rachael Rice

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