Episode #62: Normalizing Death and Interrogating our 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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More from Rachael Rice:

 

My book Root & Ritual is now available wherever books are sold!

My intention with this book is for it to be your guide to reconnecting with the earth, your ancestors, and your communities as you come home to your whole self. Despite our best efforts, our modern world leaves so many of us feeling isolated, unworthy, and alone. We’re unrooted from the land, untethered from our lineages, disconnected from our communities, and separated from our deepest sense of self. Root & Ritual is meant to be a pathway back to connection and wholeness through rituals, recipes, and ancestral wisdom.

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