Dispelling Some Myths About Death Workers

Dispelling Some Myths About Death Workers July 10, 2023

I am a Death Witch and Walk with Death. A Seidkona of Kari, a Tower of Hel, a Seneschal of The Morrigan.

Day 4 in Hel’s Devotional

On the first day of this 9 day devotion, Hel called me “Her Tower”. My immediate reaction was like – “Are you kidding me?? Haven’t I been through enough this year??” I took it to a place of what was coming – not a job She was giving me…. My Bad.

As you can see, each of my Deities call me something specific, and each is reflective of the work we do together. For example, Seneschal is about being a Vessel and Keeper (foundations). Some may see them as “titles” but to me it just denotes my responsibilities and work to do. Hel wasn’t talking about Tower time in the way of what is coming – She was telling me the job I was heading into. The Tower is about deconstruction, clearing, so something new can grow.

I have some very different views on Death stemming from my professional work as CCRN / Death Dula, and what I have personally learned and experienced from my Guides. This is what She means by Her Tower. Tearing down stereotypes, misconceptions, and distorted views about Death, and passing along what They have taught me.

It is obvious now that I am going to be going deep into talking about death, the realm of the dead, the soul, spirit walking, and so forth. So if this is the path before me, I think we need to start by clearing up a few simple misconceptions of a Death worker.

As I go through these, realize some Death workers may/ do incorporate these things, but not all.

Myth – You have a Goth/ Emo Style

Not me. I am all about bright vibrant colors. I love the vibrant greens after a storm. The reflections of light that skitter across the top of the lake. Even my décor is filled with lush colors everywhere. If you met me, you would probably think I was more hippie or a green witch just by my style.

I am the optimistic one in my family and groups – filled with hope even in the darkest storms – because really, what else can you do? Every breath is a chance for something new and beautiful to grow. I recognize and am honest about the bad – Blessings and Curses go hand in hand – but I choose to not dwell there, I choose hope.

I walk with Death but I am not dead. I live in this world, the world of the living. The deeper I have gone into the realm of the dead, the more I understand – the more I actually live in this world. Sounds backwards I know but it’s the truth. Our perceptions and understandings have been so twisted and distorted because of fear and certain religious beliefs, making this life’s focus about what comes next, and losing sight of the experience of now… We’ll get there.

Bone Magick by Radianna Pit

Myth – Your altar should reflect Death with dead things

Those looking at my altar would probably never guess my main work was with death and in the realm of spirit. It is filled with bright colored flowers, bowls, rocks, and various different natural materials. It houses my Servitor Spirits and Living Spells. All of these things are part of my practice because my perspective of death has a place within them. Not in a way many would think, but in ways that are right for me.

I do have some specific skulls and bones of animals in a shrine space, but these are ones that are sacred to me and I work with the spirit of those animals. Every one of them was found on our land and from animals I had a to connection to in life. They do not hold death for me – but the vibrant life of their spirit.

Keep in mind as we go through these – none of these are wrong. There are some who do love that aesthetic, who view skulls, bones, and other dead thing in a different way than I do. I am just discussing some of the stereotypes placed on Death workers, that do not apply to me or some others that I know – Showing another view.

A depiction of Hel – author unknown

Myth – Death is dark, black, and Her form is such

Most Death Deity are associated with Fire. Illuminating and shining a light on hidden secrets. They are the light in the darkness of the unknown. The unknown is dark – Death Deities tend not to be.

In my experience, the deeper we go with these Deities, the stronger the bond, the more we see Their true self and face – not just the one we start with that is influenced by modern perspectives and imagery. Perhaps it is not Them shape-shifting, but it is our eyes that do. Clearing away the clouds to see the real face behind the masks we created for Them.

Hel is a good example of this. When I first started working with Her, the description most often seen was split down the middle, half bone, half flesh. I think I saw Her that way because it is what I expected. As our bond strengthened, Her image shifted. Next the bone side started to be covered in bluish flesh. Then Her whole self started shifting to blue, the bluish color of death with white hair. As we went into deeper work, Her appearance shifted again. Now when She come her skin is ghostly white – the color right at the moment of death and right before the blueish hue starts to creep in. Her eyes are golden, like fire, Her hair is long and golden blonde. She looks as though Her touch would be cold but it is warm and even hot at times. It is almost like this half dead/ half alive concept of Her really took on a new perspective – reflecting death on the outside but burning with life on the inside.

Perhaps we are so influenced by others, expecting something, so that is how They present at first. Perhaps the changes in Their appearance are also reflective of the work we are doing at that time. Or perhaps They are peeling back all the masks we place on Them, little by little, so we can see who They truly are. No one will ever know for sure, but definitely interesting things to ponder.

Myth – Focusing on Death means being Morbid

Funny thing here – by focusing on Death, understanding it, traveling its realms – it gets our focus back to really living. Not because of fear, like many religions instill into death, but because it is not the unknown scary anymore. It is not the focus of what we are living for now (you know – the focus on what comes next instead of the focus on this life). By letting go of basing your decisions on what will happen to you after you are dead – you start basing your decisions on what they are creating in this life – the one you are living right now.

You need strong personal foundations for this in my opinion. To really understand that it is not fear that should govern your actions, but your own personal ethics, morals, and boundaries. To think we need to have fear of an eternal punishment to determine what is “right” or “wrong”, is a really messed up way of thinking. It is that fear that has twisted and distorted death. Making it something that it is not. That fear is to control the living people, but has nothing to do with Death or the realm of the dead.

The deeper I have gone into Death work – the more present I become in my living life. Focusing on the experience that only this life, this body, this world can give me. There are many reasons for this I think, but for me, understanding the beauty of death and that realm, discovering its secrets, gives new beauty to this life.

Luna Moth – art by Esa

Forget the Assumptions

There is no “right” style, look, altar set up, or way of being. Death Workers come in all shapes and sizes. Some love the Gothic, macabre – some may look like your neighborhood rainbow bright hippie – and others still are ones dressed in scrubs sitting next to you. For some it is their primary path, and for others it is just a small part of a larger practice. The one things that binds us all – we walk with Death. We know it and greet it everyday. We experience that realm and hold respect for those within it.

It’s not about a look or a mannerism – it is about the connections and the work.

About Esa
Author, Medium, Seeker, Guide You are building your own path, your own connections, and shaping your own destiny. We can inspire others through sharing - we can Guide through our own experiences - but each of us must walk our own path. You can read more about the author here.

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