Do I Have to Wear Black?: Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans by Mortellus is a highly uncommon book demonstrating the author’s experience, expertise, and knowledge of death as both a practicing Pagan and a mortician. This background gives the author a unique perspective on the topic of death, straddling both the spiritual and mundane aspects of death; primarily those of us left behind when a loved one passes. Mortellus provides various rituals and etiquette procedures for last rites, wakes, funerals, and disposing of remains for different paths under the big umbrella of Paganism (and alternative spiritualities and religions of the magickal flavor), including; British Traditional Wicca, Crypto-Paganism, Discordianism, Druidry, Eclectic Wicca, Heathenry, Hellenism, Kemetism, and Thelema. Mortellus treats the reader as intelligent and never speaks down to you in their writing, which is refreshing in itself.
Do I have to Wear Black? also touches on the more emotionally challenging areas of death that we encounter, such as the death of our pets, saying goodbye, unexpected deaths, suicides, and the death of a child, including miscarriages and abortions. Despite these tough topics, Mortellus writes with a caring and understanding tone, and above everything stays respectful and reverent of the seriousness of death, which is greatly appreciated. Mortellus provides tons of ingenious spells and rituals to help with grieving processes and honoring our beloved dead. The book is extremely insightful on subjects we don’t always want to confront but will eventually be forced to. Mortellus’ practical advice alone is worth the price of entry. However, the rituals, spells, and exercises throughout the book make it an invaluable resource for not solely pagan religious clergy, but also for anyone who has ever experienced loss or wants to be prepared for it.
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