This is an immense and immensely valuable book that needs to be in the hands of any Pagan who may be involved, even peripherally or personally, with a funeral. Yes, that means basically everyone. I stand by my opinion.
One of the clearest lessons we can draw from the 20202 and 2021 is that Western culture is horrible at dealing with death in all of its aspects in any way that can be called dignified. And if you aren't a member of one of the "Big Five", aka People of the Book, finding resources to assist you in the death process are few and far between. Many of us have long relied on 1997's The Pagan Book of Death and Dying, augmented by Ashleen O'Gaea's In the Service of Life, and Kristin Madden's Shamanic Guide to Death and Dying . . . all books from the late 90s and early 00s. It's about time we got an updated look at how Pagan's might approach death!
The focus of Do I . . .? includes those who just found out their loved one is Pagan, not just those of us who are Pagan, which I think is a lovely inclusion. (I can only imagine the horrid bewilderment of wanting to honor a loved one but not knowing *how* at a time of great grief.) It demystifies the post-death process, including organ donation, embalming, funerals. Mortellus does not shy away from some hot topic issues, like abortion, infant death, suicide ideation, and assisted suicide for which I give them high marks.
I also appreciated the honest discussion of discrimination and prejudice towards Pagans.
To my mind, too many of us don't prepare for the end of our lives. Do I Have to Wear Black? is a book we all should have on our shelves, well-thumbed and marked as a resource for creating our own end of life scenarios and preparations.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Llewellyn Publications, 2021
pp. 295, $26.99