Oct 14, 2021

The Great October Book Giveaway - Memento Mori

Congratulations to Ambrose, Rommy, and KH! I've contacted everyone, and now it's time to go howl at the full moon. Fly by tomorrow as the full October moon rises again and there will be a new handful of treats to be had!
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Memento mori. Remember death. Remember that you must die. It seems impossible that we could forget such a thing after spending the last year and a half navigating a pandemic that has ushered over four million people to their graves, worldwide. We should want to set death aside for a while, shouldn't we? Perhaps. And yet, death doesn't stand aside for anyone. It is a vital part of the human experience. 

In many cultures death is not something to hide from or fear. It is holy. A transition to be celebrated. Every part of this process, from how we take care of the body, to how (or if) a person is buried, and the customs and celebrations that might happen for years afterward, can be a reverent and sometimes jubilant practice that connects us to our ancestors, even as we become them. 

Although many of us remember our dead year-round, this month is particularly suited for ancestral reverence. It also seems like an auspicious time to befriend our own impermanence. I have some wonderful tools to assist you if you should wish to use this hallowed tide to contemplate your mortality. 


In much of the United States, Canada, and England, the protocol around death and burial follows a Christian, or Christian-adjacent etiquette. It is sanitary, modest, and rote. A body goes somewhere and is 'dealt-with' (by folks we've trusted to handle that task), while live people gather in a church or cemetery for a memorial service. But what if we, or our beloved dead, are of a different faith? How might those on paths that fall under the pagan umbrella ritualize our passing, or navigate the bereavement process in a way that respects our beliefs and practices? In their book Do I Have to Wear Black: Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagan, Mortellus takes a look at multiple Pagan paths and how they address death, offering up some corresponding prayers and rites, as well as how we might care for those left behind. The book examines various views of death and the afterlife, plus includes practical information on advanced planning (wills, funerary arrangements). Mortellus is a mortician and medium, as well as an author, and their expertise shines through in this book. Do I Have to Wear Black is an informative and friendly read, and one I think will offer a helping hand in preparing for the loss of a loved one, or even planning our own departure.

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, by Caitlin Doughty is a superlative (and spooky) journey through the wider world's death customs and funerary rites, told through the unique lens of its mortician author. It is a bright and fascinating book, for a subject that may seem heavy, and the author weaves a good balance of wit and reverence while recounting her research. She brings to light how many people in the western world fear death, and how other cultures embrace, celebrate, and honour the transition out of the human body. (Unsurprisingly, Caitlin is a foundational figure in the death positive movement and the architect behind The Order of The Good Death, a community of funeral-industry folks, along with academics and artists, who have come together to envision and create ways to address how we face our end-of-life experience.) From Here to Eternity is engrossing - I kept wanting to read one more chapter...Spain! Bolivia! Japan! - and I know it will be another perfect addition for your reading stack this month.


We close the casket on this giveaway with a handsome piece to rest with...or wear around your neck. A delightful winged skull named "Gilbert," hand cut from an original drawing, in sterling silver. His creatrix is the brilliant Patricia Tozer, (Tree Speaks to Stone) who was inspired by the engravings found on 18th century gravestones in New England. This memento mori has a special patina added so that his best features stand out, and he will happily guard you (and remind you of life's impermanence) from the end of an eighteen inch chain. I am an ardent fan of Pati's creations and own a few of their gorgeous talismans, so I know that whoever welcomes Gilbert home will be very lucky indeed! You can take a look at more of Pati's extraordinary art here.



This giveaway will run until 9pm (Pacific) on Tuesday, October 19th. Your comment is your entry, and if you have your eye on something in particular you can let me know what you'd prefer if you win. I try my best to match up names drawn with their preferences when possible. Please ensure there is a way for me to contact you if you win. An email left in a safe format, such as: JenLovesBooks AT gmail dot com, is best. If you are of a more private sort, you can always enter via the contact form at the bottom of the side column (I've been getting all the entries sent that way, so no worries). 

This month has already been such a hoot - thank you to all who are joining in on my October fun!


Legal Bits:

* This giveaway (or "sweepstakes") is open to all residents of Canada, (exluding Quebec residents) the USA, Great Britain, Europe, South America,  who are 18 years of age or older. This giveaway is void where prohitibited by law.  Please be aware of the contest/sweepstakes laws in your area.

*  Canadian residents will be subject to a skill testing question before being able to claim their prize (this is standard law in Canada).  The skill testing question will be in a form similar to: 1 + 2 - 1 =

*  This giveaway is not for profit and no purchase is necessary to enter.

*  This giveaway is sponsored/administrated solely by this blog/blog author and is not affilitated with or sponsored by Blogger, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other entity, nor can they be held liable.

* By leaving a comment intending to enter into the draw for the giveaway (or "sweepstakes") you are knowingly agreeing to these rules/conditions.

I have chosen all the books/cards featured this month myself.  I have not been paid to feature a book, nor have I been asked to advertise for anyone.  This giveaway is not endorsed or sponsored by anyone other than Rue and Hyssop.

31 comments:

Eveline Maedel said...

Will have to add these titles to the "to read" list! Gilbert is awesome :) ~Eveline emaedel at gmail dot com

Rommy said...

I bought Mortellus's book soon after the death of one of my dearest friends. It has been enormously helpful and comforting.

petoskystone said...

Caitlin Doughty has a wonderful YouTube channel! Beautiful necklace. jonquilsgrdn at gmail.

Soli said...

I LOVE Caitlin Doughty and made happy noises at seeing her book here. Plus I live in New England and that skull is practically a neighbor.

dampviolets said...

Gilbert is calling to me....

John Breen said...

I would love to win Mortellus’ book or the necklace…thank you for this annual event!

Ambrose Sullivan said...

This is so awesome!
amchangeling@gmail.com

♥ eli mari said...

Memento Mori has been a mantra of mine for many years. I would very gratefully give a home to any one of these offerings. Thank you, Jen. 🖤 eliii . mariii AT gee mail.

Magaly Guerrero said...

This is a favorite topic of mine, as you probably already suspected. I loved From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death, then again, I've enjoyed every Caitlin Doughty book I've read.

I haven't read Do I Have to Wear Black: Rituals, Customs & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagan, Mortellus. So, please put my name down for it.

Christine said...

Oooh... what a wonderful collection! I haven’t read either book and the pendant is divine!

Inkyalchemy at g mail dot com

Stella said...

Wow. As someone whose entire family (apart from me and my children) are evangelical christians, I live in fear of them hijacking my funeral. Either of these books would give us some much needed advice and inspiration. Thank you!

orion`s daughter said...

Gilbert is adorable! I'm a big fan of Caitlin Doughty (I've been meaning to pick up that book for ages), and your other book choice looks fascinating. I'd be so happy to win any of them.

My email is orionova(at) gmail(dot) com

ajc1696 said...

Any of these would be cool but that pendant is amazing!!

lillie8302 said...

I would be happy to receive any of these. We need more books on death rituals. I especially like the winged skull necklace! Lilefal1102(at)hotmail(dot)com

Vyvyan Wormwood said...

Any is fine but I’d love the Mortellus book. You can find me at sugarbunny87 at gmail

Emily said...

These are so cool, and it's true, we don't talk about death as much as we probably should. I'd be happy to receive any of these! emilycpurvis at yahoo is where you can find me!

Debra Nehring said...

Death is something western society as a rule, doesn’t like to talk or think about. But it’s the thing we all get to do at some point!
My mother is currently actively dying, so these are very timely for me. I’d enjoy receiving either of the books here. And Gilbert is so cute! ( if skulls are cute….)
Debra dot Nehring at yahoo dot ca

Sharon said...

❤ I love stopping by your blog and seeing what goodies are being offered in giveaways. My biggest gripe about death? After I am gone, who is going to nag my hubby or my son? What is going to happen to my ten pairs of pajamas? My mismatched, used sock collection? 😆 For me it would be "Do I have to wear black?" by Mortellus. I asked that question before, and my sister said, "No you don't. You're only going to depress people." I'm at sharonmaynard2 at gee mail dot com (main addy)

Rue said...

Ha! I adore you, Sharon! (And I feel you, about the socks. No one will appreciate my pinecone or stick collection after I’m gone, either.)

Melisa Glassford said...

Such fascinating books! I am intrigued by all of these, and would be thrilled with any one. Thank you
melisaglassford@gmail.com

Guinneth said...

Love this annual tradition, love you! Gilbert, please please. You can find me at jenlaro83 at gmail dot com. Happy October, Jen Rue!

Jamesery said...

I love the pendant so much! But would be happy to have either of the books. Cheers! jgnelson126@gmail.com

Rebecca P. said...

I already have From Here to Eternity, but I would love either of the others!

rapowell4 at gmail dot com

BrigidsBlest said...

The Mortellus book looks really awesome!

BrigidsBlest at Yahoo dot com

The Were-Owl said...

These books look amazing! charlie[dot]shadow[at]gmail[dot]com

Gretchen M. said...

I have my eye on Gilbert this design stands out in my mind as I remember beautiful trips to Salem Massachusetts and the tombstones at old burying point and beyond. Thank you Jen from Gretchen at Adkaromatherapy @ gmail . com

Jason M said...

Aw I love Gilbert!

Gay Nosferatu said...

Oh wow, I’d love to receive any of these! Both books look super interesting, and the pendant really speaks to me too. I’m Andyhicks911 at gmail. Thanks again for doing these giveaways!

Cartermaryd said...

All of these look great! Thanks for the chance. Cartermaryd@hotmail.com
The books look very interesting and what a cool pendant.

KH said...

Those books look really interesting but I particularly love Gilbert! He's an amazing pendant! I have a book of cemetery symbols and the winged skulls are my favorite. ❤

I'm at kep.hughes at Yahoo dot com

mariaisoldde said...

Thank you for posting this! I wasn't aware of these books and they would be really helpful considering that my mom is in her later years.