For reasons to attend the 2nd Death Cafe, see what happened at the 1st
On Friday March 31st CIC is partnering with the Indiana Pagan Community Outreach & Dialogue to put on a Death Café. It’s to eat cake, drink tea, and talk about death civilly … because increased awareness of death means a more fulfilling life. After all, our society doesn’t make it easy for people to talk about death … that is what a Death Café does. The café allows time for us to talk and think about death in a safe, comfortable setting. The goal is to inspire thought and action and help make death a more common and ordinary topic of conversation.
CIC’s Immigrant & Refugee Service Corps member Josh Hornberger attended the first Death Café in October and files this report.
I arrived with a minor expectation of being influenced by new ideas, perhaps finding the stepping stones into a new phase of life. I suppose this expectation was rather ironic considering the event was about death, not life. Yet confronting death allows for the opportunity to reflect upon, examine, and set goals for the remainder of one’s life.
When I entered I quickly discovered that there was a $5 cover charge for the event. I was unaware of this, but the gracious organizers allowed me in for free. Perhaps through the lens of a conservative Christian this may have come as a shock; those unenlightened pagans extending a hand of benevolence. Walking into the event the lady collecting money wore a silver pentagram necklace and all black clothing. Considering the time of the year, fall, the dimmed lights, and the lit candles, the atmosphere was very appealing. As someone with a Christian background, the notion of paganism bears a connotation of exoticism or even rebellion. I almost felt as though I was dabbling with forbidden spiritual knowledge. Perhaps that sounds extreme, but I have a wild imagination.
It just so happened that the lady I sat by was a pagan. She explained to me some of the commonalities of pagans, such as a belief in a God as well as a Goddess, and a relationship with nature. However, she also informed me that paganism is not an organized religion per say, but that many of their texts have been lost, so pagans draw from various traditions and belief systems. She also informed me that there is no such thing as Satan in paganism; so much for my gothic fantasies.
Overall it was an excellent experience. It was fantastically organized, and there were lots of delicious sweets! But to speak more directly of the event, it provided an atypical opportunity to discuss death with other people. It was interesting to hear how some people feel differently towards death, as well as hear their stories of encountering death.