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DEATH FAIRE

Exploring Grief to Live Our Best Life

DEATH FAIRE 2023

 

November brings the 8th annual DEATH FAIRE: a modern-day ritual for our community, inspired by the death positivity movement, sharing a rich time of knowledge, wisdom, celebration, and remembrance. 

This year Death Faire is a three-day event focused on exploring grief in order to live our best lives. We offer many different opportunities for changing the culture that currently surrounds something every living being must experience. 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: November 3rd-5th 

Purchase tickets here.

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CLICK here for 

We will be opening Death Faire with Friday night's "Tending to the Heart '' with the heart2heart team.

Saturday's Faire conmences with The Living Arts Collective with a sound-guided embodiment offering. 

The day continues with a variety of immersive sessions offering such topics as ancestral healing, grief rituals, psychedelics for living and dying, as well as hands-on experiences with nature death walks, chanting death mantras, and creating prayer ties. You won't want to miss our keynote speaker David Hahklotlotubbe, nor his session on storytelling, and the opportunity to share your poetry with local poet and dedicated public servant Karen Howard.  The Paperhand Puppets will be dancing around the event all day offering ancestral magic and our day will close with the upbeat and make-ya-wanna-dance music of ZamBamBooGee

Sunday we will highlight an opportunity to embark on a profound journey of self-discovery with Nora Yolles Young at The Yoga Garden where she will guide you through a past life hypnotic exploration. 

Closing the weekend with a mock funeral at the Sanctuary at the Burrow, The Durham-based Bulltown Strutters will shift things into high gear as they lead us through the deep pine forest toward the Sanctuary's green burial site. Co-facilitators David Hahklotubbe and Sheila Fleming will preside over this communal service, providing a template for how to normalize and ritualize collective grieving.

Throughout the weekend, an interactive altar will be present for you to place your remembrance and speak from your heart. There will be vivacious vendors and plenty of food and beverages. This is an event you don't want to miss. 

PRESENTERS

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View schedule here.

DAVID HAHKLOTUBBE, keynote speaker

One Who Listens Before Death and

Interfaith Panel on Death and Dying

The urgent report from just up the road is a collective of wisdom from those who have gone before us - deathbed shares from those desperate to leave a contributory legacy.  Carefully distilled, curated, and made into meaningful, digestible, and humorous tales, they hold the intention of increasing the quality of life of the listeners. Engaging the audience with a one-of-a-kind, call-and-response gratitude rap set to native American drumming, “YAKOKE” is soon to be featured on the TED stage in 2024. The over-arching message which is reinforced, is that tomorrow is not promised, we do not have the luxury of knowing our expiration dates, and, most importantly, that the worst pain to experience at the end of life is grief caused by regret, which is completely preventable.  David honors his 1,000+ patients by encouraging his audience to truly live each day and not merely exist. In other words, not follow in the same footsteps as many of his patients, which is why he’s making the effort to rush these messages back to those who will one day be, “just up the road.”  

 

David Hahklotubbe, Gerontologist, spent a quarter of a century improving the quality of life of seniors, ensuring the best possible exit for all his patients as an end-of-life doula and shared the wisdom he gained with his students and readers as a university instructor, author, and public speaker.  David’s mission was clear from birth, his last name translated in Choctaw meaning, “listens before the death”.  A born storyteller, David is more than a lecturer, his stories will entertain you and make you think, leaving you wanting more.

Saturday/2:30-3:30 and 3:45-4:30/Main Stage   

HEART2HEART

Tending To The Heart

Through a powerful combination of healing touch, restorative sound, and gentle guidance, the heart2heart team will invite participants to relax into the stillness of their tender hearts with a guided journey into healing. Imagine your best death, imagine your best life, and be led through a magical meditative journey that will include meditation, sacred music, and optional gentle yogic touch from the heart2heart team of director Cathy Brooksie Edwards and musicians Lolly Dunlap, Amy Durso, and Sheila Fleming. Bring your yoga mat, bolster, and blankets to make yourself comfortable. 

Friday/7:00-8:30 pm/Starrlight Meade Great Hall

JULIA HARTSELL

Beyond the Body: An Introduction in Relating with Blood Ancestors

No matter how gnarly the family tree, we all have benevolent, kind, supportive blood ancestors who can help us remember our sense of belonging, purpose, and reconnection with the greater web of life. Join ritualist, dancer, and ancestral guide, Julia Hartsell, in a journey to connect with our benevolent ancestors. Julia will offer a brief teaching on relating safely with the dead and then lead an experiential practice. 

Julia Hartsell is the Co-Founder and Director of Heartward Sanctuary, a Chatham-County-based non-profit focused on dance, death, and ritual arts. Heartward Sanctuary hosts a natural burial ground and dance temple. She is a certified practitioner of Ancestral Lineage Healing through Ancestral Medicine and supports their online education programs. Julia is also trained as a Death Doula, Home Funeral Guide, and PsychoPomp (mover of souls).

Saturday/1:15-2:00/Main Stage

LEIF DIAMANT

Nature Death Living

Nature is resilient, adaptive, creative, and amazing in its response to loss, death, trauma, and grief. We will discuss and explore ways to let our connection to Nature assist in personal healing, strength, openness, acceptance, hope, and a return to joyful vital living. If the weather permits, we’ll go outside!

Leif Diamant is a licensed psychotherapist, ordained minister, organic farmer, and lifetime naturalist who has helped many people deal with loss, trauma, grief, dying, and death. He is a frequent presenter at the Piedmont Earthskills Gathering and Shakori Hills Festival teaching about Sacred Ecology. Nature Spirituality, and Ethnobotany. He lives on/stewards a 42-acre farm in Silk Hope with a herd of goats, chickens, donkeys, big trees, and an open sky. 

Saturday/ 3:45-4:30/ Smelt Art Gallery

LIVING ARTS COLLECTIVE

The Ousia Experience: Embodying Our Mortality

Arrive and open with a sound journey accompanied by a lighty-guided embodiment practice to align awareness with the body as a sense organ for feeling. Hosted by the Living Arts Collective. Artists include ceremonialist Lynne Jaffe, cross-cultural percussionist Beverly Botsford, singer/songwriter and musician Spencer Scholes, harpist Brü Roze, along with facilitator and musician Aubrey Roze.

Saturday/12:10-1:00/Main Stage

MATT ZEMON

Psychedelics for Living and Dying

Catalysts for profound awakenings, psychedelics can offer a spiritual compass to guide us through the thresholds of life and the enigma of death. This eye-opening talk delves into the transformative role of psychedelics in illuminating the path for both those who are departing from this world and those who bear witness to the departure. Step into the here and now to learn how these sacred compounds deepen both everyday joy and profound spiritual connection. There will be time for questions.

 

Matt Zemon, MSc, is the author of the best-selling book, Psychedelics for Everyone: A Beginner’s Guide to These Powerful Medicines for Anxiety, Depression, Addiction, PTSD, and Expanding Consciousness as well as Beyond the Trip, A Journal for Psychedelic Preparation and Integration. With a Master's degree from King's College London, he has studied the effects of psychedelics on the mind and the potential for these experiences to serve as a catalyst for positive transformations. A dedicated explorer of the inner world and a passionate advocate for the thoughtful and responsible use of psychedelics, Matt serves as the executive director of Sacred Path Community.

Saturday/1:15-2:00/Smelt Art Gallery

MEADOW DEFOSCHE

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra

The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra, or the Great Death Conquering Mantra, is a powerful mantra that we chant for protection, healing, and to overcome our fear of death. For this practice, we will chant this sacred mantra 108 times together to lift our collective vibration and invite healing, release, and peace. Bring your favorite mala beads if you wish to keep count. We will start with s short discussion of the mantra and practice pronunciation together. Handouts will be provided so that you may follow along.
 

Meadow DeFosche, eRYT-500, is certified in Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Post-Traumatic Stress through Yoga Warriors International, and in Integral Yoga for Stress Management through
Satchidananda Ashram. She has also extensively completed studies in Ayurveda and Yoga for Pain Management. She takes the approach of a lifelong learner and continues to seek out new
knowledge about Yoga and Yogic philosophy as a way to deepen her connection to the Divine.

Saturday/1:30-2:15/Honey Locust Gazebo 

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NORA YOLLES YOUNG

Eternal Echoes: Unveiling Your Soul’s Journey

Embark on a profound journey of self-discovery with Nora as she guides you through a past life hypnotic exploration that will ignite the deepest wellsprings of wisdom within your soul. Relax and ease to the serenity of this experience, allowing the echoes of your past lives to whisper their secrets to you. By accessing the insights and experiences your soul has amassed over the ages, you'll gain a broader perspective, transcending the boundaries of this existence and connecting with the collective consciousness that transcends time. It will empower you to harness the energy of Death Faire and coalesce it into a meaningful source of solace in your life. Explore the timeless wisdom within you, forging a deeper peace with your mortality and embracing the mysteries of what lies beyond. Join us on this transformative odyssey and discover a profound connection to your soul's eternal journey, bringing newfound comfort and enlightenment to your existence.

Nora Yolles Young B.C.H. C.I., LBL® is an expert in human consciousness and creative potential acceleration. As an author, speaker, podcaster, board-certified hypnotherapist, and Soul Connection Hypnotherapy Training instructor, she leverages her deep understanding of people and cultures to innovate in her practice. Her client-centered approach is reflected through her work with leaders, providing groundbreaking healing tools in her lectures, training, groups, and publications. She lives and works in Pittsboro. 

Sunday/2:00-4:00/Yoga Garden, 184 East Street, Pittsboro

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ZAMBAMBOOGEE

ZamBamBooGee serves up a rich stew of dance music with influences including rock, jazz, reggae, world music, rhythm and blues, and New Orleans. Their shows feature a mix of innovative originals and eclectic covers. The band, based in Chatham County, NC, has over 250 years of performance experience among them, and the members pride themselves on advanced musicianship. They truly enjoy playing together, and it shows in their performances. ZamBamBooGee is Travis Cohn (drums), Jason Gabriel (bass/vocals), Joey Howell (guitar/vocals), Susanne Saunders (keyboard/vocals) and Scotty Young (percussion/guitar/harmonica).

Saturday/5:00-6:00/Building 2

VANESSA JACKSON and CHERIE LYON

Healing Grief: The Use of Ritual for Conscious Grieving

Join us in the circle to bear witness to the many losses that we experience as we move through life- death, loss of health, divorce, displacement, and a myriad of other visible and invisible endings.  Rituals can offer sacred space, connection, and ongoing practices to help us grow through grief and create pathways of healing, transformation, love, and new beginnings. Feel free to bring objects for your personal altar, open hearts and a willingness to be transformed.

Saturday/1:15-2:00/Building 2

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KAREN HOWARD

Poetry

When I got divorced in 2019 we made a promise to the kids that we would continue to love each other, hold onto the family unit securely through the separation, and we’d have a divorce like no other. But 27 years ago when that young man and woman promised “through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, till death do us part” we could not appreciate what that really meant. My poetry these days centers on loving and caring for my wusband and our children as we navigate his terminal illness.

Karen Howard is a dedicated public servant, committed to focusing on issues that matter. She's served the people of Chatham County as a School Board member and as the current Chair of Chatham County Commissioners. She moved to Chatham County twelve years ago in search of a good place to die; she is a recovering attorney and mother of six incredible, challenging, and inspiring young people who demand that she put on her big girl panties every single day.

Saturday/3:45-4:30/Whiskey Wheelhouse

THE BULLTOWN STRUTTERS

Second Line Mock Funeral Procession

Second lining has been called "the quintessential New Orleans art form – a jazz funeral without a body.” In a jazz funeral, the family and the hearse are part of the first line, and the revelers who fall in behind are referred to as the second line. Join the Bulltown Strutters, who will lead us, dancing and strutting along, in a free-form funeral procession from the parking lot to the burial ground for our Death Faire Mock Funeral.   

 

The Durham-based Bulltown Strutters bring it with their colorful mix of old-school New Orleans jazz and new-school New Orleans funk, fronted by several talented vocalists, powered by a massive horn section, and stirred into a gumbo with a heaping dose of crowd participation. they know what it is all about!

Sunday/4:00-5:00 pm/Sanctuary at the Burrow

PAPERHAND PUPPET INTERVENTION

Ancestral Celebration Parade

Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s mission is to use diverse styles of puppetry and artistic expression to create works that inspire, promote social change, and are deeply rewarding for all involved. These styles include giant puppets, rod puppets, shadow puppetry, masks, stilt dancing, and anything under the sky that strikes our fancy. Our vision is inspired by our love for the earth and its creatures (including humans). Paperhand Puppet Intervention is comprised of artists and volunteers who share their energy, creativity, sweat, smarts, strength, and support and hold a belief in our vision and promote our mission. Community is the lifeblood of Paperhand. It makes our creations, our performances, and Paperhand Puppet Intervention’s existence possible.

Saturday/4:30/Building 2

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INTERFAITH PANEL ON DEATH & DYING

Ultimo Choro: The Beautiful Last Dance, An Interfaith Perspective

This panel will discuss beliefs, rituals, and cultural norms around death and dying from the perspectives of different faith communities. Come join the conversation, moderated by keynote speaker David Hahklotubbe (Choctaw), and joined by Leslie Palmer (Ashkenazi Jew), Tom Belote (Unitarian Universalist Minister), and Teshin Matthew Sweger (North Carolina Zen Center).

Saturday/3:45-4:30/Main Stage

MOCK BURIAL SERVICE FOR THE LIVING

A Look at Alternatives to End-of-Life Grief by Addressing Regret

Join facilitators David Hahklotubbe and Sheila Fleming in a mock funeral service at Chatham County's beautiful green burial site Sanctuary at the Burrow.  A green burial brings back the natural process of death and dying to families, is kinder to the earth and environment, is less of a financial burden than a traditional burial, and creates a meaningful experience around the death experience. This is an opportunity to view the Sanctuary's burial grounds and to take part in a service that will open your eyes to what a burial service could look like if we understand there is nothing worse than reaching the end of your life's journey only to realize that you squandered your greatest gift - joy.  Complete with a second-line funeral procession led by The Bulltown Strutters, participants will be immersed in the Sanctuary's fundamental mission to educate and renew the richness of tending to our dead.

Sunday/4:00-5:00/Sanctuary at the Burrow, 4479 Moncure Pittsboro Rd, 27559

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GRIEF CHRONICALS VIDEO PROJECT

Video Booth

What is it? CMCK.Media is endeavoring to capture grief. We will be set up with a video booth, where people can record memories of loved ones lost, personal journeys with other types of grief, or just a sounding board to express themselves. If you don’t know what to say, no problem, we can give you prompts to get thoughts flowing or give you a starting point. We will capture these moments and deliver them to individuals who participate, mostly unedited. Think of this as a photo booth, but with a video where you can walk away with your thoughts, feelings, and memories recorded. How do I sign up? We will be open for walk-up appointments or you can book in advance by registering here.

Saturday/All day

1:1 SOUND HEALING

Thirty-Minute Personal Sessions

An ancient modality first practiced in Ancient Greece, sonic therapy is a non-invasive method of healing, based on bringing us into balance. Once we are in tune, fear, doubt, and suffering fall away, allowing our true selves to emerge with clarity. Sound healing is a practice that uses various sound frequencies and vibrations to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The sessions will take place in a quiet and comfortable space. To schedule a 30-minute session click here.  

 

LeeAnn Anderson describes herself as a hummingbird, a collector of life experiences. Her quest for knowledge, skill, and wisdom has led her down many roads in the worlds of business, the arts, and non-profits, but her constant has always been music. A personal trauma led her to explore music not only as art but as a powerful source of healing — helping her to live a life of joy and open-hearted presence in harmony with the ongoing grief journey of losing a son. 

Saturday/11:00-5:00/Green Room

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Past Keynote Speakers

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2022

Mikeala De La Myco

Mikaela De La Myco is a multicultural and indigenous woman whose education path led her to sacred intimacy work, temple arts, indigenous Mexican ceremony, and womb healing, facilitation & tradition. Her primary work is medicine work, particularly mushroom medicine, to heal and uncover physical and spiritual wounds.

2021

Tamira Cousett

Tamira is an ancestral medium and ritual facilitator who specializes in supporting folks with remembering the authentic pathways of ancestral connections they incarnate with. Her work is rooted in love, truth-telling and embodied self-recovery practices from systems and rituals that decenter our humanity & divinity. Her mission is an open invitation to investigate and dismantle the rituals of disconnection folks and their ancestors have been initiated into upholding by oppressive systems and cultures.

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2020

Tashel Bordere

Tashel Bordere, PhdD is an assistant professor, state extension specialist in youth development at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Her research specializes in youth development, dying, loss & bereavement and African-American children, youth and families. 

2020

Godi Godar Moteke Molanga

Godi Godar is the founder of Go Conscious Earth, a global nonprofit focused on conserving Congo basin rainforest. "We protect endangered wildlife and support global climate stability by empowering communities around Lake Tumba toward development of forest-friendly, income-generating, sustainable livelihoods." 

Godi’s keynote focused on the grieving rituals of his village, Kongo Boginda, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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2019

Charles Eisenstein

Charles Eisenstein is an American public speaker, teacher and author. His work covers a wide range of topics, including the history of human civilization, economics, spirituality, and the ecology movement. Key themes explored include anti-consumerism, interdependence, and how myth and narrative influence culture. We welcomed Charles Eisenstein to Abundance NC for a special evening of learning and discussion around the spiritual work of our times, exploring how we might navigate grief, endings, beauty amid the shifting consciousness emergent in our modern world.

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