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Book Review

Crossing Over: A Pagan Manual on Death and Dying

by Reclaiming Collective and Friends, plus Starhawk
Edited by M. Macha Nightmare
Forward by Mary K. Greer
Copies available from Reclaiming, POB 14404, San Francsico CA 94114 for $16 postpaid.

Review by John C. McClimans

Crossing Over is going to become one of the indispensable tools for Pagan clergy. Crossing Over touches a wide variety of topics dealing with death and dying. With sections devoted to The Dying Process, Grieving: Funerals and Memorials, Abortion, Suicide the Right to Die, Death and Children, "AIDS, Other Kinds of Death, Ghostbusting: Difficult Transitions, and Ongoing Work, Crossing Over is similar to a musicians "fake book". It's filled with beautiful and moving songs and prayers that can be used as written or as inspiration for new creations to honor our dead.

The Reclaiming Collective has a long history of serving the Pagan community and Crossing Over is a worthy expansion of that history. The articles are short and to the point, packed with useful information without being verbose. Sharon Jackson's "A Crash Course in Being Present with the Dying" and Diana L. Paxson's "Preliminary Thoughts Towards Midwifing Your Own Passage" are just two examples of very short pieces filled with useful information. There are numerous songs and poems by Starhawk and many other Pagan artists, priestesses, and priests.

Some of the pieces that touched me as I read Crossing Over are Starhawk's "Washing the Dead", which made me cry, Sparky T. Rabbit's "Lament for the Queer Dead", "The Releaser" by Patricia Devin, and "Remembering the Dead in Community" by M. Macha Nightmare which reminded me of the catharsis I felt has I listened to the names of the Beloved Dead called out at various Spiral Dances. In addition to the great articles, poems, and songs, Crossing Over has a number very helpful appendices including lists of herbs, gems, and oils by M.A.B and "Underworld or Afterworld Deities From the Greek Tradition" by Leah Samul.

I really can't say enough good things about Crossing Over. I strongly recommend Crossing Over. When you are faced with issues of Death and Dying, Crossing Over could make the experience a lot easier to deal with for you and your loved ones.

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This work is copyright The Witches Trine and the author, 1995. All rights reserved.

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