Thank you to all who attended the Vermont Death and Dying Symposium September 21-23, 2018. What a beautiful broad sweep of deathcare topics from amazing presenters! To see images, go to the page "2018 Symposium Details"
For details about my services as a Funeral Celebrant and Death Doula, please scroll down to the " Stardust Meadow and Village Deathcare Offerings"
What kind of funeral best suits the needs of your particular situation? Every funeral should be as unique as every life. There are many choices and possibilities. Learn what options are available and how a Home Funeral may work for you and your loved ones. Guidance or full coordination available.
Writing your own legacy letters to your loved ones is appropriate, beautiful and tender work at any point during your life! Store your letters and gifts in a safety deposit box on your own or ask about help with storage and a special time release plan. Individual guidance or group workshop.
Assistance with bedside care, sitting vigil or open gentle conversation. Assistance with errands or outings. Available for temporary respite, extended periods and through post-mortem care and guidance.
Pets and animals are amazing teachers and companions. Burial ceremonies for beloved pets can be very healing for everyone. They are especially important for children whose first experience of a close death is often with a pet. Guidance or full coordination.
Ever wondered who will come to your funeral? Sometimes, it feels right to have a celebration of your life while you're still alive! Though tears will definitely flow, these gathering are intended to be uplifting and healing. Guidance or full coordination.
Talking about death should feel natural- yet, often it feels more like taboo. Death Salons are open conversations or a focused topic about mortality and the preciousness of life. Participants leave feeling more alive! Available for businesses, families, or gatherings. Location of your choice.
With a 3.5 foot high tightwire and a 25' round medieval labyrinth, contemplate the many ways of walking through life and death. Practice balance, breathing, patience and kindness toward your self. Watch for upcoming workshops.
Hand poured 100% pure beeswax candles. Tea lights and votives available only in natural color. Hand rolled candles come in a great variety of colors. Hand made herbal smudge sticks featuring sage, lavender and calendula. Essential oil mists for cleansing, uplifting and transitioning.
Message for prices. and availability
Planning in advance of your death can save your loved ones much confusion at a time when emotions are heavy and unclear. Assistance with everything from organizing your records to making arrangements for your body. The process is challenging, intriguing and very healing. It can bring great peace of mind and heart.
Important birthdays (double digits, teens, or any age!)
Casa Luna is located on Craftsbury Common in Vermont and welcomes ceremonies for up to 50 people. The ceremony grounds opened in July 2018.
Alternative Funeral Design, ceremony, obituaries and eulogies. Message for support and quotes.
These are current events. To view previous events see the photo section
Aerial View of Memorial Lantern Labyrinth Walk
An advocate for those whose voices are unheard, weak or forgotten, Anne-Marie believes Community Deathcare and open conversation about life and death is crucial for the health of individuals and the planet. With gentle timing, and an uplifted manner, she believes conversation about death makes our own lives and the lives of those around us more precious.
A childhood of magical play in faery forests, a barn full of animals, and teenage years in the circus formed an independent and reflective spirit. At the age of 19 Anne-Marie gave birth to her first child which only deepened her inner love and patience for herself and her wee one. Today, Anne-Marie has three children ages 21, 16 and 3 and has held fast to her circus days by teaching tight wire as a form of body/mind awareness practice.
After a decade of professional event coordination for weddings, fashion shows, concerts, festivals and conferences, Anne-Marie halted everything to work with the elderly. Propelled by her work with the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and her love of an elderly homeless man, she became a Hospice volunteer in 2013. She continued her path of care as a licensed nurse assistant from 2013-2016 and worked with the elderly in residential care and as a private duty nurse. She was the only full time over-night "nurse" and cared for a home of 12 elderly residents. During this time she also studied herbal healing and received a certificate from Mandala Botanicals' 9 month training in Community Herbalism.
When working as the Director of Meals on Wheels in Montpelier her understanding of how often the elderly struggle living on their own with loneliness, physical ailments, embarrassment and confusion only deepened her desire to engage the able bodied in assisting the elderly. She believes that the more conversations about death and dying that spring forth in communities, the more empathy will be generated, and the better the chance the elderly, sick and dying will have companionship and a feeling of value at the end of life; this is the core of Community Deathcare.
Anne-Marie's work with people is not just generational, as she is the Head Teacher at Karmê Chöling's Family Camp in Barnet Vermont and teaches Teen Retreats year round. The newest program that she offers is called Line and Labyrinth: Walking Through Life and Death. This program has been adapted to fit the interests of teenagers but will be offered to adults as well.
Anne-Marie is a Master level Reiki practitioner, meditation instructor, has 12 years training in Shambhala Buddhist teachings and has completed Level I Dying With Confidence training in Phowa with Anyen Rinpoche. She currently leads Death Cafés in Craftsbury, Greensboro and Hardwick Vermont is a board member of Green Burial Vermont and leads an end-of-life discussion group at the Craftsbury Community Care Center. Casa Luna on Craftsbury Common is both her home and a center for ceremonies she leads.
A Death Midwife or Doula is an individual who assists those in end of life considerations, through the dying process and possibly with post-mortem care as well. Anne-Marie is a graduate of the BEyond Yonder Virtual School of Death Midwifery (Community Deathcare). This four month course of intensive death care training (6 days per week with an average of 20 hours of work per week) covered pre-death needs to post mortem care and disposition. She is qualified to guide families in home funerals and encourages individuals to consider this as a possibility. Understanding the sudden fog that gathers when a loved one dies, Anne-Marie hopes to offer options and assistance with proceedings in a time of great pain and confusion. She currently is available to her community for consultations.
*Trainings for Death Midwives and Death Doulas (all the same thing) vary greatly. Be aware that some trainings are more thorough than others. Research the school your Death Midwife and/or Death Doula has a certificate from and always check credentials.
After an 8 month training in the fundamentals of celebrancy, ceremonies and ritual, Anne-Marie received her certification as a Life- Cycle Celebrant with a certificate in funerals and memorials. She is a graduate of the Celebrant Foundation and Institute.
*Trainings to become a Certified Celebrant vary greatly. Be aware that some schools have better reputations and more thorough training than others.
About Village Deathcare Funerals & Memorials: How do you possibly thank someone for not only taking care of all the details that overwhelm you but also lifting you up when you can't lift yourself? There really are no words but that is what Anne-Marie Keppel does when you feel like you just can't even go on much less do the things necessary when you experience the loss of your life. We received the dreaded call earlier this year that our adult son was in a fatal motor vehicle accident. Our lives were forever changed at that moment but there were things that had to be done & thankfully there was Anne-Marie who took the reins & got us through it even doing things we had no clue were needed. Contacting people we didn't think of contacting & providing a soft shoulder when needed the most. She asked me for info abt diff periods in Bob's life & created a beautiful eulogy out of info provided by us & others. Losing our son will always be the absolutely worst thing we could go through but I honestly don't think I could have pulled together one Celebration of Life much less the 2 needed in 2 diff states. Anne-Marie has a very special caring & compassionate way abt her that really helps. Less than 3 mths after losing our only child my dad crossed over after 2 mths in hospice in another state. A difficult family situation would not have allowed it but I think having Anne-Marie there to guide a family through the final wks/days of their loved one's life would make all the difference. This very special lady definitely will make a very painful time at least somewhat more bearable for you & even help create special end of life memories that will be cherished forever. I'm pretty certain if you utilize her services you will be very glad you did. Blessings to you always Anne-Marie! Namaste'
-L. CT & VT
Anne-Marie has been so kind and generous with her time and knowledge to help me and my mother understand the possibilities of a green burial. We have been exploring the option of a burial on my own property . Anne-Marie has met with us and explained many aspects of the end of life considerations which have been so helpful in making decisions about this important aspect of life and death. I will be continuing to communicate with Anne-Marie about my mothers wishes and also be planning my own end of life care.
-J. Greensboro, VT
I contacted Anne-Marie as I noticed through Front Porch Forum, that she was running a Death Cafe in my village. From talking to her, I also learned she is an end-of-life doula. I've had a keen interest in the art of dying for most of my life and I found Anne-Marie to be very open to meeting with me to discuss her training and expertise in this broadening field. I was at once impressed with her generosity and willingness to help another person on the path as I was her knowledge of the nuances of this field.
-G Craftsbury, VT
"The Symposium was an amazing, rich, multifaceted gathering, so many connections woven, seeds planted, stories shared. I really loved it and learned so much."
-K. Craftsbury, VT
Anne-Marie graciously found a time to talk with me over the phone recently. I spoke with her about what is going on with my mom's illness and about my relationship to grieving. Anne-Marie was kind, gracious, and responsive. Our conversation was a special container for me; I felt encouraged and seen in this heavy and enlivening time in my life of preparing for the death of a parent.
-E. Plainfield, VT
We had a wonderful time sitting Anne-Marie's office and discussing our questions and plans about burial. We appreciate her guidance, the information she gave us, and her forthright attitude about what she could not answer. We came away very satisfied with our conversation with her and with the resources to which she directed us. Thank you, Anne-Marie for taking precious time to spend with us and for being such a gracious human being.
- C. & B. Glover, VT
About the Vermont Death & Dying Symposium: Just being able to sit, discuss, and learn about death felt very healing and healthy. North American culture will sometimes acknowledge that we don't discuss death, but then often that ends the conversation! This symposium felt like a safe space to dive into it more, and to find empowerment on an intimate topic that has become so removed from us and can be scary. Giving everyday people who are not death-trained access to working better with death is helpful for a whole society.
-M. Craftsbury, VT
About the Vermont Death & Dying Symposium: Proud to be part of the Death Positive Movement. By confronting death we come alive. Facing death allows us to stop acting from harmful fear-based habit energy, to bring forth compassion for all life, to find the motivation to make the most of each precious moment. Much gratitude for the VT Death & Dying Symposium, Stardust Meadow, Village Deathcare, Anne-Marie Keppel, Nina Thompson, and everyone else involved.
-P. Lowell, VT
About the VT Death & Dying Symposium: I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Vermont Death and Dying Symposium in Crafstbury, VT, if only for one day. It's not always easy for those of us interested in death to find a group of people that leaves us with a sense of comrodory and that was what I left with (along with quite a reading list and a stomach full of delicious vegetarian food). There were some tears, a lot of laughter, art, meditation, music, dancing, food, and fire, all against the beautiful backdrop of Craftsbury. I missed what I have no doubt were amazing, informative presentations by Francesca Arnoldy, Sandra Lazorcak, Michelle Acciavatti, and more. I did have the humbling honor of meeting Nina Thompson, founder of The Wake Up To Dying Project, Erica Buist, author of "This Party's Dead", Salicrow, psychic meduim and author of "Jump Girl", Mary Lauren Frasier, who brought along some beautiful hand woven urns and caskets, and Anne Marie-Keppel, host, advocate, educator, and the owner of Casa Luna (which, incidentally, is very hard to leave behind). I would do this every weekend if I could!
-K. Burlington, VT