Ceremonies, care and workshops that inspire the preciousness of life
Ceremonies, care and workshops that inspire the preciousness of life
Death Nesting: Ancient & Modern Death Doula Techniques, Mindfulness Practices and Herbal Care
Death Nesting incorporates ancient and modern death doula techniques, mindfulness practices and herbal support to physically, emotionally and spiritually care for the dying. The focus is on "whole being" caregiving for home deaths but can be implemented into other settings such as acute care to create a more holistic experience. Basic physical care for bedridden individuals, anecdotal vignettes and glimpses into the world of spirit emphasize the poignancy, yet lightheartedness, of the dying process. The mindfulness practices, while profound, are also simple and can be done by anyone new to meditation. Throughout the book, references to nature inspire the understanding that death is part of life—a part which we all experience.
Written by Anne-Marie Keppel
with herbal contributions by Sandra Lory/Lazorcak
Paperback and Kindle versions now available through Amazon.
Death Nesting can also be purchased at:
Bear Pond Books, Montpelier
Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT
Grindstone Café, Lyndonville, VT
Aro Med, Montpelier, Barre, Hanover, NH
Crow Bookshop, Church Street Burlington
Sister Wicked, Brandon, VT (late Feb)
Or, my messaging me directly! (Form at the bottom of this page)
DEATH DOULA TRAINING
COMING IN 2020
Techniques for moving and bathing a bed ridden individual * What the body physically undergoes during the dying process * Practices for emotional soothing * Ceremony and energetic boundary guidelines * Reiki, timeline and ancestral support for the dying * Supporting the senses through the dying process * Herbal care for nourishing and healing on a spirit level * How to talk with children about dying and death * Self care for moving with grief * Basic mindfulness practices for contemplating your own mortality * Differences between Ancient and Modern Death Doulas.
This book is beneficial on it's own but can be used as a workbook. Look for upcoming retreats and online workshops at the bottom of this website.
"As Keppel describes it, conscious care of the dying incorporates practices such as meditation, ceremony and aromatherapy. Candid about the challenging realities of the dying process, she provides practical guidance for caregivers and family members both before and after the death. Death Nesting is a valuable primer not only for prospective doulas but for anyone who expects to die someday." Book Review by Seven Days newspaper, Vermont
Anne-Marie writes eulogies, obituaries and ceremonies and offers guidance on Family Directed Home Funerals in Vermont. Please inquire for more details. Anne-Marie has passed the National Home Funeral Alliance Proficiency test and is currently enrolled in a Funeral Director certificate program. Please note: Anne-Marie is not a funeral director, mortician or undertaker.
After a loved one dies, there is so much physical cleaning and packing that needs to be done. Anne-Marie and her team are able to sort through items with sensitivity and efficiency. Please inquire for rates.
Anne-Marie is a trained nurse assistant, former Hospice volunteer and active death doula. She offers assistance with bedside care, sitting vigil, open gentle conversation, scheduling, errands, establishing a "flow" in the area of care and other care. Available for temporary respite, the possibility of extended care. Hourly rates are sliding scale. Please inquire about your specific circumstances.
Anne-Marie also assists with planning in advance of your death whiccan 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.
Home burial is possible for you and your family and is a way to continue to feel close to your loved one. This is from a family Anne- worked with in Vermont:
"We buried my dad on the hill behind his home, on the land where all three generations of our family live together. We hay, ski, and walk by his grave through the seasons. It felt peaceful and simple for us to do this at home. A friend built a plain wood coffin, and a few neighbors helped to dig the plot. This is not a weird new idea, nor is it outdated and dangerous; it is normal, and felt right and meaningful for our family."
-R. Hardwick, V
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.
These can be helpful when a family member or co-worker is dying or after a suicide or sudden death when people really need to talk openly. They can also just be held as a Death Café where there is no specific reason or theme.
Participants leave feeling more alive! Available for businesses, families, or gatherings. Location of your choice.
There are so many ways to incorporate the sacred into our children's lives. We are greatly lacking ritual and preciousness in our fast paced society. Make time away to create a family ritual which incorporates the entire life cycle. This is an extremely soft way to talk to children about death in a way that is natural and loving.
15 minute conversational guidance available or look 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.
Labyrinth and Wire
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.
Message for prices. and availability
The training and work of level one Reiki is about getting to know how you use and share energy, yourself and with others. At a time when we are so incredibly disconnected from the earth, it's a really great time to talk about the root chakra. This teen tailored empowerment, chakra and boundaries training teaches children to heal themselves and each other and to understand that this is available to them at all times. They do not need to wait until they are adults to love themselves enough to heal. Look for upcoming workshops.
Celebrations of Life
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.
Family Directed Funeral information, ceremony, obituaries and eulogies. Message for more information
These are current events. To view previous events see the photo section
"Who you are as a person seems so perfect for this work--aside from all your skills, which are also substantial! I will always be grateful to you, Anne-Marie, for all the guidance and care you gave my dear friend during this deeply sacred passage." - S. H. Worcester, VT..
Magical Mystery Tour interview on Goddard College Radio (WGDR)
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 23, 18 and 4 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 and basic goodness instructor and has 12 years training in Shambhala Buddhist teachings. She has completed Level I Dying With Confidence training in Phowa with Anyen Rinpoche and completed "This Sacred Journey: Living Purposefully and Dying Fearlessly" with Pema Chodron. Anne-Marie has passed the National Home Funeral Alliance Proficiency test. She currently leads Death Cafés in Craftsbury, Greensboro and Hardwick Vermont is a former 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, office and center for retreats.
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 Celebrant Services:
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
I want to thank you for creating the physical and emotional space , with so much grace, care and love, so that we all together were able to say good bye to Marcelo in such a beautiful and meaningful way . This will not be forgotten . Thank you! Gracias!!
-M, New York, New York
On Home Green Burial:
We buried my dad on the hill behind his home, on the land where all three generations of our family live together. We hay, ski, and walk by his grave through the seasons. It felt peaceful and simple for us to do this at home. A friend built a plain wood coffin, and a few neighbors helped to dig the plot. This is not a weird new idea, nor is it outdated and dangerous; it is normal, and felt right and meaningful for our family.
-R. Hardwick, 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
I was very grateful to be able to talk to Anne-Marie after my son passed away. It was such an excruciating time, and being able to talk to someone whose dharma path was helping people through such a difficult situation was very helpful. I have found that many therapists do not even have this kind of training and experience, so I think her work is very valuable! Thank you Anne Marie!
- M. Crested Butte, Colorado
Anne-Marie, you showed up in record time for me and my family when we were dealing with partner, son, father dying. It was such a relief not to have to even think about asking you for what we needed as you knew just what to do... visit at the hospice and be there for us all. There was a feeling of being known and held, giving us such comfort. I can not thank you enough Anne-Marie for your loving support.
-C. Craftsbury, 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
The Death and Dying Symposium was a very moving and powerful experience for me. It was a strong reminder of my own mortality, but at the same time very life affirming. EVERY presenter was articulate, well organized and offered valuable insights and knowledge. I felt energized, inspired and motivated to live each precious day with more gratitude and awareness.
It was a wonderful surprise that the venue was a comfortable home rather than the usual conference center , and that family members were actively involved and created a warm welcoming atmosphere. I appreciated the small number of participants for that enabled us to get to know each other and feel comfortable sharing.
The beautiful natural surroundings provided space for solitude and leisure walks. The nearby cemetery was a special place for meditation and to feel a connection with people who had passed.
I was moved to say a blessing at each grave to honor the dead.
I almost did not attend the symposium for I was still recovering and exhausted from a serious case of poison, but thankfully I decided to participate . Within hours of arriving at Casa Luna all my symptoms were gone, and I slept well and had amazing dreams for the first time in weeks !
The Symposium was healing for both my body and spirit. I am grateful to everyone who touched my life that weekend and hope our paths cross again.
-I. Montpelier, VT
I feel fortunate to have been part of the Vermont Death and Dying Symposium for two years, as a wounded healer, a registered participant, and as a presenter sharing about Herbal Care for the Dying and the Caregiver. During this profound, welcoming and gentle weekend we nourish ourselves and strengthen the grassroots death positive movement. In my experience it has been a thought provoking, deep diving, safe and sacred space for grieving, speaking to, and exploring death, from the physical to logistical to emotional. Where else could I learn about all aspects of dying in American culture, gain skills and resources for death and dying, process loss I am experiencing right now, and prepare for my own death? Some of the most meaningful conversations possibly of my life, have been at the Symposium. Casa Luna couldn't be more beautiful and appropriate as a venue for this event. Anne-Marie Keppel has a raw, grounded, loving and clear way of holding a strong container, keeping the energy clear and ready. Her work in community death support is truly invaluable. I also appreciate how the Symposium is made accessible for local community members who want to participate in this special and intimate event. Thank you for putting your heart and soul into this for our collective benefit!
-Sandra Lazorcak, Orange, VT
Anne-Marie has been in my life since I was 10 years old. And in the eight years since then I've never felt a lack of genuine and wholehearted compassion from her. In the Shambhala community and elsewhere she's taught me about how to be a gentle, tender, and earnest human being. As I transition into adulthoodI look to her as role model and someone I could turn to no matter what.
- M.C. age 18
Anne-Marie is an extremely wonderful, caring and compassionate teacher. She has been a great inspiration and has genuinely impacted me and how I deal with death, depression and anxiety. She is truly an amazing person.
-G.L. age 18
Anne-Marie is an extraordinarily sweet person and that goes into her teaching. She can also be serious... but in short bursts that can make you listen!
-E.S. age 19
I felt honored to watch you work your magic. :) I could feel how you were holding SO many strands, weaving them expertly into the beautiful fabric of A's dying process. I loved how you knew when to step forward and take charge or gently nudge, and when to step back and let A/the community/Life flow in whatever wild forms were right in the moment. Who you are as a person seems so perfect for this work--aside from all your skills, which are also substantial! I will always be grateful to you, Anne-Marie, for all the guidance and care you gave my dear friend during this deeply sacred passage.
- S. H. Worcester, VT
The Stardust Bus will be a resource for information on death and dying which will be 100% free to the public. Please help contribute to this important work- Even a few dollars will show your support!