Honoring the Final Transition

Dec 30, 09:04 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

We live in a culture that fears death, although death is simply a transitional state that ushers us into another form of existence. Honoring death as a sacred event takes some of the fear out of this passage, both for the dying person and the loved ones being left behind.

Aside from funerals, we seldom mark death in a respectful and sacred way, although a few spiritual traditions still have ceremonies designed to help individuals pass into the afterlife with dignity. In the Roman Catholic Sacrament of the Sick (Extreme Unction), the dying person is anointed with a fragrant unguent as priest and family surround him in prayer. In many ancient cultures, the deceased person's body was lovingly washed and anointed with aromatic infused oils in preparation for burial. This practice is a beautiful way to honor the dead and is being introduced into American society by hospice workers who use aromatherapy accompanied by prayer, ritual or meditation to assist and comfort dying patients and their families.

Last week I had the privilege of preparing an anointing blend to assist someone in their final transition. Such a blend can not only be used on the dying, but should also be used by family members and friends who are in attendance and beginning their grieving process.

Final Transition Anointing Blend

1/2 oz apricot kernel oil
1 drop Roman chamomile essential oil
1 drop jasmine absolute
2 drops neroli essential oil
2 drops rose otto essential oil
1 drop elemi essential oil
1 drop myrrh essential oil
1 drop vetivert essential oil
2 drops frankincense essential oil

This post is dedicated to Baby Henry, who passed into the light yesterday afternoon at the age of 10 weeks. My love and prayers to his family left behind.


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