Passing of a Humble Priest

The Pagan world has lost a complex, humble, deeply learned Priest of the Pagan Way.

RIP Mark McSherry

Mark McSherry, of Everett WA, has gone Home to Summerland. May he find the peace he so sought. May he gather his dogs and cats from the Rainbow Bridge and romp and play with them a long, long time before deciding to return to this plane for the next workings of his soul. May his art speak to us for him in our Now.

I awoke in the middle of the night and drew an owl….a poem dropped into my mind. I thought it was about me, but it was just when he died (I learned the next day):


The Owl

I will look

through the wings

of the owl

when she comes

for me.

I will see

the mountains,

the moon,

and all eternity.


Rest, dear friend, my Priest. Rest…

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Death and his brother, Dying

Does the inevitability of death constitute an open, ever-bleeding wound in the human unconscious? Are the “theatricals of life” a way of exorcising thinking of the inevitable? …..George Mamalakis, PhD Psychologist Top Contributor, LinkedIn


This was a question that brought many, many comments! My answer took too much to put in the “comment” section…So here it is:

 Death and his younger brother, Dying.

My Great Aunt’s last words, as she lay deep in her four poster bed with her family around her: “Well, it’s been Grand!” 

I sat with my mother through to her death. The breeze was soft in her hair; her window lit by the afternoon sun. Her last words?  “This is so exciting!!”

I walked the long path through to my husband’s death–He said no last words.

What my husband did, however,  was to give huge,  generous gifts of love and learning…So much was shared during that time that I wrote a book about the experience.*

Perhaps it’s not Death itself that so frightens us. Perhaps it is Dying that we fear .

Do you fear the slow giving up of your abilities, your prowess, and your beauty? Do you fear the possible pain, or the loss of your beloveds as they turn away,  tired of your neediness?

These weigh on my mind sometimes as I see the end of my run more and more clearly coming at me from the distance.

For me, Dying is also about leaving this beautiful place I love so much. It’s about knowing I was never been kind enough, generous enough, or loving enough.

Death? I’ve had good teachers. I was blessed by knowing older ones; the older women who did not shy away from my questions.

One of them said to me,

“Death is a mighty fine fellow whose reputation has been spoiled by his younger brother, Dying.”

Death puts an end to the fear, the pain, the sorrow, and the loss.

Before Death, however, there is Life! And in Life there are amazing treats hidden in every moment. Treats of knowledge, joy, excitement and wonder are tucked away in experience, for us to find.

One of my favorite treats in this life?    We get Do-Overs!

Your chance for a Do-Over starts in the next moment, the next dawn, the next challenge. Do-Overs are offered on a plate at every turn, every new chance. It does not matter what you did or who you are…you can become the person you seek to be by acting in the way that person would act—Right Now! Every moment.

It’s simple , really. Not always easy, but simple.

Life itself is a great big Do-Over.  Moment by moment.

Say YES to Life!    K


*Order this today: “The Mountain and the Shadow, a Pagan’s Journey Into Death.”

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Sacred Fire. Prequel to “He Was Just Checking In.”

Sacred Fire —Prequel to “He Was Just Checking In.” Ceremonial Fire for the Dead,.jpgAugust 18, 2014  — Edited August 24, 2015       I wrote it then; now it is time to publish it:

I have dreaded the coming of this day from the day my husband died in 2008. This day would mark the day that he would be dead longer that we were married.

I knew I would need to honor it in some way and resisted its arrival. To my astonishment, life has gone on for me after Vernon died.

I have a new grandson, got a wonderful job which turned sour. I found I had the courage to walk away.

I matched up with a unique and beautiful man named Steve. I wrote two books and got to go to Hawaii twice. Among just a few things!

Life is good. And yet, something small and very strong has lived within me, always holding me back. Just a little.

I have felt it, under the surface, wanting me to stay in the past. Especially as I am with my new man.

I had made a “bundle” after Vernon died; a beautiful blanket wrapping up memories.  In it were the things of his that had no function, that no one else could make sense of, and that I couldn’t bear to part with: his tattered Black Belt, his Irish Tam, his flutes–one wooden, one brass. Sweet grass. His Wand–such a powerful piece!— Who wants a bundle?

The bundle has rested under his alter. Sometimes it would glow at me. From time to time, I would hold it and weep.

There is no one to pass it to when I die. It was time to let it go. I decided upon a sacred fire. I would make one that would be big and fierce enough to send all those things back to the earth and sky.

I arrived early to the fire pit on the beach in Mukilteo. On this beach Vernon and I had gathered with friends for many years. We blessed the beach each year with a great fire ceremony.

Today I went alone.

The sky was clear and blue, the air pure. A few strong souls were already on the beach. I caught bits and pieces of their world as I built my space. I heard a man say to someone, “You know you are old when your baby is a grandmother!”

Further down the beach, a man sat in his own world by the charcoal of his dying fire.  Had he been there all night?

The gulls were still hunkering on the ground for warmth.

I built my fire, blessing each log. I sprinkled the logs with flowers and sage. I laid out some of my favorite things, as witnesses. Finally, I sat to smudge myself.

A staff member from the park, bedecked in his shiny yellow stripes, drove up on his open 4X4. My heart sank, but he spoke to me gently, “I see your feathers and your sage–are you going to bless the beach?” I said, “No, although I have done that in the past. This is a more personal day.”

He nodded and said, “Blessed be” and drove away. Interesting…

I finished my set-up, called the directions for blessings and protection and cast the Circle. Feeling heavy, I bent over to light the fire. Looking up, I saw two Tall Ships, the old Wooden Square Riggers of movie fame.

They moved silently. The Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain both, gently flowing by in the Sound. They moved evenly, and in perfect harmony. Vernon loved Washington, and Steve’s heart is in Hawaii, where he had lived for years.

The two ships moved along, side by side, into the far south, until they disappeared from my sight. I watched them go. They were like two old friends, having come by to to say to me,  “All is well, all is well.”

The fire caught easily, and I watched as it burned. Two cranes flew overhead. The number two became the number of the day. Birds flew in pairs. Couples walked up and down the beach; two kayakers paddled by.

I sat motionless for so long that pigeons came into the circle to check it for goodies. Had I moved, I could have stroked them. I looked up once again to see the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry, having lost its motor perhaps, floating sideways with the tide, facing me.

Was it, too, honoring this fire? It started up again after it passed me, and got back on its route to the north.

My friend had wanted me to put Vernon’s heavy wand into the river to let it flow to the Sound, but that didn’t seem to fit. I knew it had to be burned, but not just sure why. As the fire took his wand, I released his magic and his energy from it, sending it to his beloveds who are still living, here.

The day, just like that other day six years ago, progressed without me. Quiet voices of others, seagulls calling, and occasional laughter of children, all added to the immensity of this day. This vast, magnificent, liberating, soul-healing day.

Slowly, all was burned. I sat and sat, letting the rising smoke lift me, clean me, lighten me, En-lighten me. And then I was done. As I stirred the blackened remains of Vernon’s bundle, his brass flute rose from the ashes. Of course it hadn’t burned–metal doesn’t burn!

That was the item that needed to go into the water! I took it from the fire, cooled it, and flung it as far as I could into the water!  May his music play forever!

Gathering my things, I looked up again to see the same yellow-striped staff member approaching. He told me this: “You have been blessed today. I am named Raven, and a Raven flew over my head at the end of the beach. A door has closed for you, and another opens.”

We hugged, for, knowing no details, he had spoken the truth. I thanked him for being my witness. I feel good; clean and new. Sometimes the signs and omens are good.   Kate

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He was just checking in…..

Ceremonial Fire for the Dead,.jpgSeven years ago, on Aug. 18th, my husband Vernon died. It’s been seven years. I wrote a book about our whole experience with his death a year later.  Last year was the 6th anniversary of his death. He had been dead for as long as we had been married.

I took the opportunity to burn the bundle I’d kept for him. It was a beautiful, solitary, and soul full ceremony.

I figured it was time to move on in a deep way. I’ve been “moving on” for several years. But I feel sort of weird, hanging on to my incredibly deep love I held for this man. Burning the bundle was my way of “letting go”.

This year, having decided not to hold a ceremony, or go to the beach where his ashes were laid, I had made a lunch appointment with a friend of mine. I drove off to keep it, over the freeway and onto the highway to the Boeing plant.

Vernon had worked for Boeing his entire working life. I’ve driven this short highway a million times, as it is the way to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Park and beach.

This year, on Aug. 18th, I crossed the north-south freeway and passed its on-ramp to the road I was on. As I did, a car slid in behind me, as cars do.

I looked in the rear-view…and there he was:  The black Jeep Cherokee, his square face with no beard, and his black cowboy hat. He was smiling.  There he was, just checking in.
Man in Cowboy hat.jpg
There are a thousand “logical” explanations, but there he was.

I prefer the illogical explanation…and thanked him. I sent a little heart his way—he will never be forgotten. I am doing what he instructed me to do — move on and have a good life. Find a new man, keep traveling.

It’s been the hardest thing in the world to do… yet Living is the only way to live.

It felt so good to see him….

Has such a thing happened to you? Leave me your story in the comments…   Kate


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The Little Ones Just Know…Memorial Day

The Little Ones Just Know…Memorial Day

Every year, I post this… some have seen it before, for some, it is new. This is for all the dead who are cut down by the human’s crazy, inexplicable desire for warfare…

I was walking in an unfamiliar park in Yakima, with my then 3-year old granddaughter. She found the Viet Nam memorial there. There was a fresh wreath, with a cap on top—spontaneously, she walked into the memorial and knelt down by the Wreath.

Somehow, she just knew. I said it was time to go…she said to wait. She had made a little bundle of leaves, she said, “for remembering”…  I snapped a picture, and we left.

You can see the orb, hovering near the cap…. I think he was aware of this little girl who, with no preparation, just “knew.”

Memorial Day Tribute..Yakima.


To connect to my other blog… the one about Happiness in this Chaotic World go:


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Honoring Two Great Trees…. a video


Tree Stories—- we have stories of trees. We have played in trees, talked to them, watched them, feared them.

Click this link to see me read a piece I wrote for TreeStories, a group that came to Seattle to gather such stories. Click the link below.

an Evening with TreeStories


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My Oldest Friend is Dying


(A love poem)

My oldest friend is dying.

We met in third grade.

She didn’t like me. I thought she whined.

We didn’t go to the same school until High School.

In High School, we didn’t share a single class until our senior year.

My family moved to the other side of the country, then.

I loved her; she loved me.

She was everything I am not.

I was everything she is not.

She was small: I was large.

I was outside, with big animals and the sky.

She was indoors, a book her best company.

The list would cost more pages that necessary here..

We were binaries…orbiting each other in perfect harmony.

Oh yes, we fought.  Couldn’t stay separated long, though.

I liked her Dad, she liked mine.

Our mothers confused us both.

There was no struggle in our talks. No struggle in our silences.

I remember taking books to the rocks in the hills near her house to read. Just to read.

We made entire villages from recipe cards. Doll clothes from Kleenexes.

We sailed the great oceans of her hallway with dozens of tiny, folded paper boats

I have seen her only three times since High School. Three short, shared-with-others moments.

Our development paralleled, however.

We discovered the Women’s Movement together.

We discovered the Solstices and Ceremony together.

We discovered the nether-worlds of Women’s Wisdom together.

We gardened together.

So far apart.

Years have gone by;  time marked by her wonderful artworks and our phone calls.

Picking up the phone at any time over those years, we’d begin where we’d ended six months before.

Each year, lately, she has become quieter, softer. Her dreams more circumscribed by pain.

Now she is truly quiet and I cannot talk at all.

Kate Bowditch

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Fallen Eagle, Protecting and Welcoming, Together.

From Facebook:
falleneagleon facebook for Kate Bowditch
“Someone shot and killed a Bald Eagle in Kansas last week, and game wardens are still trying to find the killer:

This story has reached millions of people on Facebook. Thank you to everyone who has shared so far.”

This was on Facebook today. Shooting a Bald Eagle, and letting it fall wasted, to the earth, is one of those inexplicable actions some people take. The picture hit me in the chest.

In my way, to honor this eagle,  I have turned the photo. I “cleaned” the eagle, and then saw it in a different way:

Was the Eagle was hugging the earth–to protect it from such fools as are marauding the Earth these days?  Or perhaps was it to say, “Welcome me  home, Mother”?

I honor this bird, in my own way.
fallen eagle protects Mother Earth for Kate BowditchDo visit my other blogs:

Please Re-post and Ping all the posts you enjoy…+1 them on Google, too!   Thank you. Kate


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What the Dying Wish They’d Done…

Regrets of the dying, for Kate Bowditch. jpg This Holiday Season –  Here is a Solstice textbook for how to live in the coming year:  These are the top Regrets of the Dying. Why wait for THAT??!!

Start now, while you can enjoy them!

  • Pluck up your courage to live closer to your inner truth.
  • Don’t work so hard.
  • Pluck up your courage to express your true feelings.
  • Stay in touch with your friends.
  • Let yourself be happier

The new year brings Light, and “the shimmering field of possibility.” Blessings. Kate


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New Page: A Video on Death and Dying.

Dear Readers, please visit my new page:    Sage Living While Dying…

Here’s the new link to the incredible video about Vernon McCoy, just before he died. Many have asked to renew this link, and the film maker has graciously done so. Do comment, and like this video….it’s long, and worth it!  Kate


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