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Conversations on Death
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Conversations on Death

Author: Lorena Alvarez Ruiz

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This podcast explores death, dying, and the afterlife from multiple perspectives - physical, psychological, spiritual, ethical, historical, societal, and more. Join me on my mission to make death less taboo by bringing forward the many lessons death can teach the living, so that we can live more intentional and purposeful lives.
34 Episodes
Afterlife Research

Afterlife Research


Piero Calvi-Parisetti is a medical doctor, a long-time universitylecturer, and a member of the Society for Psychical Research and the InternationalAssociation for Near-Death Studies. His particular area of interest is appliedpsychical research, that is the practical application of research findings, inparticular for the benefit of the bereaved and the dying. He has written fourbooks on these subjects, his latest being Step into the Light: Transform Your Fear of Death by Learning About Life After Life.We discussed some of the evidence he has found of the afterlife: near-death experiences (NDEs), psychic communication, deathbed visions, reincarnation - and how gathering all this research has led him to rule out skeptics' explanations to conclude that there's indeed, undoubtedly, an afterlife. _________________________Connect with Piero!Website: in touch!Facebook:
Olivia Bareham, is a Death Midwife, Energy Healer, Ordained Interfaith Minister, Master Teacher and Founder of Sacred Crossings -The Institute for Conscious Dying and Alternative Funeral Home in Los Angeles. She holds a BA in Education from the University of London and a Bachelors in Natural Theology and Sacred Healing from the Healing Light Seminary in California. We talked about her long career as a death midwife, the history and implementation of current day home funerals, living funerals, and her lengthy offerings to help you prepare for death. _________________________Connect with Olivia!Website: Care Directive: in touch!Facebook:
Dr. Karen Wyatt is the bestselling author of the book 7 Lessons for Living from the Dying, which contains stories of patients she cared for as a hospice doctor and the spiritual lessons she learned from them at the end of their lives. Dr. Wyatt also hosts the End-of-Life University Podcast, which features conversations with experts who work in all aspects of end-of-life care.In this episode, we talked about her journey into becoming a hospice doctor, common regrets of the dying, why she decided to write her book, the seven lessons learned from the dying patients she worked with, her podcast, and her upcoming book. _________________________Connect with Karen!Website: www.eoluniversity.comFacebook: www.7lessonsbook.com__________________________Get in touch!Facebook:
Grief Dreams

Grief Dreams


Dr. Joshua Black is a grief researcher, speaker, author, consultant, online course instructor, and host of the Grief Dreams Podcast. He has focused all of his MA and PhD research (in psychology) on investigating dreams in bereavement (also known as grief dreams) and continuing bonds from many types of loss (including prenatal loss and pet loss). Most of his academic research and publications have specifically been on dreams of the deceased. Dr. Black is considered one of the world’s leading academic experts in grief dreams.We spoke about his experience with grief dreams, how he got into this research, common characteristics of grief dreams and their purpose, dream re-scripting, grief dreams in popular culture, and so much more!_________________________Connect with Joshua!Websites: www.griefdreams.caInstagram: __________________________Get in touch!Facebook:
Spirit Vessel

Spirit Vessel


Jessica Wertz is a ceramic artist and the founder of Spirit Vessel. Spirit Vessel provides the tools to create personalized celebration of life ceremonies - whether you're pre-planning your own ceremony, having a living memorial ceremony, or a memorial service in the comfort of your home or via webcasting services. It aims to restore the use of intimate ceremony around death by creating a guideline for meaningful connection through interaction.Jessica’s intention is to help individuals and families create a sacred space that honors our loved one’s lives while helping those who are left to grieve. We discussed all aspects of the interconnectivity between grief and ritual/ceremony. Hope you guys enjoy this lovely conversation! _________________________Connect with Jessica!Websites: ; Instagram: __________________________Get in touch!Facebook:
In today's episode, I spoke to Dr. Christopher Kerr, who is a hospice physician and an end-of-life researcher about end-of-life dreams and visions. These dreams and visions are significant, subjective experiences within the dying process that occur while asleep or awake. They can happen hours, weeks, or even months before a person passes and may increase in frequency as patients approach death. To date, he and his research team at Hospice & Palliative Care Buffalo have published multiple studies on this topic and documented over 1,500 end-of-life events, many of which are videotaped. Although medically ignored, these near-universal experiences often provide comfort and meaning, as well as insight into the life led and the death anticipated.Hope you guys enjoy the episode!_________________________Connect with Dr. Kerr!Website: Death is But a Dream: Finding Hope and Meaning at Life's End TED Talk: I See Dead People: Dreams and Visions of the Dying __________________________Get in touch!Facebook:
Dr. Bruce Greyson is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the UVA School of Medicine. He served on the medical school faculty at the Universities of Michigan, Connecticut, and Virginia. He was a co-founder and President of the International Association for Near-Death Studies, and Editor of the Journal of Near-Death Studies. Most recently, he penned AFTER based on nearly five decades of research about near-death experiences (NDEs).In this week's episode, we look at NDEs through the lens of Dr. Greyson's research - how culture is related to each experience, skeptics' criticisms (lack of oxygen, drugs, electrical activity in the brain, DMT release at the moment of death, mental illness, etc.), how NDEs affect people's lives after their encounter, and what NDEs can teach us about living._________________________Connect with Bruce!Website: https://www.brucegreyson.comBook: After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond __________________________Get in touch!Facebook:
Virtual Funerals

Virtual Funerals


In this episode, I speak to Christina Andreola, founder of New Narrative Memorials, about virtual funerals - how the industry is booming, her experience as an event planner, horror stories, and about families she has helped. Christina also shares some of her favorite resources and people in the death-care space._________________________Connect with Christina!Website: Instagram: in touch!Facebook:
Tiffany Hopkins began studying mediumship after moving into her great-great grandmother's cottage in Lily Dale, which is the world's largest community of Spiritualists. Spiritualism is a religious movement that began in the 19th century based on the belief that the spirits of the dead exist and we can communicate with them.  In today's episode, Tiffany takes us on a historical journey beginning with how the movement was started and ending with modern-day spiritualist churches and communities. If you're interested in history and/or mediumship, this episode is for you! _________________________Connect with Tiffany!Website: Book Club: in touch!Facebook:



In today's episode I speak to Christina Pratt, who is a practicing shaman. She's also the author of the two volume Encyclopedia of Shamanism, runs The Last Mask Center for Shamanic Healing, and is the host of the Why Shamanism Now Podcast. She is pioneering new shamanic techniques to deal with the illnesses of our times. Her current focus is on the healing of our ancestral lines to release the growing burden on the living of the unresolved energies of the dead and the initiation of our young into spiritual adulthood.We talked about her journey, shamanism, soul loss, soul retrieval, reincarnation, being stuck as a ghost, and so much more! Enjoy!_________________________Get 10% off your AFTR gravesite camera system with code DEATH-10 at checkout. Go visit https://www.aftr.live_________________________Connect with Christina!Website: in touch!Facebook:
Tina “Kat” Courtney, The AfterLife Coach, is a traditionally trained Ayahuasquera + Huachumera and plant medicine guide. She works as a psychedelics integration coach, helping people make sense of transformative experiences such as doing Ayahuasca. Tune in and learn how Kat helps people prepare for and make sense of altered spaces, spiritual breakdowns, and even death itself (ego death). Fascinating conversation looking at death through a completely different lens! Don't miss out! _________________________Connect with Kat!Website: in touch!Facebook:
Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap


Megan Carmichael is an independent funeral consultant whose main focus is building awareness around professional deathcare and encouraging others to join this line of work. She is part of the Dive Into Death collective ( and a co-founder of DeathcareConnect ( spoke about her journey into the deathcare space and her solutions to finding different gaps within the industry. We also talked about her many projects to connect people to resources as well as her ash scattering service. Lastly, we spoke about her kids and loss blog. Additional resources:Dive Into Death collective: Navarro: Stefanie Elkins: Amber Carvaly: Schock: about kids&loss: stories: with Megan!Instagram: in touch!Facebook:
After a 3 month pause, I'm back with bi-weekly episodes! In this episode, Kelly and I talk about the ins & outs of post mortem photography, spirit photography & the history of spiritualism and seances, as well as photography of the dead during The Civil War.Kelly Christian is a Chicago based writer and future archivist. She is interested in the intersection of technology and systems of power in relation to death and mourning in American culture. Her graduate work explored post-mortem photography and related visual representations of grief and their cultural ramifications. She has written on such topics as the life insurance industry in early 20th century Chicago, the troubling legacy of lynching photography, and the relationship between colonialism and taxidermy. Kelly continues to explore the more macabre moments in American history, and how they resurface in the contemporary social landscape. She is also a contributing member of The Order of the Good Death. _________________________Connect with Kelly!Website: in touch!Facebook:
In this episode, I talk to Erica Buist, a journalist and writer from London, England. After finding her father-in-law dead after a week, she decided to visit seven death festivals - one for every day they didn't find Chris. From Mexico to Nepal, Sicily, Thailand, Madagascar, Japan and finally Indonesia, Erica chronicles her experiences in her first book, This Party's Dead, which comes out in February 2021.We discussed the lessons learned from visiting all seven death festivals, her journey with trying to understand how other cultures deal with death anxiety; how people move past the knowledge that they're going to die in order to live happily day-to-day and how they celebrate rather than shy away from the topic of death. We also talked about transhumanism, the death positive movement, and Santa Muerte. Super fun & interesting episode! Enjoy, deathlings!_________________________Connect with Erica!Website: @ericabuist & @thispartysdeadFacebook: @ericabuist & @thedeathtivalsPreorder 'This Party's Dead': in touch!Facebook: conversationsondeathpodcast@gmail.comGlobal Death Doula Summit:
On this episode, I talk to Karen McDonnell Hilligoss, author of How Dr. Wayne W. Dyer Taught Me That Life Is Worth Living. In 2015, shortly after the death of Dr. Dyer, Karen started to experience miracles surrounding him. These experiences helped Karen spiritually evolve into accepting several serious diagnoses involving her children's health that had previously caused her to lose her faith.  Join me as Karen tells us about how these signs from Dr. Dyer taught her that there is no such thing as death and that love is eternal. _________________________Connect with Karen!Website: http://www.karenmcdonnellhilligoss.comFacebook: Channel: in touch!Facebook:
The Traveling Medium

The Traveling Medium


On today's episode, I spoke to Marisa Meddin, who, aside from being a coach, is also a medium. A few years ago, Marisa discovered she's a psychic medium who had the gift of communicating with those who had passed on through written format. That's right - she writes letters with words and messages from those who have passed on.We really let our conversation flow on this episode. We talked about mediumship, signs, quantum physics, reincarnation, her travels, past lives, her ayahuasca journey, and much much more. Hope you enjoy it!If you're interested in seeing an example of a letter written by Marisa, you can do so here: with Marisa!Website: www.marisamedium.comInstagram: a sample of one of her medium letters! in touch!Facebook:
On today's episode I talked to Lisa Nisleit, founder of MVP Castings. She specializes in all types of life casting including babies, couples and families and, most importantly, in end-of-life castings.  We talked about her story, her passion, and the lessons learned from working closely with death. _________________________Connect with Lisa!Website: __________________________Get in touch!Facebook:
This podcast episode is very different from others. It’s with one of my best friends, Tristan Velez, where he tells us about losing his best friend, Chris, to a motorcycle accident at the age of 28. Tristan and I discuss the intricacies of handling the unimaginable, from the legal aspect, to the funeral planning, and even navigating his relationship with the parents who lost their only child. We get a glimpse into what it's like to deal with an unexpected death both physically, mentally, and emotionally. We rarely get to hear about how the lives of those ‘left behind’ are altered after a sudden death. This is one of those stories._________________________Connect with Tristan!Email: tristan_velez@hotmail.comInstagram: in touch!Facebook:
On today's episode, I talked to the lovely Shaina Garfield, founder of Leaves With You, which was founded by Shaina to help others feel more connected to one another and the Earth when they or a loved one are at the end of their life. Shaina draws on her design background and meditation practice to hold space for the families with whom she co-creates coffins and rituals. Shaina and I talked about her story, the importance of the weaving ritual, traditional coffins, rituals in other cultures, the origins of Leaves With You, and many other things. Really fun and insightful episode! Hope you guys enjoy! _________________________Connect with Shaina!Website: www.leaveswithyou.comInstagram: in touch!Facebook:
On today's episode, I talked to Vivencia's founder, Mariana Bandera. She's an Anthropologist & Archaeologist who has an affinity to the past, shaping who we are and who we want to be. She has a deep connection to the ceremony of death throughout all cultures and how memories are preserved. We discussed her Mexican culture and its relationship to death, her work with archeology, and the importance of connecting to our ancestors through ritual. We also talked about her amazing company, Vivencia, where you can commemorate your life story so that your legacy can leave a lasting impact for future generations. I am obsessed with this woman's work so I highly recommend you give this episode a listen as it has lots to learn from and reflect on._________________________Connect with Mariana!Social Media: Website: Resources: Life Letter to Your Loved Ones Meditation: Connecting to Your Ancestors in touch!Facebook:
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