Ceramic artist, businesswoman, and author of the Spirit Vessel Ceremony Guide Book, Jessica Wertz and I talk about road trips, small towns, ceremony, grief, and sacred time. The name of her work, Spirit Vessel, has three layers: the body as a vessel for the spirit; the vessel of each ceramic urn that holds cremated remains; and the vessel of ceremony – capable of holding and transforming individuals and communities in their grief.
The Spirit Vessel Ceremony Guide Book offers 60 pages of guidance and tools, as an invitation to help you set up your own ceremonies around death. This can include preplanning a funeral, creating a living memorial to be celebrated before someone dies, planning a memorial some months out from the actual death, or finding ways to mark important anniversaries. The book aims to answer such questions as: Why have a ceremony? How to plan a ceremony? Who should guide it? How can you create participation? What are some passages and prompts you might use? How can ceremonies support healing? Why is participation by attendees an important piece of ceremony?
Jessica has found that, “Ceremony is a space of holding the paradox of all the things that come up around a death, and all the emotions that can arise, from gratitude to regret to forgiveness.” And she says: “The idea of ceremony seems revolutionary now, but it’s actually the oldest idea – all of our ancestors came from societies that practiced ceremonies.”