Death and ReBirth

ReWild Yourself — Dispatch 8

Eighth Dispatch: imbolc - death and rebirth
february 3rd - 2015

Welcome to the 8th, and final Dispatch of ReWild Yourself! Magazine. I set out one year ago to bring this project into existence, and here I am again, wizened by one more trip around the sun, but back in the same alignment with it, as when I began. What started as a project to educate and entertain the reader turned into an unexpected journey deep into myself and back out into the world. I have felt honored – truly – to have embarked on such a quest, and to have been able to see it to its conclusion. Thank you for all your support, for your readership, for reminding me that there are others who value the exploration of such existential topics as these.

In Dispatch 1 we explored the 'Intrinsic Taboo' of human wildness, and why our civilization is so fearful of acknowledging our animal nature. This led us to Dispatch 2, 'Let Food Be Thy Medicine', which explored the role of food — the most obvious culprit — in our own domestication. Dispatch 3, 'Primal Movement', was intended to offer strategies for overcoming the sedentism which characterizes contemporary moderns, with the hopes of inspiring a fresh approach to the way we utilize our mobile bodies, and a departure from what we normally think of as ‘exercise’. Dispatch 4: 'The Operant Condition', elucidated the animal control techniques and psychological programming that are all around us, informing so much of what we thought was autonomous decision making. It shed light on how we can take command of the way we motivate and condition our behaviors. Dispatch 5 was 'Awakening Sexual Intelligence', and its aim was to expose the shame that hangs like a storm cloud over our sexuality, crippling us with guilt and causing us to shrink and retreat into ourselves, to cannibalize each other in relationships that so often subjugate rather than edify. Dispatch 6 — A Chemical Ecology — dealt with the role of the altered state in our evolution, both anthropologically and also individually. It walked right up to the dragon of drug taboo and looked it straight in the eye.Dispatch 7 — A Fitness For Survival — was an invitation to be grown ups, to mature into the understanding that our own survival is no one’s responsibility but our own, and that if we truly seek to become sovereign beings, we cannot expect to be taken care of by the State, by our family and friends, or by any institution we affiliate with. It is – we are – our own responsibility. Each of these Dispatches has been a journey through the minefield of taboo, each touching on topics that never make for polite conversation, but need — however difficult — to be brought into the light. 

That brings us to Dispatch 8. Death and Rebirth. Turn the ‘8’ on its side and it is the symbol of infinity, the Möbius strip, the endless, unbroken cycle. Hence, it is with this Dispatch that we explore the final, but principle, taboo. Dispatch 1 looked at Civilization's ‘Intrinsic Taboo’, the one that is built into Civilization; human wildness. Death however is a taboo that underlies the existence of Civilization itself. The fear of death, which is primary for an organism that understands its own mortality, must be dealt with in some way, and I believe that what we call ‘Civilization’, the building of city-states, is the greatest‘Immortality Project’ ever undertaken. 

When contemplating domestication and Civilization long enough, one can’t help but eventually ask why, if Civilization is so inherently unsustainable, self destructive, and eventually oppressive, would any people attempt this undertaking? I can’t help but arrive at the conclusion that death itself is the driving force behind the life-consuming machinations of the juggernaut of civility.

So what if we — here and now — decide to face down this last and greatest taboo. What if we walk up to the giant and ask it it's name. What if we dare to inquire, to turn our heads towards the very thing that has had us cowering for countless generations. What if we start the conversation, make peace with, accept the inevitability of our own individual deaths?

It starts with this accepting that there is no chance for escape — and no need for one. There will be no technology coming, no uploading of your consciousness into a computer. There will be no thawing from cryogenesis, or genetic alteration that will “cure us” of death. Death is not a disease, it is not a curse. Death, like birth, is part of an unbroken cycle that defines life, and so, a denial of death quickly becomes a denial of life. Death is not the pathology –– denial of death is.

This Dispatch may contain content that you have spent a lifetime avoiding, but take heart, it is not without hope. In fact, I think you will find that there is a liberation that comes with accepting these simple truths. One can’t know how disempowering running from a thing can be until one stops running. 

The fear of death is the essence of domestication. Daring to look directly into the face of domestication, of the domesticator, to confront the shadowy fears that keep you enchained, is the essence of ReWilding.

This project began one year ago, and today it comes to a close. It has been for me a metaphoric journey of birth, through many sequential levels of maturity, and ending, ultimately, in death. But this publication’s end, like our own death, spurs new life. So it is, that as this project ends, new projects of my own, and your own, will be inspired, and so its end is the compost for something yet to grow. 

I dedicate this project to those new beginnings. To ReBirth.


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Sneak Peek:

Articles and video by Daniel Vitalis

Solar Dispatch 8
Death Denial
Of Midwifery, Hospice, and Hospitals
Unto Dust Shalt Thou Return
Be ReBorn
Max Is Dead
Mortality Salience
Lost Dog
Today Is A Good Day To Die
Wiki Links Trail
My Immortality Project
Your Neo-Aboriginal Challenge
ReWilding Resources


ReWild Yourself! Podcast interviews


Dying Wise in a Death Phobic Society

Stephen Jenkinson — teacher, author, storyteller and founder of the Orphan Wisdom School.



4 Stories We Tell Ourselves About Death

with Stephen Cave — author of internationally acclaimed book Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization.



The Ecstatic Hormonal High of Childbearing

with Dr. Sarah Buckley — GP/family physician, author of the best selling book Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering and mother to four home-born children 



Grave Matters and Green Burials

with Mark Harris — author of Grave Matters.


Developing Our Grief Intelligence

with Dr. Darcy Harris —  expert on the grieving process, associate professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Programs and coordinates the Thanatology Program at King’s University College at Western University London, Ontario, Canada, where she also maintains a private clinical practice specializing in issues related to change, loss, and transition.


Excavating Ancient Funerary Practices 

with Katy Meyers Emery — a PhD candidate at Michigan State University with a focus on mortuary archaeology.


Developing Terror Management

with Jeff Greenberg — social psychology professor at the University of Arizona and one of three researchers behind Terror Management Theory. 


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Regular ReWild Yourself! Contributors

The Transformative Nature of Woman 

with Alexandra Schueler of Wild Woman Speaks



Death Trauma

with Arthur Haines of the Delta Institute of Natural History

Arthur and I continue our podcast series, this time discussing The Death of Domestication & the Birth of the new Aboriginal.




Experiencing the Cycle of Life on the Homestead

with Frank Giglio of Three Lily Farm


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