, “Literal Return to Earth – natural and ecological interment.”

With Holly Blue Hawkins

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Well folks, I would never have guessed all the important things that I didn’t know about death care and interment. Even as we pass from this life, our remains can be handled in a sacred, conscious, harmonious AND ecological way.

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About Holly Blue Hawkins

Holly Blue Hawkins is a Natural Deathcare advocate, community organizer, author, storyteller, musician, and poet. For over twenty years she has been performing the traditional Jewish sacred ceremonies of Taharah and Sh’mirah, washing, dressing and caring for the dead. As Rosha (“Head”) of The Santa Cruz Community Chevrah Kadisha in California, faculty with Gamliel Institute, and co-founder of the Natural Deathcare Initiative, Holly Blue provides training in a wide variety of end-of-life subjects in both Jewish and secular settings. She is a member of the Green Burial Council’s Speakers Bureau, has served on the Board of Trustees of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of California, is an annual presenter at Limmud UK, and is a graduate and guest presenter with Final Passages. She presents internationally on a wide variety of topics related to death, dying, and sustainable after-death care. www.LastRespectsConsulting.com


  1. ruth west


  2. Susan Yewell

    Indeed, this talk was very profound and fascinating too. I do know about Death Cafe and the new ways of dying and burying, but to listen to Holly talk really brought it all together for me. Thank you very much Brooke for the eclectic nature of your summit. The variety of topics and speakers has been astounding. The similarity of threads throughout has been intriguing as well.

    • Holly Blue Hawkins

      Thank you Susan. I’m so glad our conversation “brought it all together” for you. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have further questions. And of course, the Green Burial Council’s website https://www.greenburialcouncil.org/ has a wealth of information.

  3. Vanya Orr

    Thank you so much. That was a true Blessing.. is there any way we can have access to
    The poems? Vanya Orr

    • Greta

      Ahh Holly’s talk is changing me. I use present tense because Holly I want to tell you no one talked to me and I presume many others about the sacredness and respecting the dead in that way. I saw so much respect and passion and new philosophy about what life means and what death means. Thank you for broadening my perspective. I don’t fear so much about death now. I wonder if it’s fear that drives us to dis-respect death and ultimately and profoundly our lives and our own bodies and ultimately Mother earth that helped us to come to life. Holly do you offer any teachings about this? My education is gone as far as knowing about the Doula work, but nothing further.

      Brooke thank you for offering this summit. You are such generous human being. God bless.

      • Holly Blue Hawkins

        Dear Greta,
        You warm my heart on the chilly day! Please feel free to contact me via email and let’s find resources to lead you further along your path of discovery. There are many reasons why we learn to fear death; and many more that can transform our fears into something with the capacity to open our hearts.
        Many blessings

    • Holly Blue Hawkins

      Thank you, Vanya. The poems are included with my Resources sheet that you should have had access to. If you didn’t receive it, please just email me at [email protected] and I will be glad to send it to you.

  4. Rose

    That was a brilliant topic. I want to return to earth fully human. Now further to consider are the modifications human beings are making to their bodies and how those affect the return to earth; for example: implants, fillings, metal joints, pacemakers, etc etc etc… I’m sorry to say I have fillings. I will look into how those could be removed and what options are available here in New Zealand for green burial.

    • Holly Blue Hawkins

      Thank you Rose!
      From what I understand, mercury amalgam fillings are less of an issue when buried with a body directly and simply. The issue I’m aware of is the release of the mercury into the atmosphere during a cremation.

  5. Lisa Goodale Brinton

    Thank you Brooke, so many of these type forums are are not so filled by wisdom. Yours is. Each speaker offers their own special piece of wisdom. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    • Sibylle

      Dear Brooke, it has been over the top amazing to be able to connect to this
      The presentations have been inspiring at these times when we need
      to caarry positive visions and care for our Mother Earth.
      The sessions have brought me back to myself, and to my center, and for
      that I give you a big thank you.
      Many years ago I participated in your first 2 years at Black Tail Ranch, and
      then later at the beading week in Hot Springs. I have such fond memories,
      and you will be happy to know that I still do the work of honoring the
      Earth and All creation. I send you many Blessings.
      In Gratitude, Sibylle (aka Shining a Voice of Earth)

      • Holly Blue Hawkins

        Dear Sibylle, we must have met at Black Tail Ranch, then, since I was there too, assisting Brooke in the summer of 1988. What a remarkable, life-changing experience!
        Many blessings
        hollyblue (aka Sings The Spirit)

  6. Hollis Melton

    Thank you for this series, Brooke, it has been truly wonderful from beginning to end. I am so grateful to you and all of the wonderful presenters. I wish you longevity, healthy, joy, love, creativity and abundance. My prayer is that we all return to Earth, fully human. Love and many blessings, Hollis

  7. Mariah Rose

    Thank you both so much for this inspiring topic. I agree on the sacredness of honoring the body after death. I live in Washington state and will pass on this information about how composting is so much better than cremation for our planet.

    • Holly Blue Hawkins

      Mariah Rose, if you contact me directly, I can also put you in touch with my network in Washington State.

  8. Sandrine Wilson

    We are a Belgian foundation called “Metamorphose” and we have developed the concept of “Humusation”, i.e. corpse composting. It is not legal yet for human bodies in Belgium.
    How will it work when it is legal ? We will place the remains, wrapped in a simple shroud, in a plant bed made of pruning wood and cover them with the same mixture basically.
    After one year, the remains will be transformed into fertile compost. Part of the compost, about 1%, can be used to nourish a tree (that retains a little bit of the person). The rest of the compost would be spread across damaged lands back into the cycle of life.

    If you are interested in knowing better our path and how it helps regenerate soils, we would be delighted to share our knowledge with you and if possible take part in any project.
    Here are our contact details :
    https://www.humusation.org/ and [email protected]
    Rue St-Roch, 33
    1325 Chaumont-Gistoux

    Many thanks and kind regards,
    Sandrine Wilson, Ambassador for humusation in Wallonia mailto:[email protected],
    On Francis BUSIGNY’s behalf, President of “Métamorphose pour mourir… puis donner la vie !”
    [email protected]

  9. Paula Hardin

    Thank you for opening my heart and eyes to a different way of returning my body to Mother Earth. My plans were to be cremated as I didn’t want to use up space in a grave yard. This is a better way to give back. I am awed.

  10. Suzanne

    Thank you, Brooke, I plan to listen again and again. may you be blessed, may you know yourself loved.


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