It is with great sadness that I share the tragic news that Shawn Poirier, my friend and business partner, passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 18th, 2007. We ask for energy, prayers, and well-wishes that he has a safe journey into the next world.
I was in New Orleans with Bloody Mary when it happened, and we went to the altars set out for Saint Joseph's Day. Saint Joseph is the patron saint of happy deaths, so we welcome those energies for Shawn's journey. In New Orleans, the magic of Catholicism, Voodoo, Witchcraft, Strega, and Native spirituality are all blended into the spirit of place and we draw from that for strength.
We buried Shawn with his Witches' tools that he may continue to play his role in service to others for years to come. He was also buried with his beloved cat, Ka, who had been in and out of the Feline Hospital for almost two years as he suffered from severe diabetes. Ka was down to nine pounds, was missing his teeth, and was blind from his 16 years of age, and was incontinent. It was Shawn's express wishes that the cat be buried with him. The veterinarian told us that Shawn had left money in advance on deposit in case that need should ever arise. And so, we buried Ka with Shawn that his own intense suffering would be eased. We all loved Ka very much and it was hard to make this decision, as it was for Shawn who could not make it no matter how much he expressed to me over the past months how necessary he knew it to be. My mom had to put her cat to sleep for the same reason and so she took this hard as well. Shawn's healthy cat, Mistopheles, is with Leanne and is getting along just fine with her other cat, Moonlight, which we are very grateful for. Ka is an Egyptian word for the life force that kept the soul alive. Shawn's dear cat was so much a part of his life that it is a testament to their bond that they left this world together.
Festival of the Dead takes on a new meaning with Shawn's passing. We truly have confronted our own mortality and looked death in the face. The work that Shawn and I began in 2003 will live on in all of those who participate in this adventure into the spiritual unknown.
When people we love die, they become guides to us in the spirit world, able to hear our prayers and to ease our burdens. It is from this ancient spiritual concept that the idea of prayers to saints is derived. To the participants of the service, I offered the suggestion of an altar in their home to the spirits of those they loved. Your own grandmother can be as much a force for you in spirit as St. Jude or St. Anthony. And when you remember those you loved on the other side, they will never truly die.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, April 13, from 7pm - 10PM at Salem's Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square, Salem for all those who honor Shawn in his life and in death. A Funeral Ritual will take place at 8pm sharp, at which time the doors will be closed.
Blessings from Salem