Dear Friends,

We have received several emails from folks wondering why we haven't sent a newsletter in a couple of months. We have been quite busy with visitors and much activity over the holidays. We were just not able to write one until now, so here it is! The big news, which was something of a disappointment to us was that our new DVD version of In the Hands of Alchemy and Studio Dialogue was put on hold! Parabola will continue to distribute the VHS version of In the Hands of Alchemy but decided to not go through with the DVD. Joe Kulin, Parabola's publisher (and dear friend) retired in December. Joe was was the inspiration behind the creation of "Studio Dialogue." With everything done and Joe preparing to retire, the DVD was supposed to be on the shelf by last November. Like many magazines at this time Parabola is struggling financially and besides hiring a new publisher, they have moved to a smaller office, let go of some of their employees and cut many of their book and film projects, focusing entirely on the publication of the magazine. The good news is that Joe is still on board with the project and has decided to see the project through somehow. Having created "Cinema of the Spirit,"Parabola's film festival, he has many connections in the film world. Joe is currently looking for another distributor for the new DVD. Jerry's Publisher at Sentient Publications is also interested in possibly distributing the DVD. In any case, we are currently trying to see what wants to happen with all of this. It would actually make the most sense to have Sentient Publication distribute both Jerry's book and the DVD. We will keep you posted and if anyone has any suggestions on other possible distributors please contact us.

Jerry has just joined the staff of a New York City consulting firm. Once a month he will share his thoughts and insights on the spirit of the times. Each installment will go out to the CEO's of many major corporations in the US and abroad. This is a wonderful opportunity for Jerry to share his some of his thoughts in an entirely different arena.

In December a friend and co-worker of Marilyn's died on Whidbey of a brain tumor, and Marilyn was privileged to facilitate a home and family funeral for her and her family. There are two images that stand out for her from that experience. One was going to the family home, just down the road, after Janine had died, working with a team of six other women and her family to lovingly wash and prepare her body for "lying in state" in a three day vigil. They spent many hours together drumming, chanting, purifying her body and dressing her, into the wee hours of the morning.

All the while, several owls called back and forth outside her home. This felt very auspicious, as owls are considered to hold "death medicine" in many native traditions. As Marilyn lay down to sleep that morning she felt to be in the same altered state as she does after being in a long dance ritual all night.

The second image was when walking from our home through the Chinook lands the next evening at midnight. It was a cold, clear night with a full moon providing adequate light to walk unaided by artificial means. Again, at least four owls provided serenade as she made her way across Chinook to a lovely retreat called "Salmonberry Meadow" where Janine had previously led shamanic workshops, and where she now lay in state. Marilyn spelled off another of Janine's friends, sat in meditation, drummed and sang to her for two hours, keeping her company and helping her transition on. As another woman arrived to continue to hold vigil, Marilyn walked back by moonlight again in the cold, crisp air, this time in silence.

After being accompanied in this way for three days, the men in the community dug her grave in the local cemetery, and Janine's body was placed in a hand-built coffin, and buried with a simple ceremony, surrounded by close family and friends. Her memorial service took place a few days later at the Thomas Berry Hall at Chinook. This experience was a gift to Marilyn in many ways. It not only gave her the chance to be of service to Janine and her family and put her recent training to work in her local community, but it also really slowed her down during the darkest and most potent time of the year enabling her to feel more deeply the power of the Holy Season and the alchemy of the death/rebirth process. If you are interested in finding out more about home and family funerals.