Pondering an ancient, non-violent, non-interventionist, non-pharmaceutical, way to slowly ease through the dying process


For decades, I have been fascinated with the idea of choosing my own way of letting go of my body when the time comes. And not necessarily because I am terminally ill or depressed. But simply because the time has come to leave and I know it. In other words, I don’t go along with the idea that choosing one’s death is only ethical if death is already imminent. I do not consider the body as the ruler of my time here on this planet!

My preferred manner of leaving is to voluntarily learn the art of intentional Out of Body Experience (OBE). This would be the quickest, easiest exit, and were I to actually settle down enough to practice learning how to do what I did inadvertently a few times back in my 20s, I would be thrilled.

On the other hand, a kinder option for others’ sake might be to let go slowly, and in this way share some final good times and provide some wonderful memories, for those close to me.

Enter VSED: Voluntary Stopping of Eating and Drinking.

Scott Nearing famously chose this way to let go. But then he was 101! I doubt I’ll want to live that long, doubt that I can be of service to others until that advanced an age. Hell, that’s nearly 30 years from now! If Guy McPherson is right, we may all be letting go around that time, whether or not we want to. All the more reason to consider a ceremonial manner of dying.

Here’s a pdf that talks about it. I just read pp. 383-402: the ancient history of VSED, the actual clinical process of starvation/dehydration, its various stages over, usually, a 7-14 day period, and the kind of care which ensures that this dying ceremony can be not only easy to undergo but, in fact, naturally produces euphoria as the end stage prior to coma.


And guess what? It’s most likely legal.

I thank Valerie Tarico who linked to this pdf in her alternet.org interview,

Why Can’t Americans Choose to Die on Their Own Terms?




About Ann Kreilkamp

PhD Philosophy, 1972. Rogue philosopher ever since.
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3 Responses to Pondering an ancient, non-violent, non-interventionist, non-pharmaceutical, way to slowly ease through the dying process

  1. Mari Braveheart-Dances says:

    Thank you very much, Ann. This is incredibly helpful information. I am very grateful!

  2. Mark Brady says:

    Hi Ann. Yesterday on the Full Moon one of my great teachers and taboo breakers released his final online Dispatch of ReWild Yourself! Magazine. The Eighth Dispatch: imbolc – death and rebirth is excellent and I think you would really enjoy it.

    This is the link to the intro about the Dispatch

    If you would like to just dive in and scroll through the material you can follow this link and type in the password in caps, IAMWILD

    An excerpt from the Intro —

    “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.


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