The Art of Death Midwifery

2017 Schedule

Los Angeles, CA


THE ART of DEATH MIDWIFERY is an intensive, in-depth training for professional and non-professional end-of-life caregivers and those seeking to prepare for a conscious, peaceful transition.  

‘A death midwife is one who offers information, guidance and support to an individual and their family throughout the dying process.  This support, both practical and spiritual, includes before death (life-threatening illness, accident or terminal diagnosis); during active dying and death, (at home or in the hospital setting) and after death (final rites, burial or cremation and the funeral or memorial ceremony).’

This certificate program consists of four weekend workshops; conference calls; written and practical assignments, and on-line group support.

Two courses are offered in 2017 – please see below for the class details.  Class size is limited to 15 students to maintain the intimacy of each group so please  reserve your place in each level as classes fill quickly.

Thank you!  We look forward to sharing this sacred journey with you.






“Anyone drawn to service in end of life and after-death care will highly benefit from the Sacred Crossings Death Midwife training. The program is fully heart centered yet filled with practical and legal information to create a solid foundation for everyone to grow from. The exploration of personal, spiritual, and cultural beliefs while honoring all was profoundly moving and has affirmed my calling and commitment to this sacred work.”           – Birgitta Kastenbaum







Level One     


A Spiritual Practice


Level 1 Details


A Spiritual Journey into Dying

What if, rather than recoiling from death we could lean into it, welcome it, allow its mystery to heal and transform us, not just in our final days, but today, right now?
What if our our ability to be truly free and to feel pure joy actually depends upon this practice?

Enter The Grave is an intensive, interactive workshop that delves into the essential nature of birth and death. Students learn tools to liberate them from fear, ease pain and suffering and stay connected to the heartbeat of eternal life.

Movement, meditations, family constellations, written and group exercises gently guide the process in an intimate, safe and nurturing environment.

Topics explored

Connecting to Source / Returning to the Great Mother

Giving Birth – Receiving Death

Somatic Movement

Befriending fear

Energy fields and the luminous body

Healing the ancestral wound

Managing the physiological response to fear and pain

The life review

The death rehearsal


A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to reserve your place

Please Click on your preferred date to make your reservation

Space is limited to 15 participants, early rsvp suggested

June 16, 17 & 18


“This workshop was amazing, beyond, beyond my expectations. I was not expecting to have so much personal healing. I feel I have a completely different understanding of death now”   – MG 

 Level Two


Preparing for a peaceful transition

Prerequisite: Level I – Enter the Grave 

Level 2 Details


Preparing for a Peaceful Transition


This workshop provides the information and tools necessary to create a meaningful death free from suffering.  Advance directives are completed, signed and witnessed in the class.  CEU’s available.
Films, discussion and group exercises support the information shared in an intimate, nurturing environment.

Topics explored

Understanding your options for end-of-life care in the US

Completing Advance Directives for health care

What is a Good Death?

The physical process of dying

Pain vs. Suffering

Ceasing nutrition & hydration

Religious beliefs and practices at the moment of death

Physician Assisted Suicide – before you decide

Spiritual perspectives on the dying process

Organ donation

Healing relationships/ Saying goodbye /letting go

Preparing the death bed

The living funeral

Creating your death file

Completing your Advance directives for death care

Sacred Singing


A non-refundable deposit of $200 is required to reserve your place

Please click on your preferred date to make your reservation.

March 10, 11 &  12


September 28, 29 & 30

Please note that the September 28 – 30 class will be conjoined with Level III – The Death Midwife,  Sept. 30 – Oct. 2.  Deposits must be made for both levels  to secure your place in this 5-day intensive.               Thank you!



“This workshop is an amazing practice in honesty, self-inquiry,  love and service. The honoring of death as part of life and a portal to the next realm is examined through discussions, films, meditations, practical and legal information and group process. I wish I had known about this when my husband died, I would have done things very differently.”    – Suzanne Stratchen –

Level Three


Midwifing the loved-one and their family from terminal diagnosis to final disposition

Prerequisites: Level I – ‘Enter the Grave’ , Level 2 –  ‘Conscious Dying’

Level 3 Details


Final Rites, The 3-day Vigil and Home Funerals

Pre-requisite – Conscious Dying – Preparing for a Peaceful Transition

This workshop focuses on the role of the death midwife at the time of death and for the three-days following until burial or cremation.

Films, demonstrations and practical application support the information shared.


Topics explored:

Unexpected death – Holding space in the ER

 Legal rights concerning: Coroner /Funeral home / Cemetery / Crematory

Being a healing presence – sitting vigil at the death bed

Stillbirth/ Infant death – bringing baby home

Sealing the Chakras/Final rites

Benefits of a 3-day home vigil

After-Death Care of the Body


Laying the body ‘In Honor’

The Jewish & Muslim Taharah rituals

Cultural and Religious after death traditions

Self-care for caregivers – preventing burnout


A non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your place as space is limited.

Please Click on your preferred date to make your reservation.

May 5, 6 & 7


Level II & III intensive

Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 

 Deposits must be made for both levels II & III to secure your place in the Sept/Oct 5-day intensive.  Thank you!



This was more than a learning experience, this was a sacred experience…discovering how to channel the frazzled energy of still-fresh grief into something that matters by caring for the body at home. I appreciated the classy, comfortable, relaxed, nurturing, safe, cocoon-like environment that we are offered to take in this information. Olivia is warm and kind and genuine, and her compassion and dedication are palpable. I liked the movie clips; the sharing; the hands-on practice; the professionalism; the thorough syllabus but most especially Olivia’s real life experiences of guiding families  through this sacred passage”   – Laurie C.iardullo


       Level Four


The funeral & final disposition

Prerequisites: Levels  I, 2 & 3

Level 4 Details


The Funeral and Final Disposition

This intensive is for those interested in training as a funeral celebrant and for anyone seeking to create a personal and meaningful funeral or memorial service for a loved one.

Students write and produce ‘mock’ funerals during the workshop. Those students graduating from The Art of Death Midwifery training program will receive their certificate at the graduating ceremony concluding this weekend.


Topics explored:

The importance of a funeral

Alternative funeral and memorial services

The role of the Celebrant

Writing the eulogy

Opening and closing remarks /prayers & poems

Announcements/Obituaries/Video Journals/Programs

Tributes & rituals

Cremation and Burial Practices around the world

Green Burials



A non-refundable $200 deposit is required to reserve your place

Please Click on the date to make your reservation – Classes combine for this one offering of Level 4


November 10, 11 & 12



“The mock funerals each of our groups created were so achingly beautiful, meaningful and embodied. The bond with my “family” in just 2 days to create a funeral celebration was incredible – I really felt like I had endured an unimaginable loss, but was uplifted by ceremony and community.  This is an incredible spiritual practice that I highly recommend for everyone”.   – Suzanne S –


Workshops are held in a beautiful private home in Pacific Palisades, West Los Angeles.

$200 discount for payment in advance for all 4 workshops.



Friday 3 pm – 10 pm,     Saturday 9:30 am – 6 pm,      Sunday 10 am – 6 pm

Dinner on Friday evening is provided. Participants provide their own bagged lunch on Saturday and Sunday.  The gardens and pool are available for your pleasure.


Please note that this year we are combining one of the Level II and Level III workshops to assist those out of town students. Sept 28 – Oct. 2 will be a 5 -day intensive covering both Conscious Dying and The Death Midwife material.  Please be sure to make your deposits for each Level separately to secure your place.

Out-of-town students, please write to Olivia  for a list of local bed & breakfasts. Shared ‘camping style’ sleeping may be available on site. Write: for details. 




“I learned so much more in these workshops than 14 years in the traditional funeral industry. That is just what is was…industry.  This is sacred work.” – Josette Astaria Sheets. 

Please visit our CLASSES page for a complete list of classes offered by Sacred Crossings and don’t forget to join our mailing list to be alerted of events in your area.

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Thank you for your interest in Conscious Dying and Family-directed Funerals. We look forward to sharing this sacred journey with you.