Timeless Knowings: A Conversation About the Darkness From Which All Life Springs & Normalizing Death [Episode 16]

Gather by the warmth of the wood stove for this special winter solstice episode of the Woman Who Rubs the Mountain podcast, where we explore radical introspection, loosening of uncertainty, and hibernating in the caves of soul questions with Death Doula, Ancestral Lineage Repair Practitioner, and Ritualist, Jen Hudziec. Jen belongs to an ancient group of healers who hold space for other humans in that final right of passage we all makeㅡdeath. But we don’t have to wait until our last moments to explore our mortality or know our cosmic gifts. Perhaps this big thing called ‘meaning’ that we strive to define is already present in the beautiful nuances of our daily lives, it just takes stillness for us to realize it.

Deepening into the primordial darkness, here are the highlights from our conversation:

  • We begin with a meditation in embodied ecology, exploring the interfaces between our bodies and the body of the land. What kind of intimacies arise in the similarities, who is rising to meet who?
  • Jen grounds us in stories of reciprocity, describing the ways she builds connection with the place where she lives by asking permission to be on this land, by introducing her ancestors with soil from her grandparents graves, and by making a myriad of other offerings.
  • It is never too late to ask for the consent of the beings and land where you live. It is never too late to ask this place: “what is your story, tell me about you” and in the process unwind the conditioning that our human needs and wants come before all else.
  • Our connection to the ancient is not linear, it is a timeless knowing, a remembering more than a new learning, “along pathways that lead us in all directions, in all types of terrain.”
  • Encountering the reality of death at a local graveyard as a child, Jen discusses the impact that the impermanence of life had on her. Without a cultural container to support her realization and curiosity around death, she buried this part of herself until it was reactivated in her as an adult. 
  • As a Death Doula, Jen calls on the Archetype of the Witness, to not just passively hold space but to be deeply present, really listening to when to take action, when to be still, when to advocate, when to let others advocate for themselves.
  • Engaging in radical introspection through legacy projects or life reviews allows the soul to settle, letting its encapsulated essence be harnessed with intentionality to then be lived out in physical form.
  • When we bring death into our everyday consciousness where it can become a regular consideration, it becomes less of a huge, looming mountain for us to manage.
  • The mysterious feminine arises in many ways in Jen’s work, but perhaps most powerfully in the intergenerational magic that she shares with her Catholic grandmothers in a reverence and relationship with Mother Mary.
  • Let us be awed by the resiliency of our ancestors, remembering that the earth reflects this same resilience, having adapted through unbelievable change and tension. This is the story of our collective survival and ultimately we are more sturdy and buyount together than apart.

Listen all the way to the end to be led in a moving ancestral meditation with Jen!


More About Jen Hudziec:

Ancestral Pathways

Death and Dying

Ancestral Healing

Spiritual Mentorship



Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing by Daniel Foor

The Smell of Rain on Dust by Martin Prechtel

The Wild Edge of Sorrow by Francis Weller

Die Wise: A Manifesto for Sanity and Soul by Stephen Jenkinson

Advice for Future Corpses: A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying by Sallie Tisdale

Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life by Sharon Blackie

Waking Up To the Dark: The Black Madonna’s Gospel For An Age of Extinction and Collapse by Clark Strand

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May


“Seeds must settle into the soil before they unfurl. Black holes give birth to stars. We grow within the warm, pulsing darkness of our mother’s wombs, and are placed within the dark body of the earth when we die. Our lives are everywhere surrounded by darkness- the unknowable lives and times that before us, the dark matter of the heavens and always our own inevitable deaths.”

Foreword by Perdita Finn, "Waking Up To the Dark"