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whole-life skills for a radically different future

Home Funeral and Death Care Midwife Training

A Program of the Center for End of Life Transitions

May 31-June 2, 2019

9:30 am–5:30 pm Friday–Saturday
9:30 am–1:30 pm Sunday

at Earthaven Ecovillage
near Asheville, North Carolina

The Center for End of Life Transitions (CEOLT) is proud to offer this three-day workshop on home-based end of life care and celebrations for the journey of dying at Earthaven Ecovillage, hosted by SOIL.

Cost: $400–$500 sliding scale

Registration open! 
Follow instructions at bottom of page.

Fellowship for Intentional CommunitiesSponsored by the Fellowship for Intentional Community

Learn Skills for the End of Life at Earthaven Ecovillage

Home funeral lying in stateHome-based celebrations bring death out of the shadows and into the light of life. To care for a family's loved ones by lovingly tending to them in their own homes is a gift and remains an option for those who want to honor this important life transition. This three-day workshop provides an intensive introduction to home funerals and death celebrations. You will learn the practical, legal, and spiritual necessities for accompanying a family along the journey of dying.

CEOLT strongly recommends that participants complete their Advanced Care and After Death Care Directives workshop or equivalent training before participating in this class. This class is being offered through SOIL March 30-31, 2019.

Class is held in Earthaven's beautiful Council Hall within a welcoming forest community.

What a Home Funeral Can Mean

Subjects Covered

  • Creating a community of intimacy and honor
  • NC state laws on the family's rights after death of a loved one
  • Documents for after death care
  • Green options for the body after death
  • Practicalities of tending a body after death
  • Supplies for home funerals
  • Providing support before death and beyond
  • Developing a nurturing environment around the death transition

About the Facilitators

Caroline YongueCaroline Yongue is the director of the Center for End of Life Transitions, a death care midwife, and a doula for the dying. After a long spiritual search, she committed to a Buddhist mindfulness practice in 1990 and has since become a lay Buddhist minister in the Soto Zen tradition. In 1995, Caroline began working towards a greater understanding of the death and dying process when she discovered her own fears around the transition and journey that everyone will take.

Caroline feels blessed to participate in the life transitions of families and individuals, moments that have deeply touched her heart. She believes it is a gift and honor to be part of these transitions.

Ruth OstrengaRuth Ostrenga is an educator with the Center for End of Life Transitions, a death care midwife, and a doula for the dying. She has been training in Soto Zen Buddhism with her teacher, Nancy Spence of Anattasati Magga Sangha in Asheville, NC, since 2000, and is ordained as a lay Buddhist minister. Ruth finds her greatest reward in working with CEOLT is guiding families through the process of home funerals and tending to their loved ones in the home after death. She is honored and privileged to work with families in these settings, which are so profoundly intimate and life affirming, even in death. CEOLT work continues to allow Ruth the opportunity to keep her heart open to all that life presents

Location and Accommodations

Founded in 1994, Earthaven Ecovillage is located on 329 acres in culturally rich, biologically diverse western North Carolina, about 50 minutes southeast of Asheville and 30 minutes southeast of Black Mountain. Home to 80+ residents, the community is dedicated to caring for people and the Earth by learning and demonstrating a holistic, sustainable culture. The Conference will take place within the forest as well as in the community’s beautiful, hand-built Council Hall.

What to Expect

The Earthaven community is off-grid, which means it sources its electricity from the sun (via solar panels) and water (via two small hydropower stations). It’s very easy to unplug once you arrive, because most cell phones don’t get reception in the forest. (Landline phones are available in the Council Hall for short phone calls or emergencies). The springs and creeks that traverse the land help welcome and invite you into the flow of what is happening in this serene forested setting. Being at Earthaven offers a balance between comfort and adventure.


Several accommodation options are available for attendees on the land and in the surrounding area.

Camping: Participants can camp in the forested Earthaven campground. Most campground sites are designed for two-person tents; some can accommodate larger tents. Several Camper Van or RV spots (no hookups) are also available. The campground offers drinking water, a tarp-covered kitchen with propane burners for cooking and heating water, and an outhouse with a composting toilet and hand washing station. A flush toilet is available in the Council Hall nearby.

  • Camping cost per person: 1 night $35, 2 nights $50, 3 nights $60

Private Indoor Lodging: Provided by Earthaven community members, options range from solitary huts and cabins to private rooms in a community member’s home. Although the spaces may differ, all are simple, hand-built ecospaces that will have at least a bed and a composting toilet nearby. Some spaces will be centrally located, while some will be within a 5–15 minute walk of the village center. An outdoor shower in the campground will be available if your accommodations do not have their own shower. Please indicate your choice in your registration and online shopping cart.

  • Private indoor lodging for 1 person: 1 night $80, 2 nights $125, 3 nights $150
  • Private indoor lodging for 2 people (shared bed): 1 night $120, 2 nights $187.50, 3 nights $225

If you have a preference or need for a particular lodging arrangement, please indicate it when you make your booking and we'll do our best to place you accordingly.

Eva's Testimonial

Off Site: Most visitors who choose not to stay at Earthaven find lodging in Black Mountain, roughly 30 minutes to the northwest, which is the closest town providing standard rental options. Situated between Black Mountain and Earthaven, approximately 20 minutes away, is The Light Center, which offers modest accommodations and a guest kitchen. Other possibilities for traditional lodging include Bat Cave (25 minutes from Earthaven), Lake Lure (35 minutes from Earthaven), and Asheville (50minutes from Earthaven).

In addition to the many hotels and motels that are available, you may want to consider Air B&B or VRBO if you’re looking for something closer to Earthaven than a city center can provide. Greybeard Realty may also be able to help in finding a fitting accommodation.

How to secure your space

Register: Fill out the registration form. Please give yourself plenty of time to complete the application, because it cannot be saved until submitted.

Payment: Payment can be submitted by check, money order, PayPal, or credit card. If paying online, use the widget below to select your tuition, then select "Add to Cart." After the page refreshes, select the "Checkout with PayPal" option and continue through the PayPal website.

Home Funeral and Death Care Midwife Training
Home Funeral and Death Care Midwife Training
SOIL offers sliding scale tuition for this workshop as part of our effort to create affordable, broadly accessible programs. Please consider your needs and resources to determine what might be a stretch, but not a strain, for you to invest in this personal learning opportunity.
Price: $400.00
Tuition Sliding Scale $400–$500 :
Lodging :

If paying offline, please send a check or money order payable to the following address and note the class for which you are registering in the memo field:

School of Integrated Living
11 Full Circle Trail
Black Mountain, NC 28711

Crowdfunding and Fundraising: Check out our Crowdfunding and Fundraising page for creative ways to engage your community and launch a "Community Supported Education" campaign. This approach can help support your investment in yourself, your community, the planet, and future generations.

Cancellation Policy

If you cancel, you may transfer your place in the program to anyone of your choosing, who will need to register online. You can also donate your place to someone who would not be able to participate without financial assistance.

A 50% tuition refund is available until April 15, 2019.
After April 15, 2019, there will be NO refunds.

If SOIL cancels this course for any reason whatsoever, 100% of your tuition will be refunded.

Contact us at info@schoolofintegratedliving.org with registration questions.

Check out Earthaven Experience Week

Join the homesteads, farms, and businesses of Earthaven Ecovillage for a hands-on, skill-building immersion in sustainable and climate-resilient community life. The learning journey weaves large-group discussions and classes together with intimate hands-on experiences in the village and farms alongside community members.

Learn More