At our recent Samhain E-Gathering, Dying With, we discussed the rights of our beloved dead. I thought I’d share them here. 

The dead are not gone, they are simply transformed, and they have rights:

The right to be acknowledged
The right to be respected 
The right to be witnessed
The right to be remembered
The right to be included
The right to be honoured
The right to live on with us
The right to change and evolve 
The right to have consent to choose 
The right for their name and image to not be used or exploited 

The last three rights of the dead may not be rights we consider much. Often we view the dead as immortally fixed, as if they cannot continue to learn and evolve, but in my work, I have witnessed spirits discovering information they did not know while alive, experiencing closure, and having a more macro view of existence. These often help them evolve, and can give them a deeper purpose as a spirit.

Spirits are also beings who must be respected as we would with a living human. Some desire their names to be remembered or as a catalyst for a longer term cause or legacy. Others desire to be left alone, and would prefer their names be out of public circulation. Consent applies to the living and the dead. To think only the dead can haunt is an error. The living can also haunt the dead.