Rev. Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund was born in Tokyo, Japan, daughter of Lutheran missionaries. She spent her childhood growing up in Japan, attending Japanese public schools through the eighth grade. As a result, she is bilingual and bi-cultural, and has used her language and cultural skills in a variety of ways through the years. After finishing high school at Canadian Academy in Kobe, Japan, she moved to the United States for college. She graduated from Yale University, and later attended seminary and received her Masters of Divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1984.
In 1985 she began parish ministry at Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was ordained in the United Church of Christ. She continued in parish ministry for ten years, serving a variety of U.C.C. churches in Hawaii and in the Great Northwest.
She changed her focus of ministry in 1995 when she began working as a bereavement coordinator for a hospice program in the Puget Sound area. She added spiritual counseling to her repertoire that same year, and has continued with this work to this day. Maria also trained in spiritual direction (1994-’97), and serves as a spiritual director and consultant. Because of her broad universal perspective, her ministry has an “inter-faith” quality. She also continues to preach and perform weddings, memorial services, funerals, and other rituals, sharing her universalist perspective.
Maria self-published her books, The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Transition (July, 2005) and The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? (June, 2010). In May of 2008, a 2nd edition of The Last Adventure was published through Findhorn Press with a new subtitle: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor. A third edition came out through Finch Publishing of Australia in 2009. These books can also be helpful for those who desire to deepen their spiritual life by examining their questions and doubts around death and dying.
No matter what our religious or spiritual background may be, we must all face our death one day. The sooner we can come to terms with “the most important event of our life” the better. May Maria’s books and holistic resources be tools to assist you and your family members and friends in being “proactive” and more comfortable conversing about this topic and everything associated with it. May they also help all of us as we move through all the changes and transitions that are required of us in the shifting, momentous, transformational times!