This is what really happened; in 1917, and again in 1920, two rural English schoolgirl cousins went into the local woods and took photographs of paper cutouts shaped like fairies. All historical evidence suggests that the girls intended nothing more than a simple, silly prank, which then spiraled out of their control. As one of … Read moreSkepticism, Faith and Compassion in “FairyTale: A True Story” (1997)
Although Charles Kingley’s 1863 children’s novel has fallen from favor, his image of the Great Fairy Science – “who is likely to be queen of all the fairies for many a year to come” – might serve as an icon for certain nontheistic practices of magick. It’s a fun coincidence that the word “steam”, proudly … Read moreThe Great Fairy Science (from “The Water Babies” by Charles Kingsley)
Over the course of the winter, the Black Lives Matter shrine in Rogers Park, Chicago has grown from a gallery of posters and a scattering of flowers and candles into the much more elaborate memorial shown above, complete with an ornate wooden altar. The repurposed Chicago Reader newspaper vending box next to the altar stores … Read moreThe Rogers Park Black Lives Matter Shrine, Updated
Click here to read Cinder Hypki, Rhonda S. Cooper and Louise Knight’s paper examining the use of ritual in grieving and healing processes: The powerful symbolic and metaphorical nature of ritual is a compelling “medium” unto itself for community artists and cultural workers. “Performance artists” and artist-activists often use elements of ritual to engage and … Read more“Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing”
Click here to learn all about Mortal, a nine-week, self-directed course in death acceptance co-devised and presented by mortician/author/Death Positivity activist Caitlin Doughty and Death Doula Alua Arthur:
The Somerset market town of Glastonbury has a long and highly storied history, being closely connected in legend to both the coming of Christianity to England and to a vast stream of pre- and post-Christian “alternative spiritualities”. The modern township includes representatives of some seventy religious and spiritual persuasions and the main shopping district is … Read more“A Very British Day of the Dead”: The Glastonbury Festival of Death and Dying
Adapted from artist Ivan Bilbin’s 1899 illustration Vasilisa at the Hut of Baba Yaga.
The German animation studio Kurzgesagt offers a succinct explanation of the philosophy of optimistic nihilism.
Part of my practice is to redesign my vanitas altar according to seasonal themes. Marking the 2021 Spring Equinox, I’ve replaced the skull’s Autumnal caplet of leaves with a caplet of dried flowers and added a peacock feather, which was both an element of some vanitas paintings of the 1700s and, in Western superstition, a … Read moreSpring Equinox Vanitas Altar
“Placebo Magick” is Garrison Benson’s podcast series explaining his concept of “magick” from a strictly non-supernatural, psychological point of view; as he says, “magick is a metaphor, and metaphors are magickal”. In this episode he considers the advantages of imaginary afterlives and also the practical legacy lessons to be drawn from this perspective on death … Read moreThe Placebo Magick Podcast on the Metaphorical Afterlife