Gore Vidal’s 1954 dystopian satire Messiah is the story of a religious movement that forms around a charismatic undertaker named John Cave. Cave’s central message is, simply and profoundly, that people should not be afraid of death; not because they could look forward to an afterlife of eternal bliss in paradise, but rather because oblivion … Read moreCavesword: A Nontheistic Religion of Radical Death Acceptance in Gore Vidal’s “Messiah”
The School of Life offers insight into the history, meaning and value of ceremonialism, concluding that a sane and kind future will require the creation of new rituals.
The fantasy cultures in George R. R. Martin’s epic Game of Thrones stories have conjured a rich diversity of religious perspectives. The journey of Arya Stark, noblewoman by birth and killer by temperament, leads her to the House of Black and White, which is the temple, headquarters and thanatorium of a cult of priestly assassins … Read moreThe House of Black and White
Free Inquiry is a Humanist publication whose Oct/Nov 2007 issue was on the theme of mortality from the Humanist perspective: Early in 2006, Free Inquiry began to solicit essays from atheists and humanists, activists and everyday folks, open skeptics and closet doubters. What had they experienced of death and dying? How had they responded? What … Read more“Dealing with Dying” (Free Inquiry Magazine, October/ November 2007)
I will be teaching this upcoming online course via the Morbid Academy, starting August 25: This course explores an emergent, dynamic and positive response to the existential problem of death denial, centered on the simple philosophical premise of “mortality sapience”; that by remembering death, we can learn to seize the day. In that spirit, artists, … Read moreThe Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (Online Course)
After shifting modes to virtual space during the 2020 pandemic, the All Souls Procession is now planned to return to the streets of Tucson, Arizona between November 5-7, 2021. Donations towards their efforts to reboot this wonderful event can be made here.
For the past several months I’ve been enjoying weekly Zoom discussions with members of the Spiritual Naturalist Society, an eclectic secular organization promoting happiness through compassion, reason and practice. One of the regular participants, Rick Heller, has produced this interesting article on mortality mindfulness meditation: This meditation is to be done in a darkened room. … Read moreMindfulness of Mortality Meditation
I visited the Holocaust Memorial during a trip to Berlin in May of 2012. Unfortunately I did not have time to enter the underground museum/information centre, so this review is specific to the open-air installation, which is the most conceptually brilliant memorial I have ever seen, or, more accurately, “been part of”. The Memorial is … Read moreThe Holocaust Memorial (Berlin, Germany)
Philadelphia’s Monument Lab is a public art and history studio working with artists, students, educators, activists, municipal agencies, and cultural institutions on participatory approaches to public engagement and collective memory.