“Dancing with the Dead: Two Techniques for Spiritual Rejuvenation”

Humanist poet, speaker, organizer and ritualist Daniel Lev Shkolnik writes for Patheos on a self-devised memento mori/carpe diem rite: When I pass into a cemetery alone, a calm settles over me. I watch the hawks hunt from the pines. The hares dash through among the stones and the bones of slower hares. The puffball mushrooms … Read more“Dancing with the Dead: Two Techniques for Spiritual Rejuvenation”

London Month of the Dead

This festival will run throughout the haunted month of October and features a wide range of both live and virtual events, including: THE VAMPIROLOGY OF COVID-19 – The Folklore of Contagion THE MYSTERIES OF THE MAUSOLEA BEAUTIFUL DEATH – Art and the Mystery of Mortality “I HAVE SEEN INTO THE GRAVE” – String Quartets by Beethoven and Shostakovich For … Read moreLondon Month of the Dead

King Billy’s Funeral (“Knightriders”, 1981)

George Romero’s Knightriders is a messy, eccentric and often quite beautiful celebration of/elegy for the idealistic, bohemian spirit of the 1960s. In this, one of the final scenes, the titular troupe of motorcycle-jousting knights and their friends gather to pay tribute to their fallen “king”, Billy (memorably portrayed by Ed Harris in one of his … Read moreKing Billy’s Funeral (“Knightriders”, 1981)

Grave Gardening at the Woodlands Cemetery

Here’s a short CBS presentation on the revival of gardening in “cradle graves” at The Woodlands Cemetery in Philadelphia. Established during the mid-19th century, The Woodlands was part of the rural cemetery trend, in which landscaped, tree-lined graveyards established on the edges of cities provided welcome respite from urban noise and pollution. Rural cemeteries became … Read moreGrave Gardening at the Woodlands Cemetery

“The To-Be-Forgotten” (1899)

English poet Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) writes of the “second death”: II heard a small sad sound,And stood awhile among the tombs around:“Wherefore, old friends,” said I, “are you distrest,Now, screened from life’s unrest?” II—”O not at being here;But that our future second death is near;When, with the living, memory of us numbs,And blank oblivion comes! … Read more“The To-Be-Forgotten” (1899)

Recompose

Katrina Spade’s Recomposition process, which converts human remains into nourishing soil through natural organic reduction, was legalized by the state of Washington on May 21, 2019. Her company is now planning to open the world’s first Recompose Center in Seattle during early 2021. Here’s Ms. Spade’s 2016 TED Talk on Recomposition, offering further details and … Read moreRecompose

Better Place Memorial Forests

18th and 19th century necropolitan models of cemetery design and practice have created problems for us in the 21st century. Notably, cemeteries in major cities are literally running out of space, while those traditional burials that do take place continue to waste resources on a vast scale. In this video, Sandy Gibson of Better Place … Read moreBetter Place Memorial Forests