In the first series of his Old Diary Leaves (1874-’78), Colonel Henry Steel Olcott records the events of a Theosophical funeral ceremony he devised and presided over at the Masonic Temple in New York City. The ritual was to mark the life and death of the Baron de Palm, a member of the then-recently inaugurated … Read moreA Pioneering Theosophical Funeral in 1870s New York City
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.
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.
Philosophical approaches to mortality from Socrates, Epicurus, and Zhuangzi, considering whether it’s logical to fear your own death or the deaths of your loved ones, with sidebars on Thomas Nagel and the Fear of Missing Out.
Leigh E. Schmidt’s essay for Aeon.com examines the phenomenon of public memorials representing humanism, freethought and atheism: American freethinkers had long been preoccupied with the public memorialising of their incredulity and anticlericalism. They wanted to enshrine their commitment to scientific rationality over biblical revelation, their strict construction of church-state separation, and their worldly focus on … Read more“Monuments to Unbelief”
Critic, author and video essayist Lindsay Ellis offers a survey of the many personifications of Death in Western art and culture.
Artist Peter McGough explains the Oscar Wilde Temple, a secular “celebration of the creative process through which experience is transformed into art and reality abstracted into revelation.” For more information on this project, please see the Oscar Wilde Temple website.
Established in 1990 and on hold (in its full form) until the abeyance of the COVID-19 crisis, Tucson’s All Souls Procession remains a grassroots community festival of memorial and celebration. This short video offers a glimpse back into its history.
On the evening of November 16 (US time), Morbid Anatomy will be hosting a live Zoom presentation of the antique seance/ghost show props I inherited from my dad’s magic collection: The eschatological crises of the First World War and the 1918 influenza pandemic sparked a massive revival of the practice of Spiritualist séances. Whereas some … Read moreUnboxing an Antique Ghost Show (Plus an Illustrated History of Spookological Fakery for Fun and Profit)