“Dealing with Dying” (Free Inquiry Magazine, October/ November 2007)

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)

The Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (Online Course)

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)

A/Wake Ritual with the Nomadic School of Wonder (Galisteo, New Mexico 2015)

From Barbara Groth, Founder and Creative Director of the Nomadic School of Wonder: This image is from the very first gathering of the Nomadic School of Wonder in Galisteo, New Mexico in 2015 where we explored the theme of “Death & Rebirth” with palliative care physician and teacher Alex Jadad. On All Hallow’s Eve, Alex … Read moreA/Wake Ritual with the Nomadic School of Wonder (Galisteo, New Mexico 2015)

Spirit Parks: Symposium to Reimagine Cemetery 2020

Here’s Chicago architect Mark A. Miller’s compelling vision towards reinventing cemeteries to better match contemporary sensibilities: In the United States, the centuries old traditional model of cemetery is failing to resonate with current generations and changing ideals about death, grief and memorialization. People are looking beyond the rituals of traditional religions and the constructs of … Read moreSpirit Parks: Symposium to Reimagine Cemetery 2020

Invocation of the Queer Spirits: The Arts of Ritual, “Seance” and Memorial

From an interview with artist/healer AA Bronson: What happens in the séances? The séances are designed in a format suitable to the history of the location: in New Orleans, we have devised a ritual that utilizes the methods of Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions, especially Voodoo, together with the methods of European ceremonial magic. Peter and I … Read moreInvocation of the Queer Spirits: The Arts of Ritual, “Seance” and Memorial

Skepticism, Faith and Compassion in “FairyTale: A True Story” (1997)

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)

The Rogers Park Black Lives Matter Shrine, Updated

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

“Memorial Ritual and Art: A Case Study and Exploration of the Potential for Healing”

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”