My new article for OnlySky explores the philosophy of radical death acceptance via the nontheistic religion of Cavesword imagined in Gore Vidal’s 1954 novel Messiah, tracing the concept back to the garden-school of Epicurus and then to the bohemian counter-culture surrounding the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: The humanist point of view is centered on the … Read more“One life: imagining a radical acceptance of death”
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Gaiman has written of his Death character that: The mythology of “Sandman” (…) includes in it seven entities who are not gods, who are not worshiped, but are essentially more powerful than gods, because gods die when they are forgotten, but the Endless are always there, and one of those seven is Death. (…) I … Read moreDeath of the Endless (“The Sandman”, 2022)
Came across this art bench – one of several set up in a secluded, grassy area adjacent to a local high school – on a recent evening walk. The quote is part of a series based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and traditionally attributed to King Solomon (circa 10th century BC); it may be familiar to secularists … Read moreA Time to Die
In the days and weeks following the tragic death of actor/comedian Robin Williams in August of 2014, many Boston-area fans paid tribute at the site of one of Williams’ most iconic scenes. His Academy Award-winning performance as therapist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting (1997) included a moving scene in which Maguire quietly confronts his … Read moreTributes to Robin Williams at the “Good Will Hunting” Bench (Boston Public Garden, 2014)
One of several distinctly English responses to the Dia de Muertos ethos – see also the Glastonbury Festival of Death and Dying – the Toxteth Day of the Dead is an initiative by musicians/culture jammers KLF (a.k.a. the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, the JAMs and the Timelords, among others). Here’s a BBC audio documentary … Read moreThe Toxteth Day of the Dead
Also removed the stained glass lamp, until the days start getting shorter again.
Mortem is a two-week long, daily online artist residency arranged by Ayatana’s Biophilium: The virtual residency will involve daily live video lectures with international death care and funeral industry workers, historians, biologists and artists on a range of death related topics, one tethered international field trip in a graveyard near you and several short one … Read moreMortem: an Online Residency for Thanatocurious Artists
Folk banjoist Clifton Hicks conjures the Appalachian Reaper, “Old Leatherstocking”, in these memento mori songs from his album of that title.
The next rendition of my Art of Ritual course for the Morbid Academy (the online teaching branch of the popular Morbid Anatomy enterprise) begins on April 20th: The intangible culture of death ceremony became increasingly bureaucratized throughout the Industrial Age, as hospitals, businesses, religious institutions and civic authorities overtook what had previously been intimate, participatory … Read moreThe Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (April/May 2022)