Professor Shelly Kagan on “How to Live Given the Certainty of Death”

Yale University has made Professor of Philosophy Shelly Kagan’s 26-part lecture series on the topic of death available through their Open Yale program. The lecture How to Live Given the Certainty of Death is perhaps the most germane to my theme on this website, but the entire series offers much of value, especially to people … Read moreProfessor Shelly Kagan on “How to Live Given the Certainty of Death”

“How to not fear your death”

Aeon editor Sam Dresser offers the Epicurean perspective on life in relation to mortality: Key points – How to not fear your death * The end of your existence is inevitable. The question is whether or not you should fear it.* Epicurus, and many others besides, have argued that there are reasons not to fear … Read more“How to not fear your death”

Shadow Dancing: an Exercise in Shifting Perspectives

The Shadow Dance is an elaboration of the memento mori ergo carpe diem mudra into a whole-body exercise. The original dance was a spontaneous creation of mine during a visit to the Rotokawau/Virginia Lake Reserve in Whanganui, New Zealand, sometime in the early 1990s. My then-girlfriend was a dancer much inspired by nature and although … Read moreShadow Dancing: an Exercise in Shifting Perspectives

“Why Epicureanism, not Stoicism, is the philosophy we need right now”

Professor Catherine Wilson offers a concise argument in favor of the Epicurean perspective: Rightly understood, philosophical Epicureanism is a politically and personally powerful world-view that belies its caricatures. Its key elements are an unflinching refusal to believe that spiritual entities designed, created or control the world combined with the conviction that death and irreversible decomposition … Read more“Why Epicureanism, not Stoicism, is the philosophy we need right now”

So, About That Skull on Mr. Potter’s Desk in “It’s a Wonderful Life” …

Produced as functional memento mori and especially popular during the 17th and 18th centuries, these hefty pocket watches are about the size of billiard balls. They are frequently engraved with mortality symbols such as Grim Reaper imagery and mottoes in Latin reading “Pale death knocks with the same tempo upon the huts of the poor … Read moreSo, About That Skull on Mr. Potter’s Desk in “It’s a Wonderful Life” …

The Making of a Sacred Cemetery | John “Crow” Constable Interviewed by Daniel Lev Shkolnik

I’m delighted to be able to share this interview with Crossbones Graveyard shaman John Constable by my friend Daniel Lev Shkolnik, who hosts the very worthy Re-Enchantment podcast series. John and Daniel met as participants in the Memoria Symposium, which took place during the Halloween/Day of the Dead period of 2021. This is exactly the … Read moreThe Making of a Sacred Cemetery | John “Crow” Constable Interviewed by Daniel Lev Shkolnik

First, cry because it’s over; then, smile because it happened

When a baby is born, we celebrate a new life in the world and its potential; when a person dies, rather than mourning the loss of an impossible continued potential, we can mourn their death and then celebrate the life that they lived. A bell cannot be un-rung. That, of course, casts primacy on the … Read moreFirst, cry because it’s over; then, smile because it happened

Totenpass Reconsecration Ritual

At midnight on November 1st, 2021 I reconsecrated my totenpass amulet in front of the public shrine at my local park. The rite had to be somewhat curtailed because of the presence of a late-night dog walker and the sudden appearance of a police patrol car – as far as I know, the park is … Read moreTotenpass Reconsecration Ritual