“The Shrines on Boulevard Voltaire”

In 2015 Ian McEwan wrote for the New Yorker on vernacular shrines commemorating the victims of the terrorist mass shooting at the Bataclan Theatre: In the land of Voltaire, on the boulevard named for him, a general absence of religious belief hardly detracts from the seriousness of the shrines; why bend to a god that … Read more“The Shrines on Boulevard Voltaire”

“Oscar Wilde’s ‘Confraternity of the Faithless'”

My new article for OnlySky Media, Oscar Wilde’s ‘Confraternity of the Faithless’ discusses Wilde’s notion of “agnostic ritual” and its modern interpretation via the Oscar Wilde Temple art installation/secular ritual space: Inspired by the Aesthetic Movement of the late 19th century and subverting traditional Catholic iconography, the Temple evokes a kind of alternative reality in … Read more“Oscar Wilde’s ‘Confraternity of the Faithless’”

The Toxteth Day of the Dead

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

‘A tattoo is for life’: how memorial tattoos help the bereaved

Professors Jennifer L Buckle and Sonya Corbin Dwyer write for Psyche on the benefits of memorial tattoos: Many of these bereaved individuals talked about their memorial tattoo as an expression of their need for a sense of permanence in response to painfully clear impermanence – a reaffirmation of life amid the stark reality of death. … Read more‘A tattoo is for life’: how memorial tattoos help the bereaved

Mortem: an Online Residency for Thanatocurious Artists

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

Alter/Altar (Lower Manhattan, 2019)

Alter/Altar was an experiment in ephemeral public memorial art: It’s said that you’re a New Yorker when that which is gone becomes more real than that which took its place. This event is an homage to hyper-local elements of the city, including but not limited to communication, transportation, personal memory and happenstance. In the wee … Read moreAlter/Altar (Lower Manhattan, 2019)

The Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (April/May 2022)

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)

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

Rest in Peace, Robert Bly: Poet, Anti-War Activist, Author and Founder of the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement Dies at Age 94

Yesterday, petals fell in tribute to Robert Bly, whose life’s work came to an end on Sunday, November the 21st, 2021. During the 1980s, ’90s and early 2000s I dipped in and out of the oft-misunderstood “Mythopoetic Men’s Movement”, which drew much inspiration from Bly’s teachings; first via word of mouth emerging from his countercultural … Read moreRest in Peace, Robert Bly: Poet, Anti-War Activist, Author and Founder of the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement Dies at Age 94

October 2021 Memoria Symposium: An Open Discussion on Artistic Innovation in Death-Positive Ritual

Artist Jill Littlewood hosts the October 2021 Memoria Symposium, a conversation between artists innovating in the sphere of memorial and memento mori ritual. Participants include: Nadia Hagen-Onuktav, artistic director of the All Souls Procession in Tucson, Arizona To-Ree-Nee Wolf, director of the All Souls Procession Urn Spirit Group Harley Dubois, Co-Founder of Burning Man John … Read moreOctober 2021 Memoria Symposium: An Open Discussion on Artistic Innovation in Death-Positive Ritual