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
The Somerset market town of Glastonbury has a long and highly storied history, being closely connected in legend to both the coming of Christianity to England and to a vast stream of pre- and post-Christian “alternative spiritualities”. The modern township includes representatives of some seventy religious and spiritual persuasions and the main shopping district is … Read more“A Very British Day of the Dead”: The Glastonbury Festival of Death and Dying
Oh, that sweet fragrance of falling petals…. With kind words, it is ended. Farewell. The time to go is now. Lee Hyong-Ki  It may be that the people who would most benefit from symbolic ritual are those who are least likely to partake in it. The inclination towards formal, poetic gestures in moments of … Read moreFalling Flower: a Simple Memorial Ritual
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”
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.
Still a work in progress but nearing completion, the Memory Garden at the Eternal Home Cemetery in Colma, California is designed as a ritual and memorial space for families mourning pre-natal loss. As described here, the Garden will feature: (…) a grassy green slope dotted with wide-set benches. Downhill would lead to a clearing, where … Read moreThe Memory Garden at Eternal Home Cemetery (Colma, CA)
At midnight on November the first, 2020 – the first of the Days of the Dead in Mexican tradition, the night after Halloween when, according to custom and poetic sentiment, the veils between the worlds are thinnest and magic is possible, I consecrated my newly-assembled totenpass amulet. As I write these words, I can still … Read moreTotenpass
From the creator’s website: In 2011, I stood in the shadow of the Temple of Transition. I taped a photograph of my wife’s recently deceased father to the inside of an archway. I roamed her hallways, silent. I witnessed a beauty that brought me to my knees, as Mike Ventimiglia writes: “I don’t know if I’ve … Read moreDear Guardians: A Burning Man Short Film (2014)
According to ceremonialist Daniel Lev Shkolnik: In the oldest story in existence, Gilgamesh crosses the sea of death in search of immortality. In Greek mythology, Charon ferries souls across the river Styx to Hades. In ancient Egypt, departed souls were thought to travel with Ra on the solar bark to reach the sacred field of … Read moreOdyssey of the Dead (2019)