I’m happy to learn that my upcoming online course via the “Morbid Academy” educational initiative has just sold out. “The Art of Ritual” is a 5-week interactive deep-dive into the counterculture of end-of-life, funerary, memorial and memento mori ritual creation, based on the memento mori ergo carpe diem premise. “Oh, come with old Khayyám, and … Read moreSOLD OUT: “The Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death” (August/September 2021 Edition)
In the first series of his Old Diary Leaves (1874-’78), Colonel Henry Steel Olcott records the events of a Theosophical funeral ceremony he devised and presided over at the Masonic Temple in New York City. The ritual was to mark the life and death of the Baron de Palm, a member of the then-recently inaugurated … Read moreA Pioneering Theosophical Funeral in 1870s New York City
I live near the shore of Lake Michigan and daily meditation walks are part of my Way of Life and Death. I hope this ritual may be of use to you – noting that it’s an embodied practice, not just a thought experiment. Most mornings and evenings I go down to the shore, form my … Read moreThe Handprint Ritual
Behavioural and data scientist, author, speaker and consultant Pragya Agarwal writes for Aeon on the subject of speaking with children about death, and on children’s conception of mortality: ‘Maybe they go to the Moon. Do you think Naanaa has gone to the Moon?’ I am noncommittal even though I would like to believe that, yes, … Read more“Is grandad on the moon?”
Part of my practice is to find memento mori rituals in daily (and not-so-daily) activities. Whether it’s sporadic, regular, spontaneous or planned, the simple act/thought of acknowledging the reality of mortality is good medicine. A lot of that has to do with accepting loss of control. Roller coasters offer an almost unique opportunity to practice … Read moreMemento Mori Roller Coaster Ritual
This is my Summer Solstice contribution to the Artists of the Wall 2021 project. It’s a local (Rogers Park, Chicago) tradition extending back about 30 years, when residents started decorating a 600 foot long concrete bench/ barrier between Loyola Park and the Lake Michigan beach. Artists purchase the right to paint sections of the wall … Read more“… with hope that this assemblage of rubble would become a shrine …”
The School of Life offers insight into the history, meaning and value of ceremonialism, concluding that a sane and kind future will require the creation of new rituals.
The fantasy cultures in George R. R. Martin’s epic Game of Thrones stories have conjured a rich diversity of religious perspectives. The journey of Arya Stark, noblewoman by birth and killer by temperament, leads her to the House of Black and White, which is the temple, headquarters and thanatorium of a cult of priestly assassins … Read moreThe House of Black and White