“… with hope that this assemblage of rubble would become a shrine …”

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 House of Black and White

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

“Dealing with Dying” (Free Inquiry Magazine, October/ November 2007)

Free Inquiry is a Humanist publication whose Oct/Nov 2007 issue was on the theme of mortality from the Humanist perspective: Early in 2006, Free Inquiry began to solicit essays from atheists and humanists, activists and everyday folks, open skeptics and closet doubters. What had they experienced of death and dying? How had they responded? What … Read more“Dealing with Dying” (Free Inquiry Magazine, October/ November 2007)

The Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (Online Course)

I will be teaching this upcoming online course via the Morbid Academy, starting August 25: This course explores an emergent, dynamic and positive response to the existential problem of death denial, centered on the simple philosophical premise of “mortality sapience”; that by remembering death, we can learn to seize the day. In that spirit, artists, … Read moreThe Art of Ritual: Changing Ways of Life and Death (Online Course)

Mindfulness of Mortality Meditation

For the past several months I’ve been enjoying weekly Zoom discussions with members of the Spiritual Naturalist Society, an eclectic secular organization promoting happiness through compassion, reason and practice. One of the regular participants, Rick Heller, has produced this interesting article on mortality mindfulness meditation: This meditation is to be done in a darkened room. … Read moreMindfulness of Mortality Meditation

A/Wake Ritual with the Nomadic School of Wonder (Galisteo, New Mexico 2015)

From Barbara Groth, Founder and Creative Director of the Nomadic School of Wonder: This image is from the very first gathering of the Nomadic School of Wonder in Galisteo, New Mexico in 2015 where we explored the theme of “Death & Rebirth” with palliative care physician and teacher Alex Jadad. On All Hallow’s Eve, Alex … Read moreA/Wake Ritual with the Nomadic School of Wonder (Galisteo, New Mexico 2015)

The Chamber of Reflection: a Masonic Memento Mori

According to the Elven E. Helms masonic lodge website: The purpose of the chamber of reflection is to give the candidate a chance to prepare himself for his initiation into the Fraternity. It is not just for the external preparation of the candidate, to put on the required garments, but for the internal mental preparation … Read moreThe Chamber of Reflection: a Masonic Memento Mori