“Coronavirus Is Changing The Rituals Of Death For Many Religions”

NPR offers this survey of how the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the funerary rites of a variety of religions: The World Health Organization in its March 24 guidance on burials of COVID-19 victims says dead bodies are generally not infectious. But its recommendations that relatives not touch or kiss the body and government rules on social distancing … Read more“Coronavirus Is Changing The Rituals Of Death For Many Religions”

Flower Skull Marottes

By Tony Wolf Since the late 1990s I’ve been sporadically developing a philosophically rational, ecologically sound and communally festive approach to mortality, inspired by the motto memento mori ergo carpe diem – “remember death and therefore seize the day”. My interpretation of carpe diem encompasses Epicureanism as well as the perspective that a meaningful life … Read moreFlower Skull Marottes

Black Lives Matter Community Memorial Altar in Rogers Park, Chicago

I first came across this memorial during one of my evening walks, shortly after it was first created. I’ve added a few little things – some pine cones, a sketch outline of an open hand with the initials “BLM” – and it’s nice to see how others are augmenting and re-arranging the memorial day-to-day. Here’s … Read moreBlack Lives Matter Community Memorial Altar in Rogers Park, Chicago

Thanatopositive Classic Rock: Inside Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

Between the Renaissance Faire Danse Macabre, the Self Help Graphics art center’s influence on the Dia de Muertos and the Grateful Dead, there seems to have been a wind blowing darkly colorful leaves through the countercultural zeitgeist of the 1970s. Here’s the BOC live in 1977: … and in this short video essay, the Polyphonic … Read moreThanatopositive Classic Rock: Inside Blue Öyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”

“The Pandemic Should Change the Way We Talk About Dying”

Dr. Joel Rowe’s article for The Atlantic makes the humanitarian case for advance directives in allowing terminally ill people to die with as much dignity as may be possible: My mom had prepared me for the worst day of my life. I was equipped with her advance directive, stating that after a short trial of … Read more“The Pandemic Should Change the Way We Talk About Dying”

“Let’s Stop Talking about Battling Cancer” (and Death)

In her opinion piece for the Scientific American, Dr. Shika Jain makes the valuable point that the binary rhetoric of “combat” is often not useful, and may be actively harmful, to cancer patients and their families: Unfortunately, cancer is not an opponent that can stomped out by sheer will, determination or persistence. A study published in 2015 … Read more“Let’s Stop Talking about Battling Cancer” (and Death)

The Temple: a Sacred Space for Letting Go at Burning Man

Since the year 2000, artists – notably including Temple originator David Best – have created intricate, elaborate and secularly sacred temple art installations as part of the Burning Man festival. Each year’s design is inspired by a different theme, such as the Temple of the Mind (2000), the Temple of Flux (2010) and the massive … Read moreThe Temple: a Sacred Space for Letting Go at Burning Man