Warning: this article might make you feel a little uncomfortable because it’s about a subject most of us like to avoid—death!
Let’s get real, though uncomfortable, everyone’s gotta deal with death. It’s a common ground—we all die, and we all lose people. Okay, this is getting morbid. But in our westernized society, death is often shunned, ignored, overlooked, and sometimes feared. The way we deal with death is not to deal with it. Death Salon wants to help people change that.
Death Salon brings together a collective of death professionals, artists, and academics who are working to prepare a death phobic society for their inevitable mortality and to cultivate a more positive relationship with death. I fully support this—after losing my brother when I was seventeen, I felt alone like nobody understood me. I think Death Salon would have helped relieve some of my grief. Side note: I also have a weird obsession with skulls.
Co-founded by Caitlin Doughty (author of NY Times bestselling book Smoke Gets in your Eyes) and Megan Rosenbloom, gatherings meet up across the US and no it’s not some weird secret underground cult thing (although organized by the Order of Good Death). The last salon took place at the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and before that, the Getty Villla—talk about beautiful spaces.
We asked Sarah Troop about the vibes at Death Salon…are they super depressing? Is everyone dressed in black? Lots of tears?
“The thing that strikes me the most about attending a Death Salon is the sense of community. We’ve had many people express how at home they felt. Something I think everyone at Death Salon, the experts and general public alike, comes away feeling, is incredibly nourished and inspired.”
The presenters here are as diverse as it gets—Pulitzer Prize winning authors, comedians, medical, food + art historians, artists, end of life guides, filmmakers, musicians, forensic pathologists and even a woman who designs clothing for the dead. Attendees range from death doulas (huh?), to students, to couples going on their first date. No one is excluded here!
These unique events allow us to engage on a deeper level with death and mortality. Don’t worry, it’s not all super serious. Death Salons are highly curated + full of fun entertainment like short films, art shows, storytelling, and illustrated lectures.
Don’t let the name scare you away—Death Salon is doing amazing things, by bringing a rather dark subject to light. It’s spreading positivity on a morbid topic and educating people on the history, present, and future of Death— a rather mysterious thing for most of us.