Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Mortellus, author of the new Do I Have to Wear Black?.

When it comes to venerating the dead, it’s easy to get caught up in the details of what “doing it right” looks like. What does an ancestor altar look like, what belongs on it, what doesn’t? Can more than one ancestor share this space comfortably? In my own home, I have a great many spaces dedicated to the dead and dying, each serving a different purpose. I must confess, however, that my favorite and most worshiped-at altar to the dead is nothing more than a playlist on my iPod. What better way to honor someone and keep their memory alive than by enjoying the music they created?

Quite some time ago I was asked, “How do I listen to a deceased musician without thinking about their death?,” and I never stopped wondering why you would want to do that. Since the airwaves are already alive with the voices of the dead, why not curate your own playlist celebrating artists that are no longer with us? And so, my most active ancestral altar remains my iPod playlist titled, “Exurgent Mortui et ad me Veniunt” (“May the dead rise and come to me”), where I get lost in the spirits of song.

If you wish to honor the dead in this way and are looking for inspiration, visit tunein.com and check out “Radio Dead,” a station dedicated to the music of artists who have passed beyond the veil. For more tips on honoring the dead and dying, pick up your copy of Do I Have To Wear Black?: Rituals, Customs, & Funerary Etiquette for Modern Pagans today wherever fine books are sold.


Our thanks to Mortellus for her guest post! For more from Mortellus, read her article “Letting Go of the Dying: An Invocation.”

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Written by Anna
Anna is the Senior Consumer & Online Marketing Specialist, responsible for Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, Llewellyn's monthly email newsletters, and more. In her free time, Anna enjoys reading an absurd number of books; doing crossword puzzles; watching ...