The Order of the Good Death

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Order of the Good Death is a death acceptance organization founded in 2011 by mortician and author Caitlin Doughty.[1][2][3] The group advocates for natural burial and embracing human mortality.[4]

Along with Doughty, members include Sarah Chavez,[5] Director of The Order of the Good Death, Megan Rosenbloom, Director of Death Salon, and Amber Carvaly, Director of Undertaking LA. Other notable members are artist and monument-maker Greg Lundgren, TED speaker Jae Rhim Lee, alternative funeral home director Jeff Jorgenson, artist Landis Blair,[5] forensic pathologist Judy Melinek,[5] author and photographer Paul Koudounaris,[5] and other death professionals, artists and academics.[6][7][8][9][10][11]

The group held its first "death salon" in Los Angeles in 2013.[12][2][13][14][15] Another salon was held in 2014 at St Bartholomew's Hospital Pathology Museum in London by museum curator Carla Valentine.[16]

The group took its name from the Brazilian Order of Our Lady of the Good Death.[17]

Death-positive movement[edit]

The term "death positive" was popularized by Caitlin Doughty as a play on the term sex positive. The death-positive movement is a social and philosophical movement that encourages people to speak openly about death, dying, and corpses. The movement seeks to eliminate the silence around death-related topics, decrease anxiety surrounding death, and encourages more diversity in end-of-life care options available to the public.[18]

However, the ideas behind the movement have existed much longer.[19] The Order of the Good Death website lists the beliefs of the death-positive movement as being that cultural censorship of death and dying does more harm than good, that open discussions about death should be accepted as a natural human curiosity, that families should have full rights to care for the bodies of their loved ones without intervention from funeral businesses, and that end of life care should be diversified and performed in ways that cause less damage to the environment than our current practices.[20] The movement also strongly encourages participants to speak to their families about their own end of life wishes, even if they are young and healthy, and is critical of the commercialized funeral industry.[21] It also encourages people to express their feelings about death through art.[22] Other organizations such as Going with Grace,[23] founded by death midwife Alua Arthur, are contributing to the movement through their online courses and End of Life Training Program.[24] In 2021, Alua and Caitlin launched a new online course, Mortal,[25] giving an opportunity for students to explore their own mortalities. End Well,[26] founded by physician and film producer Shoshana R. Ungerleider,[27] hosts an annual conference and media platform to highlight solutions to make the end of life experience more human-centered.[28] Death Over Dinner,[29] founded by restaurateur and author Michael Hebb along with Angel Grant, is an organization that encourages people to have dinner parties to talk about mortality which has facilitated more than 200,000 dinners.[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Coye, Dale F. (2014), Seven Sacraments for Everyone, FriesenPress, p. 199, ISBN 9781460231555
  2. ^ a b Kim O'Connor (May 16, 2013), "The Death-Positive Movement", Pacific Standard
  3. ^ Washburn, Michael (March–April 2013), "Decomposure", University of Chicago Magazine
  4. ^ Natural Burial, The Order of the Good Death, 24 August 2011, retrieved 2017-05-08
  5. ^ a b c d "Order Members". The Order of the Good Death. Retrieved Feb 7, 2020.
  6. ^ Gross, Terry (October 8, 2014), A Mortician Talks Openly About Death, And Wants You To, Too [interview transcript], NPR, retrieved October 29, 2014
  7. ^ Kiley, Brendan (September 17, 2014), "It's Time to Think About Your Demise; An Interview with Caitlin Doughty, Author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Doyenne of Death", The Stranger, retrieved September 18, 2014
  8. ^ Kiley, Brendan (September 17, 2014), "Enough Talk About Your Youth—Let's Talk About Your Death: Seattle Is at the Forefront of Innovative Thinking About What to Do with Dead Bodies", The Stranger
  9. ^ Damon Sayles, ed. (December 16, 2014), "Hot topics: Hey funeral directors, move out of the way!", Funeral Home and Cemetery Executive Briefing, retrieved 2014-12-26
  10. ^ Members: Death Professionals, The Order of the Good Death, retrieved 2014-12-26
  11. ^ Natalie Pompilio (November 16, 2013), The Order of the Good Death,
  12. ^ Hayasaki, Erika (October 25, 2013), "Death Is Having a Moment—Fueled by social networking, the growing "death movement" is a reaction against the sanitization of death that has persisted in American culture since the 1800s"", The Atlantic
  13. ^ Courtland, Emma (May 14, 2014), "Caitlin Doughty: The Millennial's Mortician", LA Weekly
  14. ^ Carolyn Kellogg (October 19, 2013), "It's not too late to get to the Death Salon", The Los Angeles Times
  15. ^ Death Salon, The Order of the Good Death, retrieved 2014-12-27
  16. ^ Adam Sherwin (April 11, 2014), "To die for: Death Salon mortality conference - the event meant to help you go out with a bang", The Independent, archived from the original on 2022-06-18
  17. ^ About us, The Order of the Good Death, retrieved 2014-12-27, The Order was inspired by several historical concepts of the good death, including the medieval Ars Moriendi (Art of Dying) and the Tibetan Bardo Thodol. The name itself is taken from the 19th century Brazilian sisterhood of African slaves, Irmandade da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte, or, Sisterhood of Our Lady of the Good Death.
  18. ^ "What is the Death Positive Movement?". TalkDeath. 2015-06-09. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  19. ^ "Death Positive Movement - The Order of the Good Death". The Order of the Good Death. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  20. ^ "Death Positive". The Order of the Good Death.
  21. ^ Kelly, Kim (2017-10-27). "Welcome the reaper: Caitlin Doughty and the 'death-positivity' movement". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  22. ^ "5 Stunning Pieces Of Art That Prove Death Doesn't Have To Be Sad". Women's Health. 2018-02-08. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  23. ^ "Going With Grace -". Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  24. ^ "End of Life Training -". Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  25. ^ "MORTAL | Live Well in Your Mortality". MORTAL. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  26. ^ "Building a Better Death, One Conversation at a Time". Journal of the American Medical Association. 2019-06-26. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  27. ^ "Will your life end well? An Oscar nominee and palliative care advocate on what's new in death". San Francisco Business Times. 2018-05-25. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  28. ^ "Talking about death and dying doesn't have to be difficult". San Francisco Chronicle. 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  29. ^ ""I refuse to have a terrible death": the rise of the death wellness movement". Fast Company. 2019-05-07. Retrieved 2020-04-09.
  30. ^ "Discussing Death Over Dinner". The Atlantic. 2016-04-16. Retrieved 2020-04-09.

External links[edit]