Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Rituals & Celebrations


Latest Popular


Architecture & Landscape Art Cultures & Languages Dance & Theatre Design & Fashion Digital Culture Film & Television Food & Drink Music Rituals & Celebrations Sports & Games Stories & Literature Subcultures The Home Travel
Essay/Cognition & Intelligence
One more time

Why do we listen to our favourite music over and over again? Because repeated sounds work magic in our brains

Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis

Essay/Philosophy of Religion
Inside the mind of God

Punitive Big Brother; cosmic petty-thief-catcher; vigilant landlord. Why is God so interested in bad behaviour?

Benjamin Grant Purzycki

Essay/Metaphysics
Everything and Moore

The legendary comics author Alan Moore has written a million-word novel, tribute to every eternal speck in his universe

Tim Martin

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States
A good trip

Researchers are giving psychedelics to cancer patients to help alleviate their despair — and it’s working

Linda Marsa

Essay/Health Policy & Economics
Do some harm

Traditional Chinese medicine is an odd, dangerous mix of sense and nonsense. Can it survive in modern China?

James Palmer

Essay/Mental Health
Learning to fall apart

My OCD had been creating vivid, painful rituals for years. So could Buddhist ritual give me a means to fight back?

Matt Bieber

Essay/Memoir
Like a prayer

Even secular people need time out to meditate, reflect, and give thanks. Is prayer the answer?

Heather Havrilesky

Essay/Evolution
Is there a war instinct?

Many evolutionists believe that humans have a drive for waging war. But they are wrong and the idea is dangerous

David P Barash

Essay/Stories & Literature
The truth about tarot

Whether divining ancient wisdoms or elevating the art of cold reading, tarot is a form of therapy, much like psychoanalysis

James McConnachie

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
The love of stuff

The problem with our society is not that it values material things too much but that it doesn’t value them enough

Nick Thorpe

Essay/Anthropology
Trial by fire

From fire-walking to the ice-bucket challenge, ritual pain and suffering forge intense social bonds

Dimitris Xygalatas

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
All his materials

In a rare interview, Philip Pullman tells us his own origin story, and why the great questions are still religious ones

Peter Jukes

Essay/Cultures & Languages
Is nothing sacred?

Every culture looks for creative inspiration to other cultures, but is there a point when this is just outright theft?

Nabeelah Jaffer

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
Mrs Myself

Self-marriage promises love and fulfilment – but is it a radical act or a depressing concession to self-absorption?

Polina Aronson

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States
The uncertainty machine

Forget prophecy and wisdom. Using the I Ching is a weirdly useful way to open your mind to life’s unexpected twists

Will Buckingham

Essay/Food & Drink
Sacrament

Wine is an elixir, a miracle-worker and shapeshifter – no wonder even the most secular of us hold it sacred still

Ross Andersen

Essay/Anthropology
Human rites

Rituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind?

Harvey Whitehouse

Essay/Art
Head to head

Michelangelo and Raphael; Leibniz and Newton; Constable and Turner. Does every creative genius need a bitter rival?

Jacob Burak

Essay/Love & Friendship
The modern wedding

A white gown, a grand reception, a multi-tiered cake – the stuff of a traditional wedding or something else entirely?

Beth Montemurro

Essay/Religion
The wanderer stilled

Leaving Europe as a young woman, Martine Batchelor was transformed by an encounter with Buddhist meditation

Martine Batchelor

Essay/Consciousness & Altered States
Stealth stoner

Prohibition lingers on, but with pocket-sized vaporizers, marijuana users can get high wherever they please

Jeff Winkler

Essay/Art
A fake of art

Museums display perfect reproductions of fragile works and visitors can’t tell the difference. Is nothing in art sacred?

Noah Charney

Essay/Rituals & Celebrations
Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

Paige Madison

Essay/Art
Going to the chapel

Paul Simon’s album ‘Graceland’ is a joyous political statement. Does it strike the same chord in the sombre Rothko Chapel?

Nathan Dunne