Listen / Download

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, how do you want your body cared for when you’re gone?

For centuries since settlement, six-feet under and an epitaph on stone has been the American way. But increases in life-span, environmental awareness, and concern about cost have encouraged more and more modern Americans to return to dust as most Native Americans, Hindus, and Buddhists do, through cremation. Now Timothy Leary’s ashes are shot into orbit and Jerry Garcia’s cremains are spread along the sacred Ganges.

It’s part creation of a culture’s new death rituals, and part secular fad. Whatever your interpretation, we’re witnessing a revolution in how Americans view their body, their soul, and their mortality.
(Hosted by David Ropeik)


Stephen Prothero, Assistant Professor of Religion at Boston University and author of “Purified by Fire”

Thomas Lynch, Essayist, Poet, and Funeral Director, and author of “The Undertaking” and “Bodies in Motion and at Rest.”