The Artists’
Grief Deck

How-to

Welcome to the Artists’ Grief Deck. There is no correct way to use these cards, but we have these suggestions:

  • Set aside time for yourself to go through them
  • Find or make a space for yourself
  • Look closely at the images
  • Be open to the feelings that arise
Learn More
A black and white drawing of a person spinning LPs in a darkened room. There are many records pictured, and from many of them bubbles arise that have small drawings of memories inside.

The Power of Music

Music has always been a powerful and multifaceted tool that I have used to navigate myself through all kinds of grief and trauma. Oftentimes, we may be afraid to listen to the songs that remind us of our loved ones who have passed away, because what if the memories come back to..

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A painting in bright bold colors set against a starry night sky, a face or mask of blue with pink designs on its cheeks holds its mouth open in a near perfect circle. Within the red circle of the mouth three smaller figures can be seen, from head to shoulders, one yellow, one orange, one purple. Behind the blue head, a fanstasy landscape of stripe patterned, polka dot patterned, and diamond patterns tree trunks and verticals.

Ritual of Remembrance

I didn’t know I thought about my mom everyday until I had to wake up and remind myself that she was dead. Now, I wake up and remind myself she lived. Gather on a tray: Pen, paper, candle, lighter, a...

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A screenprint with watercolor of a river with five tributaries. It travels from top to bottom and the roman number 5 is written at the top.

Expressing Grief

The 5 of Water in the ECOtarot deck is pictured here. The water cards are related to emotions and the 5 cards are cards that relate to loss. This loss is something that must be passed through in order...

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An abstract painting of a landscape that is mostly a rich cloudy sky. The bottom of the painting has swaths of bright red, blue and yellow.

Look at the Sky

Look at the sky.

Look at the sky out your window.

Look for all the variations of color and light you can see. Maybe there are clouds and they are moving...

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An abstract painting oriented vertically that is made of vertical rectangular strokes of color. The lighter pastel oranges, pinks and greens at the top change to darker tones of greys, greens and blues at the bottom.

Waves of Grief

When a wave of grief strikes, fight the urge to run away. Remain on the shore and allow the wave to wash over you. Remind yourself that you won’t drown, and that the wave, like a tide, will go out a...

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A mixed media painting of a Black man's head on a metallic gold highly texture background. The man seems to have a halo of red and black lines and his mouth is also gold.

Who am I now?

The loss of an important person or a difficult life change often effects our self-definition. Roles may change. You may question who you are now. Focusing on the parts of your character that have not...

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A digital painting that has a marine blue background and a yellow spectral figure. The figure is only made of a head and two arms and it is holding a golden ball of energy.

Remembrance Enhances Endearment

Recall the people you love who you have lost in your life who have added deeply to who you are. Then write a “blessing equation.” For example: “John + Shannon + Leslie + Chondra = ME” Take som...

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A mixed media artwork that features an abstract background in red, white and brown and a centered altarpiece. The altarpiece background is made of shattered glass and small objects are placed on the bottom ledge of the altar.

Learning From Grief

You can’t bring back the dead, but you can learn their wisdom, passed down from generation to generation. What did you learn from your loved one? What were the gifts that you received? How might you...

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A photograph, exterior on a sunny day - 6 smiling elder women in workout clothes stand in formation on the rooft of a building in a big city, holding silver cheerleader pom-poms over their head, about to cheer.

Try Something New

Write your cheer. Design your moves. Try it out!...

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A painted collage on a light brown fabric background. Around the left, bottom, and right sides, a pattern of white boxes with red triangles in them. The top half is filled with an array of abstract patterns, alternating a small design made of tiny yellow squares and white diamonds. Larger, in the center, is a collaged-together abstract arrangement of triangles, diamonds, and stripes, in blue, red, yellow, green, and pink. Below this form is a plant-like form with 8 yellow 'flowers', which appears to be dropping four blue leaves even further down. Arranged around the composition are other painted-collage designs, with fruit at their centers: two cherries on a stem in a yelow circle, a strawberry in a yellow red and green oval, a colorful coffee table with flowers on top, a slice of watermelon and a chair in purpose with red and lavender star-forms on its seat, and a bunch of grapes on its back.

The Importance of Routine

Losses of life interrupt the general flow of our lives. Things are not as they were, and life can feel chaotic. One way of bringing order into the chaos of loss is to establish healthy routines. Set t...

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A black and white photo collage. The bare torso of a black man extends his arms forward and clenches his hands together. Caught within those hands is a smaller image of the shirtless black man, his arms constrained by the large hands within which he's held.

People Grieve Differently

Not everyone grieves alike. Some express grief through their feelings and gain comfort from talking to others. Still others express grief through actions and problem-solving, preferring not to talk ab...

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A photograph of a white person's hand holding a photograph of an older white woman. In the background is a large body of water.

Carry Them With You

Find or create a likeness of your lost loved one. It could be a photograph, a small sculpture, an object that belonged to the person or something else. Choose something that represents them at their b...

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A photograph with layered exposures of rocks and water. The colors are vivid blues, greens, yellows, and white on a dark background.

Revitalizing Water Ritual

You need: Water, a glass, calm energy, a moment of your time. Take a drinking vessel and fill it with water. Hold the vessel in your hands and concentrate. Say the names of your loved ones, spirit gui...

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A very realistic pencil drawing of a mountain with less detailed images of wooden poles placed at different angles in the foreground. There is a very small human figure off to the left.

Living With Loneliness

Loneliness is in integral part of grief. It is hard to accept and feel the loneliness of loss. Consider filling some of the emptiness you feel with other people and activities, such as volunteering or...

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A vertically oriented photograph of two older white men kissing on the mouth. They are on the side of a house with white siding and a picnic table full of food.

Be in the Sun

Go for a walk. Find a piece of sidewalk that falls under the sun’s rays. Place your feet firmly on this patch of concrete. Close your eyes and keep your hands to your sides. Breathe. Stay here for a...

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A black and white drawing of a trail of circles that are shaded to look like the surface of the moon. There is a black border around the image and the words "the journey" are printed in the bottom border.

Celebrate Signs of Healing

Healing is natural in a healthy grief process. Being able to enjoy time alone, laughing at a joke or funny movie, planning pleasant activities for the future, having a renewed sense of energy and purp...

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An illustration that features various elements that are found in kitchens. Vegetables, herbs, a frying pan, a cutting board and knives can be seen and in the center left there is a colorful red flame.

Food, Grief and Healing

Food is a powerful coping mechanism for grief. We gather around tables for comforting meals, or deliver casseroles to grieving loved ones. In grief, it's tempting to indulge in sugary, fatty foods for...

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A print that shows an off-kilter forest of dead trees that appears to be wounded and are oozing black goo. The sky behind them is a deep crimson with a golden sun.

Addressing Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural part of the grief experience. For some, however, it may become problematic, interfering with daily life. What things help to decrease your anxiety? Activities such as deep-breathi...

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An abstract black and white and grey drawing that has a ghostly feeling with images of peony flowers emerging from the right side.

Connecting With the Body

I grieve not only for the losses of the present but also for what could have been. If I stay too long in my head imagining the things I won't ever have, I can lose myself in a spiral downward. When I...

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