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
Brown paper divided into a grid. Every other row is striped with shiny copper foil. Between those stripes, each square of the grid contains a letter printed in white forming a continuous stream of letters reading 'ASANASANASANASANA'.

Repetition and Healing

Think of something that you want to become part of you. It could be a loved one’s name, a healing word, a phrase. Say the words out loud. Let yourself fully feel them, and then write them down again...

Click to Continue
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..

Click to Continue
An architectural drawing of a turretted building is overlayed with some map imagery. On the bottom of the vertically oriented image are the words "This place has a body"

Disappearing Place

Remember a vanished place of personal importance. Describe it, by writing or speaking of it....

Click to Continue
A photograph of a young barefoot woman's legs with a garden of dead flowers in the foreground.

Holding Vigil

This image reenacts the final weeks of my mother's life, holding vigil in her room, surrounded by condolence flowers, waiting for death to relieve her pain. Having experienced the anticipatory grief o...

Click to Continue
A photograph of a crude looking abstract sculpture wrapped with wax paper and twine.

The Texture of Memory

What is the moment you hold in memory when you were the most alive with your beloved? Dwell in the knowing of that aliveness. Remember the light that day, the way the air felt around you. The sounds,...

Click to Continue
A colorful, roughly-brushed painting that features tree-like figures with orange and yellow leaves, and other items in gray and brown and blue that may refer to the built environment.

Tune Your Senses

Look outside a window. Take note of the neighborhood you’re in, with all your senses. Sense the familiar or unfamiliar smells that are almost barely detectable. Hear the sounds that freely move and...

Click to Continue
A painting of a portion of an empty bed against a dark black backround. Crumpled pillows and sheets rendered realistically in white and gray. Sheets and pillows indicate someone once slept there.

Is it Grief or Depression?

In the early days of grieving, some depressive symptoms are certainly present and normal. However, going forward, significant depression, exhibited in such ways as an inability to experience pleasure,...

Click to Continue
A mixed media artwork that has a textured background that resembles water meeting a shore. A long bottle is cutout and collaged in the lower right as if it has washed to shore.

Washed Ashore

We often ‘bottle’ up our emotions because they are just too much to deal with. We might cork them up and throw them out into the ocean hoping they will leave us forever. But without paying attenti...

Click to Continue
A colorful drawing of an overhead image of a person in bed under the covers. They have earbuds in their ears and across their face is a banner with the words "you are still worthy even if breathing is all you could do today."

Rest

Take a nap without guilt...

Click to Continue
A black background with an abstract symmetrical line drawing comprised of yellow and orange lines on the left half and bright blue lines on the right.

Stopping Thinking

Sometimes our thoughts can tangle us up, and we need a way to break the cycle. Try drawing with both your hands to make you stop thinking and to help you relieve your emotions and stress onto a paper....

Click to Continue
A digital painting - a small fluffy white cloud, fading into mist on either side, floats against a sky blue gradient, from dark blue at the top to light gray at the bottom.

Instructions for Becoming a Cloud

lie back and rest on the razors edge of earth and sky look up to the clouds now let go...

Click to Continue
A painting in watercolor and ink; the top half shows a head and shoulders in black, with geometric patterns engraved like rays radiating around the head, the face cast down, all against a sky of black paint patterned with the rough texture of the paper. The bottom half of the image is a lighter gray, with the central body of the figure extending down to the legs, which are covered by a small bright green tree with black ink trunk. A small patch of bright sky-blue is visible beneath the tree on one side.

Exercising Your Grief

Exercise is an important component to staying healthy and is a natural mood-elevator. What are your favorite physical activities? How could you incorporate more movement into your daily life? Can you...

Click to Continue
An imprint of a dandelion or flower in red and purple with a pinkish white center, blending like watercolor into a field of dark gray.

Plant

After my mother died, I had the urge to plant something, to watch something grow. It felt good to sink my hands into the earth, feel the soil sift through my fingers. It felt tangible. Plant a tree, a...

Click to Continue
A drawing of two long ladders that intersect and have their rungs entwined in the middle. One ladder is gray/pink, the other is wood and they both extend beyond the edge of the card.

Grieving the loss of control

Losing someone or something important to us brings home the fact there is much in life we cannot control. Control is something we thought we had, but ultimately there are many things in life we cannot...

Click to Continue
A vertically oriented abstract collage that includes images of plants and architecture as well as large color cutouts of grays and greens.

Working With Fragments

When I gather the fragments together, nothing makes sense. Everything is scattered and haphazard. But something may catch my eye, something accidental and unexpected. A color combination, a shape I ha...

Click to Continue
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...

Click to Continue
A lineoleum cut print in blue of a drawing of a human heart. The anatomically correct image seems to be pulsating.

Grief and Love

In grief we feel the intense loss of a loved one. It can help us to remember that love is an infinite resource. The love we feel extends not only to those people, animals, or spirits who are with us,...

Click to Continue
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...

Click to Continue
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...

Click to Continue