What Is Sacred Dying?


Our Philosophy

The Sacred Dying philosophy is concerned with bringing spirituality, through presence and ritual, into the physical act of dying. Its implementation facilitates the creation of a setting where death is experienced with honor, respect, and sacredness. Sacred Dying can be as simple as being present with a loved member of your family, or as complicated as transforming the vision of our entire society. It is a valued approach to providing spiritual aid to the dying and their loved ones.

Sacred Dying involves both the body and the soul in the greatest transition we are ever called upon to make. 

Death is inevitable, but dying alone or in fear does not have to be. In Western society, many have lost touch with the spiritual aspect of death and dying. Medicine and technology valiantly (and wonderfully) save lives yet treat death as a failure or an embarrassment. Our current cultural norms are not conducive to allowing grace and dignity when it is time for a person to die; we often do little more than give a passing nod to the spiritual and religious elements of the end-of-life experience.


Based in San Francisco, the Sacred Dying Foundation (SDF) was created in 1996 by celebrated author, theologian, and educator Dr. Megory Anderson. Her book Sacred Dying: Creating Rituals for Embracing the End of Life, is recognized as a landmark contribution on end-of-life issues. Dr. Anderson developed the Sacred Dying philosophy through her experience in helping hundreds of people through the transition from life to death. Her work provides the basis for the Foundation’s mission and programming.

SDF is dedicated to changing the way our society experiences death and dying. The Foundation’s primary goal is to return the sacred to the act of dying by serving those who are at the end-of-life. SDF wants to change the model of how we approach death as a whole through educating the public on new models of death and dying for our society.