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How to Bury a Goldfish

And Other Ceremonies and Celebrations for Everyday Life

Virginia Lang and Louise Nayer

Here's an inventive collection of new traditions and rituals to commemorate and honor the many special moments and milestones in day-to-day life. Enjoyable and easy to follow, the rituals are short, cost almost nothing and can be easily adapted to fit any lifestyle. The authors cover a wide range of life’s events, both big and small: the passage into adulthood, helping a single friend begin a new home life, and mourning the death of a loved one. Featuring a host of celebration ideas, this remarkable guide addresses more conventional occasions, like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, family dinnertime and nighttime prayer, as well as more unique experiences, like a teen’s first job, a women’s midlife journey, and moving an elder into assisted living. Through the art of simple ritual and ceremony, How to Bury a Goldfish allows readers to slow down, sit in silence and savor all of the precious moments that enrich our daily lives. 

Filled with ways to instill mindfulness and grace into the passages of everyday life, How to Bury a Goldfish also features:

  • A daily renewal for the morning shower
  • A Valentine’s Day ritual for a sensitive single
  • Honoring a child’s first performance
  • A Thanksgiving celebration for a couple

Virginia Lang is a development professional, educator, writer and mother. She was formerly the chief executive officer of the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco Foundation.

Louise Nayer is an accomplished poet and a mother. She has published two books of poetry, Keeping Watch and The Houses are Covered in Sound. She holds a master’s degree in creative writing from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a professor of English at City College in San Francisco.

Praise for How to Bury a Goldfish:

“This book is filled with rituals for many important occasions. Rituals are simply events given what Mary Oliver calls ‘the rich lens of attention.’ But in the end, they are what give us mindful joy and connect us to each other. I recommend this book as a way to be more intentional in the life of your family and community.”
─Mary Pipher, author, Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls

How to Bury a Goldfish is a great gift. Filled with rituals that bring simplicity and clarity to our busy lives, it reminds us that everyday traditions are what give our lives meaning.”
─Marilyn J. Mason, Ph.D., corporate psychologist and author, Igniting the Spirit
at Work: Daily Reflections

For more information contact skinnerhouse @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.

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