Rituals and celebrations

Sports and games


For players of fafi, dream interpretation is a vital skill

The fafi lottery game in South Africa requires the careful interpretation of dreams and the waking world around you

by Brittany Birberick



‘A tattoo is for life’: how memorial tattoos help the bereaved

More intimate and permanent than other reminders, tattoos offer an embodied form of meaning-making in the wake of loss

by Jennifer L Buckle & Sonya Corbin Dwyer

Emerging therapies


Why placebo pills work even when you know they’re a placebo

New evidence of the power of the placebo effect – even without any deception – is raising important questions for medicine

by Darwin A Guevarra & Kari A Leibowitz

Stories and literature


On the pleasures of hand-writing letters you’ll never send

Hand-writing letters you’ll never send takes the heat off feelings and lets you look back on drafts of a previous self

by Anandi Mishra



In hatboxes, pouches and bags lie the items that define us

Whether it be in a hatbox, wooden chest or leather bag, what makes some stuff personal, rather than just private property?

by Andreas Gehrlach



How poetry casts a spell through the rhythmic magic of metre

Poetry meets the raw needs of our most vulnerable selves in a primal way, with a simple tool: predictable, rhythmic metre

by Annie Finch

Emotion regulation


What geometry taught me about awe, love and grief

I’ve loved geometry all my life. This is what it has taught me about grief, and what grief has taught me about geometry

by Michael Frame

The body and physical health


Shaggy and strong, or shorn and sharp? Hair’s evolving symbolism

Spartan soldiers combed their locks before battle, today’s military men go shaven-headed. On the changing symbolism of hair

by Frank Gonzalez-Crussi