On All Souls’ Eve / Samhain, it is perhaps with a little irony that I talk about losing our souls. The pagan celebration of Samhain and the Christian celebration of All Souls’ Day and Eve are both grounded in, what is essentially ancestor reverence. We remember and give thanks. Depending on your spirituality you might take this further and ask for a little advice, help or protection.
Our western culture keeps death hidden and out of sight. It has become a private matter and something not discussed in polite circles. Funerals have become a little more like celebrations than wakes in some circles, but we still, quite naturally, have a fear of the end times.
There are large outpourings of grief when tragic events, natural and unnatural, occur. We lay flowers, write poems and share memories. Our media outlets capture our grief and share it around the globe. We struggle with such events. We struggle when death stares us in the face.
To my pagan friends
To my Christian friends
Happy Hallowe’en / All Hallow’s Eve
To capitalist Hallmark supporters
A little over 100 years ago death was within each of our homes. The rarity was when a family didn’t bury one of its own. Mortality was something real to everyone, standing next to them constantly. As we overcame infection and understood vaccination, death was pushed further from our view. Until now, death and monsters and ghosts and ghouls are the staples of supernatural TV shows, horror writers and the shop promoted event of Halloween.
Samhain and All Hallow’s Eve offer a time to think about the dead. It is a time to celebrate the lives that have gone before us. It is a time to remember those who are no longer here. It is a time to give thanks for what they did, the inspiration they give us and the guidance their lives offer.
Whether the veil between the here and the there (wherever, or whatever, that might be) is thinner at this time I don’t know. However, it is a time to stop and think and face the dead. Not in fear, but in thanks. Not in sadness, but in celebration.
Whose life will you celebrate and give thanks for this *thin* time?
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