All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

Honoring the past.

Honoring our ancestors.

Honoring the goodness in people now departed.

In this world that often feels chaotic and crazy, holding on to the ideals of the good people who have come before us can be a small lifeline of grounding and stability.

I hear from people all the time who don’t feel as if they have this within their family lines.  Maybe their family ancestors, at least those that they know of, aren’t who they want to be or who inspires them.  That’s why I think sometimes a spiritual practice can be so helpful, and All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day can be wonderful stepstones towards thankfulness and gratitude.

On All Saints’ Day, we remember those known and unknown who were holy.   I often think of how I can align with those known and unknown saints who stood up for the the right, the visionaries, the idealists.  What is my right, my vision, my ideal?  What people showed courage over fear, bravery over cowardice, and made a difference in the world?

In the Celtic Calendar, this day was called Samhain and was the beginning of the New Year. This beginning  implies that it is a space that hangs between the Old Year and the New.  This is how we began to see the boundary between the living and the dead can be blurred as we offer our great respect to those who have come before us.  The tradition of offering “soul cakes” to the dead began  out of great respect for the dead in many countries.  I also think this ties in with the warmth of the season – how do we show respect to the life before us?  Is it food, remembering, lighting candles, offering a prayer?  Death is part of Life, and finding a relationship between those two things is often something people try to avoid.  Yet, this is something that should be propelling what we do today – how do we take care of each other and the Earth as we don’t have forever here physically.

Create a beautiful harvest, an altar of remembrance, have a harvest dinner, plant some flower bulbs for the promise of spring!  Happy All Saints’ and All Souls’ from my family to yours.

Blessings and love,

6 thoughts on “All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day

  1. I used to struggle with All Souls’ Day for the reason you mentioned. When I saw this day as a day of remembrance for departed family members, I felt the gap between my values/spirituality and most of my family’s.
    Then I started to think of my spiritual family, those people whose books, art, biographies, and friendships have deeply formed who I am. A few of them I’ve been blessed to have met. And others who lived long ago, I feel near me, like they’re aware of me and help me in life. So, now this awareness has entered All Souls’ Day for me, departed spiritual family and friends.
    This approach leads seemllessy into All Saints Day for me. But, I’m still in the early phases of working on developing a relationship with the saints. They are dear to me, but I haven’t found a way to feel intimate in spirit with them, as I can with people who wrote books or left art works.
    If you have any suggestions, resources for coming into relationship with the saints, it would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you for this post.

    • I will think on that, Guadalupe! There are certainly a lot of legends circulating, but sometimes it doesn’t hit is exactly right for us here and now…
      Carrie 🙂

  2. Carrie, I love feeling the companionship offered up by these posts– thank you! We especially love celebrating All Soul’s in our home. We have banners of photographs just for the festival and many framed ones, too. We prepare a meal that our passed souls would have enjoyed and usually focus on one or two people who have recently passed or are speaking to us. Our girls’ godfather died less than a year ago….we celebrated him with food, music and lots of sharing. It was since we have not yet come to a good place about his passing…he was a wonderful, Renaissance man in countless ways and leaves behind young children…
    One thought for your reader above ^^ I just finished reading the autobiography of Saint Terese of Lisieux. Her way, her “little way” is revealed and especially the depths and openness of her faith in the book. Aside from short summaries of saints this was my first real read of a saint and I truly grew from it!

    • That’s a terrific suggestion, Sheila! Thank you for sharing it! My son’s favorite saint is St. Herman of Alaska, so we have read books about him and they were really helpful to us. I think some of the stories in the Orthodox Christian tradition are really soul satisfying! Blessings, Carrie

    • Thank you so much Sheila and Carrie for those recommendations! I’ll be looking into them. Sometimes all you need is a place to start, then things start unfolding from there.

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