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Remembering our Ancestors: All Souls

This week is big for many reasons. If you are a kid and you live in North America, you are likely psyched about your Halloween costume. (I know for sure I was, back in the trick-or-treating days!) If you are a parent, you’re not so psyched because of the tidal wave of sugar about to come crashing down upon your house.

What if you are a seeker of meaning though? You might find your way to the holidays around this time of year associated with All Soul’s Day, All Hallow’s Eve and Day of the Dead. (aka: Dia de los Muertos.) All of these celebrations have very ancient european, celtic or pre-columbian roots. And the common thread?

Remembering and celebrating our ancestors . . . our dead.

Why do I think this is important as a seeker of meaning myself? Because when we respect and look with gratitude to our ancestors (and our recently deceased loved ones) their sacrifices made and their gifts to us as we survive into this day — we are more present and aware — more able to live fully in this moment. These holidays and cultural celebrations affirm the very breath we take and our collective experience as human beings throughout time. We come to realize we are all beings with a common thread of experiencing loss, sorrow, joy, laughter, connection, grief, tears and wonder. We are not ever alone.

In Tucson, we have the enormous gift of our own festal culture via the All Soul’s Procession. It happens this weekend and draws people literally from around the block and around the world. It is entirely sponsored by OUR COMMUNITY and happens due to the passion of hundreds of people driven to honor and remember our dead with fearless creativity. I volunteer as an Urn Ambassador, letting people know they can place wishes, prayers or symbolic objects into the urn for burning and release to the sky / the heavens above us. This collective experience is unparalleled in the world. Here is a little video for a peek into the celebration: All Souls Promo short from Leslie Ann Epperson on Vimeo.

The Urn Burns (All Souls Procession)

The Urn Burns (All Souls Procession) (Photo credit: cobalt123)

What will you do to remember your ancestors this week? Even lighting a simple candle with gratitude can be a powerful gesture. Please share in the comments . . . it is fun to learn the varied traditions people uphold around these often obscure holidays, when the veil between worlds feels a little thinner.

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