**Please note the video below was recorded from a live video ritual via Google Hangout, so the picture is not as clear and hi-res as we might both like it to be! Thanks for understanding! **
It’s a potent time of year, with Halloween on October 31st, followed by the Day of the Dead and All Souls Day on November 2nd. So I offered a community ritual to honor those who have departed in the last year in addition to our other losses and transitions, as well as to embrace the unknown. Check out the video above to access the video recording of the ritual.
I’ve always been struck by the discrepancy between the deeper roots of Halloween and the way it’s typically celebrated in our Western culture. And it seems there’s a true need for a sacred ritual to invite in deeper reflection and an opportunity for grieving. When I’ve offered a public ritual this time of year, I’ve been flooded with people wanting to attend.
In October, a few years ago, I remember flying home from a conference. The woman sitting next to me was in tears. She had just received news that her 28-year-old nephew had been found dead in his bed that morning. It did not appear to be suicide. They had no idea what happened. All of a sudden, he was just gone. And she was truly needing a sacred space in which to be with the immensity of this experience.
I am no stranger to loss myself. And you probably aren’t either. In recent weeks, we lost a young shaman friend, Rafael Bejarano, who was travelling to Egypt and had a bomb dropped on his tour group. And then the next week a wonderful teacher that I knew, Steve Carter, was randomly killed while walking his dog in a nature preserve near my home. Both of these events are unbelievable and devastatingly sad.
I’ve already shed many tears for these men and their families. But I am still in a process of making peace with the state of our world, where these tragedies seem to be happening more frequently. And as I’ve faced these losses and many others in my own life, including the death of my father, I’ve learned a lot aboutsurrender and release. Our Western culture does not typically embrace these things. We prefer to avoid facing death and endings all costs, but the truth is that we cannot escape.
Yet, loss is not just about death, it’s also about endings and transitions in life. We may need to end a relationship that is no longer working, leave a job that makes us unhappy or finally make peace with our current situation. We may need to simply open to the fallow time that is winter.
To fully metabolize these losses and transitions, I believe we need shared spaces where we can together face them, grieve, and make meaning of it all. And it’s a very potent time of year to be doing just that.
Halloween and All Souls Day are sacred days on which it is said that the veil is thin between the worlds of the living and the dead. They invite us to remember our ancestors and all those who have crossed over. It’s a time for surrender, for letting go of EVERYTHING that is no longer serving us.
So we invite you to surrender and release, along with others from all across the globe. You are invited to look Death squarely in the eyes. Make her your bedfellow for a day. And join us for this community ritual. Check out the video above.