Tag Archives: ancestors

All Hallows Eve

Image: A Gathering of Spirits © Jan L. Richardson

Image: A Gathering of Spirits © Jan L. Richardson

I can never remember ever thinking of Hallowe’en as something other than a wardrobe problem. Hallowe’en comes one day after my birthday, thusly my celebration was marked by friends coming to my party dressed in their costumes.

In hindsight I’ve never really enjoyed Hallowe’en, and as a HSP it was and still too overstimulating.

But thanks to one of my favourite authors and artists, Jan Richardson I’m rethinking Hallowe’en and perhaps her thoughts will help me to reclaim it as a Christian festival. On her blog, Devotion Cafe, she writes:

Halloween [Oct 31], the Feast of All Saints [Nov 1], and the Feast of All Souls [Nov 2] has long been a favorite time for me—a thin place in the turning of the year. These days are haunted for me in a good way; they offer an occasion to remember, to reflect, and to offer thanks for those who have shaped my path by the path that they walked. These days remind us that in the body of Christ, death does not release us from being in community with one another.

All Hallows Blessing

Who live
in the spaces between
our breathing

in the corner
of our vision

in the hollows
of our bones

in the chambers
of our heart:

nowhere can they
be touched
yet still

how they move us,
how they move
in us,

made from the
tissue of memory
like the veil
between the worlds

that stirs at
the merest breath
this night
and then is
at rest.

by Jan Richarson

What a beautiful way to think about our ancestors.

Who shaped your path? Offer thanks to them now.

Who lingers near still offering you unconditional love? Smile at them.

Who haunts you in a persistent, negative way? Perhaps tonight is the night to forgive, let go and rest.

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Ancestral Cheerleaders

So what do you do with all those old photographs? Our house visually supports our belief that family is important. Instead of being tucked away in an old photo album we use the large entranceway of our Edwardian house as a gallery of black and white photographs of our lineage. Everyday I look at one or more of these pictures as I walk by and it is a reminder to me of the rich ancestry that made me the person I am. Each of these people is somehow alive in me. I am a continuation of each of these people. They are my spiritual legacy, my inspiration, my backers and supporters. rogues galleryBecause we were picture framers for so many years, it made it easy to develop this gallery. The one thing in common is that they are all black and white photos, though each frame is totally different. As I notice them each day, I say to myself things like, “she’s the one who taught me how to knit, my son looks like him, they left their comfort zone and moved to a foreign land…”  Our house lends itself to a gallery such as this. It may not always be like this, but for right now I like having my own booster club. In another room, we have colour photographs of our family as it is now. Today, identify one member of your family tree and do something to honour her or his spirit.