Across the world, varying by faith tradition, most cultures have some special way to honor the departed, such as All Souls’ Day or El Día de los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead). Halloween began as a Celtic tradition to ward off threatening ghosts on All Hallows Eve, when the Celts believed that the boundaries blurred between the worlds of the dead and the living. These traditions also focus on honoring and feeling connected with the friendly spirits of deceased loved ones.
This Halloween season, as graveyards pop up on your neighbors’ lawn and you’re bombarded by spooky décor at the grocery store, consider how you might feel more connected with your own friendly ghosts.
The pain of grief after losing a loved one can cause us to pull away from memories of these special people (and pets). Or we might struggle to remember our deceased beloveds as the years pass after their deaths. But, it’s important to cultivate a connection, even beyond death, with those whom we loved and were loved by. Through internalizing love in this way, we have a new emotional resource from which to draw strength.
Whatever your beliefs about what, if anything, happens after death, explore how you might maintain contact in your living experience with your deceased loved ones. Can you imagine their faces, hear their voices, remember their touch? Do you have photos of them? How can you embody their values and best qualities to bring the inspiration of their lives forward?
Sometimes the pain of missing our dearly departed becomes so overwhelming that we avoid thinking of them. It is crucial to tend to this unresolved grief. On the other side of the anguish about your loss is the comfort of remembering the love you shared.
On Halloween and throughout the year, welcome your friendly ghosts as a source of comfort and inspiration.