Halloween’s a time which is often shunned by Christians due to its alleged historic connections with evil. I’ve written extensively on this in the past, exploring the Christian myths (click here) which have arisen due to false information that they’ve been exposed to.
As Halloween / All Hallows (Saints) & All Souls is a time of reflection and thanksgiving for our ancestors who have passed before us. This simple ritual has been written to help families, friends and those who are on their own, celebrate, honour and give thanks for those who have taken their steps into the great journey beyond the veil of the physical realm. It includes prayer for those who have passed over, which in post-Reformation traditions may sound strange, but was a common occurrence in early Christian times as archaeological records of catacomb inscriptions show, and isn’t peculiar only to Roman Catholic tradition.
This ritual should ideally be performed after an evening meal around the table on Halloween. If this isn’t possible, then on All Saints (Nov 1) or All Souls (Nov 2) can be done too, although there’s no real reason why it couldn’t be done to end a period of mourning. It should take between ten and twenty minutes depending upon how many people and stories you wish to remember.
- a photograph of the person you wish to remember and give thanks for
- a large, shallow bowl (something like a casserole dish is fine)
- a jug of water
- matches (not a lighter) & a candle snuffer (if you have one)
- incence (optional)
- a tealight / floating candle for each person being remembered and a single larger candle.
- Music tracks – ‘Evening Falls’ by Enya and Emili Sande’s ‘Abide With Me’.
The music tracks are best prepared beforehand to avoid having the adverts appear mid-ritual, and are available on Youtube clicking the links in the list above. Personally I like to download copies of the tracks to avoid overrunning into Youtube’s next tracks and suchlike.
Have all the materials to hand, there’s nothing worse than being mid ritual and you discover you’ve forgotten something. Go through the list, check everything off and have the tracks queued to play… check the volume isn’t overpowering too so you don’t suddenly have to jump to adjust volume levels. There should be a place left spare at the table – if this isn’t possible that’s not a problem, but if you can, leave a space where symbolically the person / people you’re remembering may have sat – it’s symbolic so only one space is necessary for however many people you want to remember.
Place all the items in the centre of the table, apart from the photographs which are placed at the empty space.
Appoint a leader or two for the ritual. These need to have read through the script together a few times beforehand and understand what is happening when and how, people who can carry the group through this experience. The little numbers at the start of each of the leaders paragraphs indicate which leader should speak when, though if only one is leading, read both 1 & 2 parts.
Print out the liturgy sheet – one for each person present. You might want to set up the printout using “booklet” format to save space – the font is big enough to be reduced to sides of A5, though for those who have difficulty the size can always be adjusted accordingly.
Please don’t use tablets or phones to read from, which do cause distractions through notifications. In fact, get everyone to turn off all mobile phones and other gadgets which will interrupt the proceedings as they will inevitably do so during the ritual.
Normal type is spoken by the leader (or leaders).
Bold type indicates everyone says those words.
Italic type indicates actions to take.
The script can be downloaded from this Dropbox Link here.
Have a peaceful, blessed and hopeful Halloween!