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Sunday, November 6, 2016

Feast of the Dead

Last weekend I attended an Interfaith Sanctuary to attend the Feast of the Dead, held yearly to remember our ancestors, to pray with and for those who mourn, and to honor friends, mentors, and relatives who have passed beyond the veil.

Held in a campground, we are in touch with earth, air and water. We live close beside our planetary family, the plants and animals. We experience the autumn cold nights and the glowing leaf fall days. We hear the tree toads--the very last--singing after sundown. We watch birds, raptors, and the winged clean-up crew, the buzzards, soar on thermals.
This helps us to reconnect ourselves with feet-on-the-ground reality, to remember that all we truly have is the precious present. We hope to leave behind as much of the work-a-day, with so many pressures, so many daily frustrations, punishing schedules, and night-time's electronic opiate distractions. We step away from the terror and injustice, to escape a society drenched in money madness, where selfishness and greed are admired, as best we can, if only for a few days.

Here, we remember the past, back to the morning when we left our palm frond huts and began the long walk out of Africa. We honor those who came before us; we rededicate ourselves to those who will come after us.

One of the services was an interfaith Missa* with spoken prayers from many dove-tailed belief systems. I wanted to share some of these, to preserve a memory of a place beyond the endless noise machine of modernity. Although we prayed many  prayers familiar to Christians (notably Hail Mary and Psalm 23) but there were also many others of great spiritual power.


Shanti - Shanti - Shanti

Om - Shanti

May there be peace in the higher realms;

May there be peace in the firmament;

May there be peace on earth.

May the water flow peacefully;

May the herbs and plants grow peacefully;

May all the divine powers bring us to peace

The Supreme Lord is peace

May we all be in peace, peace and only peace;

And May that peace come unto each of us.

~~ Hindu

Yoruban Ancestor Prayer

May those from under our feet

Breathe the warmth of community until us

So that the peace we seek mounts our bodies

And sits on the chairs of our heart,

Sprinkling love and joy around us all.

Excerpt from “Breaths”

Listen more often to things than to beings.

Listen more often to things than to beings.

‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard.

‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters.

And to close:

May the blessing of the spirits be upon you.

May you be your best self. May you walk in beauty.

May your guides be with you at every crossroads.

May you be honorably greeted when you arrive.

Shared by Juliet Waldron, all prayers taken from the Interfaith Sanctuary Missa
All Saints/All Souls Spiritual Service