Volume 10, Issue 10 | October 2021

As more of the meaning and spirituality has been revealed to me in recent years, I am fascinated with the origins of Halloween (October 31), All Saints’ Day (October 31 evening through November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2).

Today, during the Center for Spiritual Living – Prescott Sunday service, I learned that Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). Intrigued, I did some research. I learned that 2,000 years ago the Celts celebrated their new year on November 1. The day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. To commemorate the event, people gathered at huge, sacred bonfires built by the priests. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires (which they had extinguished earlier that evening) from the sacred bonfires to help protect them during the coming winter.

All Saints' Day (also known as All Hallows' Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Feast of All Hallows, the Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallowmas) is a Christian feast that honors all the saints of the church, whether they are known or unknown. Or, as was stated at the Sunday service today, we honor all individuals as saints.

The Day of the Dead—Spanish: el Día de los Muertos—is a holiday celebrated from 31st October through 2nd of November. It originated, in part, in Mexico. Although associated with the Western Christian Allhallowtide observances of All Hallow's Eve, All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day, it has a much less solemn tone and is a holiday of joyful celebration rather than mourning. The multi-day holiday involves family and friends gathering to pay respects and to remember friends and family members who have died. These celebrations can take a humorous tone, as celebrants remember funny events and anecdotes about the departed.

The 2017 Disney-animated movie Coco is focused on el Día de los Muertos. It is filled with vibrant colors and lots of music, elements to which I am most attracted. When I watched it, I was delightfully enlightened and saw it as a refreshing change from the often fearful, sad, and morbid Western perspective of death and the after-life.

Enjoy this music video of the song "Remember Me" from the movie "Coco" sung by Miguel and featuring Natalia Lafourcade. [For the original movie version, click here.]

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Day of the Dead Prayer
God of the living and the dead,
Today we remember our ancestors who have gone before us in death.
Their lives added to the richness of ours. Their gifts were gifts to us.

Grateful for the enduring treasures of our memories and
Mindful that our love and relationships continue into the next life,
Draw us near to our ancestors in faith and love.

Let us remember them with sweetness and happiness this night.
Keep from our hearts the bitterness of our parting and
Replace it with the joy of anticipating eternal life with you and all your saints.


— Catholic Health Association of the United States

Inspiration and Contemplation
Awareness-of-God Boxes
I read about Norm Stolpe in a Guideposts magazine and was delighted with one of the ways he has dealt with being caregiver of his wife Candy, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago. He realized that clinging to the past is inevitably frustrating. So, he makes a point of finding joy in the moment, especially in celebrating Candy’s small victories, such as when she beats him at Scrabble. “Joyous moments are actually holy moments,” the retired pastor said.

He keeps a calendar, and, in each day’s two-inch box, writes the specific moment of joy that day brought. He calls these his awareness-of-God boxes. “So much of life is paying attention. If you cultivate and expect joy, you’ll see the little things you might otherwise take for granted.” I love Norm’s awareness-of-God boxes—how creative!

I write a gratitude list in a small spiral notebook each night before retiring, which I plan to continue. However, I think seeing joys I’ve experienced at-a-glance on a wall-sized calendar is a powerful way to be reminded quickly of the blessings in my life.

I’ve not yet started such a calendar, but intend to. If you already do something like that, or are inspired to create one, I’d love to hear about it—or any other ways you keep top-o-mind the joys and blessings you experience in life!
People Making a Difference
A Change in Holidays
Last year the pandemic changed Halloween plans for many families. For Courtney Thomas, it meant the family would not go outside trick-or-treating nor hand out candy due to her two-year-old daughter Zoe being in the most intense phase of her chemotherapy treatment for leukemia.

Not wanting to disappoint the 400 or so neighborhood children who usually come around on that special night nor being rude by just keeping the porch light turned off, she posted a sign in the front yard to explain why there would be no candy.

Halloween 2020 for the Thomas family turned out to feel like Christmas. Learn why.

Happy Halloween, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day!

Blessings and cyber hugs,
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Joyce S. Kaye, MSW
e-newsletter designed, developed, written, and published by Joyce S. Kaye
You, Me, and Spirit

I was a devout atheist until 31 years ago when I "came to believe" in a Power greater than myself. Thanks to hearing the novel idea (well, at least it was to me!) that one could choose their own concept of God--and name too (Spirit, The Great Mystery, All That Is, etc.)--and the workings of synchronicity, I embarked on a new way of thinking, a new way of living, a new way of being in the world and with others. It impacted all aspects of my life and relationships.

Since that time of commencing my conscious spiritual journey, I have endeavored to remember The Presence in all that is, all whom I meet, and all that I do -- including working with clients in my own business and in the corporate world. I strive to be of service and to nurture the human spirit in all environments.