Friday, October 01, 2010

Reserve a candle for All Saints / All Souls Days

Candles like these will be flickering here on All Saints and All Souls Days
(Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

In memory of
Tyler Clementi
White Votive Pictures, Images and Photos
This candle was lit by Kittredge Cherry

Light a memorial candle for a loved one here on All Saints Day and All Souls Day, also known as Day of the Dead. Reserve your virtual candles now for lighting on Nov. 1-2, 2010.

The flickering candles will be placed with a tasteful mix of traditional and alternative readings and art. We are providing a queer-friendly space for LGBT people and our allies to light candles for the dead. Everyone is welcome to light candles here.

Religion and society have often dishonored and desecrated queer lives. May all saints and all souls be restored to wholeness and holiness here.

Normally we focus on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer saints here, but on All Saints and All Souls we warmly welcome ALL saints and ALL souls. People of all faiths or no faith are invited. I lit the first candle above as an example of how the individual candles will look.

Your candles will do even more than honor your loved one. Your gift supports the Jesus in Love Blog and Newsletter on LGBT spirituality and the arts. I put my heart into nurturing GLBT spiritual artists, writers, seekers and our allies.

In Catholic and Protestant Christianity, the Feast of All Saints commemorates all saints, known and unknown. The following day, the Feast of All Souls, pays respect to the faithful departed who have not yet reached heaven. Prayers are offered to ask the saints to help the living, and to offer help to the souls of deceased friends and family.

All Saints and All Souls are celebrated in Latin America as the Days of the Dead (Los Dias De Los Muertos). They are especially popular in Mexico, where the happy celebration is one of the biggest holidays of the year.

All Saints Day used to be called All Hallows Day, and the preceding evening was the Eve of All Hallows, now celebrated as Halloween. These holidays are associated with the Celtic Festival of the Dead (Samhain). They grow out of the pagan belief that the souls of the dead return to visit at this time of year.

All the candles will continue flickering on the 2010 All Saints / All Souls post here as a tribute for the lifetime of this blog.
___
“The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”
      -- Revelation 8:4

‘Tis the ancestor’s breath when the fire’s voice is heard.
‘Tis the ancestor’s breath in the voice of the waters.
Those who have died have never, never left.
    
-- From “Breaths,” sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock
     based on a poem by Birago Diop

Up through an empty house of stars,
Being what heart you are,
Up the inhuman steeps of space
As on a staircase go in grace,
Carrying the firelight on your face
Beyond the loneliest star.
     -- G.K. Chesterton
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The first candle honors Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers University who committed suicide after being outed as gay in a live webcast of his sexual encounter with a man. Tyler’s death is the most recent in a string of gay teen suicides linked to anti-gay bullying and harassment.

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3 comments:

Trudie said...

Thank you, Kitt. A wonderful and timely choice to honor Tyler. Hearing the news accounts of this tragic event, I can't help but think, though, of all the thousands of women who have been harassed in similar ways by men who have photographed, videotaped and otherwise exposed them in sexual encounters...I hope that the media attention given to this newest example of the "macho" ethic will make us all stop to think about the level of abuse it has perpetrated over the years!

KittKatt said...

Trudie, you pinpointed the exact problem! It is doubly disturbing to realize that woman-hating sexual harassment doesn’t get the news coverage it deserves. I wonder how many teen girls commit suicide for this reason?

I’ve been planning for weeks to post this on Oct. 1, but I hadn’t decided whose name would go with the candle. I had written in advance about the need for “a queer-friendly space for LGBT people and our allies to light candles for the dead,” but this string of gay suicides really confirmed it for me. Maybe we need a woman-friendly spaces for women and our allies to honor our dead, too.

KittKatt said...

Someone asked me by email how I got the idea for the virtual candles on All Saints / All Souls. I thought I would share my answer here, too. The idea came to me recently as a kind of inspiration.

Strange to say, but I've had a desire to run an online memorial website ever since I first saw an online memorial for departed pets, which gave me great comfort in the loss of my own beloved dog.

Maybe I'm drawn to this because according to family legend one of my ancestors is John Donne, who wrote "No man is an island… Each man's death diminishes me.... Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." I like the idea of each death ADDING to a candle to my blog rather than diminishing me.