Luminous Wisdom of Night: Reflections on All Saints and All Souls

This is a season to remember the grace of humility and unknowing. It is a time of recognizing there is a luminous wisdom so much more expansive than our own.

When you stand at the threshold space between this world and the next, who is there to greet you? Who are the ancestors -- genetic, spiritual, creative -- who offer you guidance and support through the challenges of life? Who have been the saints who offer illumination in the fertile dark periods of your lives when your belief structures were being re-formed?

What gifts are calling to you out of the long nights ahead that have previously gone unopened? How might you give honor to those ancestors who have traveled this road before you and welcome the wisdom they have to offer you for your life now?

Suggested Practices

  • This November, consider gathering together photographs and symbols for each of your ancestors you want to honor. Light candles and place them before each image. Spend some time opening your heart to the wisdom they offer across the ripples of time and remembering that they are present with you.
  • As you enter into an activity you love in the coming days, offer it on behalf of a loved one who has died, especially someone who had dreams unfulfilled.
  • Connect to that longing which still beats within your heart.
  • Imagine yourself embraced by an invisible circle of support. Call the names of your ancestors when you are feeling lonely or struggling, remembering that they too faced life’s search for meaning in times of darkness.
    They loved and lost, grieved and celebrated, and their stories hold seeds of wisdom for our own.
  • Make some time to welcome in the gift of growing darkness. Reflect on the places of your life that are calling for you to walk into unknowing rather than certainty and recognize the ways God is so much greater than what you can imagine.

Christine Valters Paintner is the online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a virtual monastery without walls offering classes and resources on contemplative practice and creative expression.


10/25/2010 4:00:00 AM