Most, perhaps all, cultures have moments of the year for fostering links with those who have died. In the western Christian world, the days of the dead are Halloween, All Saints and All Souls Day.
In this Sheldrake-Vernon Dialogue, Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon ask about the significance of this time. They take a lead from the Pixar film, Coco, which conveys this liminal zone with striking nuance and sophistication, and go on to ask about the meaning of praying for the dead, as well as relating to the legacy of ancestors in practices such as Constellations.
The links between the living and the dead, as explored by writers including Dante to CS Lewis, are also illuminating, as is psychedelic and near death experience research, which encounters hellish, purgatorial and paradisal states of mind. Ritual and wisdom can nurture healing, and a deeper sense of the meaning of this life as a preparation for more life, now and in the life to come.
For more dialogues between Rupert and Mark see: