Pet Loss Candle Ceremonies
Every Monday evening, people across the globe join together online to hold candle lighting ceremonies in honor of lost or dying pets. Untold others light actual candles throughout the week in personal mourning rituals or small group ceremonies.
Have you experienced the benefits that a simple candle-lighting experience can produce?
The quest for healing
Man’s first great discovery was fire. Not long after, we discovered that lighting a flame could be a comforting and uplifting way to help us mourn the loss of a loved one – a symbolic way to express that, though gone, the deceased is still shining in our hearts and minds.
The ritual has become part of most religions and many secular groups.
Whether you are spiritual or stubbornly sceptic, if you have lost an animal that is very dear to you, mourning – outward, overt expression of your grief – is an important part of the healing process.
Many millions of people have been comforted and inspired in their mourning by candle lighting ceremonies. If you’d like to try the uplifting experience, here are some guidelines.
It’s simple as a flame
Mourners around the world use every kind of candle imaginable, votive, taper, pillar, whatever.
Light and the flickering glow of a candle can almost instantly put us in a mood of reflection, peace and perhaps spiritual connection. Some mourners, without candles, just turn on an extra light or two.
In the most simplified ceremony, you may just light a candle and look at it, letting your mind play memories and your heart feel emotions about your lost friend.
Upgrading the uplift
Certain embellishments add to the depth of the candle lighting ceremony:
• Scented candles, natural oils, incense or other sources of fragrance can offer a strong sensual addition to the process
• Most important, bringing others into the ceremony can magnify its effects
Loss is lonely
After the loss of a deeply important connection in our lives, it is natural and beneficial to reach out and increase connection with others who can help us bear up. Including others in a candle lighting ceremony can be a real boon to us and to them.
Holding a group ceremony
Families and small groups of friends may gather once, or on a regular basis, to mourn the loss of a particular animal whose love they all shared. Birthdays and other holidays are popular choices.
In that case, a single candle is often used. Here is a simple blessing that can accompany such a gathering or can be used by a single mourner:
We honor the memory of our precious pet (NAME) with the warm light of this candle, sending to all our beloved pets a message of peace and love. We, as pet caregivers, bring our loss and sorrow to this place and together we ask that day by day our grief will be lessened. Each day let us continue to see how the relationship we had with our beloved (NAME) still impacts our lives today. Amen.
Group ceremonies often go farther, involving thoughts for a variety or animals – or even all animals. Traditionally, these ceremonies use three candles.
Though group ceremonies may be silent, with each participant quietly reflecting, most involve a eulogy or other spoken words. Here is a full script that is traditionally used in live and online lighting ceremonies.
In summary, the lighting of the first candle is accompanied by words about a particular pet.
The second candle is lit as names are read of other animals who are ill or gone in tribute to them and those who love them.
The third candle is lit “In honor of all the homeless, forgotten, abandoned, abused animals. For the nameless furchildren who gave their lives for others, for research and as a result of humankind's inhumanity.”
The original Petloss.com ceremony (started in 1993) ends with this poem:
The candles being lit tonight;
Cast a soft and welcome flame.
And draw our loved ones to the light,
As we call to them by name.
Imagine spirits taking flight,
For a moment our souls entwine.
Say not Good Night, but in some
Bid them all-
Lighten your heart
You can find more about the purpose and history of online candle ceremonies here.
And there is another group ceremony you can participate in here.
Or get one or multiple candles and invite loved ones for a moving in-person celebration of a missing animal’s life. Our hand-made LoveLight Memorial Candle makes holding a candle celebration – or giving the healing experience to a friend who has suffered loss – simple and uplifting.
Either way, it could truly lighten your heart.