After more than a decade of the All Souls Procession, we realized that there was a communal need for a focal point: a place to channel all the energy, grief, and joy of the Processants. We created the Urn, a receptacle into which participants place messages to and remembrances of their loved ones.
The Urn is pulled through the streets at the head of the Procession, accompanied by the Attendant Spirit Group. These volunteers from the community collect the messages, prayers, and names. Then, at the climax of the Finale, the contents of the Urn are burned, bringing an end to another All Souls season.
Our genetic history tells us that fire is life and danger, it warms and burns, it gives us light and is an elemental force of creation and great destruction. Though our modern existence detaches us from the family/tribal hearth that was the centerpiece of so much of human history, the ritual use of fire to transform is an ancient practice. The Urn Project re-connects us with this essential human experience.
For details on this year’s schedule, please see our calendar.
Adding Messages to the Urn
The Urn is not just for Tucson. It is for the whole planet. Anyone with Internet access can participate in the remembrance that happens in Tucson, AZ, in the first part of November each year.
If you can’t attend the Procession in person—or just don’t want to risk not physically making it to the Urn during the Procession—follow these instructions:
- Fill out the form below with the names of anyone you wish to honor and remember. You can also list any dreams, hopes, wishes, or goals. Or you can list anything you would like to let go of.
- These can be completely anonymous. You don’t have to put your real name in the NAME field.
- Any images uploaded cannot exceed 3 MB. We will ensure that they are printed and placed into the Urn before the burning.
For those attending in person, you are more than welcome to write your message before or during the Procession. You can download our Urn paper which you can print, fill out, and bring to the Procession to put into the Urn yourself. Or you can use paper of your own. Remember that anything that goes into the Urn needs to be safe to burn. Paper is good. Plastic is not.
Build an Urn in Your Community
This site is also intended to empower your local community to building an Urn in your locale and participating simultaneously each year with us. We conducted many experiments, working different designs and different ways of harnessing the cultural expectations of an entire community, as well as being able to safely burn a large object in the middle of an urbanized area. We hope that you can benefit from our efforts. After reading through the material, please contact us if you have any questions regarding how it happens. This project’s initiation was funded by the Black Rock Arts Foundation, MMOS, and donors from the community.