Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, November 02, 2009
While some visit the graves of loved ones, others build an ofrenda/offering, or altar, in their home or other gathering place. Many people have one in their homes right now they just don't use these terms. Its the place where you have a Beloved's picture and maybe a few cositas or mementos that remind you of them or maybe belonged to the person. You keep them as a daily visual reminder of your Beloved in a personal space.
- 1st the body ceases to function
- 2nd the body is returned to the earth; we all are a part of nature
- 3rd and final death when there is no one left to remember us
First Presbyterian Little Rock 2009 to honor Lucy transgender young woman
- By remembering each year we cheat the final death; this is one reason the skeletons are smiling.
- Skeletons represent death and rebirth.
- Skeletons symbolize the “eternalness” of the soul or spirit of the deceased.
- Sugar skulls are reminders that memories are sweet!!!
- Most are depicted in artwork portraying activities and jobs that the deceased carried out while living.
- The popular images were created artist José Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913); Posada’s artwork often used the images to portray political satire.
- New clothing and grooming products such as soap, washcloth, comb for the dead to refresh after the long journey back.
- Add photos of the one being honored.
- Capture the essence of the person or persons being honored; include personal items cooking utensils, tools, games, toys, sewing items and so on.
Altars can share community and personal history
Remembering friends, family, and historical individuals keeps their stories and memories alive.It provides an opportunity for those who do not know about them or their work to learn about someone significant in your life or a period in history.
- Many marginalized communities create altars to share stories of civil rights leaders, community organizers, and others who made their mark but are not listed in school textbooks.
- Its also a way for the youngest to get to know those who came before in the family and gain a better understanding of the family.
- Fruits, favorite foods, and beverages of the deceased are prepared for the dead to feast on the aromas.
- The food is created and placed on the altar and stories are shared as is the food.
- Pan de muertos or bread of the dead is also created by bakeries or at home. Its a sweetened bread baked in round loaves or skull shapes.
Tradition of Salt and Water
- A glass of water to quench the thirst after the journey
- Salt is considered the spice of life; it is provided for the dead to spice up things because the sense of taste may be lacking since they have been gone
Papel picado (perforated or pricked paper)
- Indigenous people used paper in religious and healing rituals. Most of the 'papel picado' was made of paper called amate from fig or mulberry bark. You can find beautiful artwork produced on this paper.
- During French occupation of Mexico 'papel chino' or tissue paper was introduced; it continues to be the paper used most often for a traditional celebrations. The fusion of so many traditions has created contemporary versions of many cultural items (no doubt for mass production making it a dying art form, but don't get me started) and you can now purchase thin plastic versions of this paper. You can even have them cut with your Beloveds names.
Scents for the Ofrenda
- Sage can be used to cleanse the area before setting up the space.
- Copal incense burned to clear the path for spirits return; has a strong aroma to guide the spirits home.
- Scented candles sometimes with the Beloveds name on them.
- Marigolds and other flowers; Marigolds "the flower with 400 lives," were thought by the Aztec to symbolize death. It is believed that the scent of the petals forms a welcome path for the spirits to return to their altar or grave.
Night is falling and I need to get myself prepared for the final celebration tonight. I can already smell the sage and copal burning, the photos that tell all the stories are lit with candles and its time to celebrate. Time to remember the lessons they taught me, sing the songs we shared, tell the jokes that brought laughter, and most of all feel the love we shared. Blessings to you and your Beloveds this night.
GRACIAS!!! I hope you learned some things and even if you don't add them to your backpack maybe next time you see some one with a fancy for skulls or marigolds in November you might not be so quick to judge. Maybe you will remember this blog and how you tried on a new way of honoring and celebrating your loved ones. It might not fit and that's OK I appreciate that you read this far and tried it on! All we can do as humans is try to reach out and connect with one another, we have different ways of doing things and loving but its all about our human kindness. Lets not forget to be both, human and kind. Its in the attempt to understand that we can begin to build bridges. Just try it on and open your heart, the mind will follow.
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Today and tomorrow I will share a bit about the holiday and some of my art since its one of the things I get the most questions about and my favorite holiday!
Dia de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead is NOT...
- the Mexican (btw not all of us that celebrate are Mexican) version of Halloween
- scary or morbid; there are no images of gory dead people, ghosts, or witches. It is a festive time.
- does not honor death or devils; the devil didn’t exist in ancient Mexico until the conversion or not to Christianity.
- is not a cult and has nothing to with cults.
When I look in the mirror I see my ancestors, self portrait
Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead IS...
- different by region and by degree of urbanization.
- a time for friends and family to remember those who are deceased.
- time to reflect upon our lives, our heritage, our ancestors and the meaning and purpose of our own existence.
- Celebrated November 1st where children are remembered and November 2nd for adults
Entourage detailDifferent conception of Death
In Mexican culture there is a philosophical acceptance of death as an integral part of the cycle of life; death is just another phase of life itself. The ancient Mexicans philosophy and religion encompasses this duality in life and nature, life and death were linked in the journey from one world to the next. Instead of fearing death, it is embraced and considered a “moving-on” to a higher level of consciousness. Again this varies and is not a blanket statement but in my observations, research, and experiences this thought has been infused in various ways and manifests in different forms throughout generations. As a child I have fond memories of my Grandfather and Grandmother taking me on trips to the cemetery as if it were a park. Grandfather would say, lets go visit old friends and make new ones. I remember him reading headstones and telling me stories as we walked hand in hand under the trees, it was never scary just matter of fact and a part of what we will all experience, like all things part of nature.
Visiting the graves of loved ones when possible is very much a part of the celebration. Similar to towns in the US that celebrate Decoration Day or others who celebrate Memorial Day. Family members engage in sprucing up the gravesite and decorate with flowers. The may set out and enjoy a picnic, music, candles and storytelling and interact with other family and community members who gather there.
Houston, Tx 2009Bits of history
- Celebrated since before the arrival of the Conquistadors in 1500 B.C.
- Concepts of death and afterlife existed in the Olmec, Toltec, Maya, and Aztec cultures.
- Special homage was designated to those warriors who died in battle, women who died during childbirth, children, and healers. It was believed they went to a special place where they enjoyed their afterlife. It was thought that their spirits returned to visit the living in the form of butterflies.
Can this belief possibly coincide with the marvelous journey of millions of Monarch butterflies who return to Mexico, year after year, for more than a millennium? Many celebrate the Monarch as the return of these loved ones.
Tomorrow I will post on some of the traditional items, symbols and altar building...off to do the finishing touches on my home altar for this years celebration!
Friday, October 23, 2009
We walked through an open field that called us with unspoken words.
We moved with intention but no plan;
and beautiful energy.
It was a reminder that we are all part of nature,
we always have been and always will be.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Gopher are said to be the keeper of the secrets of life, knowing what lies beneath the surface of any situation - the deeper truth. They have poor eyesight so they rely heavily on the vibrational messages. Gopher medicine tells us to go with our feelings, seek deeper truths, and move through the paths.
Gopher moves swiftly forwards and backwards, they tell us to move or as my Grandfather used to say; do something, even if it’s wrong. Gopher reminds us to be aware of our action or lack of action. They tell us to be in tune with our vibrational messages and to take responsibility for our growth or lack thereof.
I am sometimes over stimulated with the messages surrounding me and as an empath I am already tuned in to those kinds of things so this shouldn't’t have been such a surprise. (Note to self: don’t should on your self.) Currently I find myself on a different vibrational level. I find myself moving at a different pace, seeing with new eyes and moving forward on the Good Red Road. I previously thought I was moving but have discovered that I had been walking in place.
It can be difficult to make such a move, sometimes you leave behind beloveds because we somehow think we can be of better good if we just stay a bit longer. (walking in place) But Creator has a larger plan than our understanding and a sense of humor in my case. I have learned that struggling is optional but change is going to happen if I am committed to grow. It’s on us to surrender even if it hurts. Let go, let it happen, don’t ask questions or try to justify, only seek answers; this is my new song.
You have to be true to your path even when our beloveds don’t see or understand what we are being called to do as we grow and move forward. I find that I am not really changing that much but more of letting go and being who I have been in a more authentic unguarded way, honoring me first above all else. (Note to self: work on doing this guilt free) All I see that I can do is honor the past, celebrate the love, and move on in a way that brings honor to who I am.
Gophers dig deep, follow the vibrations, and move forward. As you explore the underworld like gopher, be prepared to have the deeper truth revealed. It’s not easy to see it but it is healing and sometimes you will find as I am that your awakening to the consciousness reveals many things.
I have seen that the truths I thought were reality have been rearranged. They reveal a new reality to walk in; one with more clarity, creativity, and a feeling of stepping through a new door and I have been standing in the doorway far too long. It’s a constant journey to discover who you are now and most important who you are becoming as you have always been. Dig deep, listen to yourself, take time for refection, own your stuff, be true to you above all others and move on your path with love.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
"Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level." Eileen Caddy
"Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into." Wayne Dyer
"Life in abundance comes only through great love." Elbert Hubbard
"When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears." Anthony Robbins