A few years ago, I was in Joshua Tree during Halloween studying Conscious Dying with Four Winds Society. A this time of the year, the veil between the physical and the non-physical realms is thinner. Some cultures believe we can connect with loved ones who have passed on to the other side.
Mexico has a dedicated holiday celebrating loved ones who have died. Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is a Mexican tradition that takes place on November 1st and 2nd. This holiday brings together families and friends to pray for, and remember, loved ones who have died. The main focus of the celebration is an altar which is created in homes and/or in cemeteries. These altars are not for worshipping the dead relatives, they are for welcoming them back to the realm of the physical.
The altars are filled with offerings such as favourite foods of the deceased, water, family photos, and a candle honouring each dead relative. Marigolds decorate the altars, and their petals are scattered around the altar and the gravesite. They believe that marigold petals guide the souls back to their place of rest. Copal incense (made from a tree resin) is used to purify the area and for prayers.
The Day of the Dead started thousands of years ago with the Aztecs and Toltecs. They felt that mourning the dead was disrespectful. For these cultures’, death was a natural part of life. The dead were members of the family and part of the community. They were kept alive in memory and spirit and they returned to the earth during Día de Muertos.
The Day Of The Dead is a beautiful act of remembering and honouring the deceased. It’s a physical demonstration of merging the physical and non-physical realms. When we hold a ceremony or perform a ritual, we are working at the soul level. This realm is not mental, so we cannot logically figure our way in or out of it. You have to let go of the mind and trust the body because it’s about feeling and knowing. The spiritual aspect of self is just as important as the physical aspect.
Why not create your own ceremony for your loved one on November 1st. Holding a ceremony will honour your deceased loved one's and will unify your family.
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