In Mexico, where I live, the Day of Dead is not exactly how it’s often portrayed. In keeping with the spirit of Scorpio (and my own Scorpio rising), it is a joy to share some of the differences.
Just as cloying cuteness has taken over Halloween in the US, down here, bright, sugary and chocolate skulls are a relatively new addition to what was originally a deeply spiritual portal for honoring the ancestors and sending them light through brightly colored flowers and candles. Nor did prehispanic Mexicans wait until November to celebrate, but began at the Autumn Equinox. When the Spaniards came, the date was moved in accordance with All Soul’s Day, established in Europe to absorb Samhain, the Celtic New Year fest that wouldn’t go away despite every effort to suppress it. Why would the year begin in the season of waning life?
From pagan Europe to Mesoamerica, those who made their transition were by no means gone, or for that matter dead. This was their most important holiday because along with endings comes new life. In his The Pagan Book of Days: A Guide to the Festivals, Traditions, and Sacred Days of the Year, author Nigel Pennick notes that Samhain is actually the name of the New Year’s Goddess. I was fascinated to discover the similarity between the names Samhain and Samshin Halmoni, the ancient Korean goddess of birth who Barbara Tedlock mentions in her book, The Woman in the Shaman’s Body: Reclaiming the Feminine in Religion and Medicine.
My own experience this Scorpio season has brought rebirth within death, and part of it is related to Daykeeper.
In resonance with the prevailing influences, I gave a talk last week on the prospering power of change, a part of life that we humans tend to resist. When we lose a familiar form of good, in one way or another we gain freedom.
I invited the participants to think of something they’d lost, and identify a new freedom that the change brought. Then each created a personal affirmation starting with “I am free to….”, and completing it in their own words.
Sometimes it’s easy to see, like when we lose a job we didn’t really like or a restrictive partner leaves us. Other times the silver lining is harder to find. For me, a difficult change was the loss of Susan’s and my (and our other four siblings’) mother, Daykeeper founder Maya Del Mar. The quintessential beautiful person, she was (and still is) an absolute delight. Among other things, she was….
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