Fall has long been my favorite season. The cooler temperatures encourage me to move at a slower pace, giving me the time and energy to pay attention to the changes happening around me. Trees display their most brilliant colors in dying leaves ... the songs of migrating birds vie for my attention every morning and evening ... I breathe in the bright color and aroma of the last of the blooms: marigolds, roses, mums, and herbs (rosemary, mint, and sage). I celebrated Samhain season with carved pumpkins and bonfires (both courtesy of a close friend).
October 31 to November 2 is thought to be the time when the veil between the physical and the spiritual realms is at its thinnest. For me, it presents a unique opportunity to honor those I love who have left the earthly plane behind. My Day of the Dead display sat in storage for the past while, so this year I decorated in mid-September, wanting to extend my enjoyment of the familial connections I now hold in Spirit. I was not disappointed. On multiple occasions I sensed and 'saw' them with me — many more than I ever actually met. Their presence served as a reminder that I am rooted in a long lineage of life, hope, and love. Whatever your family relationships look like, or even if you do not know who or where you came from, we all have an unseen entourage cheering us on and need only tune in to perceive the love directed towards us from those who served as the umbilical cord connecting us to humanity.
The Naked Heart grid is a symbol of my commitment to stay open to love, letting go the type of grief that makes the heart sick. Clear quartz, tourmaline, and merlinite represent my physical connection to the earth, as well as my body's determination to one day return there. Photographs and other mementos keep me mindful of those who have moved on from this physical realm, yet have left an indelible mark on the lives of generations to come.
As winter nears, bringing the Northern Hemisphere's dormancy closer, I am reminded that truly death is a sham. If it teaches us anything, the Wheel of the Year asserts that what looks like an ending is merely a doorway to rebirth and abundance. Ultimately, Dia de los Muertos is a celebration of life! While I honor those who have crossed over, I review my living relationships. Many of them bring fresh air into my life on a regular basis. A few present challenges and spur me on to grow in ways that if left alone, I'd rather not. Others have gone the way of my ancestors, and that’s okay too. One lies dormant, yet full of hope, waiting for Spring to awaken it in due time. As we move inexorably through twilight and into darkness, may we remember the light of life that our ancestors gave us, and may we honor them even as we await the dawn of a new year and the coming light of Spring.