by Robert Wilkinson
This is one of the more sacred times of the year. The ancient Chinese thought this was the season of "cutting and destroying," where the leaves fall, the fruits are available, and the life force begins to go dormant for its Winter rest in the Northern Hemisphere. This period at the end of October, known by many names, is a time to honor the dead. The "Day of the Dead," or Dia de los Muertos, is more than a day. It is a period of depth communion with those who have passed away before us. It is a time to honor our connectedness with our departed but not forgotten loved ones.
The original intent of this sacred time had nothing to do with giving the candy industry a boost between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. I've always felt these last two were very peculiar "holidays," since the former celebrates the beginning of enslavement and disease of the original inhabitants of this continent, the latter a distorted excess complete with Aggie football. This time also has zero to do with fear of ghosts, real or imagined.
We inherited Halloween, All Saints Day, and all Soul's Day (mostly forgotten) from our ancestors, but their true meaning has been ignored by our market-driven culture. In the year cycle of light and dark, manifestation and rest, this is a time of love and celebration WITH the Spirits of those no longer in a body, our loved ones across space and time.
I first learned of this profound time in Texas many years ago. I was taught that it is a celebration of community, a time of the year to light candles, create altars and shrines to honor the dead, and celebrate the omnipresent power of the Eternal Life. I learned feel the global reality that we all do eventually re-join our loved ones, and in our honoring of the dead we enter into a timeless stream that will be honored in future "Dias de los Muertos" by those we leave behind. It is a time to celebrate continuity and connectedness of life.
Though many feel sorrow, it is not a morbid time. It certainly should not be a time to create fear in children through "scary" horror stories or the bizarre associations with deviltry and ghosts and haunted places. The deeper meaning of this time of year we enter a collective zone where we can honor our timeless bond of love with those who have departed this Earth. It is a time to grieve AND celebrate.
We can open to experiencing more fully our eternal nature in a profound on-going moment of connectedness with where we came from and where we're going, and the life and love we all are together. It's a great time to re-experience that we are ETERNALS, having human experiences. We have a body, we have feelings, we have a mind, but we ARE Souls, and our nature is Light-Love-Life.
So over the next few days, while others are eating candy, shopping, or talking about the white noise of life in this 4 dimensional reality, take a moment (or three) to light a candle, remember your loved ones, and celebrate the eternity of life, light, and love. It'll help you feel that you're very, very alive (and always will be!) Aum.