When the veils are thin, peek in! That’s how day of the dead, or “Dia de los muertos” as we call it in Spanish, feels for me. It’s a chance to reach across the gap between the spirit world, and our present time space, and reconnect with our loved ones who have passed over. Decorating alters, visiting gravesides, eating foods that we know our ancestors loved to eat, singing songs and telling stories…all part of the ritual.
The pieces of my ancestors that ‘make me up’ remember…
…my abuelo, Paul Diaz, who made me cookies, took me for walks in nature, introduced me to musical improv and painting, and transformed into Raven energy when he died. So much of how my creativity is made up threads back to him. Eating a few (ok, many!) cookies in your honor, Grandpa Díaz.
…My abuela, Geraldine Diaz, who spun me around, made me eat soups, taught me musical discipline, turned my tears to laughter after I drank what I thot was “poison” (but was really rum for rum cake they kept under the sink) and got tipsy at the tender age of 8. I love the humor my grandmother had to have developed living with a gay man, (my grandpa) all those years, who highlighted as a Christian minister on the weekends. I witnessed the moment they reconciled shortly before he died. That fabulous man, said “I’m sorry”, and she had already forgiven him. I love you, Grandma! Your dignity lives in me.
…my friend, Binah who is painted in the “unfinished” painting on the altar. It’s apropos because her life still feels so unfinished. Three years ago, she died in an “accident” that could have been easily prevented, had an appropriate protocol been followed…I miss her often and as I dive into my creation process send her my gratitude for the reflection of light that she always was for me.
…my friend Dan who, although I only interacted with him briefly a month before he passed, left a huge impression on my life and became a crossroads of my life with his passing. What a bright light he shone! I feel him often and always find him in funny and unexpected ways.
…on the alter: photos; my fathers family, and mother’s, is represented by the tiny doll figures and book, which contains the placeholders for 7 generations back on both sides, even if I don’t know all their names; Dragon fruit and bone broth to honor the bloodlines; A sacred beeswax Calavera given to me by my soul-sister-love warrior Peyta, upon the completion of some deep healing for both of us; Ashes from the 13 Grandmothers fire, to bless the ancestry of my mentors, and other sacred objects…
Tonight I’ll light the light of rememberance within myself. I am the “RE-membered pieces of many, oh-so-many, ancestors”
Here is my first pyrographic work, on an “Ipu”, Hawaiian gourd.