Sunday, 26 October 2008

The mexican view of the Death

Mexican culture, the child of two great cultures, the indigenous culture of the american natives and the european culture of the Spaniards. This new culture, product of a clash of worlds, of the iron sword and the obsidian mallet, the one from I came. Has a very unique form to see death.

To the inhabitant of New York, Paris, or London death is a word that is never uttered because it burns the lips. The Mexican, on the other hand, frequents it, mocks it, caresses it, sleeps with it, entertains it, it is one of his favourite playthings and his most enduring love. It is true that in his attitude there is perhaps the same fear that others also have, but at least he does not hide this fear nor does he hide death; he contemplates her face to face with impatience, with contempt, with irony: 'If they're going to kill me tomorrow, let them kill me for once and for all'.'; Octavio Paz on The Labyrinth of Solitude (1959)

Now, being near to the day of the death, and the same time the celtic new year, to different practices and rituals, that were united, ironically by the one Church that tried to eliminate them because of being pagan traditions, walk together this date.

This small video shows this, in a small wink.

Samhain Shona Duit!!

As many of you may know for me on personal level, and for my cultural background Samhain, the Day of the Death, the Celtic New Year, is a very important day, and the Ancestor Altar is a must !

Even when a proper altar according to our costumes shall be of nine levels, for space issues I only made it of three.

1) The ground level represents the duality live-death. There are Cempaxóchitl (Tagetes erecta) petals and a live one, to symbolize this.

2) The first level represents the spiritual journey through live and death, also the walk to the Mictlan , here are various elements (I explain them later) of the spiritual path

3) The second level represents the actual place where the spirit remains, the end of the journey. Here is the offer to the ancestors themselves, and five candles to bring them light and peace in the five directions.

Also, I make the altar to honour my three levels of ancestors.

1) The three celtic realms are represented by a seagull feather (sky) a stone from Brighton's seafront (earth) and a shell (sea), and a candelabra with three candles each to iluminate each realm; there are also five oghams representing the five directions. This represent my spiritual ancestors, my celtic spirituality. All this can be encounter on the first level of the altar

2) Theres also a piramid representing the sun piramid on Teotihaucan, and a image of Coatlicue, the mother goddess, as well as the colours, the sugar and chocolate skulls, as well as the sugar grave yards and the cempaxóchitl petals, all this to honour my cultural ancestors and at the same time the ancestors of the land. This can be encounter on the three levels.

3) There are photographs of the ones who departure earlier (my grandfathers) to honour my blood-line ancestors. You may notice there are some Christian crosses around, since my ancestors where Catholic, I feel very appropiate to honour their faith in the altar, and also because Christianism is part of my own background; but even if I had nothing to do with that faith, it make sense to me to honour the faith of my grand and grand grand fathers. This can be encounter on the second level.

Finally, this altar is not ended, on the night of 31th of october until the night of november 2nd, there has to be put there food and drinks. To wellcome the ancestors who will come to the festivity. I do not put that earlier most of all to ensure the food don't get on bad state. This will be put on the ground level.

I will post pictures of the altar on 1st of november, after my ceremony.

Hope you enjoy this pictures.

Happy Samhain (samhain shona duit)

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