What’s This World Coming To?

Rock Outcroppings Near Sedona, Arizona

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about our world and what is happening in all areas. It began when we were driving through Arizona in search of a home. Crossing from California into Arizona, I became immediately conscious of how each and every mountain is named. Each mountain was sacred to our American Indians in the great Southwest. Each mountain, with its amazing columns that seem to rise up out of the earth as if a huge glacier suddenly burst forth, and when it was done, not only did the huge columns stay standing all of these centuries upon centuries, but solid boulders were mysteriously left sitting atop these columns somehow, perhaps placed there by the Gods. And even though some hang out over the road, they still do not fall.

It is not difficult to understand what made the earth seem so sacred. People took the time to thank the earth for the richness it gave to them. They understood their relationship with the universe and how it had incredibly come together to support a wide variety of life forms: plants, creatures, and human beings in every color, every belief system and every direction of what we know as earth. There was plenty for all. Even today, man with all his misunderstandings of what we have been gifted, comes to look and to experience. Without knowing it, he is experiencing what the ancients knew, and people continue to come despite any obstacles. It seems surreal, as if we have stepped somehow into another universe.

I thought about how we have all taken so much for granted, and become so involved in trying to live that we really don’t know a lot today about what is happening. What can we believe amidst the many forms of communications coming like unwanted missiles from so many directions. The governments of countries are shaping our beliefs about staying healthy, and more importantly about how much power they have to form the most basic beliefs we have about everything we have held near and dear over the centuries.

The viral isolation today has changed society throughout the world once again. We are more and more believing that the government is helping all of us through these times. Political parties are willing to fight to do whatever it takes to gain power, not for us, but for their own causes. The government is no longer about Of the People, For the People or By the People. But our people have forgotten so much, and the schools at all levels are decreasing our knowledge in reading, writing, arithmetic, and especially history.

Overall, today, I have thought about this beautiful universe and earth we have been given and what is going to happen to it and the people who have been given the responsibility of keeping it healthy so that it can continue to give its best to all of us. And then I thought about something I read once in the Bible. Blessed are the meek and the poor, for they shall inherit the earth. The ancients always had it right.

Day of the Dead

Day of the Dead Quilt by Anne Copeland

Day of the Dead is celebrated in Mexico and Central America any time from October 31 thru November 2, and has been throughout Mexico and Central America before . It seems to be celebrated in other parts of the world too, though in different ways, and I am not certain of the timing. In some cases, the skeletons of ancestors are taken out of their resting places, wiped clean and prayed over, sung to and libations and food are consumed in the name of the beloved ones long since gone. In Mexico, the people themselves often put on the masks of the dead, sugar skulls are made and consumed, and it is a time of praying, dancing, singing, eating and generally remembering the dead with elaborate shrines set up for the occasion and filled with all kinds of offerings.

It was originally celebrated in the 9th month of the Aztec calendar (early in August) and lasted the entire month approximately 5,000 years ago, some time before the Spaniards showed up. In the Aztec belief system, there were several planes of existence which were separate but interrelated to the one on which they dwelled. They envisioned a world consisting of 13 overworlds or layers of heavens above the earthly terrain and nine underworlds. Each of these levels had its own characteristics and particular gods who ruled it. When someone died, they believed that the place their soul would go to was determined by the manner in which they died. Warriors who died in battle, women who died during childbirth, and victims of sacrifice were considered to be the most fortunate, as they would be rewarded by achieving the highest plane in the afterlife. Archaeologists have found evidence of elaborate burials beneath homes, suggesting that the Aztecs wanted their deceased ones to be close to them.

Later the festivities were dedicated to the goddess known as the “Lady of the Dead”, corresponding to the modern La Calavera Catrina. The Day of the Dead has evolved over the centuries and continues to evolve from year to year, with the Catholic Church now behind most of the celebrations.

November 1 is El Dia de las Angelitas Pequeñas (the Day of Little Angels) and November 2 is El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and corresponds with All Saints Day or El Dia de Los Fieles Difuntos (All Souls Day). The holiday actually begins on October 31, and ends November 2.

Probably the most important part of the celebration is to set up the often elaborate altars with offerings representing Nature (earth), Water, Wind, Fire (the Candles), and Flowers (generally orange to represent the sun). Fruits or other treats and memorable offerings are also placed on the altar for the dead. In some cities, children go from home to home in costumes asking for treats for the dead, and the people give them things from their altars.

Whatever the reason you celebrate the Day of the Dead, I hope you will enjoy the days of what we refer to as Halloween or Samhain. Blessings be upon you as the nights grow cold and long.