Happy New Year! A Tarot Spread Seeking Harmony….

Happy New Year! Every year I sit quietly and create a Tarot spread to bring more clarity to my year. 2022 heralds a number “6” year (2+0+2+2=6/) and the potential for bringing more harmony into our lives. We certainly can use harmony as we remain in the grips of COVID and its variants. The harmony that we seek is that which comes from a space of calm and serenity that we are able to cultivate within ourselves.

This tarot spread makes use of the principles of the Hermetic Tree of Life. However, you do not need to be versed in Qabalistic study to use this spread. Honoring the 12 month cycles of a year, the spread uses 12 cards in draw.

How To:
Set the mood and find a quiet space in which to lay out your spread. I like to light a white pillar candle, lay my cards out on a velvety purple or blue cloth and usually have a quartz, amethyst or celestite crystal on the cloth.

Take a moment to look around the sacred space you have created in offering to divining your year. Breathe into the beauty of what you have created. And, formulate the intention of what you wish to manifest this year.

Take your cards in hand and savor their feel, their weight and their gifts in providing clarity. Pour your energy and intention into the deck and then proceed in whatever manner you are accustomed in doing a reading.

The Layout:
Beginning with Card 1, lay each card in turn-Face Down-through Card 12. When they have all been readied, turn each over, one at a time, revealing the information acquired. Remember, there is no need to rush. Take time to savor and think on each of the cards.

When you have read through all of the cards, close your eyes for a few minutes, open and then look at the spread in its entirety. You will see many connective pieces and cards that are supportive of each other, regardless of their numerical order. Just left the information and connections you see flow.

Lastly, be sure to take a picture or journal the cards you’ve selected and their placement. You will want to return to this spread throughout the year. You may also relay the cards at any time during the year. My recommendation, however, would be to keep Cards 11 and 12 as the original selected and only redraw Cards 1-10. You will be surprised by the new connections made, and the stability of your Potential (Card 11) and your Accomplishments (Card 12).

Cards 1 – 10 provide the tools for a successful year and creating the foundations for what you desire to make manifest in your life this year. You could consider Cards 11 and 12 as the summary of your year’s gift of a harmonious expression of your endeavors throughout the year. I don’t use reversals, but by all means if you are used to reading in that way, please do so.

Card 1:           What are the gifts of my body?

Card 2:           What are my illusions?

Card 3:           What inspires me?

Card 4:           What do I desire?

Card 5:           What is my strength?

Card 6:           What must I cut away?

Card 7:           Where must I heal?

Card 8:           How will I claim the harmony I seek?

Card 9:           What will support greater harmony in my life?

Card 10:         What is the gift of my Higher Self?

Card 11:        What is my potential?

Card 12:        How will I sustain and continue to grow a harmonious way of being?

Blessings on this New Year. May serenity and clarity flow… Robin

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Happy Yule! Happy Winter Solstice!

Today I am posting the videos of the Two-part story I wrote several years ago in honor of the Winter Solstice and the magick it holds. This story has traditionally been part of the 19-Days of Illuminated Darkness Solstice countdown and many of you asked if this would be posted again for this year.

So, settle in and cozy up as you let your imagination take hold. And, blessings for the strength and renewal called into being as the Sun’s light begins its journey towards full and illuminated expression….

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30-Days of Samhain 2021:In the After-Glow

Life-long Learners

Samhain calls us to seek the wisdom of the Ancestors and to forge new ways of being from that information. This is also a space of affirmation that we who walk the path are life-long learners. Matters of spirit and magick are constantly evolving because we are the driving force and we are constantly changing, growing and transforming.

We have passed through astrological Samhain’s gate, and now is a perfect opportunity to spend some time thinking about what areas of the craft you would like to be more versed in. What calls to you to explore? What feeds your soul that could be expanded and deepened? Then dive in and keep learning.

These two courses may be of interest to you at this Samhain season: Awakening the Inner Sun (Fire of the Elemental Series) and The Magickal Persona. Click below to access the descriptions, pdfs and audio files.

Out and About Freebies

Asstd. Pathworkings:

Bonus Pathworkings and Guided Meditations

If you are new to the Path-check out “A Year and a Day on the Wiccan Path”-free online at your own pace course:

A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path

Many Blessings on Your Path…Robin

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Thirty

Astrological Samhain
November 6.2021
5:15p.m. (EDT)

What Have You Left Behind?

Today is the last post of this series, 30 Days of Samhain and with this ending comes the call to retrace our steps and see what we have left behind from when we started this countdown. Today the fires of Sagittarius course through the waters of our heart and emotions. This seems fitting given the tensions we have faced these past several months nationally and the reopening and new ways we are all learning to reconnect. We can use this expansion of energetic fire to move forward towards the light of Yule (Litha)/Winter Solstice and the potential to craft a stronger and more present way of Being in the world.

Throughout these days we have stood in the power of the Dark Goddess, and sought the comfort and wisdom of our beloved ancestors. Now, on this blessed day of astrological Samhain’s potency the wisdom of the cosmos awaits our calling. We, the seeds of cosmic light and our Ancestors, those who stand in the darkened light beyond the veils, weave our magic collaboratively and the wisdom we have retrieved in this awakening will seed the new paths we trod as we move towards the Solstice light.

Take time today to sit quietly and simply reflect on your journey. All that has brought you to this moment. Not just in these past 30 days, but in the course of a year, a lifetime. Think on your beloved ancestors and what part of them has inspired and contributed to who you are. Think on what lessons have been learned and what you have shared in reciprocity. Allow yourself to be open in receiving the visions and power of what will come to be if these gifts are used to their fullest.

And, think on what lay discarded on the paths behind you. What has served as compost for new growth and what has gratefully been given for transformation. This is the over-arching work of Samhain. Claiming what is yours, remembering what you laid down in offering and finding your way as you embark on a new journey. Be mindful that what you have left behind has not always been abandoned from a place of over burden, fear and sorrow. We must also allow ourselves to leave as the compost those pieces and spaces of ourselves that we have outgrown and are no longer in alignment with who we have become.

Today having come so far, and with this ending, I leave you in the care of Hecate, the Crone at the final crossroads. The Moon is waning towards fullness and in the with the energy of Sagittarius, the possibilities for our reach and connectivity is far and wide….

Hecate's Call: The Silence of the Crone

I wait for you at the
Dark waning of the Moon.

I wait for you at the
Newness of what can be.

I wait for you at the
Fullness of what unfolds.

At each turning I am
Always standing with you.

But for now.....

I wait at the crossroads
And, my silence reaches
Out to draw you back to me. 

I have called to you as
The Maiden who knows
The power of her desire.

I have held out loving arms
To enfold you as only a
Mother can do to comfort
The child that has strayed.

And, now I wait in the power
Of age and wisdom that
Has seen all and can see
The truth or dishonesty that
Spills forth from seeking lips.

I am cloaked in the darkness
But those who have the
Courage to come to me
See the truth of my hidden
Light that burns brightly
With the lantern of time’s
Ancient mystery.

This pathworking is the last of the three about the Triple Goddess Hecate and her gifts expressed through the face of Maiden, Mother and Crone. This is the final journey of the lunar cycle walking the paths with Hecate and seemed an appropriate ending to our 30 Day exploration of Samhain’s energy.

To Enjoy the Audio Pathworking:

Hecate’s Call The Silence of the Crone

available on BandCamp: Teachings on the Path with Robin

Final Thoughts:
I hope you have enjoyed these 30 Days and found some things of value for your practice. Aways be mindful that these Sabbats are not isolated events. Each flows one into the other and each becomes a stepping stone of revol(ve)utionary change if we hold their lessons near and dear to our hearts all throughout the year. As the veils close, may the blessings of this season and your ancestors be with you always. Many blessings on your path…. Robin

I hope you will join me in the countdown to the Winter Solstice beginning in December: 19-Days of Illuminated Darkness

In Case You Missed It:

Day Thirteen: Hecate’s Call
The Longing of the Maiden

Day Twenty-One: Hecate’s Call
The Sorrow of the Mother

Read More about Astrological Sagittarius:

Let-er Fly: The Magick of Sagittarius

Pathworking: In the Hall of Sagittarius

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Twenty-Nine

All Paths Have Led Me to YOU

We stand at the eve before astrological Samhain. And, as we ride the cresting of this Sabbat’s energies, take note that the days following Samhain are those that will carry you through the darkening and time of deeper introspection culminating with the Winter Solstice.

These are the days of revelation and diving deeply into the veils of mystery and if there is courage enough, choosing a less trod path awakening a sense of curiosity and desire for what “could be”.  There is no right or wrong in the path of your choosing because ultimately all paths lead to the Goddess, in all of Her forms and all of her iterations both as archetypal energy and mantle of transformation.

You may feel that this is a “new” process, and indeed it is to some degree, as we are always evolving and changing, even in the moment. But, it is also the work that has been percolating at times overtly and boiling over needing attention and at other times a slow rising simmer, extracting the most flavor before coming to its fullness.

We have talked a lot during these Samhain musings about standing at the crossroads, which by its very nature infers that there is more than one path of choosing. We have called to the Dark Goddess as Hecate to guide our journey, always mindful that SHE will not chose for us,even when it appears that She is casting us upon a path not of our own choice. What I do wish to impart to you is a practical way of exploring these many paths.

These are just a few of the ways that you can move onto a path of your choosing and take it as far as is fruitful for you:

Organically, aligning them with the lunar phases of New, Full and Dark (to clarify, anytime after the 4th Qrt. Moon and just prior to the New Moon). I wold recommend using all three phases for one specific path at a time. There is benefit in seeing to its conclusion, the unfolding of catalytic new energy, ripeness of full energy and the withering away of what is not viable through the dark.

Using a Monthly cycle; beginning at the start of the month-Day One – and moving through each day, incrementally working your way further along the path chosen. This is something I did way back when I began my astrology blog-Temple of the Cosmic Spheres. I chosen one month and each day posted what I felt was different of that day as it transited into or stayed within an astrological sign. It gave me a lot of inspiration and sensitivity to the daily experiences of lunations. Check it out here: Preparing to Enter the Temple of the Moon

Using the anti-polar energies of a solar month. Beginning when the Sun transits into the next astrological sign and following through the entirety of the cycle until the next solar transit into the following sign. The approach allows both the Light and Dark to interweave their energies. Each serves its own purpose in holding the space of energy for your explorations.

Be creative and intuitive in your approach. Be mindful that you are the Divine and that all roads ultimately lead back to YOU.

To get you started, I am sharing a live recorded pathworking that was part of the experiential work of the series I just finished teaching-The Labyrinth of the Dark Goddess. It is a brief opportunity to ease into stepping onto a path that leads into the deeper recesses of your being and cultivate the necessary understanding to inform what you desire to reveal and have unfold. The directive with this pathworking is to enter into and cross the threshold with no expectation. To allow what will present to do so and to stand in the presence of the Dark Goddess, knowing your true worth and without hesitation entering the unknown.

Blessings on your journey….

Setting Foot on the Path

You will be directed to Bandcamp for this audio pathworking….

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Twenty-Eight

New Moon in Scorpio 
November 4.2021   
5:15pm (EDT)

The Moon waxes New in the astrological sign of Scorpio this evening at 5:15p.m. I’ve chosen this as a Samhain focus because of the inherent qualities of Scorpio’s energies and the timing of Samhain falling within the solar month of Scorpio; having made this transition on October 23rd. Additionally, Mars, the planet of asserting will to action and the Sun are in astrological Scorpio. This Will to Action (Mars) is illuminated by the mysteries of the Sun’s empowering light sitting mid-point in its solar temple month. Anything begun during this auspicious time will be steeped in deep intuitive energy and and an ability to transform into whatever state of Scorpio’s tri-part energy desired.

The astrological sign of Scorpio is steeped in the occult nature of things. It is a sign of the Fixed (stability and synthesis) modality that provides a foundational vessel of containment for what enters from Cardinal beginnings and flows from its synthesis into the flexibility of the Mutable.  Scorpio is of the water element, so there is the overlay of emotional seascape as well as an organic ebb and flow (contraction and expansion) that occurs in any space where Scorpio has impact.

Of particular note, Scorpio is the only sign of the Zodiacal wheel that is exemplified by three (3) very distinct and evolving symbols; the scorpion-the eagle and the Phoenix. Each rises higher than the next, which means that the capacity of true transformation begins from the depths of a hidden soul and ascends into the rendering down to ash and rebirth of a brilliant soul of light.

Samhain’s magick is one of evolutionary transformation as the veils part and we are offered the briefest interaction with those who have moved beyond the constraints of corporeal form and now see a much larger picture. This interaction , however, does not come without due price in that the seeker must be willing to rise above whatever darkness they themselves feel cloaked within and become the beacon of light that attracts what they most desire- time once again in the company of a loved one.

This season’s gifts of darkness and light are resonant of the Solar Month of Scorpio as the light and strength of the Sun may be transfigured into what is appropriate for what is sought. The scorpion’s energy of burrowing into the soil and laying hidden until provoked is much like the individual who wishes to remain buried within the depths of their darkened den. Neither seeking out the affirmation of the light nor seeking the validation of others, this is a necessary process of coming to know yourself in your deepest and darkest places.

When this is accomplished and the information is assimilated and the truth revealed, you do not fear the world of death and those who inhabit it. And, you realize that even in the darkness there is a light that will draw out what is called when the time is appropriate. Te next stage of transition is that of the Eagle, who having mastered the lessons of the scorpion now has mastery over the skies and is keen of sight.

The breath of water’s emotions that rise and fall as the waterfalls cascading down the heights of the mountain fill the earthen shaped container that provides support. The Eagle soars above and must now use discernment in what it takes as nourishment. The heights offer a light-filled perspective that is panoramic and in carrying this ideal into Samhain’s energies, we are reminded of the promise of life and the need for discernment on the choices we make as the New Year (of the Witch) begins.

In the third aspect of Scorpio’s symbology we have the Phoenix, the mystical creature that burst into flames, renders down to ash and from the ash is reborn, more brilliant than previously. Emerging from the gifts of Samhain we have the potential to reshape and reform whatever we wish. The wisdom that flows from our ancestors and the deities and beings who mark this time of the year is one that has been honed by deep experience and the synthesis of what has been released and what has been taken in.

Scorpio’s waters flow from the depths of gnosis and intuitive sight and we can use these waxing moon Scorpio days to prepare the way for clarity and true sight as we enter the heart of Samhain’s potential. Instinct and intuition will guide you to what you seek as the veils open to reveal the deeper mysteries.

Read More About Scorpio:
Sun in Scorpio:Open the Flood Gates and Lift the Veil
The Magick of Scorpio

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Twenty-Seven

A Celebration of Astrological Samhain

In past years  our coven has offered our annual open ritual in celebration of astrological Samhain. We journeyed into the otherworld leaving the light behind and saw the reflection of our true self as the Mirror Wraith awakened. Offerings were given to Cerridwen’s Crow and once prepared, each sought the counsel of Cerridwen, Herself. HER Cauldron of Wisdom was opened and time was spent with a chosen beloved and token of their blessing gifted from the Cauldron. We returned to the world of the Living and Light forever transformed.

This ritual was written several years ago and offers another aspect to how Samhain may be celebrated. We use the Goddess, Cerridwen and the myth of Her cauldron of wisdom to journey to pass through the veils and journey to the otherworld seeking wisdom, healing and transformation.

Cerridwen and HER Cauldron

In this ritual we add the energies of the Mirror Wraith and Cerridwen’s Crow personified. The Mirror Wraith embodies the Spirit of the Black Mirror of True Reflection. Each participant stands before the Mirror Wraith and if courageous enough, stares into the reflection presented. In the realm of the otherworld, all is presented in its true form. Death strips away all that we have clung to in life and the false identities that we rely upon as our masks.

The Mirror Wraith – Cerridwen – The Crow

Cerridwen’s Crow asks each participant what they will willingly offer up to be consumed before meeting Cerridwen, Herself. In the myth of Cerridwen, Gwion Bach, was entrusted to stir the brew of transformative brilliance, creativity and inspiration that Cerridwen had created for her son. This elixir needed constant tending and stirring for a year and a day. Gwion accidentally spills some of the brew on his finger and blessed with the gifts of great intelligence, flees the wrath of the Goddess.

A pursuit ensues where Cerridwen and Gwion enter into a shapeshifting contest with hopes of Gwion always remaining one step ahead of the Goddess. In the final hours of that pursuit Gwion is eaten  when Cerridwen transforms into a Crow and Gwion foolishly  shapeshifts into an ear of Corn. As is the way with many of these tales, the Goddess becomes pregnant from the seed of the corn and Gwion is reborn into the youth who becomes the great Bard Taliesin; inspiration, creativity and intelligence having won out.

In this ritual, all are Gwion, and the Crow – a direct extension of Cerridwen, Herself, consumes what is illusory in preparation for healing and rebirth in the abode of Cerridwen. The audience with Cerridwen that follows is a personal and private experience with each participant seeking the counsel of the Goddess.

Upon emerging from Cerridwen’s abode the seeker lights a candle of new birth and is now ready to receive the blessing of their chosen deceased beloved; scrying into her cauldron of wisdom and taking a gift from it.

In joy, new found healing and wisdom all that has been learned from this experience is carried into the world of the living. We’ve felt the touch of the Divine and the love of our ancestors, and now we move back into our mundane world having witnessed the beauty of Samhain.

Another Year, we accessed the Egyptian Pantheon and the Duat…

In 2019, we offered an open Samhain Ritual entitled Descent into the Duat. A sistrum was used to clear and make way for Sacred Space and sound was used to call in the presence of the Quarters of the Upper and Underworlds. After purification and offerings, the seeker was guided to the Temple of Anpu.

The Temple of Anpu

An audience with Anpu began the process of rendering down, the weighing of the heart and the beginnings of integration began. If all was successful, the seeker passed through the Gates of the Duat and began a journey through the hours of the night. Each hour held a specific mystery and challenge to be met and on the final hour, a quickening of the Ureaus and gift of Het-Heru was bestowed upon each.

The Awakening of the Ureaus-Het Heru

As the final steps of the journey towards light and rebirth ensued, the seeker came to stand before Ma’at and receive Her blessings of order and right action. If accepted, the seeker passed again through the Gates and returned to the Land of Light, Life and Rebirth. Needless to say, it was a very powerful ritual and all in attendance took away the gift of greater knowledge of self.

The Belssings of Ma’at

There are many ways we can honor the regenerative nature of Samhain. These are a few of the ways, but there are many others that are awaiting your call. Find your own space of calling and then let the creativity of your own inner wisdom guide your way…

For Ideas and Information About Creating Sacred Space and Crafting Ritual… check it out here:

A Year and A Day on the Wiccan Path: Lesson 6-Creating Sacred Space

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Twenty-Six

Reaching Back to Stand Fully Present in the Future

We’ve past the usually celebrated marker of Samhain on October 31st. and in these last few days of this series we are reaching towards the astrological date of Samhain on November 6th (11:50p.m. EDT).

On the Witch’s Wheel of the Year, the quarter Sabbats are marked by the dates of the Equinoxes and Solstices. These are the fixed astronomical dates and on the dates at the mid-point between each Equinox to Solstice, Solstice to Equinox the cross-quarter Sabbats of Samhain-Imbolc-Beltane and Lammas are celebrated. As it sounds, the true date of these events is the calculation of exact mid-point of days between those quarter dates.

In the case of Samhain and Beltane, what we call “the veils” between the worlds parting moves up and through these astro(nom)logical dates. So, today I would like to offer a perspective of using the energy of the Autumnal Equinox that catalyzed Samhain’s potential and the carrying forward of its energy towards the Winter Solstice.

The Autumnal Equinox held the balance of light and dark in a paused equilibrium. This was an opportunity for synthesis and reset in the scales filling with the energy of the increasing night and the gift of introspective refining. This was considered the second harvest; the culling of what is not viable and the reaping and gathering of what will sustain throughout the Winter months ahead.

As we moved from that day of balance, the night crowded in and the final and last harvest of Samhain became the place of goal. All that is cut down and dies will be reborn again and with the harvest and the reset that occurred at the Equinox, the veils between life and death opened. We celebrate and honor our beloveds who passed beyond the veils and we reap within ourselves what will carry us forward in our efforts of inner reflection and seeking the wisdom that is hidden in the shadows.

As we move from the transformative power of Samhain and begin a journey anew, having in many ways been reborn, we nurture the place of light within feeding and fueling it with our hope and new found wisdom. The Winter Solstice marks the transition from longer nights to longer days; soon to offer the gift of standing in the light and enjoying more of it for our mundane pursuits.

Having sought the wisdom of the ancestors and acknowledging the ever continuing cycles of life and death that although giving the appearance of separation are just different forms of each other’s state of being. This is the potential of our future and more importantly, the blessing of our immortal Spirit that continues well beyond the corporeal form.

These yearly cycles are the foundations upon which we incrementally flow from change to change-season to season-path to path. This is the universal law that allows for evolution and growth. This is the liminal space that ensures we will develop in accord with the attention-intention and desire to Be-come that has ben cultivated through our practices. And, when we engage as co-creators of these cycles the change that occurs all around us pulls us into its nexus and we become part of the woven tapestry of never-ending time itself.

So, as we near the astrological date of Samhain, remember to reach back marveling at what you have reaped from an abundant harvest as you stand fully awakened in the power and beauty of your physical presence knowing that the burgeoning light that will be the brilliance of the winter solstice will guide you towards a divinely created future.

Read More About the Wheel of the Year:

A Year and A Day on the WICCAN Path: The Wheel of the Year

Check Out the Bonus Post: Book Review

The Ultimate Guide to the Witch’s Wheel of the Year

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Twenty-Five

Dia de los Muertos
November 1 – November 2.2020

Today’s post is about a very special celebration of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos. As a culture, we tend to have a very somber and to some degree separated view of death. Of course there is sadness in the loss of a loved one and grief can be overwhelming; but celebrating as an act of joy and reverence honoring that death is another phase in a continuing cycle of life can heal in a way that truly integrates the life that was lived and the life that is left in legacy that is being lived. And, Dia de Los Muertos does that and more….

Linda Stone, co-owner of the restaurant, positions photos on the alter at the Day of the Dead celebration held Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, at Casa Borrega. (Dinah Rogers Photo)

At midnight on Nov. 1, Dia de Los Muertos begins. It is a significant day on the Mexican calendar, and a holiday that is widely misunderstood in the United States.

First things first: It has nothing to do with Halloween. It’s a family time, joyful and uplifting, its own celebration. It’s probably too late to put this skull-faced genie back in the bottle, but some Mexican Americans feel it’s disrespectful to wear or celebrate anything to do with Day of the Dead on Halloween, or to incorporate the two. (The upcoming Disney/Pixar movie, “Coco,” which includes a young boy’s journey in the “Land of the Dead,” is set for Oct. 27 release in Mexico but has a deliberately delayed release date of Nov. 22 in the United States for this reason, according to bloggers invited to press events.)

Dia de Los Muertos runs through Nov. 2. It is when the souls of the dead are invited back to reunite with their loved ones in the land of the living. The first night, Nov. 1, is for children who have died, and Nov. 2 is for adults. The holiday affirms that death is part of the cycle of life; it is not to be feared. It is not sad or scary.

Dia de Los Muertos dates back 3,000 years and began with Aztecs honoring of the dead, then evolved after Catholicism arrived in the region. It coincides with the Catholic feast days of All Souls Day and All Saints Day. Families celebrate by visiting ancestors in cemeteries, cleaning tombs, building decorations and picnicking as mariachis stroll around. The magic of the candle-lit, flower-bedecked cemeteries, particularly in Oaxaca, draws tourists from all over the world….

Source: NOLA.com by Judy Walker:
Day of the Dead, a food-filled holiday that has nothing to do with Halloween.”

Marigolds, the flower of the dead, decorate many Dia de Los Muertos altars. The marigold’s scent helps guide the spirits home and represents the fragility of life. (Photo by Judy Walker)

The Voices of Dia de los Muertes 

In San Francisco, California, Martha Rodríguez-Salazar has been working with the San Francisco Symphony for the past 10 years in their annual Día de los Muertos community celebration, which includes music and altars commissioned from different artists.

..The tradition [in Mexico] is you invite people to your house for pan de muerto and then you go to the cemetery. You eat food there, drink tequila or mezcal, and that’s the celebration. You want to leave your door open because a stranger can bring a spirit of your loved one. You never know… 

Juan Castaño, co-founderof Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, moved to New York with his family when he was 22.

“I am a Mexican-American born in the border city in El Paso, Texas. My identity is both Mexican and American. Growing up, I knew about Día de Muertos, but it’s not something my family really did, since it came more from southern Mexico,” he said. “When we moved to New York, I met people from Puebla, and I started learning more.”

When his father passed away, Castaño wanted to do something special, so he decided to make his first altar.

“It was really a beautiful experience…It’s a very personal thing,” he said. “I remember looking at the altar and putting coffee there, because my dad loved coffee. My mom said, ‘No, he would never like it like that — and she took it away and made it piping hot with a little sugar, and the experience created a conversation between us,” said Castaño. Dia de Muertos is very powerful, because you feel peace and a beautiful experience remembering someone and celebrating what they did and who they were.”

The Altars Honoring the Dead

Source: nbcnews.com-Claudia Dechamps
Día de los Muertos Altars: Loving Tribute to Deceased Family, Friends

“The Day of the Dead, remembering loved ones, goes back to Aztec times, los Aztecas, los Toltecs, los Zapotecs,” says Ramírez in his characteristic way of weaving both English and Spanish in his conversations.

The eve of Día de los Muertos, on November 1st, is when the “angelitos” (little angels) or the spirits of children who have passed, descend. November 2nd is when the spirit of the adults follow.

“Los cielos se abren, (the heavens open) and the spirits come down from heaven to be with us and we receive them,” says Ramirez.

The altar “receives” those who have passed with their favorite foods, drinks and even some of their personal belongings.

The construction of an altar starts with a table covered with a white cloth, representing purity. Once that is in place, explains Ramirez, the creation of an altar requires the elements that constitute the universe.

“It is the wind, the water, fire and earth. That is almost the whole universe. That is what it is composed of,” Ramirez says.

The wind is represented with the paper ornaments called “papel picado” since it moves with the wind. The water, according to Ramirez, has a dual meaning.

“Water can be included with a glass of water because the spirits are thirsty when they are coming down. The water can also be seen as cleansing, as a ‘limpia.”

The fire is represented by candles, which also symbolize the lighting of the path for the souls and the burning of copal, a natural resin used as incense.

Other crucial elements in the altar are the marigold flower, or cemasuchil – a bright orange blossom similar to a chrysanthemum symbolizing the sun – and the placement of bread of the dead, or “pan de muerto,” a round baked good with cross bones as decorations. The fruits can either be part of the favorite foods of the deceased though they also symbolize a harvest.

“Sometimes,” says Magdalena Cervantes, “I think you focus on the mourning and the loss and you forget the little things, like the molcajete (a stone mortar and pestle). To me, when you think of grandma, you think of the molcajete.

Expressing love to long departed loved ones, says Ramirez, is exactly the emotion that makes each altar unique. “So, this connects you better with the memories and the spirits and if you really get into it, you can almost feel the presence of your ancestors.”

Please check out the Bonus Post: Book Review

Llewellyn’s Little Book of Day of the Dead by Jaime Girones

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30-Days of Samhain 2021: Day Twenty-Four

Happy Halloween! Happy All Hallow’s Eve!
A Personal Ritual

My offering today is a simple, personal ritual that can be done today, or at any time. The intention is one of honoring your beloved Ancestors, the guidance and gifts you have been gifted from them and your unique gifts that have evolved from them.

Spend some time gathering some pictures/album if you have one, to be used as the representation of your Ancestors. I am going to say that for this ritual, your Ancestors do not have to be biological. These may be those beloveds whom you considered to be “family” in every sense of the word. The key take-away from this statement is that we are all connected and all carry within our spiritual bloodlines the energy of all others who have come and passed before us, whether biological or not. And, I know that there are many who never connected to their biological family and found true home, support, love and Ancestry in other than DNA.

So, when you are ready, let’s begin….

A Personal Ritual of Honoring Your Legacy of the Ancestors

You will need:

A Quiet place where you will not be disturbed, and…..

  • Candle of any color or size;
  • Candle and holder if needed;
  • Lighter or matches;
  • Album(s) or Pictures of any Ancestors you wish to honor;
  • Blank sheet of paper and marker/open;
  • Glass cup or container with a small amount of alcohol, strong black coffee or tea to be used as offering to your Ancestors.

When you have gathered your supplies, take a moment and look around at the space you have chosen for this working. Get comfortable and settle into a chair, the floor or simply standing.

Take several very deep breaths, each deeper and longer than the next and allow any distractions from the day/evening or outside world to fall away for this space of time.

Create a container of Sacred Space for yourself and this work in whatever manner is aligned with your practice. If you wish to do a full casting that is fine, as well as a visualization of being surrounded by white light, an offering to your guides and spirits,etc.

Once complete, verbally invite into that space whatever beings you wish to assist or witness this rite. Feel their presence and offer up gratitude for answering your call.

Turn your focus to the altar space you have set for your working. Bless this space as support and container for the work that you will be doing and offer up gratitude for each of the items present on it-pictures/albums, candle, lighter, sheet of paper and marker. Take several minutes to allow the echoes of what you have set into motion to resonate within you.

Take your blank sheet of paper and pen/marker and in the center of the sheet draw an image that represents You. (I would possibly draw a serpent since I work with that energy frequently, or the glyph for the planet Uranus, which is very strongly activated within me; or an ankh, representing the Egyptian pantheon and those who are my guides and guardians).

As you draw this symbol fill it with all of the intentions of those gifts that have been guided by what you know of your ancestors. When complete, (literally) breathe into this image seeing it enlivened and quickened by your intentions and breath.

Hold up your glass holding the offering to your Ancestors and say aloud a welcoming and calling to those you wish to be present. Make declaration of your intention to honor their gifts left behind and gifted to you and to your work of becoming the embodiment of their legacy. When the calling feels answered place the glass back on the altar.

Around the edging if your paper and symbol draw a star shape or asterisk to represent each of your Ancestors.  As you draw each star of representation, say that Ancestor’s name aloud and hold their image in your mind’s eye for a few minutes. Scatter these stars around your symbol so they fill in space 360-degrees.

Once complete, return to focusing on the symbol of You. Now fill this symbol with all of those intentions of gifts you have cultivated from this lifetime’s work that are unique to you and would be considered your legacy. Hold each gift for a moment in the space of your consciousness and ten send it into the image. When complete, (literally) breathe into this image seeing it enlivened and quickened by your intentions and breath.

Weaving the Legacy

Take up your candle and place it centrally on the paper over the symbol of “you”. Look at each of the stars of your ancestors and envision each sparkling brightly and enlivened. See each connecting one to the other. Take up your lighter and when the star-filled background of Ancestors feels enlivened, light your candle. Let the flame of that candle move into the light of the symbol of “you” underneath. Allow your intention to weave all of the energy of each of your star-filled ancestors into and through the symbol of “you” and up and into the brilliance of light from the candle flame. Spend some time weaving a tapestry of connection from stars to candle to symbol of “you”. Let it continue to build as a complete picture of light and star, you and them (Ancestors), and when you feel ready-draw the energy into your being. Hold the intention of the inter-connectedness.  Remain in this energy for as long as you wish.

When you feel complete. Verbally offer up gratitude to those Ancestors whom you have honored. Offer up gratitude to those guides, guardians and spirits whom you called to witness and assist. Release the energy of your sacred space/casting and allow yourself to slowly return to the mundane.  Extinguish your candle and reuse as needed to bolster and serve as a reminder of the work you have accomplished. Libate the alcohol/coffee/tea to the land and speak the intention of it as gift from the Ancestors to the land.

So Mote It Be!

May the blessings of the  Ancestors remain within you always. And may you always remember that you will one day also become the Ancestor and have those who will carry your legacy forward!

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