• David Carlson

Day 231 All Souls: And those who came before you? When you hear thunder, Hear it as their applause.



Announcement:

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Day 231 Monday November 2nd 2020: All Souls

“God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled.”

This is the Day of the Dead, and we celebrate! May your celebration be filled with lots of beautiful memories of those who have passed before us and may we tell the stories of the members of our family, friends, mentors and our community who have so enriched our lives. Let us bring them to our tables tonight with delicious foods, drink, music and a candle or two.


All Souls Prayer:

This is the night when the gateway between

our world and the spirit world is thinnest.

Tonight is a night to call out those who came before us.

Tonight we honor our ancestors.

Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you,

and we welcome you to join us for this night.

We know you watch over us always,

protecting us and guiding us,

and tonight we thank you.

We invite you to join us and share our meal.

The Celtic peoples loved to celebrate and their most important feast was Samhaim, a night which marked the embrace of the light of summer and fall as it met the growing darkness and cold which marked the the beginning of winter. They recognized in a very deep way that their pastoral world was turning from harvest to calming sleep.



On this night they remembered their dead and the ancient ones who had come before them. They called their names from around their fires - called them from their tombs to share the turning with the living and share the evening celebration when, as the poem says “when the gateway between our world and the spirit world is thinnest.”

The Celts believed that at the time of Samhain, more so than any other time of the year, the ghosts of the dead were able to mingle with the living. On Samhain the souls of those who had died during the year traveled into our world. People gathered to light bonfires in honor of the dead, to aid them on their journey (and to keep them away from the living). On that day all manner of beings were abroad: ghosts, fairies, and demons--all part of the dark and dread.

Food was a central part of the celebration and people baked “soul cakes” for the wandering souls, and people went "a' soulin'" for these "cakes."



Half a world away the Aztecs also celebrated the turning as Dia de Muertos (day of the dead). It continues as one of the favorite celebrations in Mexico and throughout the Americas. On this night (and for several nights) graveyards come to life. In Christian times All Saints' Day is not seen as an occasion for mourning but rather for celebrating life – and understanding that we are here because of those who come before us and that we are part of the magnificent, divine cosmic turning.

On this night the souls of the dead return to visit their families. Orange flowers decorate the paths between the cemetery and the deceased's former house. Altars with gifts and sweets are set up and life on the streets and in the graveyards is a fiesta.

Tonight is a night to call out those who came before us.

Tonight we honor our ancestors.

Spirits of our ancestors, we call to you,

and we welcome you to join us for this night.


Individualized altars called ofrendas are placed in the home and are designed to remember departed loved ones. They often include photos, possessions of the deceased, candles, flowers, water, and toys for los angelitos (little angels). Pan de muerto (Bread of the dead) is a soft yeasty bread made with anise and covered with orange syrup that is devoured by one and all. Food placed on the altar consists of the loved ones favorite dishes and treats. Drinks are placed in the altar to quench the thirst of the dead after their long journey back home.

Salt is considered the spice of life and is one the staples that are often left at the altar. The scents of marigolds as well as burning copal (a resin of the copal tree) are thought to be most beloved by the spirits of the dead and invite them back home. Families share stories and memories of past family members int their homes and in the graveyards which they spruce up for the occasion.


One Aztec tradition that continues today is decorating with cempasúchil (marigold) flowers. The vibrant colors and scent are thought to guide spirits to visit the living during the celebration. They are also a beautiful representation of the fragility of life.


Calaveras, another Aztec tradition, are skulls made out of compressed sugar and water with the name of the deceased written on the forehead. A reminder of the cycles of life, calaveras are are decorated with colored foil, icing, beads, ribbons, and feathers.

In some places, such as the Sierra Norte region of Oaxaca, bells ring from midnight on November 1 through November 3, with the sounds of the bells varying in tone. Light, tinkling bells welcome the souls of deceased children (los angelitos), and deeper tones sound for adult spirits. Some people may also build small welcoming fires to guide visiting spirits through open doors and windows.



People may leave out blankets and pillows for visiting spirits to rest or include a wash basin, soap, and mirrors.

These and other traditions are an important way of keeping families strong as they remember ancestors and their stories.

All these rituals carry the same message; celebrating the day of the dead is a true celebration of life.

We know you watch over us always,

protecting us and guiding us,

and tonight we thank you.

We invite you to join us and share our meal.

The Feast of All Souls, then, is much more than a spiritual family reunion where we visit the graves of our ancestors and recall with a tear all the good times. All Souls Day longs for a deeper bond, for an ultimate reunion with Spirit and with all our family members from the past, all the saints and all the angels. We are one people with a single history and a shared destiny embracing both the light and the darkness.



POEM


A House Called Tomorrow

BY ALBERTO RÍOS

You are not fifteen, or twelve, or seventeen—

You are a hundred wild centuries

And fifteen, bringing with you

In every breath and in every step

Everyone who has come before you,

All the yous that you have been,

The mothers of your mother,

The fathers of your father.

If someone in your family tree was trouble,

A hundred were not:

The bad do not win—not finally,

No matter how loud they are.

We simply would not be here

If that were so.

You are made, fundamentally, from the good.

With this knowledge, you never march alone.

You are the breaking news of the century.

You are the good who has come forward

Through it all, even if so many days

Feel otherwise. But think:

When you as a child learned to speak,

It’s not that you didn’t know words—

It’s that, from the centuries, you knew so many,

And it’s hard to choose the words that will be your own.

From those centuries we human beings bring with us

The simple solutions and songs,

The river bridges and star charts and song harmonies

All in service to a simple idea:

That we can make a house called tomorrow.

What we bring, finally, into the new day, every day,

Is ourselves. And that’s all we need

To start. That’s everything we require to keep going.

Look back only for as long as you must,

Then go forward into the history you will make.

Be good, then better. Write books. Cure disease.

Make us proud. Make yourself proud.

And those who came before you? When you hear thunder,

Hear it as their applause.


SONGS


La Santa Cecilia - Calaverita

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBSIyN1XuRo


Celtic Music - Souling Cake

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_LjZVCfoeI

Alfredo Olivas - El Día De Los Muertos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAWT8EPmCA8


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