It's this time of the year where everything has this warm glow. Leaves are turning red and yellow, orange pumpkins are waiting to be carved and the tea tastes so much better in candle-light. It's a time of transition, which has its very own magic.
Last weekend I have been to Paris and I stayed with a beautiful couple, Marine and Marcel. Marcel is from Mexico and he explained me that now in Mexico they celebrate the dead, it's called "Dia de Muertos." Both of them were decorating their apartment with all these beautiful colors and ornaments. There were painted artsy skulls everywhere and they had a skeleton attached to their mirror.
In Mexico it is believed that the dead are not really gone, but are always with us. During this three day period (October 31st, November 1st and 2nd), people go to cemeteries to be with the departed. The graves are cleaned and decorated, and people build private altars (also at home) with pictures, favorite food and beverages of the dead. They want to encourage visits by the souls, so the souls can hear their prayers and conversations. They will also bring music instruments to the cemetery to make music. The general feeling of the event is joyful, people will remember funny events and anecdotes from the departed.
When I was small we also used to go to the cemetery on November 1st, but it was usually a sad thing. In general death in our culture is a very sad thing that we do not want to happen to anyone. We hardly ever want to be reminded of it. Yet death will happen to everyone, sooner or later, just like the leaves are falling each year.
I love the idea to turn something sad into something beautiful. In remembering the departed, we also keep a part of ourselves alive that otherwise is lost. We keep our very own history alive. In doing so, we integrate death in our lives.
And anyways, what we know is so little. We only think that death is sad because we see it as the end. But why do we think that?
If you want some different perspectives on Death, I have a wonderful book and a film recommendation:
Book: "And life goes on" by Francisco Candido Xavier
Film: "What Dreams may Come" with Robin Williams
And if you are wondering what I did in Paris.... I have made a french version of my album "Dive into the Blue" - it's called "Bleu Profond." It has all the songs from the CD, but in french!
The CD will be released on Saturday, December 8th at 18.30 in Yogacenter Ganesha, Alserbachstr. 2/15, 1090 Vienna. So if you want to have some tea together, listen to all of my songs in french and happen to be in Vienna - Come!!