Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day of the Dead ~ Samhain

This is a photo of one of our monarchs after being released
I wanted the monarch to be my first photo for this post because it is the season of the monarchs return to the pines of MX that sacred forest which helped begin my healing from addiction all those yrs. ago
The monarch also is very special because it represents the souls of our ancestors to the aboriginal peoples in Michoacan & here to the Lakota /Dakota peoples .
This area in MX is known for great protection as well and the Pine tree is the tree known for protection and I use mostly in my work as soul keeper & soul protection .
If you get a chance please watch the beautiful documentary on the Monarch titled

although Autumn is not my fav time of year Day of the dead is my absolute most fav sacred day of the whole year  .
I have written about this season of souls before and how dear it is to me .
I will also say I always hated halloween secular halloween which somehow turns death into a violent bloody mess .
Even as a child I did not like the holiday of halloween .
I like costume for things such as drama but for some reason the idea of not knowing who is behind a mask just freaked me out .
I must say at least when I was a child halloween did not focus on the gruesome . people dressed up as gypsies , elves , witches ghosts often we just put on clothes of the adults and funny makeup , many a child went out with a bag over there head with eyes nose & mouth cut out .
if you were blessed to have an awesome mum who sewed a costume it was more then likely a clown witch princess etc.
when we stayed in Michoacan it was one of the most moving times of my life . people celebrated not just for a day and at night the people walked together with candles down the small winding roads . The lake shone with candles reflecting . all the stout ladies walking reminded me of my old aunties back home .It made me feel at home .
It really brought me home to a place in my heart I felt so familiar with .
I always loved being with my ancestors of before , I love the cemetery and I know some find it strange but my friends accept this is who I am . My children like I are also at home in the cemetery.

The week before samhain I set up a bigger altar .I place photos of ancestors gone , saints, souls we are praying for  etc.

We light the candles and on the actual day of the dead I like to prepare our meal of food our ancestors ate such as local veggies, grains , pickerel & wild rice etc. we place a plate on the altar .

As I said I do not like halloween at all ! however our children do , so of course I do celebrate with them . I try and decorate in a spiritual way not a scary way so neighbourhood kids can also enjoy it .
Last year I won the giveaway from Jaz at Octoberfarm !

I always make corn dollies

light up the yard on halloween night
make the stoop fun for children

My gal pals and I have fun get witchy get togethers

Then we do our cemetery run !
there are 3 cemeteries I love to visit off in the bush really beautiful & serene space

Then we visit where our ancestors are buried

We sweep and clean the area , trim tree branches & light our candles

It is just such a sacred time

Last year we cleaned off the stone steps of the old homestead and made an altar to honour our ancestors

we placed photos of loved ones along with candles

did some more sweeping

and smudging of course

our little adventure boy is really involved in these rituals
he likes to help keep the smudge going ☺

One of the reasons I love this day so very much is it is the birthday of my grandmother Grace .
A lady whom I grew up with and is so dear to my heart .

she is one of my best examples of legacy

on how to live a true & natural life
I was her little sparrow ☺

Gramma Grace is where I get my love of tea I think

as she aged she developed Parkinson's disease .
It was so hard to watch the lady who roamed through the bush just have to lie down all day but she still had her wonderful mind & wit .As I am granny now I value so much the lessons she gave and continues to teach me today .

There are a few books I really love for festivals & sacred days
these are a few I have found interesting & useful for this time of year .
The Pagan Book of Halloween is a great book for history info it is not to big and easy to read in a short period of time . 

again I will post one of my fav books to use for natural celebrations and learning

I just took this one out of the library so I can't report on it yet but it appears accurate thus far

Okay this book is absolutely one of my fav books I finally purchased it after taking it out of the library for years .
There are other books I have such as Halloween by Silver Ravenwolf but I have to say where some books teach fact and info others claim to be doing so but I find often promote hate towards another religion . so I tend to shy away from promoting those authors in case some people may not be able to discern between what is truly informative or that of hatefelt thought .
I must say that I have absolutely no books on day of the dead I guess I just found that exposure to the customs & culture was far more influential than a book .
There are some really fun activities I did find via school activities when homeschooling like the
 beautiful paper cut outs you make and string up .
we made our own sugar skulls without buying expensive molds or mixes. my fav were the mini ones we made out of molding marzipan yum yum .
 Did I mention the marigold !
 Marigold is one of my fav scents ! My dh loves them too and he is rarely ever a flower scent kind of guy .
Usually our marigolds are gone and done with by the time it is samhain so I pick them , dry them and this yr. I have made an oil to hopefully add to some of my autumny candles .
did I mention I also have 2 fav blogs I really enjoy especially at this time of year !
 the first I mentioned already
October Farm  is a wonderful blog and Autumn is her fav season and it shows ! okay there are times when Jaz cooks I wish she were my Mum !
The other blog I love so so much is The Cottage by Crane Lake  Christer's blog brings me such peace . I think I have a special love for his blog because it is very calming & simplistic . It also although an ocean away is almost identical forest to where we live and his photos often if not always remind me of home ☺ I love his photos of sunrises , hoarfrost on trees ,the deep dark woods & dogs ! I can just picture coming in on a cold day warming up with wood heat and cups of tea .
Okay then there is a blog I love but I love it all the time not just autumn because her art is so awesome all year long !!
her day of the dead art is so unique & creative I love love it !
she has a facebook page too  so please check it out ! 
I am just beginning to plan our weekly all soul's day activities and sure I will have photos to post soon enough
I would love to hear from and see posts of your season of souls activities feel free to share your bloggy links !

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