Unexpected Lessons From Dia del los Muertos

Unexpected Lessons From Dia del los Muertos by Layla Morgan Wilde

The beautiful powerful bonfire ceremony last evening sparked this and in the spirit of change, I’m popping up new images and posting here instead of directly to Instagram or Facebook. I’ve neglected this blog and it’s a way of honoring my work to serve a broader audience. 

Today is dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead (link to lovely images via National Geographic.) The holiday which runs from Oct, 31 to Nov. 2 is culturally Latino but the sugar skull iconography has exploded across cultural boundaries. It begs the question of cultural appropriation. Does wearing a sugar skull mask on Halloween smack of poor taste? This holiday, a celebration of the dead is not a party for the sake of a party. It’s a loud and proud honoring of ancestors of those with Latino roots. For those who aren’t Latino and that includes me, it doesn’t feel right to pretend to be something we aren’t.

How to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead respectfully if you’re not Latino. It’s about honoring your own ancestors. We can honor other cultures by sharing, learning about and respecting their uniqueness. The common thread to all cultures and religions is the most primal element: fire. The easiest source that lasts longer than a matchstick or lighter is a candle. Light a candle and say a prayer or a few words for your dead relatives recent and generations lost in the mists of time.

What I learned from the Pagan New Year

Also while Googling what kitty Halloween graphics I’d done for Halloween in years past, I came across an image of my cat Odin from one of the legions of quote sites who have no regard for copyright. Here we go again. Every year more of these “photo quote” sites crop up and hundreds of my images are stolen. Please don’t share images from any quote site unless you know they offer to link to the source. Even then, they are making money and not the photographer/artist/blogger.

If my name or website is visible on any of quote sites at least it offers a source. This time they placed a white stripe at the bottom of the photo obscuring his name, my name, and website. It’s wasted energy chasing down IP thieves. Instead, I’m more aware of the placement of a name or logo and focus on how I can be of service.

First lesson of the year is done. Next? Are you feeling any energy shifts in your life yet?