Saturday, November 2, 2013

Ancient Heart Wisdom for All Soul's Day

Reading is important because our thoughts determine the state of our souls. Be artful and careful and  read books that are good for you and you will guarantee a long life for yourself and your descendants. That is the teaching of the ancients.

This weekend marks the turning point in the calendar that our ancestors recognized as a special time, the time when the boundary between the world of reality and the world of spirit can be seen and traversed by those with trained eyes. And indeed, with the leaves off the trees the earth has a skeletal, spare look that reveals the essence of the landscape around us. In Mexico, the remembrance of this special season from the still living past carries on in the ceremonies of the Day of the Dead, when the ancestors walk among us; the friendly ghosts of the past are invited into our homes to be with us once again. In America, the belief has devolved into the horribly commercialized pursuit of candy and forgetfulness that is Halloween, neither fish nor fowl, just a vestige of what was once a proud link to our ancestral birthright. We, who have sold it for a mess of junk, prefer not to think about what we have done. Instead of honoring the past we have relegated the spirits of our ancestors to the dustbin of our minds, much like we relegate our young and old to the dustbins of public schools and nursing homes. When the bottom line is all that counts and we reject notions of communal responsibility, then we get what we deserve, a horror story.

So the practice of Dia de los Muertos can be a healthy corrective for what in the West amounts to the cult of the material world that gives us the Miley Cyrus's of our popular culture and the overt sexualization of our children. But what if the need for correction becomes a hatred of the living world? Such an over-reaction gets explored in my book Savior, which will be published in the spring by Harvard Square Editions. You can read more about the cult of death at the heart of the book, and share in the launch by going here. Spread the word and take action in the name of life.
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