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El dia de los Vivientos

Literally this means "The Day of The Living." But that's not what's being celebrated this weekend.
At least, not literally.

More like: Mictecacihuatl: "The Lady of the Dead".

These people and their celebrations come out of an Aztec tradition going back milennia, rooted in the native Mexican beliefs that life in this world is a preparation for the next one, and that maintaining a strong relationship to the dead is important. Especially to loved ones who have died.

I'm writing this looking out my window and here is St. Mark's Church across the street, Second Ave at East Tenth, NY. Site of a four-day celebration integrated with the Catholic observance of All Saints' Day [Nov 1] and All Souls' Day [today]. The Mexican community is putting on four days of remembrance ceremonies: food, dancing, costumes, and an altar with the signs "Day Of The Dead". Candles, pictures, mementos. I left a message: the last seven words she spoke to me while she was yet here. Today's services start at four PM EST.

My icon is one of her photo studies, from Israel as I remember [perhaps, Idaho]. Does not matter since she is everywhere these days. Right across the street, for example. And at my shoulder.

It's curious since St. Mark's Church is Protestant Episcopal and it was built in 1799 on the site of the chapel of Petrus Stuyvesant, who was the first governor of New Amsterdam, which is what New York City was first called because this island once belonged to the Dutch. In 1660 he built a chapel on his farmland --- right here across the street. In those days, it was way out of town next to the Indians. His body was re-buried in the wall of the successor church building, and seven generations of his descendants lie near him.... Last night there was literal dancing on the gravestones because there are many 19th Century ones all in the church yard where --- well, where people this weekend go dancing.

So there is a lot of of time travel.

In my personal case the Wiccan tradition makes much more sense to my heart: the time when the veils between the worlds are thinnest and there is a lot of contact between souls who were formerly here and are now there. Not that this is confined to one day or even to one weekend, of course. And I do not need to tell a lot of you about that.

Friday was our secular celebration of Hallowe'en, the Eve of All Hallows' Day, October 31. I was at Harvard, in the Square. Goblins, spirits, Tinkerbelles, Bo Peeps all over the place. Mostly in skin -- since the weather was amazingly balmy for an American late Fall.

Suddenly two mimes jumped up on a small wall and hit their poses. Two girls. Dressed totally in white. Period costumes from the early 18th-century: full gathered skirts, brocaded vests, long sleeves with puffy shoulders and cuffs: the bigger grrl was dressed as a boy and wore a short, spiky fright wig --- and the shorter one, long stringy tendrils that flowed down across her shoulders and her bodice to her waist. Faces: bone white clown makeup. If you contributed into their tip box you got a poem, the shorter grrl reached into her white wicker flower basket and pulled out your poem, wrapped tightly into a tiny cylinder. All the rest of the time they stared straight ahead and nothing any drunken fratboys could do would pull them out of it. The single exception to the white were a scatter of tiny black flowers in their hair and skirts, and black flats on the shorter one's feet.

My poem was by Edgar Allan Poe, entitled "A Dream", which I will post later. Most of it was super-relevant.

But .... what was totally striking was that the larger girl's face looked exactly like Amy's husband [which will not prob mean a thing to anyone except Amy and me {and him, haha}] and you know whom the shorter one resembled. Perfectly the same :: :: jawline, mouth, lips, height, hair, tiny smile ... they were playing theatre characters who had died, of course, but the whole thing was uncanny and unsettling. Blue eyes [no match there, at all] and frosted eyelids [ditto]. VERY difficult to pull away from her. My cam was in storage so I can't post pics, I was asked by three people to use their digicams to take them against the tableau, all were Canons, too, btw.

The Lady Of The Living, de los Vivientos. But I hadn't met her yet because I was still on my way down here.

Wasn't I?

It turned out that there was live Mexican music for awhile here last night. It was energetic. It was off-key. It was terrible. It was devilish. It was incompetent. The audience loved it. I scurried for the bus.

Soyeah, there are different flavours to celebration. Found out the same thing in Ramallah and Efrata and Amsterdam and Boulder, as a matter of fact. Emek Refa'im also, of course.

For example: mountains and canals and stones and unused railway tracks are not dead at all, any more dead than you are right now. Depends where and how you are looking and listening?

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
elvenforever
Nov. 2nd, 2008 08:05 pm (UTC)
This would not be the first time my husband was mistaken for a woman. Usually on the phone, however. :)

Ah, Brad...if I wanted to lose myself for awhile, I couldn't think of a better place to do it in than New York. Everything you describe is something I'd love to experience myself. So much life. So many people doing so many interesting things. Dancing on gravestones. :)

And connections of all kinds to those we love, present, past and future.
silverplate88
Nov. 4th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
as a lovely beam
And here is the Poe poem my Kiotaralijk actress gave me in Harvard Square:

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream - that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely sprit guiding.

What through that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?

++++++++++

Of course that is a totally random poem from a totally random ghost given to me as a totally random street person.

Yes.

What could there be more purely bright?
elvenforever
Nov. 8th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
Re: as a lovely beam
Truth is purely bright indeed. And never random whatsoever. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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kiota too late for the stars
silverplate88
Moonfire Marion Bridge / Brad

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