My birthday, and Day of the Dead, were Monday November 2nd.
And I got to have an altar at the Berkeley Day of the Dead (DotD) festival.
I want to tell you how amazing this evening was. Even though I was freezing; even though there was thunder, lightning, and rain for two hours during and after set-up; even though it was a long long day; it was amazing!
Here’s how the amazing Day of the Dead event went.
I went and dug up some graveyard dirt (why yes, I am a witch) and placed it in the bucket with the sign on it at the table. I had paper and markers. I expected that maybe a few people would stop by and, in DotD spirit, write the names of their beloved dead on paper and throw it in the dirt. What I offered was clearly more resonant than I thought it would be — I almost ran out of the slips of paper I brought with me. After a while you couldn’t even see the dirt in the bucket. People were moved, and thanked me, reverently. Some asked what I would do with the names, and I told them I would burn or bury all the paper this week, respectfully — “Your ancestors deserve no less.”
In the lulls as people walked by I thought about whipping out my phone — y’know, play a little Words with Friends, or otherwise entertain myself. Most unusually for me, I never did. I just sat there and held space for the depth and reverence available in this interactive offer — because I felt called to do so. My presence made the connections I had with people (from little kids to older folk) throughout the event deep and hella sacred. I thanked people when I feel so grateful and so blessed! Once or twice I found myself saying “Thanks for playing” in a way that was totally in keeping with the joyful reverence.
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