“it’s nature’s way of retrieving you” – Spirit

Here is a letter to the editor I came across in a recent edition of Charlotte’s “creative loafing” newspaper-

“While I respect everyone’s cultures and
traditions, it seems odd when you say El Dia
De Los Muertos is religious. While some parts
are, like the images of Jesus and his mother
Mary, there are also some customs that go
against Christianity and Catholicism entirely.
Building altars to the dead, having an Aztec
do a “soul cleansing” and putting your alcohol
near the religious pictures is very disturbing
Let’s not forget the Aztecs are the one who
sacrificed thousands every year at the top of
their pyramid by cutting out peoples’ hearts
with them still alive. I definitely don’t want
a “soul cleansing” from some descendant of
heart cutters celebrating to pagan gods.”

The author’s opening statement about respecting cultures and traditions seems to be forgotten by the end of the letter. Apparently they don’t have a clue about how ‘El Dia De Los Muertos’ came to be or what it really represents. Admittedly, I didn’t either until a recent post by ikahana which caused me to do a little research. Traditions, beliefs or superstition when it it comes to death is fascinating. I was one of those children whose parents would occasionally drag them to the local cemetery for a visit, I suppose in remembrance of deceased relatives and friends. As an adult I’ve made the pilgrimage a few times on return trips home. Over time the memorials, displays and paraphernalia left behind by mourners at various grave sites have become more elaborate and intriguing. At the other end of the spectrum there are the final resting places which stand out due to their stark simplicity. One in particular that I’ve visited many times is the grave of the only person I knew personally who was killed in Vietnam. Just the plain brass U.S. Government provided marker almost flush with the ground. Name, branch, rank and dates. Probably more appropriate to remember him on Memorial rather than Veterans Day, but as one of those individuals who has left something behind at his grave before, I have my own traditions when it comes to death.


About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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One Response to “it’s nature’s way of retrieving you” – Spirit

  1. ikahana says:

    Hey – I’m flattered that I prompted you to do more research on Dia de los Muertos. It is a fascinating tradition.
    There are so many things wrong with that one little letter that I won’t take up space in your journal to comment on them all, but how about that opening statement, where the author states that it seems “odd” to describe it as “religious”, and then goes on to apparently assume that “religious” means Christian.
    Which of course, if you follow that path, can take you down a road where you try to find the common ground in being a Christian that allows some fresh from college do-gooders to go to Latin American countries to risk their lives on behalf of the poor, while others see it as a back-up excuse to terrorize folks on the other side of the world – leaving dead children and old men and women in their path, while others use it to commune with nature in silence, or pass legislation to ban civil rights or enslave groups of people for centuries.
    And so on.

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