Day of the Dead…Día de los Muertos is a contradiction to many people. How can the “dead” have a day? The rational mind doesn’t want to make sense out of that contradiction. So many of us prefer to have a life with order and explanations and justifications and clear indications. We may talk about life being a “riddle and a mystery” but when it comes down to it, there is a strong tendency in all Western culture to turn away from that kind of uncertainty. And where death is concerned, many of us are happy to ignore it altogether. So how fortunate that we build our communities understanding that some of us have limitations to what we may know or understand from our personal experience or from dominant cultures. Knowing those limitations, we can be open to being guided and taught and humbled by the rituals and practices of those in our communities who do have rich traditions where some of us may have none. In Mexico, Día de los Muertos makes death something to neither fear nor avoid. It is a celebration and it is an expression of a relationship with the dead, death and dying that not only helps the living to mourn those they have lost and embrace grief, but also helps us to look squarely at our own mortality right in the eye without judgment.
We are all going to die. But we need not fear. Día de los Muertos teaches us that if we learn how to listen from the other side in this life, we will always be able hear those we love in the next.
Dance Between the Two
From the darkness there is light
After day there is night
So the sun chases the moon
And so we live and so we die.
But if we carry heavy hearts,
Let the spirits of our departed
Lift us up and help us fly.
Mix our tears with their laughter
Blend our joy with their memory.
Let the living dance with the dead
So that we all may rest in peace
With the beauty and wholeness of our lives.
For just as the sun chases the moon
It is the dance between the two
That brings the golden break of dawn
And exquisite purple twilight.
La danza entre los dos (traducción por Tania Marquez)