Spirits and souls - feasts and reviews
All Souls Day – Purgatory and prayers for the dead in Dia de los Meurtos
Two days ago we celebrated Halloween - a traditional autumn festival that marks the dying of the year, the end of the harvest and the coming of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also in Celtic countries Samhuin, In the Druid tradition, Samhuin celebrates the dead with a festival on October 31 and usually features a bonfire and communion with the dead. History.com notes that Druids, or Celtic priests, thought that “the presence of otherworldly spirits made it easier…to make predictions about the future.” At the bonfires of the festival, fortune-telling was done alongside sacrifices, and many participants also donned costumes, often masquerading as animals or beasts, in hopes of fooling spirits who might want to harm them.
The practices of this fire festival evolved over time — most notably with the spread of Christianity and the Catholic church, participants in the new version of the holiday celebrated in much the same manner as their Celtic forebears had — with bonfires and costumes that reflected the spiritual and otherworldly. The offerings of food and goods to protect themselves from spirits and ancestral ghosts became offerings of food and drink to the poor, displays of generosity and goodwill. And the tricks and pranks attributed to otherworldly and evil spirits manifested themselves in the spirit of the saints. The following day was always All Saint's Day, on November 1 but the evening before remained the most popular.
Among the people of Mexico and many cultures where the Spanish dominated, the now Catholic feast took on a further meaning and reverted in many ways back to the indigenous holidays that took place in the fall.
Rather than gloomy, scary or superstitious, Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated on All Souls Day, November 2. The idea is that we know the Saints that are in Heaven, but the Day of the Dead is for those who have passed on and are likely in Purgatory.
It is a joyous celebration of ancestors and respect for the dead. Altars of memorial are built for deceased family members and picnics of pan de Los Muertos (bread of the dead) in the shape of buns with crossed bones on the top and personalized candy skulls are taken with candles to the cemetery. The evening is spent telling stories of the dead and honoring them as ancestors.
A charming animated movie about Day of the Dead is "Coco" who wants to be a musician but music isn't allowed because of a family disgrace. Coco has to contact his ancestor who was disgraced to find out the truth.
On a more somber note this is the year of Covid-19. On the lawn of the Washington Armory white flags representing the number of lives lost this year to the pandemic have been displayed. We end this year with extra respect to them and the hope that something can be done before thousands more flags will be placed there
Force of Chaos - The Coming of the Antichrist - by Lin Senchaid This wasn't at all what I expected. It was a thoroughly entertaining YA book that was full of action, teen mishap and intrigue. I admit, the reason I hadn't picked it earlier was the title, without my reading the blurb, led me to think I was going to get a dry political or preachy dystopian tome. The cover appeared moderately menacing too - not lending to the " Coming of Age of the AntiChrist" rather than the "Coming of the AntiChrist" It was something else. Lucas is the Antichrist, or son of the Devil. This doesn't seem to faze his classmates other than the fact his religious girlfriend's parents won't let him take her to the Prom. Most laugh it off or tease. Why? For starters, he doesn't plan of using his powers except for dealing with a bully. He has friends but one, Skevin has fallen in with some wannabe Satanists who are using him to get to Lucas and his father. It might not have been an issue of note until this cult of crazies kidnap Abigail, the religious girl so they can sacrifice her and gain favor with Lucas and Dad, despite the fact that they could have just asked. Now it's on and faithful friends help out. There's a Hispanic kid named Jesus who is helpful, and a few others who help find and free Abigail from one upsetting event to the next. When we meet old Scratch himself he seems more father and laid back than evil, lending to a few other questions but not much terror. I do think it's a fun read and would like to see more.
Rosa Mundi - Gerald R. Stanek This is a beautiful book that explores the nature of death on one level and the desire to reach the highest level of incarnation whether it's Heaven, Nirvana, Ascension or the Pure Land. It's a highly intellectual and spiritual book so a reader looking for fast, light and entertaining might miss the connections or deeper meaning in the story of Tani, a woman who's had a Near Death Experience and now is a doula for a hospice. Her first assignment is to help a famous seer and teacher transition.
As she works, we meet many of the woman Orina's descendants and followers and learn of their own struggles in coming to grips with the death of this great woman. Tani sees spirits, something she's been able to do since her illness and after Orina passes away she realizes things about herself as well.
A secondary journey involves Orina's son and grandson as they sort through her personal effects and argue over what has secret meaning and what is rubbish. Both men must come to terms with their own beliefs or lack of belief in these levels of spirit. Among the artifacts are translations of a diary created by a group of religious cult members centuries earlier who were journeying through the American west in search of an interdimensional bridge to the Pure Land. Spirit guides appear to lead the reader through the story too: A Native American shaman and a big red-headed Scot who reminds me of a Falstaff-like pirate.
Tani follows their search and continues to learn more of her own place in the Universe. It's a wonderful story worth a slow read and many moments of breakaway reflection about the nature of reality and what worlds or existences await us outside the one we know as Earth.
I gave it 5 stars, but readers who aren't versed in New Age or Spiritual Lingo may find themselves pulled out of the story even though there is a glossary. It is a great Visionary novel and wonderful journey into realms outside our own.
My Two Wives Kindle Edition by J Craig Rice (Author) 10-20-20
Cassie and Stacy were on the prowl… Then there he was. Something about him didn’t fit their usual kind of target. Physically, he was perfect. Tall, muscular, good looking. But there was something they just couldn’t put their finger on. With their objective in sight, now it was time to reel in their prey.
Chris went to the bar under pressure from his friends. After having failed at every relationship he’s ever had, he had given up on even meeting someone new. Being shanghaied by Cassie and Stacy was way outside of his comfort zone.
My Two Wives contains strong language and descriptive sexual content including sexual interactions with multiple partners including same sex activities between women. Not recommend for under 18 readers.
There Must Also Be Evil (Into The Forest Book 4) Kindle Edition
by Robin Rance (Author 10-30-20)
I believe in Fairytales, but without evil, no good deeds can be done…
Isabel believed nothing good came of kindness…
Isabel De Longley had grand plans for her future. But after spending more time at the Haggerston's castle, she changed her strategies and set her sights on Radus.
Then she got greedy, and her plans changed when she learned of the misdeeds the laird committed in a moment of stupidity. But as luck would have it, she was there to heed and appreciate his confession.
Isabel was a smart girl, and even a more cunning woman. She immediately used the knowledge to her advantage. With the Lady of the castle gone, she started making plans to take her place.
Isabel is a temptress, and she isn't above breaking the law, not when everything she's ever desired is within her reach. She won't allow anyone, or anything get in her way. Her half-brother taught her to always keep her wits about her and fight hard for what she wanted.
However, sometimes good prevails, and that can ruin all the fun. But until that happened, she'd make a deal with the devil if she had to. She had nothing else to lose.
Join them all in a world of Castles, Knights, Faeries, and Magik. And… don’t forget Evil. Where there is Magik, there must also be Evil!
Reanimate at Dawn (Rituals of the Night Book 5) Kindle Edition by Kayla Krantz (Author) Format: Kindle Edition 10-31-20