To begin your altar, meditate for a moment on your loved one's personality and the dreams you once shared.
Remember this is a time when the veil between world grows thin and a message may be left from the other side. Begin with a tablecloth. Collect photos and candles. Think of symbols, the twenty-five candles for the years of his life, the expresso cup for the drink he enjoyed every morning, candy for her sweet tooth. Add Angels and flowers. Make it bold and bright. In Mexico, people decorate with sugar skulls, pan de muertos, and miniature skeletons. They add the departed soul's favorite food and drink or cigarettes or cervezas, or perhaps fruits and dulces. They believe the Dead return and if they eat and drink and are satisfied, will not stick around to haunt the family. A path is created from torn petals of cempusichil, the large golden marigolds, to the altar or an entrance created of sugar cane. Invite your loved ones to come and keep you company while you sit quiety, keeping vigil. Remember the good times, the love that floated your heart to the sky, the stars that encircled your head. Tell stories, tell jokes, have a beer or a glass of wine, or at least hot chocolate. Listen.
I am the creator of Writing Circles: words to light our way writing workshops as a tool to help heal grief, trauma, illness, and life-altering transitions and to support writers in writing about their spiritual journey. I am an award winning author of poetry, essays and creative non-fiction, published in literary journals and anthologies both in print and online, and two poetry books: "Ceremonies of the Spirit" (Plain View Press) and "transparencies of light" (Finishing Line Press). My writing wrokshops have been offered in human service and arts non-profits. I teach in Mn prisons, at Pathways Minneapolis health resource center, and at Face to Face Academy High School. I hope to write with you!