It is “Day of the Dead” as I write this. Gifted by a strong Mexican community, Santa Fe has access to the traditions surrounding this holiday.
With roots in ancient Aztec traditions, this holiday invites us to welcome back the spirits of those who have departed. At the very least. we have the opportunity to welcome back memories. The use of art in this process is important as altars are made and decorated and lively skeleton art reminds us that death is just part of life.
In our History of Art Therapy classes we explore the use of creativity in relation to issues of death, loss and mourning. All of us have suffered loss. All of our clients have suffered loss. So we look at how artistic expression can help us sit in the presence of loss and respond with creativity.
We decorate tall white candles, each of us choosing someone or something that we’ve lost, to honor. I celebrate my Grampa’s life, honoring his gardening, his love of family, his kindness to animals. He used to make peanut butter toast in the winter for the squirrels in his backyard. What a gift to remember that! What goodness in a holiday that invites me to “bring him back” – an intentional remembering of a gentle man, facilitated by making art.