with many festivities and celebrations! Our journey began in the mountains of Oaxaca where we visited the sacred site of Monte Albán. Monte Albán is the the ancient capital of the Zapotecs and one of the first cities in Mesoamerica. It is incredibly massive in size, sprawling with trees and grasslands and created with exquisite detail. Our visit fell on the day of my Solar Return/day of birth, which was the greatest gift I could possibly receive this time around!
The lushness of the land, the architectural delights and the ways in which all the elements of nature are set in direct alignment with the stars and constellations, inspire and invoke a feeling of joy and expansion! There are spirits that are very much alive here today existing among the trees, shining a brilliant light through the rocks and cobble stone temples.
Descending the mountain, much stirring is ado among our destination in the city of Oaxaca.
The festivities of Dios de los muertos now well under way and taking form spills out onto the streets of Oaxaca. Dia de los muertos, the celebration of life and death is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd of every year, to honor the deceased back to earth for a short visit with their relatives and friend, while the veil is very very thin.
Festivities of Dios de los muertos comprise of visits to both the city and small local cemeteries. It’s pretty incredible the detail and beauty that emanates from the Oaxacan city streets. Families and friends of the deceased gather around the gravesites in candlelight telling stories honoring and communing with their “dead” relatives and members of the community as if they were sitting right next to them. It truly is palpable, their presences!
Tyler and I had the fortunate opportunity to visit both the main city cemetery and one of the small local cemeteries just 20 minutes from the city, in the beautiful town of San Felipe where our dear friends Jeff and Kim and their girls live. What great fun it was to join in a meal and share libations engaging in inspired conversations with an eclectic group of people on the way to the local cemetery.
Spilling out from the hotels, storefronts, the many churches and the local mezcalerías altars of all shapes and sizes take form. Altars are created from floor to ceiling with marigolds, fruits, mescal, photos of the deceased and their favorite foods. Each unique yet with a similar feeling throughout all.
Bottles of Mezcal line the steps of the altars (Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant (a form of agave, Agave americana) native to Mexico. There is a saying attributed to Oaxaca regarding the drink: “para todo mal, mezcal, y para todo bien también” (“for everything bad, mezcal; for everything good, the same”).
It was one the most beautiful celebrations we have ever experienced upon our travels. Spending precious moments walking among the gravesite hearing and partaking in the sounds of laughter, honoring and celebrating these beautiful souls will forever be etched I our hearts.
There are those extra special and deeply touching moments when one discovers that the young couple sitting by the petite gravesites with tears in their eyes, while holding each other in warm embrace are the proud parents of a child who passed at such a tender age. It was deeply profound to witness, connect and share a blessing with all the dear ones we met from all walks of life and death.