This year of travel is very much connected to spirituality. Mexico makes no exception to the rule. Actually, before travelling to this part of the world, a friend suggested to read a book called “The 4th Toltec Agreements” written by Don Miguel Ruiz.
This book is a fantastic guide which provides tips to better live the everyday life with oneself and also with the others. The Author is the son of a healer and the great son of a Toltec Shaman.
The Toltecs are prior to the Aztecs. They are originally from the area of Theotihuacán, 40 kms from Mexico city. Nowadays it is possible to visit the famous pyramids of the moon and of the sun.
Theotihuacán Toltec pyramid
The word “Toltec” means Artist in other words according to the Toltec philosophy, we, human beings, have naturally the talent to create; To create our life. Our mind has the full power to create. We can start creating whatever we want and consequently do whatever we want to do, and most importantly we are meant to find who we really are. This book explains that to be able to be what we really are and to live the way we want, it is important, first, to go through different steps of liberation.
Don Miguel Ruiz explains the 4 steps for the one who seeks liberation:
Be impeccable with your word
Don’t take anything personally
Don’t make assumption
Always do your best
My spiritual journey in Mexico did not only happen by reading books but also by meeting a very inspiring man at the plaza Zocalo in Mexico.
I felt an incredible energy while observing the traditional rituals taking place on this public square. A sign board caught my attention : “here Aztec cleaning” in Spanish Limpia Azteca. I felt attracted and I asked for this cleaning to understand better what was it about.
After the cleaning ceremony, a man came to me. I understood afterwards that he was a shaman, apparently capable to read my soul. We started to speak naturally as if we knew each other. Through the discussion I had the feeling that he was actually somehow giving me advices to continue my personal journey…
Mexico is surely a culture deeply connected to spirituality. When we want to talk about it, there is a natural bridge between two concepts: Life and Death.
In France talking about Death is not easy, it´s more, talking about death is taboo. Death seems like a contagious illness, no one wants to get close to, not even in a conversation. In Mexico I was surprised to observe that Mexican people are absolutely not considering Death as we do in France, on the contrary, Death is totally part of Life.
But let me explain why I want to talk about Death now. I was in Mexico just before the two most important celebrations of the month of November which are All Saints´Day and Day of the Dead respectively on November 1st and 2nd in the catholic calendar.
The celebration of All Saints and the celebration of the Dead were mixed with the prehispanic indigenous day of the Dead celebration. In other words, Mexicans are celebrating their deads since a very long time. The purpose of this celebration is traditionally the mourning and the prayers for the deads to rest in peace. But the influence of the indigenous tradition made this day also a happy day because the ancient belief is that on this special day, the deads come to visit warmly the people alive.
On this special day, the Mexican tradition is to decorate the house for the meeting of the alive people and their loving deads. The family prepares special dishes but also on the side they prepare the favourite dishes of the deads in their memory so that their spirit feel welcome anytime they want to visit. All the country is getting ready for this special occasion on a happy, colourful and surprisingly funny mood.
The best place ever to get to know a culture and its traditions is definitely the Market where you can find all type of products for the special occasion.
How about a funny coffin ?
maybe a skull to decorate your shelf also called in Spanish Calavara?
just like the Halloween tradition, it is usual to disguise kids and babies,
here is an option: Skeleton sleepers
That said there are 3 “must have” for any Mexican family on this special day
Bread of the Deads called in Spanish Pan de Muertos
and last but not least because it is supposed to be a happy day you can find a series of funny messages sorts of joke about death. To illustrate this I wish to show you an extract of a play I have attended which was supposed to be for kids but it was very interesting for me. Indeed they explained in the most funny and didactic way the ancient mexican tradition of the Day of Dead. The idea was to teach these little kids that Death is part of Life and that they shoudn´t be afraid of it. They were also explaining that the spirit of their loving deads remains always to protect and to look after them.
(video in Spanish language)