Death has arrived
dancing the carisisqui
she has come to take with her
the visitors of Mixquic.
-Tacho, Street Poet
As a little girl I adored marigolds. We planted them in our garden in all shades of yellow, orange and rust. Such a sunlike full flower they were hardy enough to withstand the torrential downpours of Seattle. How fitting then that they are such an integral part of Dia de los Muertos…
Flowers, symbolizing the brevity of life, are massed and fashioned into garlands, wreaths and crosses to decorate the altar and the grave. The marigold is the most traditional flower of the season. In Aztec times it was called the cempasuchil, the flower of 400 lives.
The fragrance of the cempasuchil leads the spirits home. Sometimes paths of the petals lead out of the cemetery and to the house to guide the spirits. A cross of marigold petals is formed on the floor so that as the spirit approaches the alter, he will step on the cross and expel his guilt.
(I wonder if it works if you are still living…xxx c.)