Samain Bare Aspen Moon
Just noticed a quirky reminder of Coco and the song that saves Hector, Remember Me. Each time I have to login into a site, I enter a username and a password. Then, just below the blanks for those is a small square to check or not. It says, remember me? It reminds me, too, of the posts of the dead on Facebook. I can’t think of anyone else right now, though I know there are others, but I still get the occasional reminder for Kathleen Donahue who died two years ago from lung cancer. In my instance there is the now quite long trail of bytes and bits that breadcrumb my life over the last decade plus. Perhaps we could create digital ofrendas.
All of the holiseason holidays are, in a sense, living ofrendas, bringing back memories of Thanksgiving celebrated with now dead loved ones, Hanukkah menorahs lit by now still hands, Christmas trees put up by parents now gone. We do weave those who died into our lives, sometimes happily, sometimes not. The nature of family.
I’m thinking that an intentional celebration of Samain could reflect, in a Celtic idiom, the upbeat nature of Dia de los Muertos though Samain is a more somber, more dangerous holiday. It emphasizes the thinning of the veil between the living and the dead, the crossing over of loved ones, but also faery folk, those of the Other World. I guess in this sense it has more in common with the festival of Hungry Ghosts in the Chinese tradition, where the dead have to be placated.
Still, the underlying messages are the same. The dead are gone from the physical world, but not gone from our lives. Relationships with them remain alive and need nurturing, attention. We may try to ignore those relationships, but they burrowed into our souls long ago, now create and sustain aspects of our personality, our responses to the world. If the relationships are conscious, ongoing, we can work with them, have them as resources in our daily lives; if they are unconscious, they can control our behavior and our moods in ways that puzzle us or even harm us.
So here’s to the dead who live among us, all crying out, Remember Me.