" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

December 31, 2016

The Book of Life: Overcoming Fear and Always Playing from the Heart

I'm not into the Spanish and Mexican sport of bullfighting, but the metaphor of fear as a bull that you have to confront and overcome (without killing it) is a very powerful one.
I do like Spanish wine though;-)
Apart from bullfighting I think the Mexican (and Spanish, as well) culture has much to offer to the rest of the world, like I've written about before -
Sing & Don't Cry
I've written about the movie 'The Book of Life' before in previous posts-
The Book of Life/Passport to Magonia/The Super Natural
But the post I wanted to write about that movie is this one.
I loved this movie on many levels, but the two messages I really love that are hammered home in this movie is to follow your heart and don't give into pier pressure, even if those piers are close relatives who you love and respect.
The Message ... Just Be Yourself
The other message this movie hammers home is that death is just as much a part of life as love is and should be celebrated and remembered just as much. 
We in the west tend to sweep death under the carpet, unlike the Mexicans who even have a holiday where the dead are remembered and celebrated.
Based on an original idea by Gutierrez, the story in the movie follows a bullfighter who, on the Day of the Dead, embarks on an afterlife adventure to fulfill the expectations of his family and friends.
La Muerte/La Calavera Catrina
"La Calavera Catrina ('Dapper Skeleton', 'Elegant Skull') is a 1910–1913 zinc etching by famous Mexican printmaker, cartoon illustrator and lithographer José Guadalupe Posada.
The image depicts a female skeleton dressed only in a hat befitting the upper class outfit of a European of her time. 
Her chapeau en attende is related to European styles of the early 20th century. 
She is offered as a satirical portrait of those Mexican natives who, Posada felt, were aspiring to adopt European aristocratic traditions in the pre-revolution era.
 She, in particular, has become an icon of the Mexican Día de muertos, or Day of the Dead.
The original leaflet describes a person who was ashamed of his indigenous origins and dressed imitating the French style while wearing lots of makeup to make his skin look whiter.
This description also ties to the original name garbancera, which became a nickname given to people of indigenous ancestry who imitated European style and denied their own cultural heritage."
"A character based on La Catrina appears as a protagonist in the animated 2014 movie The Book of Life, where she is named 
"La Muerte" and is the queen of the deceased who are remembered by the living. 
She is referred to in the Latin American Spanish dub as "La Catrina""
To me "La Muerteis just an artistic mash-up of figures such as La Catrina, The Virgin Mary and Santa Muerte.
Xibalba, ruler of the Land of the Forgotten to me is the shadow side of the personality like Carl Jung often wrote about.
"Xibalba (Mayan pronunciation: [ʃiɓalˈɓa]), roughly translated as "place of fear", is the name of the underworld in K'iche' Maya mythology, ruled by the Maya death gods and their helpers. 
In 16th-century Verapaz, the entrance to Xibalba was traditionally held to be a cave in the vicinity of Cobán, Guatemala
According to some of the K'iche' Maya presently living in the vicinity, the area is still associated with death. 
Cave systems in nearby Belize have also been referred to as the entrance to Xibalba.
In some Maya areas, the Milky Way is viewed as the road to Xibalba."
The movie's two main characters are like Jungian archetypes and reconciling those aspects of ourselves is what the movie is about in a sub-textual sort of way.
The thing I love about Mexican art is the depictions of the third eye being hearts and crosses.
I have the two ash trays pictured above and to me they represent a similar idea, the connecting point between this world and the next, where the white light of pure connection comes out of the void and fragments into all of the colours of the rainbow.
Which is a two way metaphorical street, because all the colours of the rainbow can be formed back into white light. 
I also keep a couple of crow feathers near the ash trays to remind me of the shamanic aspects of the void and how everything comes from and returns to it in a sense.
And by the void I don't mean a place of total darkness, because you can't have the light without the darkness.
They are the one and the same thing.
I'd like to see holiday celebrations like Mexico's 'Day of the Dead' spread world wide.
"In 2008, the tradition was inscribed in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO."
Why is Australia empty on  Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO?
Because I don't think we should bury our head in the sand over the subject of death (and the afterlife) any longer and celebrations like this open the door to such discussions.
And what's nicer than honouring our friends and family who have gone before us? 
Santa Muerte 
I think that a big obstacle to getting this holiday to go world wide is the 'Day of the Dead' "saint" Santa Muerte and the Catholic Church's opposition to that "saint".
"Nuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte (Spanish for Our Lady of the Holy Death) or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Holy Death), is a female deity of Mexican folk religion, venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States
A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees.
Despite condemnation by the Catholic Church, her cult has risen to an unprecedented prominence in the 2000s and 2010s, as a continuation of the Aztec goddess of death Mictecacihuatl (Nahuatl for "Lady of the Dead") clad in Spanish iconography."
I'm sure people can work out for themselves whether that light in the tunnel is the afterlife or a train coming, that's why we were all given hearts and minds by the creator, to think and feel for ourselves.
All aboard 'The Day of the Dead' express?-)
Because it's coming to a station near you, whether you have faith, or not.
Everybody will ride this train, no exceptions.

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