“This is my Dia de los Muertos altar from back in 2009. The celebration isn’t explicitly religious in nature, but my friends and I get together to honor our respective Beloved Dead, and to say goodbye to the previous year. This adieu can include ended relationships, job changes, the banishing of negative attitudes, etc.”
“My friends often bring representations of these transitions to add to the altar, and/or to burn later in the ritual fire that marks the end of the party. I also encourage folks to write their wishes for the new year on provided slips of paper and throw these into the fire as well. In this way, the fire is used both for banishing and manifesting. The kids who attend love this tradition almost as much as the sugar skulls I put out for them to decorate and take home.”
All the veggies on the altar were grown in my garden and are made into a stew in the days after the party. Eating the offerings to the dead is an important part of the ritual and completes the circle, as it were.
“While I borrow shamelessly from the Dia de los Muertos traditions of Mexico and elsewhere in Latin America, I’m not of Latin descent myself.
I describe my path as “earth-honoring pantheist”, although I’m really no kind of theist. I don’t work with god-forms at all.
I live in the northwest corner of Washington State.