I was on the phone with my Mom the other day and we talked about it being the end of summer and how everyone is just plain summered out!
We’re ready to put put away the bathing suits, the pool noodles and the sunscreen and pull out our boots, those warm fuzzy jammies and fun festive scarves.
She was telling me how August and September are difficult months for her so that by the time then October gets here she just feels exhausted.
You see, September is the month that my grandmother was born and August is the month that she passed away.
My Mom shared how sad she gets, how much it hurts her not to be able to talk with her mother any longer, how she just didn’t feel like doing anything during this time and it made me stop and think.
I have a Dia de los Muertos altar that I set up and keep for the month of October. When I learned about this tradition, it totally resonated with me to honor our family and our friends that have gone before us in this way.
So I suggested to my Mom the next time she feels down or sad about Grandma, to consider preparing her own altar. I explained, “when you make an altar for Grandma it not only honors her, but it helps you to get through the pain and grief)”.
It can be as large and spectacular as you like or simply the size of a placemat. The only limits are your space,time and imagination.
If you want to prepare an ofrenda or an altar for a loved one that has passed on you’ll need a few things:
- A nice cloth placement, scarf or other material to act as the base of your altar.
- Get a picture of your loved one(s). If no photo is available you can write down their name on a paper and put on the altar.
- Place items that they loved and enjoyed when they were living. Their favorite candy, a logo of their favorite sports team, a treasured hat, whatever made them smile.
- Add candles.
- A vase of fresh flowers. Silk flowers will also work.
- Add crystals and special stones to activate the altar. Some good ones are Quartz, Amethyst and Rose Quartz.
Set it up in a place where it’s not going to be bothered and where you can go and spend time there with your loved ones.
Best Location for an Altar
In Feng Shui, the goal is to achieve a balanced environment. When it comes to altars, the best location therefore is the northwest sector as it’s related to heaven. Display your religious items or family altar here. This is where you want to place your crosses, menorahs, crescents, or other religious items. It’s also a good location for photos of deceased loved ones.
I hope you enjoyed this article and decide to make your own ofrenda/altar this month to pay homage to your ancestors. Here’s a photo of mine.
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