All Hallows Day

All dolled up for ‘Day of the Dead” (decorations for Dia de los Muertos)

All dolled up for ‘Day of the Dead”
(decorations for Dia de los Muertos)

I hope everyone enjoyed their Hallowe'en; I was at the Barbican to see a play version of Nosferatu; slightly bizarre as it was subtitled and sometimes the subtitles lagged behind,  giving that Clint Eastwood 'Spagetti Western' effect, when the dubbing is awry.

November - how quickly it has come round, I always think of this as a FIRE month with bonfire night just around the corner, the temperature dropping and the dark encroaching - bring on the candles and the heating, I say.   Also, from a smell perspective I associate this month with fragrant, hot spices, smoky grasses and resins - warming, fiery, piquant and comforting, before the slow inaugural build up to (..whisper it) Christmas and its seductive pull of coniferous, mulled wine + cinnamon scents.

Today, in some parts of the world All Saints Day is celebrated with All Soul's Day on the 2nd.  In Mexico and parts of Latin America 'Dia de los Muertos' - The Day of the Dead is celebrated on 1st November, when families and communities come together to honour their departed.   It actually seems a celebratory gesture and gives an opportunity to remember those who are no longer with us.

Calendula flowers are widely used to honour altars and homes during the celebrations; this flower seems to have a symbolic link to sacred rituals, as it is used also in India to decorate temples and an Attar is made from the flowers called Genda or Zafri.

A temple, beautifully decorated with Genda curtains

A temple, beautifully decorated with Genda curtains

If you can't get to join in the macabre joyfulness in Mexico, then why not take a quiet moment at home and diffuse some essential oils or burn incense over these two days. It is a subtle, gentle way for you to remember in your own way those who have passed.  If you cannot get hold of Attar Zafri/Genda, then Frankincense, Myrrh, Cypress are all beautiful oils to use; if you can get a good quality Sandalwood, then even better!

Meditate on the joyous, vibrant Calendula flower. Credit: mostbeautifulflower.com

Meditate on the joyous, vibrant Calendula flower. Credit: mostbeautifulflower.com

I am burning some Vetiver at the moment, enhancing my mood to create a gunpowder and bonfire blend for the Midnight Apothecary event this Saturday.  I've also placed a few drops of Frankincense on a tissue and put into my pillowslip, getting ready for a zen sleep.

Sleep well all!