Ijkwania Ejekat (Moving Wind)
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Ijkwania Ejekat (Moving Wind)

Sharing her own traditions for Día de los Difuntos, Yoshabel Shay reminds us to be like ijkwania ejekat, the moving wind, as we prepare ourselves for personal transformation each fall.

Ijkwania Ejekat (Moving Wind)

Sharing her own traditions for Día de los Difuntos, Yoshabel Shay reminds us to be like ijkwania ejekat, the moving wind, as we prepare ourselves for personal transformation each fall.

THE SUN BEGINS to travel to the underworld a little earlier each day as the summer season comes to an end. Metztli, the moon, glitters with golden sparkles as she dances with the vientos de otoño (autumn winds). The vibrant summer colors start to soften into a warm, cozy, palette. Leaves mature and leave their story behind as they prepare to wither away. Green. Spots of brown. Gold. Fall. 

During the time of autumn, some plants’ cycles end, while others begin: a death to prepare for a rebirth in the spring. Reflecting on this cycle as a metaphor, I think of autumn as a time to let go of what no longer serves me. I allow myself to grieve about this change. I allow myself to both experience the loss and appreciate what will come—two steps that are crucial during this time. 

During this season, the ancestors become more active, as well, to assist this transition. As we enter into the night a bit earlier each day, the spiritual veil becomes thinner, creating space and time to look inward and be grateful for the work we have been doing through the year.

During this season, the ancestors become more active, as well, to assist this transition. As we enter into the night a bit earlier each day, the spiritual veil becomes thinner, creating space and time to look inward and be grateful for the work we have been doing through the year.

My favorite autumn celebration is that of Día de los Muertos—or as it’s known in my ancestral country of El Salvador, el Día de los Difuntos (day of the deceased). These are magical, celebratory days, and through our celebrations, we can experience the timeless realm of spirit while remaining in a physical vessel; we become like ijkwania ejekat (moving wind) amongst the living and the deceased.

My personal practice on Día de los Difuntos is to reconnect with my late grandfathers and others who have passed before me. For the past few years, my family has kept a tradition of enjoying a large meal featuring each deceased family member’s favorite dish. They may not all match in flavor, but we enjoy an eclectic array: hot dogs, mojarra frita, ribs, french fries. And we can’t forget Don Beto’s ice cream—pistachio ice cream to be exact. We set up five extra plates for our spirits at the table and eat as a family. We play music and tell stories.

At times, I can feel my ancestors’ spirits, excited to be celebrated and remembered—and also loving us and preparing us for change. Sometimes, I receive messages from them to share with my family. During our family’s second annual Día de los Difuntos meal, for example, my husband’s father sent me a message stating that he would be returning to the physical realm soon. I mentioned this to my husband, and unbeknownst to us at the time, in December of that same year I would become pregnant with my son, whom we named after my husband’s father.

At times, I can feel my ancestors’ spirits, excited to be celebrated and remembered—and also loving us and preparing us for change.

WHEN WE PAUSE and experience the veil of the spiritual and physical realm, time becomes irrelevant. Spirit reminds us that time is a construct, and slowing down to connect with the divine spirit requires patience. These celebrations and traditions create space for just that: slowing down and releasing the summer’s heat. Harvesting the change that will come from letting go for the new season. Pausing and collecting our thoughts and strength for the winter.

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Autumn is a time to quiet down the mind and return home. Home may be a physical place or spiritual place. Whatever it may be, let yourself breathe quietly and mindfully. Allow yourself to reconnect with self and family. Whether with your blood family, a spirit family, or a chosen family, enjoy autumn as a time to come together and watch the sun slumber a little longer. Slow down and give yourself permission to release. Trust in the winds of Quetzalcoatl that these changes are for growth. Listen to Tlaloc’s songs as the rain drops with rhythm. Each drop is blessing you for your new beginning. Listen to and respect the words of the ancestors as we transition into the underworld earlier in the day. Take the time to watch the leaves change color. Green. Spotted brown. Gold. Fall.

Top image credit: istock.com/crisserbug

Top image credit: istock.com/crisserbug

Top image credit: istock.com/crisserbug

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