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Memoria

In this issue, we remember ancestors, honor transitions, and celebrate the season of autumn/otoño. Contributors share their ofrendas and teach how to craft ofrendas and velaciones for el Día de los Muertos.

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Editor’s Introduction

Introducing the Memoria Issue

What is the wisdom of the autumn? What lessons does the season of el otoño offer?

As several of the contributors to this issue remind us, fall is a transitional season—a time of shifting the balance from longer days to longer nights. Fall presents a time to slow down, look inward, and remember.

As we observe lessons from nature, we remember that life is both fleeting and giving. We remember that leaves turn, that fruit ripens and falls, that plants begin to offer themselves back to the earth so that they may be recycled into new soil—soil that, in turn, nurtures and integrates itself into new forms of life. The cycles of nature remind us that the past and present are interconnected: that past life sustains current life and that current life will, someday, sustain future life.

In our attention to cycles and transitions, we also take time to remember and celebrate those who live on within us. In this issue, you’ll find memories of loved ones who have made the journey, descriptions of Día de Muertos traditions and celebrations, and instructions for ways to connect to ancestral roots. May you find inspiration in the contributors’ teachings and testimonios.

...on el Día de Muertos, when you commune with your ancestors and leave them gifts, may you also remember that you are your ancestors’ gift back to you.

I’m sure you have varying views about ancestors, dear readers: some of you may know ancestral spirits and past lives quite literally, while others may think of these energies more metaphorically. Either way, I encourage you to also take a moment to remember who lives on within you.

In my case, I remember my grandmother and her ancestral line every time I look down at my own hands. Her hard-working hands are there in mine: the knuckles, the veins, the skin, the long fingers that whipped yarn around with a crochet hook, that measured out just the right amount of flour by touch, that rolled out balls of tortilla dough and flipped them on the comal. They are creative hands. And they remind me to create, to make, and to honor the artistic gifts that live on through me.

So I encourage you to take a moment to acknowledge yourself. Look, perhaps, at your own eyes in the mirror. Who still lives on in those eyes—in the color, the shape, the lashes? Whose beauty lives on in your nose, your cheeks, your feet? Whose voice carries on in the way you laugh, sing, or teach? Whose gifts and talents live on through you? What urgencies do you feel? Even if you didn’t know the individuals who bestowed them, what positive legacies do you carry? May you remember and celebrate these gifts. And on el Día de los Muertos, when you commune with your ancestors and leave them gifts, may you also remember that you are your ancestors’ gift back to you.

Marcy Carbajal, Editor in Chief

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Editor’s Introduction

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Memoria
SOLD OUT

Memoria

In this issue, we remember ancestors, honor transitions, and celebrate the season of autumn/otoño. Contributors share their ofrendas and teach how to craft ofrendas and velaciones for el Día de los Muertos.

Issue 05: Memoria

Web-exclusive articles featuring writers and artists from our community.

Ancestor Velación for el Día de Muertos
Issue 05: Memoria

Ancestor Velación for el Día de Muertos

A velación ritual and companion piece to Xochi Quetzalli's Spirit Loss in America.

Xochi Quetzalli
The New Brujas
Issue 05: Memoria

The New Brujas

The opening chapter from Lorraine Monteagut’s forthcoming book, Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color.

Lorraine Monteagut
Q & A on Brujas and Brujería
Issue 05: Memoria

Q & A on Brujas and Brujería

A conversation with Lorraine Monteagut, Ph.D., on brujería, social justice, and her new book, Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color.

Lorraine Monteagut
Ijkwania Ejekat (Moving Wind)
Issue 05: Memoria

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.

Yoshabel Shay
A Día de los Muertos Perspective: My Path with Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”
Issue 05: Memoria

A Día de los Muertos Perspective: My Path with Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”

Maestra CC weaves together a reflection on her lifelong relationship with death, the Mexhika tradition of el Día de los Muertos, and her current bout with cancer.

Cuauhtli Cihuatl
Building the Vibrational Layers of an Ofrenda
Issue 05: Memoria

Building the Vibrational Layers of an Ofrenda

Holistic health practitioner Bri Martinez suggests ways to raise the vibration of your altar during el otoño, the season of transformation.

Bri Martinez
Spirit Loss in America
Issue 05: Memoria

Spirit Loss in America

“It is time to call your spirit back home. So, say your name aloud. Call your spirit back so that it may reanimate your body, mind, and heart.” Xochi Quetzalli, maestra and practitioner of curanderismo, offers a reflection on cultural susto and a velación to connect with ancestors.

Xochi Quetzalli
Art by Celeste Contreras
...if it all means nothing.
Issue 05: Memoria

...if it all means nothing.

“If nothing else, Earth wants you to pause to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, to feel the breeze, to listen to the crunch of leaves, and to remember all the past year has brought. And the years before that.” Writer and consultant Cameron Navarro encourages us to pause, grieve, and treasure each moment.

Cameron Navarro
Ofrendas for Grandpa
Issue 05: Memoria

Ofrendas for Grandpa

“The picture is black and white. Its plain black frame encloses the sixties, and the setting is the dust of New Mexico in the juniper winds of spring, the sneezing breezes of their pollen-scattering rituals.” An exquisite tribute from poet Ruth Nakamura.

Ruth Nakamura
Prayer
Issue 05: Memoria

Prayer

“Mother, with your rebozo of cloud / wrapped around your shoulders in tatters, / hear me, my candles are lit.” Asking Mother Earth for forgiveness, poet Ruth Nakamura laments the harm humans have caused the planet.

Ruth Nakamura
Momma’s Dreaming
Issue 05: Memoria

Momma’s Dreaming

Artist Tamara Torres crafts a stunning vignette in both words and images, honoring a sweet memory of her momma.

Tamara Torres
This Kin, Not of Blood but of Time
Issue 05: Memoria

This Kin, Not of Blood but of Time

“None of us remembers a time before her. She had with her three spirits we could not see or feel or imagine; they were with her, the shaman said, to protect her.” Writer and poet Aaron Abeyta contemplates ancestral guidance and protection in this excerpt from the Kinship book series.

Aaron A. Abeyta
My Father’s Ghost
Issue 05: Memoria

My Father’s Ghost

On the healing journey of discovering ancestral languages. A touching essay by writer Sarah Monroy Solis.

Sarah Monroy Solis

Issue 05: Memoria

Get a sneak peek at articles that will be published in forthcoming issues. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified about upcoming issue releases.

Ancestor Velación for el Día de Muertos
Issue 05: Memoria

Ancestor Velación for el Día de Muertos

A velación ritual and companion piece to Xochi Quetzalli's Spirit Loss in America.

Xochi Quetzalli
The New Brujas
Issue 05: Memoria

The New Brujas

The opening chapter from Lorraine Monteagut’s forthcoming book, Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color.

Lorraine Monteagut
Q & A on Brujas and Brujería
Issue 05: Memoria

Q & A on Brujas and Brujería

A conversation with Lorraine Monteagut, Ph.D., on brujería, social justice, and her new book, Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color.

Lorraine Monteagut
Ijkwania Ejekat (Moving Wind)
Issue 05: Memoria

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.

Yoshabel Shay
A Día de los Muertos Perspective: My Path with Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”
Issue 05: Memoria

A Día de los Muertos Perspective: My Path with Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”

Maestra CC weaves together a reflection on her lifelong relationship with death, the Mexhika tradition of el Día de los Muertos, and her current bout with cancer.

Cuauhtli Cihuatl
Building the Vibrational Layers of an Ofrenda
Issue 05: Memoria

Building the Vibrational Layers of an Ofrenda

Holistic health practitioner Bri Martinez suggests ways to raise the vibration of your altar during el otoño, the season of transformation.

Bri Martinez
Spirit Loss in America
Issue 05: Memoria

Spirit Loss in America

“It is time to call your spirit back home. So, say your name aloud. Call your spirit back so that it may reanimate your body, mind, and heart.” Xochi Quetzalli, maestra and practitioner of curanderismo, offers a reflection on cultural susto and a velación to connect with ancestors.

Xochi Quetzalli
Art by Celeste Contreras
...if it all means nothing.
Issue 05: Memoria

...if it all means nothing.

“If nothing else, Earth wants you to pause to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, to feel the breeze, to listen to the crunch of leaves, and to remember all the past year has brought. And the years before that.” Writer and consultant Cameron Navarro encourages us to pause, grieve, and treasure each moment.

Cameron Navarro
Ofrendas for Grandpa
Issue 05: Memoria

Ofrendas for Grandpa

“The picture is black and white. Its plain black frame encloses the sixties, and the setting is the dust of New Mexico in the juniper winds of spring, the sneezing breezes of their pollen-scattering rituals.” An exquisite tribute from poet Ruth Nakamura.

Ruth Nakamura
Prayer
Issue 05: Memoria

Prayer

“Mother, with your rebozo of cloud / wrapped around your shoulders in tatters, / hear me, my candles are lit.” Asking Mother Earth for forgiveness, poet Ruth Nakamura laments the harm humans have caused the planet.

Ruth Nakamura
Momma’s Dreaming
Issue 05: Memoria

Momma’s Dreaming

Artist Tamara Torres crafts a stunning vignette in both words and images, honoring a sweet memory of her momma.

Tamara Torres
This Kin, Not of Blood but of Time
Issue 05: Memoria

This Kin, Not of Blood but of Time

“None of us remembers a time before her. She had with her three spirits we could not see or feel or imagine; they were with her, the shaman said, to protect her.” Writer and poet Aaron Abeyta contemplates ancestral guidance and protection in this excerpt from the Kinship book series.

Aaron A. Abeyta
My Father’s Ghost
Issue 05: Memoria

My Father’s Ghost

On the healing journey of discovering ancestral languages. A touching essay by writer Sarah Monroy Solis.

Sarah Monroy Solis

Explore Articles from this Collection

Ancestor Velación for el Día de Muertos
Issue 05: Memoria

Ancestor Velación for el Día de Muertos

A velación ritual and companion piece to Xochi Quetzalli's Spirit Loss in America.

Xochi Quetzalli
The New Brujas
Issue 05: Memoria

The New Brujas

The opening chapter from Lorraine Monteagut’s forthcoming book, Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color.

Lorraine Monteagut
Q & A on Brujas and Brujería
Issue 05: Memoria

Q & A on Brujas and Brujería

A conversation with Lorraine Monteagut, Ph.D., on brujería, social justice, and her new book, Brujas: The Magic and Power of Witches of Color.

Lorraine Monteagut
Ijkwania Ejekat (Moving Wind)
Issue 05: Memoria

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.

Yoshabel Shay
A Día de los Muertos Perspective: My Path with Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”
Issue 05: Memoria

A Día de los Muertos Perspective: My Path with Mictecacihuatl, “Lady of the Dead”

Maestra CC weaves together a reflection on her lifelong relationship with death, the Mexhika tradition of el Día de los Muertos, and her current bout with cancer.

Cuauhtli Cihuatl
Building the Vibrational Layers of an Ofrenda
Issue 05: Memoria

Building the Vibrational Layers of an Ofrenda

Holistic health practitioner Bri Martinez suggests ways to raise the vibration of your altar during el otoño, the season of transformation.

Bri Martinez
Spirit Loss in America
Issue 05: Memoria

Spirit Loss in America

“It is time to call your spirit back home. So, say your name aloud. Call your spirit back so that it may reanimate your body, mind, and heart.” Xochi Quetzalli, maestra and practitioner of curanderismo, offers a reflection on cultural susto and a velación to connect with ancestors.

Xochi Quetzalli
Art by Celeste Contreras
...if it all means nothing.
Issue 05: Memoria

...if it all means nothing.

“If nothing else, Earth wants you to pause to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, to feel the breeze, to listen to the crunch of leaves, and to remember all the past year has brought. And the years before that.” Writer and consultant Cameron Navarro encourages us to pause, grieve, and treasure each moment.

Cameron Navarro
Ofrendas for Grandpa
Issue 05: Memoria

Ofrendas for Grandpa

“The picture is black and white. Its plain black frame encloses the sixties, and the setting is the dust of New Mexico in the juniper winds of spring, the sneezing breezes of their pollen-scattering rituals.” An exquisite tribute from poet Ruth Nakamura.

Ruth Nakamura
Prayer
Issue 05: Memoria

Prayer

“Mother, with your rebozo of cloud / wrapped around your shoulders in tatters, / hear me, my candles are lit.” Asking Mother Earth for forgiveness, poet Ruth Nakamura laments the harm humans have caused the planet.

Ruth Nakamura
Momma’s Dreaming
Issue 05: Memoria

Momma’s Dreaming

Artist Tamara Torres crafts a stunning vignette in both words and images, honoring a sweet memory of her momma.

Tamara Torres
This Kin, Not of Blood but of Time
Issue 05: Memoria

This Kin, Not of Blood but of Time

“None of us remembers a time before her. She had with her three spirits we could not see or feel or imagine; they were with her, the shaman said, to protect her.” Writer and poet Aaron Abeyta contemplates ancestral guidance and protection in this excerpt from the Kinship book series.

Aaron A. Abeyta
My Father’s Ghost
Issue 05: Memoria

My Father’s Ghost

On the healing journey of discovering ancestral languages. A touching essay by writer Sarah Monroy Solis.

Sarah Monroy Solis