Muertos 2015 altar

“Everything is speaking to us, and we are speaking to everything.” –Doryan Dean

I’ve been spending more time in my backyard lately, communicating with my enormous pepper tree. Each day I ask it a question (a practice suggested by Jean Houston). One morning I asked about a new friend.  Seeing an image of a snake in the tree, I heard the message, “She’s a powerful ally – but don’t get bitten!” Another day, concerned about an imperfect offering I’d put out to the world, the tree told me to set my ego aside and carry on.

Then one afternoon, I was awakened from a nap by a loud buzzing sound. At first I didn’t realize it was in my backyard, with all the construction happening next door. By the time I roused myself, I was horrified to discover two men perched in my pepper tree – hacking off its boughs and branches! I rushed outside to demand that they stop, but it was too late. My beautiful tree had been butchered.

It seems my rear neighbors had left me a message that they were going do some trimming (I’ve approved this on a limited basis in the past, though never to this extent). But I hadn’t received the message. Once I stopped sobbing and apologizing to the tree, I drafted a polite but firm letter to my neighbors, forbidding any further trespassing and threatening legal action if my tree fails to recover.

All of this was happening while I was preparing a Day of the Dead altar to honor my parents. I’d been framing photos of my mom and dad and thinking of them so strongly. It’s the first time I’ve participated in the annual Muertos exhibition at the Sherman Heights Community Center, though I always enjoy the altars and related festivities.

The veil between the worlds is thin right now. I can sense my Taurus-rising dad admonishing me: “Protect what you hold dear.” He planted that pepper tree 65 years ago. He would spend hours in the backyard, nurturing his plants and propping up his beloved tree with stakes as its branches grew too heavy to support themselves.

Protection is a key theme of the Taurus Full Moon (Tuesday, Oct. 27, 5:05 a.m. PDT). A sign that prizes the things it loves, Taurus is strongly connected to the Earth. The third Super Moon in a row, this is a powerful time of magic and manifestation as the Moon in grounded Taurus opposes the Sun in mystical Scorpio. Consider: Are you supporting yourself adequately? Are you setting firm boundaries where needed? Ask a favorite tree for guidance – or consult with a beloved ancestor. You may be amazed by what you hear!

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