Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sugar Skulls

We'll see lots of wonderful calaveras de azĂșcar (sugar skulls) created in all kinds of materials, and sizes in San Miguel de Allende in October!

Monday, July 23, 2012

good lattes in San Miguel de Allende

photo by Helen Shafer Garcia
La Mesa Grande is one of the nicest coffee houses we've stopped at in San Miguel de Allende. It is a lovely stop between Casa Luna and Casa Quebrada.
We stopped there frequently for yummy lattes, sandwiches and sugary treats every day on our retreat last year. Their menu also includes salads, pizzas and handmade breads.
Mark it in your travel journal ... there is even a map that you can print out on La Mesa Grande facebook page

Quebrada photo by Helen Shafer Garcia

rooftop detail at Casa Luna by Helen Shafer Garcia

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Dia de los Muertos symbolism

Ensenada Altar by Jane LaFazio ~ 8x10 inches
Dia de los Muertos Altars are a big part of Day of the Dead in San Miguel de Allende, with each item on the altar, filled with significance. Here are a few of the symbols commonly used:

A photo of the deceased (the altar can have multiple pictures and represent more than one ancestor or if there are no photos on an altar it is understood that it is in honor of all your ancestors)
 detail of Ensenada Altar by Jane LaFazio
A bell to signal the location, so the spirits can find their way back to earth
 detail of Ensenada Altar by Jane LaFazio
Marigolds to scent the night (and remind us of the impermanence of life)
 detail of Ensenada Altar by Jane LaFazio

A ladder for the journey back to earth and candles to light the way.
Food for nourishment while on earth

 detail of Ensenada Altar by Jane LaFazio

Aztec dog to guard the altar and coins for spending money while on earth
 detail of Ensenada Altar by Jane LaFazio

Sugar skulls for decoration

and a few more:
Favorite items, hobbies, food or drink that the deceased enjoyed
Incense: it is customary to burn copal incense,which clears the space of any negative energy or bad spirits and helps the dead find their way.
Pan de muertos: a special Day of the Dead Bread
A glass of water: Water is the source of life and represents purity. It quenches the thirst of the spirits.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mary Oliver writes on San Miguel de Allende

statue in the window

First Days in San Miguel de Allende

by Mary Oliver

The flagellated Christ
is being carried
to San Miguel de Allende.
He must be very heavy

yet the carriers persist
upon the sun flashed road
and the people follow

in the same way that people would seek
a river heard of but never yet found.
they are that thirsty...


I have come, for the first time, to Mexico.
And what has happened
to that intense ambition

with which I always wake?
Soaked up
in the colors, stolen
by the blood Christs.

I am feeling something, incredibly,
like peace...

the tops of the northbound trains are dangerous.
Still, they are heaped with hopefuls.

I understand their necessity.
Understanding, however, it not sharing.

Oh, let there be a wedding of the
mind and the heart, if not today
then soon.

Meanwhile, let me change my own life
into something better.

Meanwhile, on the streets of San Miguel de Allende
it is easy to smile.
"Hola," I say to the children.
"Hi," they say, as I pass

with my passport, and money, in my pocket.