Sunday, November 2, 2014

Apologies for the Dia de los Muertos post by Liithi Lushede

It seems as though my post covering Liithi Lushede Coven's public Samhain ritual, which was influenced by the Mexican cultural holiday Dia de los Muertos, is causing a bit of a stir with a few readers of my blog.  I want to make a formal apology to anyone who has felt that the intentions of the ritual were negative or that we were participating in cultural appropriation.  Perhaps my writing was distasteful, or I missed some crucial information.  For that, I'm truly sorry.

First and foremost, I am not associated with Liithi Lushede Coven.  While they are a wonderful organization, I just show up and take pictures.  And they've shown me much appreciation for that.  However, I have absolutely no hand in planning the rituals or participating in them.  I just deliver the pictures so that you may see what the Kansas City pagan community is up to.  That's my job as a blogger.  Unfortunately, that means any criticism of the ritual is landing in the wrong place here.

That being said, Liithi Lushede was in no way trying to co-opt a religious holiday that is primarily rooted in Mexican Catholic beliefs.  The ritual was held not in cultural appropriation but cultural appreciation.  I firmly believe that the coven members wanted to expose a large amount of Kansas City to a new religion and way of thinking.  It was held with the greatest amount of respect and honor possible, with an incredible amount of information given about the beliefs surrounding Santa Muerte and the Dias de los Muertos up front.  There were Mexican and Mexican-American members in attendance who were consulted for the ritual and who approved of the celebration.  Overall, it was about education and exposure over adaptation and appropriation.

Most of Kansas City celebrated Samhain this year with hints of cultural significance thrown in.  My own circle celebrated Samhain with pieces of Taoism, Buddhism, old Norse and Celtic traditions and, yes, even a little Dia de los Muertos.  We created small calaveras during ritual to honor our loved ones.  I absolutely hope that this does not offend anyone as it was one of my circle's favorite parts of the ritual.  And again, this was done with the utmost honor and appreciation for each culture in hopes to expose my circlemates to something new and different beyond your typical generic pagan ritual.

One of my favorite parts about living in Kansas City is that we are such a diverse city.  You can't live here and not be exposed to a variety of cultures and ideologies that you might not expect coming from the southern Midwest.  It's a beautiful city, and I'm proud of our accepting and open nature.

Again, please understand that Liithi Lushede, and I in my personal ritual, were not attempting to take over a beautiful and deep cultural celebration such as Dia de los Muertos but instead attempting to celebrate diversity, understanding and openness with respect, honor and dignity.

And again, I greatly apologize if the article seemed offensive.  While I do not intend to remove the blog entry, you are more than welcome to give me suggestions of how to make the article more tasteful and respectful.  I will gladly and openly take all requests and attempt to mold that post into what it needs to be to show the respect Dia de los Muertos and Mexican culture needs and deserves.

Thank you for reading.

5 comments:

  1. I think the article was informative and respectful for what is worth. This is my personal opinion of course. It is amazing to see such a large turn out, what a lovely celebration! Looks like there was fun all around.

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  2. I agree with Nadine as well.

    Lately I have seen a lot of blogs and video blogs focusing on the topic of appropriation, and it's become a hot issue.

    Personally, it's never bothered me as long as the intent wasn't to ridicule/mock the culture. My belief is that there is nothing wrong with having an affinity with things from another culture and making it into your own. If it speaks to you, it doesn't matter. There are countless of similarities between cultures and civilizations throughout the world in any given era.

    Just my two cents. As a person who has ancestors from two different continents, I have no problem with people using parts from other cultures. (I mean, we're all connected, right? In some way, and you might say I appropriate all the time from both continents I have ties to.) It is a great way to learn, appreciate, and give new meanings to things that may become forgotten due to the changes of society and ways of life.

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    1. My thoughts exactly, Anon. Thank you so much for your comment and your support!

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