Poetic Prompt: The Dead and their Cosmic Altar

It is that time of the year when, in Mexico, we honor the dead. Some people may be aware of this celebration, but if you’re not I will give you the heads up. During the last day of October and the first days of November, people create altars to celebrate their loved ones. They offer them their favorite foods (traditional), treats, flowers (marigolds), bread, sugar or chocolate skulls (calacas), and many more small objects like glasses of water and candles. Also, it is common to place a picture of the person you are honoring on the altar.

To get a better idea about this festivity, this video will show you how San Miguel de Allende, Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos):


This ritual demystifies death. Instead of fearing the dead, we feast with them and enjoy having had their existence in this Earth. We create art in such a way that death becomes something doesn’t haunt you or make you feel afraid. If everything we experience is transitory, why should we fear an essential part of it? Death is a friendly reminder that the clock is ticking, so embrace life! Truly experience life’s wholeness and let the fear of death go but still respect it as we do during the Day of the Dead.

With this in mind, let’s create a creative piece (visual, acoustic, or textual poem) that explores death with a positive light. Let’s bring the poietic to death. The poietic means that we will try to unconceal truth and reveal the beautiful about death. What about the idea of imagining a cosmic altar for the dead?  Could you imagine creating one? What would the cosmic aspect be? What would the altar aspect do for your creative piece inspired by the information above? What makes death worthy of our respect and honor to the point of making it cosmic? What kind of life will you live that makes you worthy of our honor after your death? What kind of objects remind you of a loved one that has already died? What good values have those who have departed left within you?

Think of those values and compare them to things that remind you of those values. For example rather than falling into the fear of the dead, we will consider the dead as dog friendly, kind as a mellow marshmallow, wise as a laughter, and loving as a cosmic river bed. These are just ideas to get you going. You could also be inspired by the metaphoric image of a cosmic altar for the dead or the video of San Miguel Allende’s Day of the Dead celebration.

That said, this time I will create this time a poetic video poem to inspire you to create your own artwork, so stay tuned. Let’s see what you come up with and share it with me, too! If you have a question or would like to know more about the Day of the Dead, ask away in the comment section. Will be back soon! I have decided to publish the poem before it has the video so you can enjoy it and be inspired by it as soon as possible. The poem I created does not specifically mention the word death, but it is a tribute to the cosmic scintillating of those who have lived and left us their mark in this Earth. The poem is called The Cosmic Scintillating.