Life, Death, Eros on Dia De Los Muertos (plus Freixenet Cava!)

Happy Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos!


an ofrenda in the middle of a labyrnth

What, you don’t know what Dia de Los Muertos is? You mean you don’t have an altar to remember those who have passed?

Wikipedia explains that Day of the Dead  or in Spanish: Día de Muertos “is a Mexican holiday observed throughout Mexico and around the world in other cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.”

“The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the triduum of Allhallowtide: All Hallows’ Eve, Hallowmas, and All Souls’ Day.[2][3] Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.”


my son didn’t look so good on Halloween and had to stay home from school so we went to see Book of Life

The holiday has become very popular in California and will become even more widely popular with newly released film Book of Life which I saw on Halloween with my 10 year old son who for rather obvious reasons was unable to attend school without everyone thinking he was already in full make-up for Halloween (his dermatologist suggested he go as Rocky Balboa…).

We both enjoyed the movie and its message to be true to yourself and to what you believe, no matter what, and that a true heart will save the day.

The film also encourages us not to fear death and to remember those family and friends who have passed before us.


Wine Predator as calavera

By chance I am attending a weekend workshop with Christine Downing at Pacifica Graduate Institute on “Epiphanies: Big Dreams and Important Meetings” and this afternoon we spent quite a bit of time discussing Death and Hades as well as Eros.

Dr Downing says that Death part of what gives humans significance is our human awareness of loss: death gives life its beauty and power.  Freud talks about the Death drive which is in all of us and that is what directs us to resolutions, completions, and harmony.

Completion is the death of the journey.

We must accept death as part of who we are, says Eros,  while Death says we want the happiness, the 1017157_10152451310860924_4784115938223396554_nresolution, the fullfilment, the peace that can only come with the ultimate resolution which is death.

Think about it: on the one hand we want to know the end of a novel. On the other end, we love the sweet agony of experiencing the plot unfold. These are contrary impulses, says Peter Brooks who teaches at Yale, to want to get to the end AND want to stay in the world of the novel. Which do you choose: Find out the end? Be in the plot?

Desire is ultimately for the end for resolution but in between the plot is the eros part: the detours and delays that keep us from getting to the end.

Life is the various delays of that end of life. Death is terminous and telos or purpose. Our deepest longing is for peace. Death, as painful as it may be, puts us in touch with life.

And what does this deep conversation on Life, Death, and Eros have to do with WINE you ask?

Well, glad you asked. In addition to being influenced by the work of Jung and Freud, as a depth psychologist perhaps my greatest influence is  James Hillman. Now Dr Hillman was a big fan of the vino so it seemed that in my earlier photo of his altar something was missing.


So I rectified it by popping open a bottle of sparkling cava by Freixenet–the one in the black bottle–which I paired with dark chocolate covered strawberries and a glorious moon and a stellar sunset on a eucalyptus and oak covered hillside not far from the Pacific Ocean.

I am not going to say that this sparkler holds a candle to the bottle of Ruinart Champagne that I opened for Champagne Day. But that wine retails in the $50 range while this one is under $15.

And for under $15, this cava offers a lot of pleasantly brut bubbly fun for the buck with lots of green apple and a clean finish. Even more fun and festive, try your Freixenet with a bit of orange juice, a splash of Gran Marnier, and a candy corn garnish in a martini glass for a special seasonal cocktail!

Happy Halloween! Happy All Saints Day! Feliz Dia de Los Muertos! And if you haven’t yet, this Day of the Dead remember your family and friends with a toast!


PS Oh so who’s James Hillman?

“…the call may have been more like ge10689701_10152453266485924_3766820058218827196_nntle pushings in the stream in which you drifted unknowingly to a particular spot on the bank. Looking back, you sense that fate had a hand in it.”

Hillman: “to recuperate the lost soul, which is the aim of all depth psychologies, we must recover our lost aesthetic reactions, our sense of beauty” (Hillman, 1995, p. 41).  For Hillman, beauty is not just “beautifying” or an item in a museum or a simply an object: true beauty is in an experience: “penetrating into the ancient notion aisthesis (sense-perception) from which aesthetics derives” (p. 42).


From Opus, the home of his archives:

“The body of his work is comprised of scholarly studies in several fields including psychology, philosophy, mythology, art, and cultural studies. His groundbreaking book, Re-visioning Psychology, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1975 and his book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, was on the New York Time’s best seller list for nearly a year. His works also include The Myth of Analysis, Healing Fiction, The Dream and the Underworld, The Force of Character, Suicide and the Soul, A Terrible Love of War, among many others.

The influences shaping the core of Hillman’s work are not limited to Depth Psychology. His ideas have firm grounding in the classical Greek tradition and are also deeply influenced by Renaissance thought and Romanticism, encompassing the contributions of psychologists, philosophers, poets, and alchemists. Hillman described his own line of thought as part of the lineage of Heraclitus, Plato, Plotinus, Vico, Ficino, Schelling, Coleridge, Dilthey, Freud, and Jung. Other influential authors in Hillman´s work are Keats, Bachelard, Corbin, Nietzsche, Paracelsus, and Shelley.

Throughout his work, Hillman criticized the literal, materialistic, and reductive perspectives that often dominate the psychological and cultural arenas. He insisted on giving psyche its rightful place in psychology and culture, fundamentally through imagination, metaphor, art, and myth. That act he called soul-making, a term borrowed from Keats.”


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