Reviews & Interviews

Book Review – Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead by Jaime Gironés

Book Review

Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead

by Jaime Gironés

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

196 Pages

Publication Date: September 8, 2021

 

….If the Day of the Dead inspires you to celebrate your loved ones who have passed away, the most important thing is to do so from your heart. When working with the spirit world, it is crucial that what you are doing has meaning to you. If you are motivated to practice some of the activities mentioned in this book, by all means, do so. If some symbols or aspects do not resonate with you, it is more important to find a way to engage with them that does resonate with you….1.

Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead by Jaime Gironés, though small in page count and size is a giant in its wisdom. The book begins with several pages of content entitled Author’s Note and Mr. Gironés dives right into the subject of cultural appropriation vs. cultural appreciation. As he notes, this is an especially relevant consideration for “El Dia de los Muertos”Day of the Dead, and the meaning and sacredness of the day for those to whom this is culturally part of their history, origins and honorings.

Mr. Gironés recommends to his readers that as they read through the book and practice the activities provided that three (3) questions be the basis in choosing how you will honor and respect its celebrations. These are:

(knowing) Your Intentions: He uses the example of setting up a Day of the Dead altar, and asking yourself if this is for a social media photo opportunity or because there is true meaning and purpose behind it.

Acknowledging Context and History: This questions relates to the use of symbols and methods of celebration. Is the painting of your child’s (your face) as La Catrina* simply part of a Halloween costume? or do you truly understand the meaning and origins of its use.

and Congruence: This is highlighted by holding consistency in the daily manner in which you view and treat those of the culture whose celebrations, beliefs, symbols, etc… you are using as one of a positive and respectful interaction.

If there had been nothing more of this book than this thought-filled precursor to making decision about how the reader would make use of the subsequent material, it would have still been a “giant” take-away. …. It is crucial that what you are doing has meaning to you…2.

Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead is separated into six (6) chapters and does due diligence in making the book as rich and user-friendly as possible. In keeping with this intention the title prefaces the chapters of content with a table of twenty-three (23) Activities and Exercises, an Introduction and ending with a Conclusion, Glossary and informative Bibliography.

I especially enjoyed the Introduction, which provides the reader with a close up and personal account of the author’s celebration of the Day of the Dead. He goes on to give an outline of How to Use This Book and how to make this celebration, or something similar your own personal and meaningful experience.

… I was born in Mexico City, and it has always been my hometown. The Day of the Dead has been part of my life since I was a child. My family gets together every year to set up the Day of the Dead altar, just as we do to set up the Christmas tree. We sit at the table and look at the family albums to select the pictures of our beloved ones while telling stories of our relatives and the history of our family, and then we decorate the Day of the Dead altar together… 3.

Chapter 1: The History of the Day of the Dead gives the reader the background and origins of the Day of the Dead and directly supports the words of the author given in the Author’s Note about choosing to celebrate in your own fashion and being mindful and respectful of the intentions of any symbology or ritual experience you use. This chapter is very thorough and it would be difficult for the reader to come away from its information not palpably feeling the significance of the Day of the Dead as the roots and foundation of a culture reaching back to Mesoamerica (c.1800 BCE-1521 CE).

Organically flowing, the subsequent chapters educate the reader in the ways of Death (Ch. 2), Altars (Ch. 3), Celebrations and Rituals (Chapters 4-5) and the finality of how to Say(ing) Goodbye to Visiting Spirits (Ch. 6). The Activities and Exercises listed in the beginning of the book are interspersed at appropriate sections throughout and provide the reader with a way to connect in a more personal and individual way.

Arriving at the Conclusion, the reader now is equipped with a thorough and deep understanding of El Dia De Los Muertes.

… The time to celebrate the dead has passed. We have remembered our loved ones. We have spoken with our relatives and friends about those who have left before us. We prepared our home for the special guests, we welcomed our loved ones, we set an altar for them, we dreamed with them, and we spoke with them. We offered them food and drinks. We recalled a lot of sweet stories… 4.

Would I Recommend:

Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead by Jaime Gironés calls out to the reader in a very profound way. One that is drawn from the personal experience of the author and one that helps to create a personal experience for the reader simply by the reading of it. As is said. “good things come in small packages”. In this instance Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead by Jaime Gironés contains a wealth of information and possibilities that is priceless. I’ve pre-ordered my copy and can’t wait to learn more!

 

Notes:

* satirical representation of death created by the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century artist José Guadalupe Posada and later renamed and

painted by Diego Rivera. Originally called la Calavera Garbancera (satirical for “elegant skull”). (excerpted from the Glossary)

    1. Author’s Note
    2. Author’s Note
    3. Introduction
    4. Conclusion

About Author Jaime Gironés

Jaime Gironés (Mexico City) was born in 1989 and has followed the Wiccan path since he was 13 years old. He writes about spirituality, magic, minority religions, myths, and Witchcraft, focusing in Mexico and Latin America. He’s also an international columnist of The Wild Hunt, a daily news site for Pagans, Heathens, Wiccans, Witches, and Polytheists.

Llewellyn’s Little Book of the Day of the Dead (Llewellyn’s Little Books) on Amazon

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is an Elder within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path, the 12th Coven within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path.  

Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and the Western Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice.  A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers.

Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following a practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th (Elder) degrees within the Assembly Tradition and has served as High Priestess of two ASW covens since Samhain of 2001 and the Winter Solstice of 2015.


As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she uses Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work.

Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally.  She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented.  She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival. Her most recent projects include a channel on youtube: A Journey to the Inner Chamber. She also shares audio pathworkings and ritual on her bandcamp site: Teachings on the Path with Robin.

Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings.  She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 40+- year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education.

Robin’s Websitewww.robinfennelly.com

Coven of the Mystic Path, ASWwww.covenofthemysticpath.org

Her books can be found on Amazon or purchased directly through her website:

For more infohttp://www.robinfennelly.com/books.html

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 It’s Written in the Stars-Astrology

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 2 Poetry of the Spheres-Qabalah

The Inner Chamber, Vol. 3 Awakening the Paths-Qabalah

The Light of SELF: Consciousness, Spiritual Practice and Learning to Breathe

Magickal Verse: A Collection of Poetry and Prose

A Year of Gaia: The Eternal Cord

The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of SELF

Temple of the Sun and Moon: Luminous Devotions

Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion

A Weekly Reflection: Musings for the Year

The Magickal Pen: A Collection of Esoteric Writings

The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

The Temple of the Sun: An Astrological Solar Year

Writings in the Shadow: An Exploration of the Shadow Nature