Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Homage

Now it's time to get a bit personal. What I refer to as an "homage" (pronounced: "o-
maj" with a soft "j", meaning: "Special honor or respect shown or expressed
publicly") is the creative act of taking the opportunity to make use of the energies
and origins of this season, and particularly the holiday to pay respects to our
dearly departed.

A large part of our draw to the Victorian Era, along with its finery and brilliant
stories, is its grand shows of reminiscing and memorialization. Victorians embrace
their memories and display them for future generations to experience and feel at
their core and to learn from. Practices such as post-mortem photography and cemetery
art set the standard for many when it came to mourning their dead and keeping their
memory alive by paying homage to them in many creative ways.
So for this Victorianesque Hallowe'en, we will discuss ways you can pay homage to
those who are truly never that far away, whom you hold close to your heart, and whose legacy lives on in the stories your families may have told, or the moments you may remember with them. Keep in mind, should you choose to include an homage in your decor, that there is really no wrong or right way to do it. This is for you, your family, your departed loved one, and anyone you choose to share it with. You can display it as privately or publicly as you wish.
Now to details. For very obvious reasons, your homage is an incredibly personal
thing, and this will help you with its design and display. You can have as many as
you wish, for relatives, loved ones, friends, even strangers whom you wish to honour.
You can do your display as an accumulation of all those whose company you may wish to enjoy on All Hallow's Night, or whom you wish Peace and Grace, or both. If possible, begin with a photo of the individual. If one is not available, a momento will do. Anything that is significant to this individual. An old friend of mine, a calligrapher, used to simply write the name, date of birth and date of death, and a small quote or note, much like a portable, paper headstone, and use that as the
centerpiece for the homage, or memoriam. Find a relatively undisturbed spot where your homage will not be upturned or in the way. Sideboards and shelves are wonderful for this. I will give another idea shortly for a hanging homage.
Decorate the spot with flowers, fabrics, personal items and add a few tea lights or
candles to symbolize their immortality and the light they shed on others during their
time on Earth. In a previous post I also mentioned the use of string lights. These
wonderful little illuminators accent the candles and give the homage a warm glow when
you are unable to leave an open flame.
Don't rush yourself. This is your opportunity to spend some time with their memory.
Each piece you place has profound significance. If you wish, make it a shared
experience by having friends or family members of your choosing also place a memento,
light a candle and perhaps share a story or share a confidence with the departed
Now for the hanging homage, this is a bit simpler, but the idea is the same. If you
have a picture hanging on the wall and do not wish to move or risk being knocked
over, and perhaps it is unreasonable to move a small tea table or side board beneath
it, you can still have your homage for your loved one. First be certain the frame is
secured well to the wall. Drape the frame with a light fabric, lace or a garland of
silk ivy or vine of your choice. A small string of lights can be added, provided the
hook is strong enough. In some cases, a small wall sconce with a tea light can be
hung on the wall just below the picture so that it's glow rises to illuminate their
visage. Dried or silk flowers can be tucked behind the corners of the frame (as long
as they are kept clear of lit candles).
No matter how you create your homage, it is your unique dedication to those who have
come before. This is certainly a festive time of year with fun and a lot of Autumn-
hued frivolity. This simple bit of decorating also helps to keep alive the "reason
for the season" and perhaps bring a bit of Peace to hearts and minds during one of
the most superstition-laden (perhaps justified in many ways) times of the year. Once
I am finished with mine, I will come back and include a photo.
Many Blessings to All, Present and Departed,
Until Next,

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