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Hello Saveta:

I just returned from my first trip to Mexico. Because of finances I travelled frugally and managed to stay with a friend I met previously at college.

On my last day before returning to Florida, we walked from her small apartment to a main road to catch a bus into the local town for some last-minute shopping.

As we walked along, we passed several plain white crosses at the side of the road. My friend said they are called descansos

or roadside crosses that mark a person’s final resting place.

She explained that descansos can be found in cemeteries, on a tree trunk or even a lamp post.

The crosses are often accompanied by all or part of the object causing the indicated death, such as a piece of shattered windshield.

I found it eerie and fascinating. Have you ever heard of such things?

Any information you might have would be appreciated.

Ps. I did not know who else to ask this kind of question.

My Mother and Grandmother have had readings with you in the past and know about the newsletters you write.

So, I am hoping you are the right person to contact with this question.

Dear M.R.: You present an intriguing question. Your friend’s explanation of decansos is quite accurate.

The word “descanso” comes from the Spanish word meaning “to rest” (as in a resting place, either a final one for a body or a temporary one for pallbearers making their way to a grave)

The practice is quite common throughout Mexico, the Mediterranean and even the American southwest.

Some descansos are plain white and some with geometric or floral designs.

Typically, the center of the cross will display the name, birth and death date of the deceased and are often accompanied by a prayer.

Decansos are known to come in all kinds of presentations, cement, clay, stones, two pieces of pipe tied together, or a cross painted on a wall.

Bouquets of plastic or live flowers, usually marigolds are typically found at the base of the crosses.

There are additional versions of the use of descanos ; that mention them being symbolic reminders of the many “little” deaths and losses we all experience through the journey of our lives.

The death of a job, relationship are all “little deaths” we can all relate to.

Some writers consider it very therapeutic to make a list of all your defeats, setbacks, and impasses.

Meditate on each one briefly…try objectively to discern the life lesson that is there for you to draw from, forgive and release back to the universe.

One technique I think is especially powerful is to write each experience from your list on separate white crosses and when you are finished your meditation, contemplation, and release exercise; burn the paper crosses to ashes, then scatter the ashes somewhere positive like a park, stream, or conservation area.

Choose a place that represents a place of peace and calm to you, and symbolically serves to represent the spot for “release” of these energies back to the earth.

Thank you for a unique question.

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