From Sorrow to Celebration: A Community Memorial Altar at Paradise Found
By an edhat reader
Local artist and woodworker, Rebecca Zendejas will be creating a Community Memorial altar at Paradise Found, inspired by the celebrations of Samhain and Dias de los Muertos. If you have lost someone dear in the last year, we invite you to stop by and add their name to the altar. The event runs from Oct 23 to Nov 4. Your participation is lovingly encouraged. Paradise Found is located at 17 East Anapamu St.
Rebecca has had a lifelong fascination with and reverence for places of worship and the ways deceased loved ones are remembered and celebrated, to this end she has been creating one of a kind personal altars that can be displayed in the home or office with love and devotion.
As an art student at UCSB, Rebecca blended her profound curiosity of various traditions and cultures with her creative explorations using photography, sculpture and art installation.After a decade studying the practices and beliefs of cultures across the globe, her focus returned to her own heritage: a blend of Western European and Mexican traditions.
Having experienced the death of eight loved ones by the age of 30 the celebration of Días de los Muertos became an essential step towards processing and healing years of accumulated grief and sorrow. As more loved ones passed away, she realized that she wanted to celebrate those that she loved and missed more than once a year. Although she could have easily framed photos of those individuals to display them on a wall, being able to surround an image of a loved one with flowers and mementos on their birthdays and death anniversaries, allowed the sorrow of loss to gently transform into the joy of appreciation. The altar became the focal point to celebrate many throughout the year.
Three years ago, Rebecca began to make and offer these altars for purchase. She calls the altar a ‘zendohous’* - a personal altar that provides a place to remember loved ones in a unique and personal way. Each is made from up-cycled materials with mindful, loving attention to detail and personalized for the recipient.
Paradise Found is the perfect outlet to present these altars. Opened in 1986 they are focused on helping people experience peace of mind, body & spirit. Over the years the products and tools for transformation have expanded and grown and today they provide books, crystals, jewelry, incense and other products that inspire our souls, challenge our minds, and affirm health for our bodies. They are a focal place in the community for like-minded people to network and share ideas, resources, and information; and to be a positive and healing energy point in a global network.
* ‘Zendo’ in Japanese translates as ‘a place of practice’. The name ‘zendohous’ is a nod to the practice of meditation, and the tradition of spirit houses in various cultures.