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A Visit from your Beloved Deceased

By Angel Nuñez

To keep the children out of the bush our parents warned us of the invasion of the Tata Balan. To keep the men at home after they were out drinking they were all cautioned of the possibility of a confrontation with the Xtabai. Now to keep the children from killing small birds, our parents also had a fine story to tell us about that.

“Whenever you see a small yellow bird enter your house, do not kill it,” father would say. “It is actually the soul of some beloved family member who had died that is visiting you.” Therefore whenever a little bird accidentally entered our house, we would never attacked the little creature. In fact we closed the windows and doors to allow the visiting spirit to remain as long as possible. It was an honor to welcome the spirit of granny, grandpa, or some beloved aunt or uncle who had passed away and was visiting. We did not want any harm to come their way. And not only that, but whenever we saw these little yellow birds in the wild, we also respected them.

Now there was the visit of a moth or butterfly. We learned that the visit of a moth was to announce the death of some family member who had been sick for some time. Similarly it could be the visit of some deceased family member. The next day you had a small bruise on some part of the body and this meant that the “muerto” or dead person had touched you. The dead person was asking you for prayers so that his/her soul could repose and rest in peace.

“I know that you are tempted to kill a moth for fear of it, but do not because it is the spirit of a dead person coming to visit us,” our parents would explain. Have you seen a moth enter your home recently? Do not kill it for it is an honor to be visited by your beloved dead ones. Perhaps you may want to call this superstition. However, I call it children innocence and this prompted them to believe everything their parents told them. Incidentally, when these children become adults, they continue believing these myths. I certainly do.

A Visit from your Beloved Deceased

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