Zozobra is an annual tradition in Santa Fe, New Mexico that started 91 years ago. Zozobra represents the burning and destruction of all your worries and everything that makes you sad. The event will be tonight and my mother and I will be in attendance. This will be my first year going and I, at first, was skeptical and thought that it seemed weird and bizarre, but the more I learned about the history and reason for this tradition, the more I came to appreciate it. Zozobra represents a big bad ugly monster (many Christians may refer to him as being Satan) who growls and roars and tries to scare us with our sadness, our losses, our worries and weaknesses. But tonight, that is all put to rest, no matter what your background, your culture, your religion or spiritual beliefs, we all have a need to burn our troubles and worries away and tonight is the night that Santa Fe comes together to burn their worries and losses away and allow their healing to begin.
As many you have visited this website already know, this past January we lost my father, John Hill, a devoted husband and father, and well-renowned game designer, specifically Squad Leader, Johnny Reb and Across A Deadly Field. My father passed away very suddenly and without warning. He had what seemed to be a minor problem with a bladder infection. He went in to urgent care on Friday because he was not able to urinate. They hooked him to a catheter and he felt much better, but the hospital wanted to “keep him overnight for observation” — it did not seem like a big deal. I spoke to him on the Saturday morning while he was in the hospital and he seemed fine. He was lucid and upbeat. However, that night, after receiving numerous pharmaceuticals, my mother said he was “luppy” and told her after waking up from a brief nap, “That was some party!” and then went back to sleep, never to awake again. Those were apparently his last words. Life has not been the same since then.
However, tonight we peel back some of the layers of the onion and work to begin a new healing process, by marching down to the center of town here in Santa Fe with my father’s death certificate in hand where we will deposit it into the “gloom box” into the stage where the massive beast stands. The purpose of the “gloom box” is for people to place their worries and things that make them sad. Items such as divorce decrees, foreclosure documents and as in our case, a death certificate.
It has been a very hard road for my mother and I this year, but tonight within the powers to be, we can begin a psychological and spiritual healing with better things to come. Thank you again to everyone for our wonderful comments and support that you have provided on this website. Please keep them coming as we love hearing from each of us.