Saturday, 30 October 2010
Isnt it interesting how Halloween has taken hold of the nation and become a real celebratory time again. I hear lots of comments that it has become 'very American' and it's true we are seeing lots of shops jumping on the bandwaggon, decorations, food, costumes and loads of stuff being sold for halloween parties and decorating houses. You could compare it to xmas. That has become such an overblown celebration of consummerism over the last few years. I dont count the Winter Solstice in with this, because I think the celebration of Pagan festivals on the whole tends to be still seen as a spiritual event. I hope the same is for Samhain too.
Now dont get me wrong. I have no hesitation in carving my pumpkin, cutting out bats from black card and sticking glitter on them. I dont mind taking my children out to 'trick or treat' either, although its just for half an hour after we've attended an open family ritual or Pagan circle.
So how do I feel about all this?
On the one hand its great to see people acknowledge this sacred festival of ours and the slowly receding fear that so many fundamentalist Christians whipped up in the past. I can remember some years ago, some local churches trying to stamp out the harmless activities of childrens' halloween parties and dressing up as ghosties and goulies. Leaflets sent to schools to tell them of the 'dangers' of this celebration. Maybe you remember the Leeds shop 'sorcerers' apprentice' and its pagan anti-defamation campaign. I myself sent their leaflets to my children's schools hoping to enlighten them regarding this ancestral festival.
On the other hand, does it belittle this special time?
Well, actually I dont think so.
Id like to think its becoming more popular because people are beginning to open up spiritually again to the Earth and to Spirit. That once again people are seeing it as a good time to face up to the unknown. To celebrate our ancestors, family lines and acknowledge the scythe that eventually harvests us all!
However, in reality, I think it is probably likely to be because we need more things to celebrate in our lives, when we have so much that is causing problems in our current situations. Economic depressions and tightening the old belt! Like the depression of the 1920s when lavish films and musicals became popular to take people out of themselves and forget about the problems they had for a short period of time. And the late 1970s and 1980s when the economic problems were faced with the new romantics, fashions, music and credit society.
So Im not going to any of the supermarkets to stock up on a plastic monster mash singing pumpkin. Or to buy any more fake cobwebs and rubber spiders to hang around my front door. (though Im not being critical of anyone who likes these things - but I've never liked singing, dancing santa's either). Mind you I do have a collection of kids toy spiders and skeletons that like the Winter Solstice decorations, come out each year.
And today we have spent an afternoon cutting out orange card pumpkins, black bats and cats. Sticking ribbons and glitter on them. We have hung them in the window and put a funny scary mask on the front door. Later this afternoon I shall hollow out the real pumpkin (yes Im afraid it is shop bought, I didnt grow it this year!!) Make soup to freeze and pie to take to our circle tomorrow.
Tonight while my daughter sleeps I will light a candle and remember my dead.
And tomorrow afternoon we gather with friends at a nearby Druid grove to have a family based celebration, after which I will take my 2 daughters and grandson for a little wander around his neighbourhood with a bucket, dressed in scary costumes and face painted for a while to gather some sweets and shout boo at each other.
However you keep Samhain, I wish you a blessed and fruitful Celtic New Year!
Sunday, 10 October 2010
I have just had the loveliest afternoon in a long while which will probably go a long way to keep me going after the last few weeks at work!!
Living in an urban area doesnt mean I dont see the beauties of nature. But sometimes you just need to get out into the countryside and breath.
It wasnt anything particularly special. Just an autumn walk in a lovely wood. But with the weather so beautiful, the autumnal colours and the pleasure of just meandering through the trees, it was one of the nicest days ive had in a long while.
So enjoy the photos, and try to get out in the countryside if you can - while you still can!