Halloween, or, Transformation of the Sacred into Scared

Certainly, we did do the scare stuff this year, what with ebola and ISIS and an ISS rocket explosion, more “lone shooter” incidents and so on and on, eh? Indeed, Halloween arrived early.

For my reflections on this holiday (holy day) two years ago, plus its ancient pagan history, see this.

Remember, this short period, October 31 through November 1, from All Souls Day (Halloween) through All Saint’s Day (or All Hallows Day) demonstrates the usual pale, and now commercialized, Christianity-wrecked reflection of an ancient pagan celebration, in this case of Samhain, opposite ancient Beltane, May 1, both these yearly holy days signifying one of the four cross-quarter days, in this case at the midpoint of the quarter of the year between Fall Equinox and Winter Solstice, when the dark, from this day until Solstice, increasingly overtakes the light. We celebrate the joining of the dimensions, the dark and the light, this material world and the spirit world, on this holy day when the veil between the worlds is rumored to be thinnest.

Last weekend one of my housemates, Katarina, attended a Halloween Party in costume, in a cave! They all watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show huddled in blankets on camp chairs with pizza. She said it was lots of fun.

Here she is with her friend Jon beforehand. She had just applied his eye makeup. The words on her chest, “I want to feel dirty” refer to a song in that movie.


That day, she had infused calendula flowers (from the GANG garden) in coconut oil for a salve to treat skin conditions. Halloween colors!

IMG_1260(I can attest to the efficacy of calendula, having once treated a 2″ x 1″ third-degree burn on my arm myself, by slavering it with calendula salve and covering, three times a day. The arm healed with no scar except a slight skin color differential.)

When I was young, but probably too old for what we did (I mean, my god, we did this up through high school?), my friend Mary and I would dress up in costume (partly so they wouldn’t see how old we were) and go Trick or Treating with the little kids; at each house we’d ring the doorbell and then treat the folks who answered with a surprise song, in two part harmony. That was our idea of fun. Times have sure changed.

I would love to hand out candy, or rather fruit, to little kids, but they don’t circulate through this neighborhood. Not sure why. It makes me sad. There are a few little ones who live here, but they don’t roam the streets the way we used to when we were young. Where are they? At supervised Halloween parties? At home, as usual, on their screens? Are parents so fearful that they don’t let their kids go “trickertreating” on their own?

Perhaps the day when kids once again go door to door on Halloween— and instead of expecting candy, ask for fruit — will be one of those markers that, for me, will signify the return of sanity to neighborhoods and to communities.

BTW: A few days ago I received an email from a young woman who has just moved to Bloomington, and settled into Green Acres, which is largely a student rental area. She told me about two pumpkins that grace a front porch on the corner of 5th and Clark. One is carved with the shape of she says, an erect penis, and the other with, she says, a woman’s vagina. I went to take a look. Hmmm. If so, the penis is facing east, away from the other pumpkin, and that “vagina” looks more like a poorly caved, smashed-in outline of a flower.


That the penis points in a direction opposite the vagina is interesting. Some new trend? Or maybe, having drunk his fill, he’s on to new conquests?

Or Maybe it’s a MIC drone, on its way to smash yet another wedding party in Afghanistan, directed by boys with itchy fingers sitting at consoles in trailers in a “Keep Out, Restricted Access” desert area of the American southwest?


In any case, I told her to relax. The carvings aren’t insulting. They’re silly! Welcome to the ribald humor of a college town.

We’re going to hold a post-Halloween Potluck-with-Scary-Stories-around-the-Firepit this Sunday evening, after our next work party in the GANG garden.

I figure it’s better to drum up scary stories from our own imaginations than to have others do it for us via ebola, ISIS, etc. Take charge of our own minds. Stop letting them fool us into thinking we should be scared when we know damn well that the entire living universe sings a sacred song.

Happy Halloween!




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