Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween By Any Other Name

Interesting it is to find out that ancient cultures all over the northern hemisphere celebrated or recognized a day of remembrance of the deceased at this time of year. What is it about this time of year? Actually, in observing the seasonal changes that occur in mid to late autumn, I can understand the perception of closeness to the otherworld. Nature seems to gain a voice to speak to us through the rustling of stalks and leaves. The veil between the worlds seems less opaque for a feels like a "thin place".

October 31 falls right between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, so it was a special time for those ancient cultures who were aware of and followed celestial solar events. The Christian Church aptly chose November 1 to be All Saints Day to provide for a smooth transition from the pagan seasonal observances.

Yesterday, I made a jack-o-lantern, and enjoyed every minute of it despite knowing the tradition probably has a pagan origin. Seems like I read once that it had to do with a spell being cast causing someone's spirit to be confined to a pumpkin. If only evil could be dealt with as easily as that......cast a spell and lock evil up inside a pumpkin! It makes me wonder about the old nursery rhyme, "Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater.......had a wife and couldn't keep her.......put her in a pumpkin shell......and there he kept her very well." I also wonder if it has any connection to when we refer to someone "being a vegetable". When I was a kid, I would hear my parents say that phrase now and then......usually about someone lying in a coma from a head injury or something. My childish mind would envision a carrot or squash lying in a bed.

Anyway, Happy Hallowe'en......All Hallow's Even......Holy Evening......Samhain, or whatever you may call this day on the calendar. I'm going to go outside and light the candle in my jack-o-lantern and laugh at his inanely grinning face!

After milking chores are done, Husband and I will bundle up and head off to a high school play-off football game. Brr.....I can hardly wait!

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