From Scottsman.com comes proof of synchronicity. Incredibly, in the same week that Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network posted–and then un-posted, a lurid warning about the occult influences lurking in Halloween candy bars, Catholic theologians issue a warning against having fun on October 31st. Remember that November 1st is All Saints Day, a Holy Day of Obligation. And this year it falls on a Sunday. Woe unto those who miss Mass because they stayed out too late at a costume party…
THE Catholic Church has swung its crook at celebrants of Halloween, warning parents to forbid children to dress up as ghosts and ghouls, and dismissing the celebrations as a pagan night of “terror, fear and death”.
No. Actually it’s a night when neighbors who hardly knew each other discover that doors will open to masked strangers and candy is given and received in an act of trust. I learned that my city block contained way more kids and parents and nice people than I ever would have met if I had not taken my child trick or treating.
And as far as the scary stuff. We have to let it out some time. Life is scary. It’s finite. For just one night a year we dress up like skeletons or Darth Vader or whoever we want or fear to be. We can’t be nice all the time…
Father Joan Maria Canal, a Spanish priest and liturgical expert, was quoted in the paper as saying that parents should “direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty, rather than terror, fear and death”.
Fine, Father Canal. Maybe I’ll dress up like the nuns. The nuns were about seven feet tall, built like refrigerators, and– come to think of it– dressed a lot like Darth Vader. They wore really strange shoes. We wondered if they had hair. There was mystery then.
Anyway, every culture that lasts more than a generation allows a little space for wildflowers to grow.
Tonight is a religious holiday for me. I look back on the old year, I look at the leaves turning scarlet and yellow. Today was a day of borders– an unseasonable warm front on the last day of October. Fierce Southern winds on the cusp of winter. I walked on Blackstone Boulevard and thought of all those who have passed. I feel their presence tonight.
The moon is waxing, the veil is thin. There’s a goddess who blesses the runners and walkers on the Boulevard. She is manifested by a statue of a young woman walking into the wind. The statue was commissioned by a bereft mother, a monument to her lost daughter. I looked at it today and felt how we all dance on the edge of a cliff.
But we dance.
So don’t eat too much candy– at least not all at once. Pagans don’t proselytize. Paganism isn’t well-defined at all. Maybe it’s just the human spirit that needs to laugh at our fears, eat some candy, and walk outside once on a while.
Happy Samhain. Blessed Be.