Essay by bluedove November 2003

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Halloween in this country is a colorful festival to

say the least, but one that seems to strangely celebrate

the opposite of everything "good". Its imagery promulgates

death and horror, and depicts haunted ghosts and evil

witches flying off to commit malevolence! (Probably, that's

how all that toilet paper wound up on your trees!) It's

practice sets flames inside of pumpkin heads and impels

pranks involving soap, decorates the halls with boughs of

phony human bones and garlands of fake cobwebs and inspires

parties based on the idea of hiding our real life personae

inside of award-winning facades of hideous monsters,

mutants, miscreants, or vicious and brutal animals. (And a

fairy princess, shining knight, teddy bear, or silver

screen idol or two for good measure.) And the other side of

"Trick", is "Treat", where young children are encouraged to

don the masks of our darkest side, for the odd reward of

massive quantities of unwholesome candies!

As happens with several of our holidays, in the

present age, I have heard the question posed many times,

"What DOES this MEAN?" It would seem that we fear these

festivals might be dangerous, or that we have lost all

clues about our traditions.

But in each case I have

examined, I find not merely clues, but copious material.

(The library is a wonderful place!) Because my own ancestry

is a nice blend of Celts from Scandinavia, northern and

north-central Europe, and the Isles, most of what I've

pursued has been on that pathway. On this pilgrimage I have

learned that Halloween is a seminal point on the ancient


Pastoral cultures divided their calendars according

to the seasons of the year, and heavily influenced of

course by the weather - which lags behind the factors in

the Earth's real orbit. It is a...