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Halloween. Essay

1804 words - 7 pages

Halloween in this country is a colorful festival tosay the least, but one that seems to strangely celebratethe opposite of everything "good". Its imagery promulgatesdeath and horror, and depicts haunted ghosts and evilwitches flying off to commit malevolence! (Probably, that'show all that toilet paper wound up on your trees!) It'spractice sets flames inside of pumpkin heads and impelspranks involving soap, decorates the halls with boughs ofphony human bones and garlands of fake cobwebs and inspiresparties based on the idea of hiding our real life personaeinside of award-winning facades of hideous monsters,mutants, miscreants, or vicious and brutal animals. (And afairy princess, shining knight, teddy bear, or silverscreen idol or two for good measure.) And the other side of"Trick", is "Treat", where young children are encouraged todon the masks of our darkest side, for the odd reward ofmassive quantities of unwholesome candies!As happens with several of our holidays, in thepresent age, I have heard the question posed many times,"What DOES this MEAN?" It would seem that we fear thesefestivals might be dangerous, or that we have lost allclues about our traditions. But in each case I haveexamined, I find not merely clues, but copious material.(The library is a wonderful place!) Because my own ancestryis a nice blend of Celts from Scandinavia, northern andnorth-central Europe, and the Isles, most of what I'vepursued has been on that pathway. On this pilgrimage I havelearned that Halloween is a seminal point on the ancientcalendar.Pastoral cultures divided their calendars accordingto the seasons of the year, and heavily influenced ofcourse by the weather - which lags behind the factors inthe Earth's real orbit. It is a spectacular testament tothe intelligence of most every ancient culture, to see howoften an awareness of astronomy informed their notions oftime. But in pastoral cultures, practicalities were ofnatural importance, and we often see holy days appearing on"the wrong day" of the year as WE observe it now. Theancients divided the year by the seasons rather thanstandardized clock-hours, for earthly hours were longer orshorter with the seasons, and the day was born in the nightbefore and died with the setting Sun.We forget the traumas that resulted when the calendarwas corrected in 1752, which added confusion. We must alsoremember the way they would have defined "science", orKnowledge. Science was born recently, under the name of"Philosophy of Nature", and an honest appraisal will stillfind: what we call "science" remains essentially a FaithSystem. We may think the ancients' beliefs superstitious,and their methods ignorant, and call them barbarous; buttheir shamanism styles of ritual and spirituality did thework of technology, medicine and psychology - sometimesmore effectively than our ways do, today!We observe the night of October's last day, forHalloween, with the mid of that night as the special hour;and the Church has taken this and the...

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