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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in halloween

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This year Halloween will have a full moon. It should also have full bellies-- full of candy. Just like all years. Instead of having trick or treaters come to the door and ring the bell, my neighbors and I have decided we're going to set up tables and chairs outside and give away candy outside near the curb. I keep seeing people on the net saying Halloween is canceled, but plenty of other events are happening outdoors and Halloween is an important community ritual. Plus wearing masks is part of the tradition! There's no reason it can't be done safely. Keep it outside, keep groups apart from other groups, and it's no different from any other outdoor event.

I'm not going to be personally putting candy into the kids' sacks this year, I'm going to let him help themselves from the bowl. I'm just going to be out there to be sure one kid doesn't take it all, just like my neighbors will be doing. This is going to be a no contact event for me and Halloween still goes on.

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Did Halloween—as Variety section writers would invariably have it—really originally mean 'Holy (or Hallowed) Evening'?

Short answer: no.

'Halloween' is an eroded form of 'All Hallow's Even'. ('Even' here = 'evening, eve.') 'Hallow' is a dialectal form of the Old English word that also became Modern English 'holy.' Anglo-Saxon hælig (pronounced, roughly, HAL-ee) was a fine old pagan word denoting something in a state of radical wholeness: a holy thing or person.

It's the latter usage that gave rise to 'Halloween.' After the Conversion, the word came to denote a 'saint,' a (Christian) holy person. So All Hallows' Eve originally meant 'All Saints' Eve,' the eve of the ecclesiastical feast of All Saints.

('Saint,' of course, was originally a French word from the Latin sanctus, both of which—like hallow in English—mean both 'holy' and 'saint.')

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Little Divination and Imagination

Successful divination requires focus, perseverance, and a little faith. Sometimes our paths come to a fork in the road, and much like that forked divining rod, we must follow our strongest intuition. Interestingly, life paths can indeed come full circle. I've come to believe that if we tune into what the divine is trying to whisper in our ears, we will take the paths we are intended to at the right moment in time. Perhaps we aren't ready for a certain direction at a given interval. That doesn't mean that roads aren't meant to be revisited. When I was a young girl, my favorite toy was a tape recorder. I delighted in creating radio plays and acting out favorite movies and TV shows with my closest friends. Conducting interviews was also a beloved pastime.

Flash forward several years later to graduating with a master's in digital communication strategies at Marquette University. Although I have a background in journalism and filmmaking, podcasting was something I naturally gravitated to with my studies and projects. It felt like coming home, and conducting interviews in this medium and editing them was the perfect way to express myself creatively. Since I recently decided to embark on a full-time freelancing career, it seemed like the perfect time to launch a brand new podcast: "Women Who Howl at the Moon."

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Your Personal Samhain Altar

On October 31, the veil is thinnest between the two worlds of the living and the dead. It is of vital importance to honor the dead. One way to do this is to create a special altar for this day, a tradition that comes down to us from the Celts among others. Create a new shrine just for this occasion with a chest of table in your home where people will see it and acknowledge your ancestors. On the altar, place photos, letters, and any mementos that will bring the energy of your late loved ones close.

 Place candles on the altar and light them during twilight. While it may seem uncomfortable at first, talk to your ancestors and tell them about what is going on in your life. Share memories and speak about whatever you feel inspired to speak of—grief, hopes for the future, troubles, all you need to share. Take as much time as you need with this. Place the bowl of water with white flowers—gardenias are an excellent choice—on the altar and leave it overnight.

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You’re invited to a Samhain ritual

You’re invited to a Samhain ritual. It will be held via teleseminar (group phone-call). Simply dial your phone, and you’re in. No other equipment needed. Attendance is free.


Dial-in number and other details for this one-hour ceremony are in my upcoming newsletter. Subscribe for free: 


Samhain is a major holiday for many Pagans. The holiday has various aspects. Here are a few: 

* It is similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead, in that it is a time to honor and visit with ancestors.

* It is a harvest festival.

* Many Pagans celebrate the New Year at this time, instead of on January 1.


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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Shame on

So: the NOA (Nannies of America) and Big Money want to create a "safe" Halloween on the last Saturday in October.

Just what we need: another fake holiday.

As is usual with Nannies and Big Money, of course, they're entirely missing, not just one point, but many.

The true power of Halloween lies precisely in its decentralized nature. No one owns it; no one controls it. It's not an official holiday anywhere. This is what vivifies it with its own irrepressible life. Any attempt to domesticate Halloween will inevitably fail. Like deer, and witches, it's wild by nature, undomesticable.

The only safe Halloween is a denatured Halloween. The great lure, and profound significance, of the holiday lies precisely in the fact that it's not safe. That's what makes it a rite of passage. On their own, kids get to tear around in public, in the dark, in the night. You take candy from strangers. That's why I loved it as a kid. That's why people love it today.

That the Nannies of the world and Big Money will get their way, I have little doubt. They usually do. Fine. Let them have their sham on the last Saturday in October if they like.

In that case—since, let's admit it—there's absolutely no way that real Halloween on the 31st is going to go away, we'll need a way to distinguish between the two Halloweens: the new and the old, the safe and the traditional.

Here's my proposal.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    A few years back, I took our youngest coven kid out trick-or-treating. What a blast! In this neighborhood, Halloween has become th
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I loved Halloween as a kid. When I was too old to Trick or Treat myself I took my little sister around and that was fun too. Now
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    lol I love it, let them have their Shalloween. We'll still hold the real one. Halloween isn't even part of my heathen trad but it'
Of Halloween Candy, Mean Moms, and the Rationing of Joy

As a kid, I always felt sorry for my friends with the mean moms.

These were the ones who whisked away that brimming trove of trick-or-treat, and doled it out miserly-wise, one stingy, miserable piece at a time, through the dark days of November and December.

Yes, you got to have candy every day that way, sometimes until nearly Yule, but my heart knew that there was a flaw in that logic somewhere.

If there's only so much joy to go around, is it better to have much joy all at once, or little joys spread out?

The ancestors knew hunger. For most people, in most places, at most times, winter meant hunger. Our bodies remember this, even if we—overfed, under-exercised—forget it.

So at the end of harvest, when—for once—there was plenty, they made a great, shining feast, to have and remember through the lean times ahead.

They called it Samhain.

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