I’m being insincere when I apologize to you about all of the Halloween commentary lately. I’m sure you can tell that I think this is one of the best holidays of the year, and it jazzes me like few other holidays do—it rivals even my birthday and the winter holidays! Halloween is a big part of the culture where I live, and just like everything else in this country it came from someplace in the past and over the ocean. I like to think pretty liberally about the whole “Remember past orthodoxy” thing and apply it generously to culture, history, business, as well as religion, but for now I’m going to focus on the origins of Halloween because I’m pretty confident that many of you don’t know!
Did you know that Halloween’s roots can be traced to the Celtic (Located in Ireland, UK, and Northern France) superstitions and a festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-een) celebrated October 31st- November 2nd? The Celts were superstitious folks concerning transitional periods (sunset into night, the change of the seasons…) and the end of harvest and darkening days was one of their most superstitious periods. They believed that at the close of October into the beginning of November was a special period in which time lost all meaning and top became down and the dead were able to ascend to Earth while the living decayed into the Nether. It should feel like no coincidence to you that this time punctuated the end of the harvest season and signaled the beginning of darkening of days: the colder winter months.
One of my favorite essays by Anton LaVey was one called “How to Avoid the DMPs.” It’s a brief essay that can be found in The Devil’s Notebook where he discusses the perspective of entities that are looking, more or less, to elicit the sort of emotion from you that will motivate you to make some action in their favor, whether it be buying newspapers, paying through the nose for medicine, or some other such thing. I especially appreciated this essay after the 2016 election when I woke up with America’s 2016 popular vote, stunned. For a period pre-election I had to isolate myself from social media you see, because this particular campaign was tearing my family apart and I needed to take a step back to prevent it from poisoning the relationships I cherished.
Politics are really quite a personal thing when you take any look at it. People find them complex and boring because they don’t educate themselves and because politics are a violent ocean with deep waters that never stop moving. It’s a massive game of give and take, and some people don’t have the heart for it. That’s fine, however it’s important to remember that regardless of your opinion on the subject, those men and women in your elected government still have a very important power over your life. Yes, your life. They may feel distant because you never really see these people unless you engage yourself, but the effect of their decisions trickle down and affect your student loans, your mortgages, your health insurance, your parental leave rights, and of course, at the end of the road: your social security.
A single gray balloon was how the anomaly first successfully both greeted me and transfixed my attention. It was late September, and the bleeding analog digits on the clock on the nightstand seemed to read 11:30. I was supposed to be asleep by now. I had been asleep a few moments ago, but that moment had already long since expired since I’d come to the realization that something had disturbed the peace here. The room was dark: stars in the sky were hidden by the drawn window shade, and the golden beacon from the crack under the door had been snuffed in the hallway quite a while ago. Everything was still. Everything was calm. Everything was as it should be except for a single gray balloon that was dragging itself in the air back and forth before my eyes. Had it not been for the clock at my side I may not have been able to see it, but the bleary glow managed to cast enough of a filmy red into the abyss that I could make out this balloon and how it bobbed, dragged, and changed directions before my very sleepy eyes. This must have been a really weird dream, a very unique dream—or some sort of important moment of some other nature. There was nobody here but me though: no monsters under the bed, nothing in the closet, no mysterious hand holding that string to drag it, but I was frozen all the same from my spot, a young girl of six, watching this event take place with a half-woken and fear-baited mind.
Just in case you forgot to flip your calendar over fourteen days ago, you only have about seventeen days left until Halloween, arguably one of the best holidays in the year by thousands of children nation-wide. I doubt very much that you’ve been living under a meteor as large as what’d be required to distract you from this upcoming celebration of adrenaline and fright, and I figure that there’s a fair chance that you’ve already begun to watch your favorite scary movies in preparation for the spirit of this absolutely divine occasion. What sorts of movies are they, I wonder? Are they the traditional ‘70s and ‘80s cult classics like “Halloween,” “The Exorcist,” and “Nightmare on Elm Street?” Are they the modern remade “Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Amityville horror, or “The Omen?” Or, are you more of the full-on classic fan type for flicks like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Nosferatu,” and of course, last but not least: Bela Lugosi's version of “Dracula?” Hopefully you’re not the “Casper the Friendly Ghost” sort of person, but no matter what your pill, I bet it’s been on your mind.
Few of you may be aware, so I’ll fill in the rest of you. I’m engaged to a fellow Satanist, and because we made this joyous and exciting decision to marry, we’re going to have a Satanic wedding where all of our deeply Christian family members are invited to come and celebrate the wonderful event that is “Us.” Of course, this is all really a very funny thing when you take a step back and look at it. Our families still think we’re good innocent little Christian girls who participate in morning prayer and evening vespers.
My mother was raised Catholic. I'm not really sure what this means for her now, though. She's been out of a church building for years because she’s a misanthrope and she's never really exhibited the sort of behavior you'd expect from a Catholic woman except for it's notorious hallmarks. She's never really shared any of her beliefs regarding saints nor have we ever really had a discussion about her god, even when I was being groomed for the role of ‘Obedient Christian Daughter.’ No, the earmarks of her faith come out to me in areas related to social guilt and emotional debt. She married my father, a Protestant (gasp!), and yielded to raising me in his faith path. My extended family is and has always been intrinsically involved with the Christian Church. I was an acolyte from the day they trusted me to carry fire down the throat of the veneration chamber (It was a stomped-upon red-mahogany colored carpet surrounded by dirty wooden pews), and I would spend my Sunday afternoons running around the church like it was my personal playground since my grandmother, aunts, and uncles all additionally worked for the UCC in some shape or form. They were the administrators, the Sunday School teachers, the spaghetti supper throwers, and the Youth Group leaders. They still are, every Sunday, in a ritualistic clockwork that has served them far better than ever it did me.
I've been to my cousins weddings, every single one of them since they're older than I, and they were all gloriously sappy in gratitude to the Lord God Almighty (aka: Yahweh or ‘He who must not be named'), for the blessings brought to them on that day of merriment which were not being bestowed in third world countries to starving children….But nobody thinks about that at weddings, do they? It's about the champagne, the dancing, the self-deception.
Who is the Witch?
Once I called myself a Christian, then an atheist, and a Satanist. At the end of the day, I'm just a person who is living her truth one day at a time. I'm interested in religion, its effects on the mind, the occult, and more. Learn more about me on the about page.