Opening My Heart…

I have given myself to Goddess and God of Witchcraft,

I have made room, too, in my heart and life for Hecate and Dionysus,

I have studied and Circled and Prayed and tried to Learn.

I have Cast and Scryed,

Yet even now, after all these years, I sometimes hesitate…

I hold back, from giving of myself.  I hesitate to pray for a desired outcome, or to cast magick…

It is as if I have stood at the edge, and jumped into the unknown…

Only to bungee bounce back.

It is time I cut the cord and let myself fly,

I may also fall, but the fear of the fall does more damage than the fall…

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In praise of Halloween’s mixed bag of treats…

picture of a party noise-maker from the Sexy Witch Website (see bellow)

This post is about Halloween as opposed to Samhain, but as they are more than a little intertwined temporally, thematically and in my own mind and emotions; as well as in the popular and Pagan cultures… I am not all that worried about it.

As a Witch, I have some very mixed feelings about Halloween…

On the one hand it delights and amuses me that Halloween is becoming such a widely decorated and celebrated holiday (at least in the U.S.).  I delight in my memories of Halloween’s of my childhood.  The costumes and the trick-or-treating.  The delicious agony of waiting till sun-down to go trick or treating.  The excitement and fun of a school Halloween Carnival, the cheesy games, the cake-walk, the haunted house and the costume contests and the home-made food booths.

I’d like to digress for a moment, as I often do, to mention a fading tradition of the U.S. Halloween experience, the Halloween Parades at school where classes would take turns parading through classes in their costumes!  I used to love those, in the few school years where I was going to schools that still did them they were a big, big deal.  Sometimes you’d have one costume for the School Parade and a whole other one for your actual trick-or-treating.  Good times, good times. (sigh)

Another long-lost part of Halloween that I can just remember is getting home-made treats in your trick-or-treating.  Paranoia, some of it sadly justified, of malicious trick-or-treat tampering has killed this fondly remembered tradition from Halloween’s long ago.

Now, back to our post, and the dreaded other hand…

I despair of the fact that the all-out-gross-out has become such a bloody and gory part of Halloween.  Now I realize that a certain blood-‘n-gutsy-ness has always been a part of Halloween.  It is an undeniable part of it’s ghoulish charm.   I am not sure of this blood soaked gore is, in part, a reaction to the anti-Halloween movement of the 1970’s and 80’s; or how it relates to the increasing fascination with blood and gore shock-em Horror films of the same period.  I just know that this trend depresses me.  It just seems to me that gore and gross has really began to overwhelm the spooky and fun charm of the Holiday.

There has always been a sense of the limenal-time to Halloween as social and personal barriers are lowered or transformed and folks let their (sometimes rather naughty) inner-child out to play dress up at costume parties.  There is also a sense of wonder as we accept the uncanny, if even briefly, into our lives with ghost-stories and fortunetelling and masquerade’s.  This time between times when, in beliefs ancient and modern, the walls between the worlds were thin and spirits walk amongst us has always held a sense of power and wonder and mystery for me.  Even as archeology begins to let go of the idea that the ancient Celts celebrated the new year at Samhain, it will remain a spiritual New Years, because it is a turning point.  A treasured night-time journey between the worlds of the mundane and the fantastic.

Is this, truly, a more jaded age that we require more visceral thrills to throw us into Halloween’s liminal state?  Or do you agree with me that Halloween can regain it’s Spooktacular aura once more?

I’ve been longing for some old-fashioned spooky fun in the last week or so.  Perhaps I’ll go bobbing for apples or carve a Jack O’lantern.  In the meantime I’ll be browsing through a few of my Favorite Halloween links and contemplating a fabulous old-fashioned Halloween.

If any of you can suggest further links, especially to old-fashioned Halloween costumes and decor, please post a comment and share!

Peace,

Pax

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Old-Fashioned, or just plain geek-tacular Halloween links…

The Vintage Halloween Website ~ This wonderful website is full of vintage collectibles and party suggestions, it is related to a Vintage Halloween Store website, and sadly lacks a lot of the how-to info I crave for my own edification and enjoyment, but this site is a useful ideas resource if your a bit arts & crafty minded!

Dragonfly Design Studio ~ This online store presents a wide number of antiques and reproductions that could help supply an old fashioned Halloween part, and provide some cool ideas.

Spookshows.com ~ Is one man’s website of resources and links for the Halloween lover.  If has information, and links and some great images!

Halloween Lantern’s ~ This is a sales website where a crafter sellser her original and reproduction Halloween Lantern’s and light screens.  Some great images, items and links…

The Monster Page of Halloween Project Links ~ Is a comprehensive do-it-yourself list of Halloween related projects, most of them are more Haunted House (or front yard) than old-fashioned, but it appealse to much to my inner geek not to include!

Allen’s Halloween Page ~ One mans chronicles of his own Haunted fron yard projects for Halloween.  Included instructions and links to a variety of resources.  Again, my inner geek was drooling…

Sexy Witch ~ A (NSFW) blog whose author Red Witch seeks out images of sexy witches for her own edification and as an antidote to the vile hag them common in many depictions.  The party noise-maker image at the top of this post was culled from this site.

Thrill The World ~ An annual event that seeks to get increasing numbers of folks to do the dance from the Thriller video by Michael Jackson.  They set a new world record in 2007 in Toronto.  (this link gets bonus points for not only being Halloween fun & weirdness, but 80’s fun and weirdness, ah the surreal days of my youth…..)

A random thought on the gifts of giving this Samhain Season

I took part in a public moon circle last year where we were supposed to banish qualities we were done with in our lives and do magic to bring qualities of thought or personality we were ready for in our lives to fruition.

But ,really, isn’t that just what seemingly every. single. blessed. Pagan open Event,  Circle or Sabbat working or rite seems to end up being about?!.

Now I now that the above scenario doesn’t describe recon Pagan workings, or a variety of Witchcraft Trad workings, but the whole pushing something bad and pulling something good working as a focal point of the right seems to be a dominant theme in open events in the Pagan community.

I’d love to put together a public rite someday where the participants write down things that they love doing, creative and fulfilling things, and burn the pieces of paper offering their next such project to the Goddess and God.

That is it.   No asking for anything in return, just giving, sharing, a treasured part of oneself with the Divine.  No asking or bargaining, just giving a little bit of the best of ourselves to Them.  Maybe then the Pagan community could start looking at one another with more of a community minded eye…

Samhaintide: 2008

I find myself feeling more creative, and like I am capable of a lot more than I am currently doing in many aspects of my life.  Some of this I attribute to coming out of the Summer doldrums and into the cooler and more invigorating weather of Winter.   (Subtropical Florida being here)

I also attribute some of this to Samhaintide.  It seems as if I feel a rising tide of magic, or perhaps I feel some of the walls of the worlds growing thin.  Some of this tidal pull is purely internal my sense of one of the holy days of Witchcraft approaching.  I think, in part, because whatever else changes with having moved to a subtropical climate, there is still an air of mystery and magic and strangeness and charm about Samhain.  Even in all the gory blood soaked haunted houses of some of the local theme parks, there is still that subtle edge of limnality to Samhain, or Halloween as they call it.

It is as if Mabon and the Equinox were the opening of a starting gate to … something new for me.  Parhaps Samhain is to be the starting bell?  It is well past time I dug out my Tarot cards and applied myself to them, and perhaps to some other scryings as well; and other prayers and offerings and libations and magics as well.

I mentioned feeling more creative.  I have had a lot of literary ideas bubbling up recently.  It also feels as if what little Hunters instict I have has finally come to bear on my job hunt.  II think this is part of why Mabon felt like Spring to me this year, it was the begining of a break up of some frozen lake within the wates of my stream of consciousness.  The cool nights have returned and window are opened once more, and sometimes doors; both physical and metaphysical, internal and external.

I made offerings to my personal Goddesses and Gods a couple of weeks ago.  Incense to Hecate and Dionysus, and a Libation to the Lady and Lord of Witchcraft.  In the direct experience of them they are different, but in my own minds meanderings I sometimes have trouble putting them into discrete mental boxes.  I wonder if other polytheists have this sort of problem?

Peace,

Pax