The imagination is where the Divine and human meet. It is the middle ground where God’s light is diffused and reflected. The unseen word is the realm of creative imagination, of the ability of humans to bring things out of darkness that reflect God. This meeting place is the genuine realm of the supernatural. Mystery flows under the human race and always has. Most scary stories come out of a primitive human reaction to mystery. The imagination falls short of describing the sacred thing and so we settle for scary. When religion suppresses the creatures of the night, it ends up chasing witches. When we accept and bless this night’s witches and monsters, a certain light begins to shine from behind the grotesque masks. You might even think there are moonlighting angels behind them.
Adapted from Holidays and Holy Nights
May we celebrate light and darkness, life and dying.
Reflect on the importance of ritual in celebrating and marking the seasons of life.
To discern the difference between an ordinary place and a thin place, one must use a spiritual perspective. In simple terms a ‘thin place’ is a place where the veil between this world and the other world is thin, the other world is more near. This meaning assumes the perceiver senses the existence of a world beyond what we know through our five senses. Since the times of ancient civilization the fascination with the “Other world” has occupied human minds. To some it is heaven, the kingdom, paradise. To others it may be hell, an abyss, the unknown. Whatever you perceive the Other world to be, a thin place is a place where connection to that world seems effortless, and ephemeral signs of its existence are almost palpable.
It’s said that All Hallows’ Eve is one of the nights when the veil between the worlds is thin – and whether you believe in such things or not, those roaming spirits probably believe in you, or at least acknowledge your existence, considering that it used to be their own. Even the air feels different on Halloween, autumn-crisp and bright.
Halloween reminds us that though we can behold eternity in the dark vault of the sky, we are not eternal. In embracing the darkness, in celebrating death and the monsters of the night, it also commands us to build a common fire at a communal harvest, to pause in our hurry, mark with joy the passing of the seasons and the wheeling of the stars, glory in the ineluctable passage of time. We wrap ourselves in sheets and walk as ghosts because we know that we will, at the end of our journeys, become ghosts; and we welcome to the fire those hovering souls who whisper with our own voices.
The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H. P. Lovecraft.
Where there is no imagination there is no horror.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.
There is a child in every one of us who is still a trick-or-treater looking for a brightly-lit front porch.
The pagan Samhain festival (pronounced “sow” “en”) celebrated the final harvest, death, and the onset of winter, for three days–October 31 to November 2. The Celts believed the curtain dividing the living and the dead lifted during Samhain to allow the spirits of the dead to walk among the living–ghosts haunting the earth. Trick-bent spirits were believed to assume grotesque appearances. Some traditions developed, which believed wearing a costume to look like a spirit would fool the wandering spirits. Others believed the spirits could be warded off by carving a grotesque face into a gourd or root vegetable (the Scottish used turnips) and setting a candle inside it–the jack-o-lantern.