Beware, Halloween Might Offend Someone

Well, Samhain is almost here. Have you carved your pumpkins and/or turnips yet?

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My son being sarcastically terrorized by a child eating squash he single-handedly carved himself.

I volunteered in my kids’ classrooms today for their “Harvest Party”. The term “Halloween” is no longer used because, you know, it might offend someone.

They had a costume parade like they do every year but in addition to the usual ban on fake weapons such as knives, swords, and guns, (which is totally understandable) masks and makeup of any kind, including those dumb vampire teeth, colored hairspray or even dark lipstick are no longer allowed either. When I read the school newsletter I thought, are they serious? I mean why even bother? What a disappointment for the kids!

“Back in the Day” (gosh I love to be old enough to say that..well, sort of) there were plastic masks and costumes from the drugstore that were basically cheap rain ponchos with plastic painted masks like this:

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I wish I knew who to thank for this photo. I’ve searched for days. If I find them I’ll be sure to give credit where credit is due.

These costumes were far more frightening than anything around nowadays. And not only were these nasty smelling things spine-tingling scary, they were dangerous because you cut your tongue if you accidentally stuck it up against a tiny razor sharp air hole, and the rubber band that held it in place always pulled out your hair. The only good thing about them that I can remember is they kept your clothes relatively dry in case it rained.

So if you didn’t want to inhale the toxic chemical fumes, slice your tongue, or get a small bald patch on the back of your head from the plastic mask then you had to be creative and make up your own costume. When I was 8 I decided I wanted to be a genie, and not just any genie, but a beautiful one like Barbara Eden. No, more beautiful! Looking at the pictures as an adult I easily smile back at the little girl smiling at me. For the most part I pulled off the look. I’m not sure if everyone I encountered knew exactly who I was supposed to be or if I was in fact more beautiful than the vixen on “I Dream of Genie”, but what I do know is that I was a little girl with a vision, and that night I lived it. I felt as beautiful as the satiny pink fabric I wore, and I felt oh so deliciously magical with my high ponytail swinging back and forth as I ran from door to door. I haven’t seen that photo for a few years but it hasn’t keep me from still searching.

I felt a little piece of that joy while I watched the giggling children traipsing around the school this afternoon. Some children wore partial costumes, no masks, sans swords and guns, and smiling vampires without their fangs (or without their two front teeth for that matter). But I must admit there were some pretty cool costumes too. My favorites were handmade, including a humongous plume of peacock feathers that were twice as tall as the child. Totally gorgeous and amazing. My anger and frustration was nothing but wasted energy as it was obvious the magick still reigns in the excited hearts and minds of the children who get to be something or someone else, even if it’s just for a stupid parade.

Besides the real fun hasn’t even begun, so get your Wicked On all of you beautiful Witches and Witchlets!

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

A Walk Along the Veil

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Yesterday we drove into the city for our annual Samhain visit to Lone Fir Cemetery. As always it was an afternoon well spent in contemplation within stillness and beauty. It’s a peaceful soul sanctuary with rustlings and stirrings within the trees and energy amongst the ground. It’s a special, sacred place listed on the National Register for Historic Places and has been recognized as one of the top 10 cemeteries in the world. The first burial was in 1846 and the beautiful grounds holds 25,000 burials spread over more than 30 acres.

Sometimes when I am alone in the city I will stop and wander along the walking paths, occasionally passing someone walking their dog and exchange a smile or polite hello. But sometimes I encounter no one at all. No matter what time of year, it is exquisitely beautiful and yesterday was no exception. In fact we arrived at the perfect time of day on a late autumn afternoon. The mist gathered as my children tip-toed delicately through the rows of headstones and quietly meandered through mounds of leaves beneath giant trees. From time to time they would pause and bend down to gently clear fallen autumn leaves and branches from grave markers.

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While looking at the different graves we discovered many dating back to the mid 1800’s and early 1900’s and pondered what it must have been like back in that time. It was an opportunity to deeply reflect on what dying really means to us and was a thought provoking reminder of the Circle of Life and its place and purpose in all things. Each year that passes the more inquisitive their minds grow as they become more and more aware of a world that exists outside themselves.

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And that is a beautiful thing.

As our sojourn came to a close we each chose a grave to leave a flower next to. I thought their choices were particularly interesting this time. My daughter kept gravitating towards a WWII veteran and my son kept circling back to a little row dotted with the graves of four children whose deaths were from 1901-1903. I suspect influenza although not certain because the pandemic wouldn’t officially begin for at least another decade. However, during our visit we found more than a few infant/child/adult markers within the same time frame clustered with their own families. This particular area was a family plot with the parents resting next to their children. On their headstones was engraved that they had finally joined their beloved children, although it would be decades later.

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We stayed until the sun left nothing but a faint pink glow on the horizon, blanketing the atmosphere with a serenity that was hard to leave. My children begged to stay but I sternly told them that I wasn’t ready to leave them behind in a cemetery.

What about you? Do you find beauty and comfort within cemeteries? How would you describe your beliefs in birth, death, and rebirth?

Many Blessings on your Journey )O(

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Not able to visit a cemetery? Take a virtual tour and even leave remembrances with virtual flowers. You can search for the graves of friends, family, or even famous people at this free resource called Find A Grave. They have millions of names in their database- http://www.findagrave.com/