|"Secular Halloween".. or... er... is that Samhain?|
The Fall "Sabbat" did not form in a vacuum. It formed from age after age of man, woman and child scraping a living from the soil. And the soil supporting those people. It came from making the hard choices each fall between which stock would yield enough progeny next year, and which were too many to feed over the winter when food was not to be found. It came from the cull, and the harvest. It came from blood and bone. We talk a big game about how Halloween has become a superficial, "Christianized" parody of The Old Faiths Holidays, how Halloween witches are offensive (that old chestnut STILL makes me laugh, though)... and yet we are no better.
This time of year I see a lot of lip-service given to the gods, to nature, to the bounty of the earth. Each year I see pagani gathered in the thousands at pride events, public/semipublic sabbats, and private home gatherings (picked out of the usual Halloween lot because of the giant pentacle wreathes on the doors) enacting the rites of Samhain, Halloween and the Last Harvest clad in dimestore costumes (or thousand-dollar capes) while the giant yard-standee of Frankenstein sways in the night air. I see lip service, but I do not see Sacrifice.
I will be honest, it makes me angry. This is a season which cannot be denied with symbols. A pinata is not the Dying God, straw men are not sacred kings. The soil is thirsty from bringing up so much life under such a hot sun... it cannot cry out, but rest assured it demands it's due. It misses us, and we taunt it with what amounts to ritual foreplay with no payoff.
|"NeoPagan Samhain" er... or... er... maybe Secular Halloween.|
Preface to this: I do not condone cruelty to animals, but neither do I subscribe to the worldview of the Vegan.
The cycles of the land seem to be intensifying, becoming whole again because more and more people are doing the old rituals, and enacting the old rites. I think the time has come to fully assume the mantle we have taken up and worn for glory. For those who pay any kind of service to the Dark Side of the year, to the cycles of death and rebirth, it seems only respectful. The world is not wholly pleasant. With power comes weakness, with food comes death. Honoring it for all that it is, good and "icky", is the ultimate offering.
Next "Samhain", try offering something precious to the land. Offering a few drops of your own blood, a well-baked loaf of bread, a bottle of good booze?