In the Spirit of Hallowe’en

I was recently called out by a ‘pagan’ acquaintance for disrespecting the gods by accepting the commercialism of ‘Samhain‘. I told him, in no uncertain terms, to lighten the hell up.

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Tell me, what do you think of when you think of Hallowe’en?

For most of us, I suppose it depends on how old we are.

As I’m a half-century old, Hallowe’en still conjures up images of candy and costumes, bobbing for apples, corning, carved pumpkins, and horror movie marathons, late night spooky walks through graveyards and neighborhood trickery, seances and haunted houses, and all those things that go bump in the night.

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It is all that and more. I love the commercial trappings almost as much as I am drawn to Hallowe’en’s more metaphysical aspects.

There is a spiritual side to the season, to be sure. The 31st is the crass pop-cultural expression of a deeper, esoteric, and otherworldly atmosphere, a time in which the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest and when our ancestors celebrated the harvest.

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There is plenty of room for both and I embrace it all, from the corny vampire with plastic teeth to the ethereal presence of Ingvifreyr, from smiling at white-sheeted ghosts to communing with asomatous apparitions.

It does not have to be either/or. Clinging to the nostalgic template of Americanized Hallowe’en is no transgression. It’s about staying young at heart and relishing in the fun of being scared. Give it its due.

Trust me, after the revelry, I assume a more solemn mantle.

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