Friday, October 31, 2003

Hallowe'en Rant 2003


from a mostly Pagan and
respectfully irreverent perspective...

How is your metaphorical garden growing?
Have you tended your plot?
What will be your final harvest?

-- Barbara Ardinger --

Are we prepared? In this month that marks the beginning of the Dark Season we are concerned with both the end of things and the beginning I think. We are concerned with celebrating the bounty of the harvest but also the care of the fields for the future.

So it goes with Life - human life. If we tend our garden well in this life -- we are prepared, when the time comes, for passage to our next plane of existence.

I have thought much upon this theme lately, having recently lost a beloved Aunt who succumbed finally, after a long and hard fought battle with a terminal illness. Many people asked my Mother and Grandmother and her Daughters -- "You are prepared, aren't you?" Anyone with a modicum of compassion should know -- even if the answer to such a thoughtless query is the precursory Yes -- the reality is No.

Oddly enough, never once did I hear someone comment on whether my Aunt was prepared...

So, I am here to answer that question for my own peace of mind. I am firmly convinced that She was prepared. I say that not because her departure and subsequent events were planned -- because they were not. No physical preparations were made in advance by herself or her family. The Aunt's wishes were known, the Aunt simply trusted her daughters to see it done. And that was enough. No one wasted precious time on the grim inevitability of the matter. No one seemed to fret over mindless trivialities of things that were not done. The focus remained on living, the here and now and every golden moment was tended as if it would last forever. I believe that is as it should be.

No, I am talking about the preparations the Aunt made by the graceful example of her life. I am talking about how She focused on living her life well and with joy, teaching her daughters and grandchildren and great grandchildren how to live purposeful, caring, responsible lives. I am talking about her selfless capacity to share herself with family and friends... I am talking about how She kept her mother close in kind regard. And how She clutched each sister to her heart and knew each one for herself - loving all without reservation. She was a faithful wife, a true friend and cherished because of it.

I am talking about her metaphorical garden.

A garden nurtured with careful thought and prudent planning.
How it thrives! How it blooms!
What a magnificent yield!
Her Legacy will live on in the fruit of her labor.
Her Tradition will survive by the will of her prodigious offspring.
What lay within my Aunt's heart was the genuine soul of her being.

What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson --

One aspect of this day called Hallowe'en is a time of joy for me. Samhain, the other aspect of the day is a time of spiritual reflection. I also consider it a time of healing. The Aunt has joined the ranks of many beloved to me who now walk beyond the veil of this reality - my reality. She is in good company. I will welcome her along with the others this Samhain with a special candle whose light I expect will burn soft and pure. I will remember her smile, the twinkle in her eye, the sound of her laughter and the scent of her presence. She will be yet another familiar and comforting light in the gathering gloom of evening.

Merry and Well We Will Meet Again Dear Aunt!

Dark as my thoughts seem of late, they cannot stay that way long at this time of year. As I said, this season brings me joy. I love the crisp feel of the air, the tumble of leaves with the slightest breeze and the sound of them skittering down the street. I love the riot of colors and myriad shapes of them in the landscape and littering the lawn. I love the pumpkins glowing in messy pyramid stacks at the farmer's market and illuminating doorsteps up and down the streets.

I love haunted houses and haunted yards. I love making scarecrows and witches and spooks. My yard looks like some kind of a Gothic Flea Market and I love it -- love it -- love it. My neighbors may be a bit frightened by the scope of it I think which makes me smile. This year it is decorated with large silhouette pieces of yard art produced by my folks and carried over a thousand miles a few weeks ago. Thanks Mom and Dad! This display is very important to me because of its origins... and so it goes with much of the paraphernalia scattered about the house and grounds. Each piece carries a memory of where or from whom it came and each memory is given its due as I bustle about the place -- spooking it up.

I love the site of colorful costuming in all shapes and sizes lining the discount store racks. I get a kick out of kids (of all ages) planning who they will be for the grand masquerade. And what would Hallowe'en be without the wondrous variety of imported nonsense in the form of toys and games and cheesy holiday decor? I love getting pictures of the grandkids visiting pumpkin patches. I love it that my daughter gets that I love it and humors me with dozens of digital photos. I love spooky stories and classic horror movies and those corny Hallowe'en tunes like The Monster Mash and The Flying Purple People Eater.

Believe it or not, colossal Hallowe'en nut that I am -- I write this diatribe with a Jack-o-Lantern glowing at my side, a spiral of Patchouli incense wafting overhead... Hallowe'en is not just a day on the calendar for me - it is a state of mind - maybe a bit lunartic (translates to the ravings of a full moon loving lunatic).

So, there you have it, my musing for the year - such as it is.

I will greet the thirty first of October with respectful reverence and finish it with unabashed revelry.

With Hallowe'en/Samhain forever blended in colorful chaos in my head...
I bid you Bright and Joyful Blessings...
May you tend your garden well my friends...

Respectfully yours in caliginous chaos
An it harm none – do as you will…
© 2003 (text revised 2018) All rights reserved