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Article ID: 12139

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Section: holidays

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Hallowmas- The Crone's Sabbat

Author: Lady Grey Dragon
Posted: October 21st. 2007
Times Viewed: 6,280

There are many things that occur during the month of October. Costume hunting and monster ideas, pumpkin carving, feast planning, visits to our known deceased to honor them, telling tales of ghosts and spirits… and story writing...

The Halloween Tree (written by Ray Bradbury) is one of many novels that expresses our true fear of Death and our celebrations through those fears. Still...

Hallowmas- Samhain- All Soul’s Night- All Hallow's Eve... Halloween...

This casts a very commercialized, yet horrifyingly true, shadow upon us as we traverse through the littered isles of Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and other 'Holiday Stores'. Wiggling and squirming with glee-laden trepidations, we poke at plastic bats and freakish black cats, shriek as motion triggered displays reach for us and snarl.

We feel our imaginations regurgitate previous lunches and dinners as we stare at the "slimy goops", "blood covered ghouls", and "dismembered door greeters" that fill the department store shelves. It's like we've walked into the hay-day of Anatomy 101 from the Hollywood version of the Middle Ages meets Rob Zombie.

Yet, there we are... grinning, screaming, retching, and begging for more...

And then forgetting... once the first day of November walks across our leaf filled lawns.

The Crone has left us and yet- even through the shadows we feel Her staring at us... Her wicked dark smile of Mystery and the Unknown reaches us. She passes through the night like a shadow- a silvery wisp of fear and all things true of being mortal…

She is The Crone.

So… what IS Halloween then? Why do we torture ourselves with such a “dark and gruesome” holiday so much so that children old enough to slobber on a teething ring grab for the first fuzzy costume they see?

Nothing truly scary about a 15 month old dressed as a pumpkin, but the symbolism is there- already ingrained in their heads- that THIS is the day to look forward to! This is when everything that has hovered in the dark corners of our minds can crawl out and be seen. Our fears can be made real. We can look Death in the face from behind our own horror filled masks… and smile.

Hallowmas is the day when the veils between our Mortal Realm and the Underworld open up. The Crone guides the Holly King through His journeys (Hence we "walk through haunted houses") to the Underworld. She also eventually joins Him... and after Yule (and the birth of the Oak King) She emerges as the Maiden. But I digress.

October 31st is when the Dead walk. The Spirits rise, the Ghosts travel, the Demons seek out, and the Shadows breathe. The Great Void is open. The Crone peers through It and 'sees' what is to come for Winter.

We offer 'gifts' to the little demons, sprites, superheroes, and ghouls that bolt to our front doors and "pester 'till appeased". We (the more ’adult-like’ people) dress as 'evil entities' ourselves to "ward off" the evil Others. As we carve ghoulish and horrible faces into pumpkins and gourds, we obliterate our sense of reality and wander (or hobble, crawl, dance, and cackle) through the night.

Grin. Smile. Beam... Blood, guts, laughter, and screams... and there we are... 'trapped' in Halloween.

Then the streets empty and murmurs of wanting to ‘go home to rest‘ fog the sounds of shuffling happily worn feet. Parents carry home yawning sleeping vampires, ghosts, knights, dragons, and faeries that clutch their bags of sweets and party favors as if they were made of gold.

The elders- donning the more gruesome of the night wanderers' clothing- turn off lights, put away candies and gifts that are still left over (which is rare), and begin to pack up the "props".

The movie is over. The story has been told.

The Crone, with a half crooked grin, turns away and slowly walks towards the Underworld- not feeble in mind or spirit, but worn in body and readying Herself for the Re-birth of Herself and the Oak King.

Her dwelling is efficient, dark, comforting, lit only by a fire in a simple hearth. The shadows breathe here as well, but they are Her own. Quite pregnant and calm, the Crone sits in Her chair- by the fire- and waits... having already seen the future for this year’s Winter and for us.

She sings softly, causing the winds around us to moan and whistle. She wraps Her dark cloak around Herself- bringing us further into the Night veils. Her eyes glitter- the stars seem brighter, the Moon fuller, and the shadows deeper. She sleeps beneath the heavy furs from the Holly King‘s last hunt.

She is resting peacefully- leaving us alone with our thoughts, questions, and reflections of the rest of the year that has yet to pass (and "what is to come for Winter?") that could, for some, be more horrifying than being chased by a costumed loved one or stranger.

November 1st- All Saint's Day... The "saints" arise and give us 'comfort' after the passing of demons and ghouls is over. It is our monotheistic recovery from a very Pagan (and realistic) observation:

The Crone's Blessing:
We are all mortal.
Bleeding through birth,
We weep through life...
We die, breathless, in silence.
Death bathes our beginnings in darkness...
And we fear once again-
We are ALL mortal.

Though not every design and detail is dripping with horror and evil, the fact that we do pay that much attention to detail during such a “horror filled” Sabbat lends a question: “Why do we ’soften’ the reality?”

So here is my other question: “Do we soften Death by tending to its nature for an entire day? Or are we welcoming the acknowledgment that even the God and Goddess are ’mortal’ in their own rights?”

We give no disrespect to the Crone and the Holly/Oak King and I am very certain that most people who celebrate Halloween (Pagan or not) honor their Dead quite thoroughly on this day.

But as human beings, what IS Hallowmas?

A reminder. A gift.

It is fear.

It is an endless question.

It is comfort and horror.

It is Chaos and Calm/ Death and Birth.

Hallowmas is "old age", "gaining of wisdom", "acceptance of life through death".

And it is the best story ever told...

Being alive.

Copyright: I have a similar blogger entry in my blogger on MySpace... under the name of ZenMeow.


Lady Grey Dragon

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

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