Wednesday, October 07, 2009

And, Now, Just In Time For Halloween . . . .

Is the USS Salem haunted? She is, after all, on her third life. You can take a haunted tour and see for yourself.

"We were really excited to have the Ghost Hunters team onboard this summer," said Michael Condon, executive director of the museum, in a press release.

Condon wouldn't say if the team found any spooky evidence aboard the ship.

I suppose that, in some ways, we Pagans have a relationship to secular Halloween that parallels xianity's relationship to secular xmas, although we, at least, call our religious holiday by a separate name (Samhein in my tradition) to make the distinction. Still, secular Halloween is "based on" Samhein even a bit more than secular xmas is based on the xian holy day of Christmas, although I'm not about to launch some "poor persecuted me" campaign and bitch about the "war on Samhein" with "The Beloved Dead Are The Reason For the Season" bumperstickers, although, now that I think about it . . . .

I find that many of us, yours truly included, both enjoy some of the witchy and spooky aspects of secular Halloween, while, at the same time, objecting to the sexist and xianist characterizations of witches as evil, ugly, old women and to the commercialization of what is one of our high, high holy days. I have a collection of Halloween witches, added to just this year, that I collect the same way that some African American friends of mine collect Aunt Jemima figurines: I want to reclaim the word witch and to honor even those "ugly" old women who were being marginalized and persecuted as witches, even as the good xians skulked out to the edge of the village on moonless nights to ask for an herbal cure, a charm, a potion. I decorate for the secular holiday, I hand out candy to all the neighborhood kiddies ( dressed in my witchy finery, including the pointed hat), I enjoy the secular emphasis on the places where the veils thin, and I hold within myself as odd and, yet, because it's real, also sacred, the conflict over the strange overlap between my sacred day and the secular and commercial attempts to render that which chills us as somehow safe and silly. At the same time, I've started long -running blog wars with jerks who announce "The Witch Is Dead" when a conservative bites the dust or who call any evil woman a "witch".

How do you manage the overlap?

Picture found here.

1 comment:

Teacats said...

We live on Lot 13 on Cemetery Hill and decorate the house with spooky creatures, dress up and give out lots of candy. Over the years -- we've had far fewer children and sometimes think that all of our hard work to build the ghouls and creatures is not worth the expense, time or trouble. And then the magic happens - one small boy (dressed in a vampire costume) will literally dance with glee and come right up to me and exclaim: "I LOVE YOUR HOUSE" And sometimes a tired mum will thank us -- and one notable night -- the PTA "dad squad" let their tired kids camp out on our lawn whilst providing drinkies from their little red drink wagon! We have had after-Hallows kitchen parties with worn-out parents while their kids slept in our living rooms. And we don't have kids! We have cats. And we believe that we celebrate the dark time of our year. It is part of our history (near and far) And it is in our Scots-Irish heritage (ah -- Burns' own Tam Lin) And part of the Wheel. Go forth and Be Spooky!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage