Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Haunting from The Radical Virgo!



© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved


It's hard for me to have only one favorite holiday with Mercury in Libra, but I have to tell you: Halloween is right up there with Christmas for me.

I don't let my dark side out much, so having a national holiday where everyone is Scorpio for a Day is wildly fun for me. (If you didn't read my fantasy Halloween costume post last year, the treat’s on me--no tricks! Even if you did, it’s worth the déjà-boo.)

And while we’re on the subject, Happy Birthday, Scorpio Suns! Hope your Solar Return was/will be full of passion and potions.

I'm giving out candy shaped like eyeballs and body parts. Oh, and another bag is full of candy bugs. I hope I don't scare any of the little humanoids whose mothers dress them funny. I really get into it. Always have. Hehehehe.

Getting Lore-id

According to About.com, the celebration of Halloween has come down to us for the most part as a cross-cultural stew of folk traditions. Here’s a link that will lure you into as much Halloween lore as you can stand: Halloween 2010: Top Costumes, History, Myths, More. For one thing, it tells us of the holiday’s pagan progenitor:

Halloween's origins date back more than 2,000 years. On what we consider November 1, Europe's Celtic peoples celebrated their New Year's Day, called Samhain (SAH-win).

On Samhain eve—what we know as Halloween—spirits were thought to walk the Earth as they traveled to the afterlife. Fairies, demons, and other creatures were also said to be abroad.  (To those not from the UK, I figured out in reading Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt, an incredible memoir about his Irish childhood, that “abroad” means outdoors or out and about, unlike in the US where it means across the Pond or ocean—or out of the country somewhere far off.)

Adjacent Holidays
 
All Soul’s Day.  To be equal opportunity religious in our symbolism, let’s talk the Catholic perspective. In reaction to this pagan good time, Pope Boniface IV in the seventh century decreed November 1 All Saints' Day or All Hallows' Day. It celebrates “the faithfully departed.” Same spirit—spirits! (Does any other religion use the term “faithfully departed?” Does this mean the person didn’t cheat or cheat on death?) I hear Anglicans also celebrate this feast day and the Eastern Orthodox religions celebrate several similar feasts during the year. I like this idea. Halloween is full of presumably unfriendly and unrelated spirits, whereas All Soul’s Day is an opportunity to honor spirits we knew and loved, our ancestors passed, something often don’t do enough in the Western World. So, witches and goblins out trick or treating or those of you taking kids and grandkids on the rounds on Halloween—the next day, bring a flower to the cemetery, say a prayer for your late, great grandma and remember why you loved these sweet souls.


Day of the Dead (Dias de los Muertos).  Just as St. Paddy’s Day makes me want to be Irish for a day along with most of the rest of the world, Dias de los Muertos makes me want to be Latina. Primarily celebrated in Mexico or by Mexicans living in the US and Canada on November 2, there is a clear association with All Soul’s Day, the day before. Dias de los Muertos focuses on gathering together friends and family to celebrate the lives of their dearly departed. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts. However, my favorite part about it is the comical death figurines and costumes that are part of an overall attitude where people thumb their noses at death. When my husband renewed our vows at a close family-and-friends celebration in 2007, I seriously considered topping the cake with a Day of the Dead couple to say that I really meant ‘til death do us part and maybe beyond. I love the fact that this holiday is both solemn and playful, honoring and celebratory with food, music, and dance. It’s so colorful, it gets my vote as the most dramatic example of the upside of Scorpio.

Click to enlarge


Anniversary of Chiron’s Discovery. Adding to this bundle of holidays so close together and sharing All Soul’s Day on November 1st is Chiron’s discovery in 1977. As the patron saint of The Radical Virgo, mythical Chiron gets my vote for being remembered on All Soul’s Day/his Discovery Day. How fascinating that Chiron would be discovered on a day we remember loved ones who have “crossed over.” In her seminal book on the subject, Barbara Hand Clow called Chiron “the rainbow bridge” to the outer planets. There are many references in metaphysical circles about crossing the rainbow bridge at death. In the myth, Chiron surrendered his mortality and died in an act of altruism for others. After three days he was raised to the heavens in a constellation. This has many parallels to the later death and resurrection of Jesus. Both were teachers and beloved for their wisdom. Even if we’re not sure if Chiron was “real,” let’s remember him and all the teachers who have “passed” in our life, whether that means they are no longer incarnate or have passed through our lives and are not currently teaching us. What a wonderful day to pay homage to those whose sacrifices and wisdom have saved and expanded us.


May your black-and-orange season be rich with symbolism—and candy.

~~~

Photo Credits:   Halloween Background with Moon © Luisa Venturoli and Skull Cake © Mediocrephoto, both from Dreamstime





3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Joyce! Halloween is the one holiday I wish we had when I was a kid, although it's coming here too. A fun party in the darkest time of the year is fine by me! I love it when you can scrape at the surface of a tradition and see the roots extending so far off in the past. We celebrate Christmas Eve because the monks decided not to even try robbing the Vikings of their midvinterfest - it would probably have ruined the whole missionary thing ... And the other day I read about Saturnalia - the Romans had a week long party in December where they gave gifts! So the party is the same, it's just the customs that change. Makes you wonder how far back it goes. Have a great Halloween!
Natalie

MIchelle said...

Chiron's discovery degree is closely conjunct my natal Jupiter at 3 Taurus 08'.

Btw, I signed up for the poetry conference last week but then I was not able to attend. I'm sorry for that. I hope that it was a success.

Best wishes,
Michelle

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Natalie--You got it! In order to make the new Christian religion enticing, many of the pagan holidays were kept in a different form. No one would want to give up a cause to celebrate!

Cool, Michelle--and my natal Chiron is conjunct the Chiron Discovery Chart's Sun. We are definitely connected to that Chi-Guy! :) The poetry call was fun! We had 6-8 people, just right for discussion. I may do it again sometime.