Tea: Hey! Guess who is sick again? I have been sneezing quite a lot, and my boyfriend has as well; therefore, one knows the tea which I am drinking is: garlic infusion with honey.
Songs: I am re-listening to an old (like 2001) album. Positively Somewhere by Jennifer Paige. I was Youtubing, instead of writing, and a nostalgic video came on autoplay. I have been stuck in a loop for a week.
Before the holiday discussion, I want to say that I submitted to an actual literary, Rattle, magazine for the first time. Fingers crossed.
Halloween (some will say Hallowe’en which I admit is more correct) is around the corner. I cannot wait to celebrate the first eve after my DNA test results are available. I want to use turnips, garlic, bonfires, and the like for my ritual. What does it mean though (Side note: Here With Me is playing right now: where Ms. Paige asks what does it mean…awkward) for me to have this deeply religious experience whilst knocking on my door from capitalistically raised children beg? I am not sure. I try to distance myself from trick-or-treaters. So far I have been successful, but now I live in a larger city — a Houstonian suburb —, and a larger apartment complex. I may have some this year, but, then again, I live in an immigrant heavy area of the suburb. Who knows?
I think Hallowe’en has been appropriated in some ways. As such, should I be insulted that others have taken a sacred holiday, and secularised it? This would be different than Christmas since Christmas is based on Yuletide’s timing, or Easter which is based on Eostre’s festival — as far as we know —. I am, however, well aware that I am a minority religious practicioner, and that in the wider non-Judeo-Christian/Semitic religions , and counterculture it is seen as a ‘bairns’ holiday’. Even in the wider occult world, everyone gravitates towards it as ‘Samhain’…the corresponding Celtic (I believe that is the Irish name, and the Welsh name is Calan Gaeaf. I know not the Cornish, or Scottish Gaelic version, and I do not ken at all Manx history) holiday. I suppose then when I hear that so-and-so is celebrating it as either a capitalistic expression, or as a non-Celtic/non-British way that I have become desensitized to it. It is like shepherd’s pie — side note: I am awaiting my roommate’s shepherd’s pie this year —, fish and chips —a favourite of my half-Arab boyfriend…and one of my least favourites from Britain —, traditional British infusions, and the like. I have seen them in fusion restaurants/situations that I do not know if I would consider them ‘stolen’ at this point as much as ‘spread’ through history — a lot of it quite non-ethically —.
I must mention for my own personal safety that both my boyfriend, and my roommate have British heritage, so I am in no way calling them out. Please do not poison my tea, or burn my books.
I also see so many cultures around the world happen around the same time for similar purposes. In Texas, for the last five years that I have been here, for example, I see tons of Dia de Muertos (I apologise for the spelling mistakes that I may have made: I only speak one Latinate language) makeup fusions at Hallowe’en parties. Does it annoy me? Truthfully, yes. I, however, have no authority as a Hallowe’en expert. That honour lies with historians, and British heathens/pagans. I am also quite a harsh person when it comes to cultural lines. Yet, having participated in a Dia de Meurtos celebration as a visitor — to make it sounds ‘fancier’ let us call it a cultural attaché—, I wonder where those lines lie with holidays that are so similar in purpose, and have spread to meet each other. I, for one, adore Santa Muerte as a goddess connected to Aztec funeral rites/ancestor worship. She has been depicted as half-dead/half-alive which resonates similarily with Hel. It is like seeing a stranger with the exact same shade hair as a childhood friend: it is difficult not to feel a shred of connection to her.
I, nonetheless, will not honour her on my own. I hope that those without a tie to traditional Mexican cultures do not either.
What I do plan to do to honour the holiday:
- Honour my ancestors…all of them. Even the christian, atheist, wrong (that means even my child-raping grandfather which will be a first for me, so expect a flood of emotion), cunty (like his wife who is the only person for whom I have no shred of pity that she died in pain), loving, imperfect, known, and the unknown.
- Offer to the Alfr, and Disir as is tradition for Winternights. This is the Icelandic holiday around the same time.
- I want to try to make a traditional turnip jack-o-lantern if I can. If not, I should still be fine. I plan on putting candles on the banister to help guide the spirits.
- Meditation (or in Anglish ‘inwardfare’ which paints a much deeper image…and is a little intense) on the dead. I live near a graveyard, but I do not want to get arrested for trespassing on the 31st, so I may get some grave dirt earlier to hold.
- Honour Hel.
- Read a poem aloud
- Have a bonfire (I may throw a few chicken/animal bones in there since that is where we get our word)
- Eat with loved ones whom I can
- Guise myself in some fashion
Hallowe’en does last from sunset to sunset, so I will try to keep in the mindset until Nov 1 at sundown (18:36), but this will mark the beginning of a new year for me. I hope that it is an improvement on the last.
Non-spirtual notes: I still need to pick a language by then. I am leaning towards a specific one, but I do not know. I will tell one which one next week in my Nynorsk post.
Be safe. Be loved. And, for the holidays coming up whether Hallowe’en or some other one, I do hope one has fun, and one is respectful.
-J.A. Victor Wilson