Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Samhain 2011 edition! I'm your hostess with the ghostess, Anne Johnson. Honestly, that is the name I was graced with at birth. Its anonymity is brilliant.
We interrupt our state-by-state magickal clean-up behind Cindy Jacobs and her army of blood-flinging Crusaders in order to do some more immediate damage control.
On Samhain Eve, Ms. Jacobs is live-streaming a prayer event for the whole evening. A coincidence that she picked our holy night? BAMP! This clueless female looks out on Halloween and sees evil, evil, evil. Poor thing. Someone should buy her a blankie.
In the rare possibility that some of her warriors are checking out this site (and with the comfortable knowledge that a few Pagans visit here from time to time), I'm just going to do a quick outline of the holy days that General Jacobs deems evil. I'll write on a really readable level so any fighter for the busy god can understand.
1. Do you miss your dearly departed grandmother? I sure do. On these first frosty nights of the coming winter, the veil between worlds grows thin, and a discerning person can feel Granny's love all around. In the kitchen, by the stove. In the yard, by the garden. Granny, I can feel you. That's what Samhain is really all about, Charlie Brown.
Now, Christian readers. Tell me you have never felt your departed loved ones at your side in times of need. Right. You do. We all do. No evil involved. None.
2. Samhain recognizes the reality of death, of crossing over the divide. This is the fear factor: ghosts, skeletons, spider webs, scary costumes. What we are really coming to grips with here (and what we're inviting our children to do) is to face our fears and accept them as a normal condition of life. Without the inevitability of death, and the curiosity about what lies beyond, we would not appreciate life. But we don't want to walk around scared all the time, so we set aside the scares until Halloween.
Christian readers. Tell me that you are not one bit afraid of ghosts. Well, guess what? Neither am I! Death and the Beyond are part of every tradition. Don't believe me? Go to church on Good Friday.
3. Samhain marks the moment in the year when the crops have been brought in from the fields. Remember, our traditions come from Northern Europe, where the growing season was pretty much as it is here. But this is not a harvest festival. This is a stock-taking moment. This is that exact instance when we look in the larders and know whether or not we have enough food to get us through the winter. If we do, we're happy. If we don't, we pray to Cernunnos to have pity and spare us over till another year.
Christian readers. Tell me that you don't pray to your god when you lose your job, when you don't have enough money to make ends meet. Is this evil? Or do you petition on behalf of your loved ones, the people whose lives depend upon you?
4. Samhain is the original New Year's Eve and is thus celebrated as a favorite holiday throughout America. Go ahead and try to shut it down. This isn't May Day with a few pretty girls weaving ribbons around a pole. This is Halloween. It's a huge, huge industry of costumes, decorations, candy, party goods, and traditions. Cancel Halloween, and the Navajo Nation will lose the enormous income it derives from planting and harvesting pumpkins. And that's the tip of the iceberg.
Christian readers. If you choose not to celebrate Halloween, all hail. You do what you gotta do. But don't make other American families feel guilty and evil if they want their kids to have a good time. This is a sensible celebration with roots so deep you will never pull them out of our collective soil. Don't even try, except within the walls of your own wacky community.
5. One final shot across the bow: Halloween is celebrated in schools! If you don't want your kid to dress up in a costume and go eat sweet treats with friends, you have to keep the kid home that day. Might cause a little resentment in your tot. You know why? Because there is absolutely no harm, none none NONE, in Halloween! When did socially-sanctioned fun become an evil thing? Oh pleeeeze.
The moral of this sermon is that most Christians celebrate Halloween just in the way that they live and think, without even knowing it. It's a time to assess the harvest, face the alterations brought about by death, and celebrate the dearly departed loved ones whose lives made you what you are today.
Cindy, get over it. Your antipathy for Halloween stems from your own praise and worship team's tendencies to co-opt the holiday for their evil purposes. The rest of us have moral values and common sense. Pray all you want. You look ridiculous.