Saturday, October 31, 2015

Samhain, wondering on cyber paper

Pumpkins in the woods, along a narrow path, peaceful, beautiful symbols of the abundance of the season.

Samhain is the gate to the new year, which starts tomorrow.  It really makes a lot of sense because, the old year is dead,  and the new year is but a developing seed and we cannot see it yet.  A path, shrouded in mist one can look down but not know what it is on it or  where it will lead.

The veil between worlds is said to be thin, and out ancestors can pass  through or at least pass messages to us and we to them.  There is evils out there waiting to be invited in, and so there are also bonfires, or needfires, and people gathered together to  celebrate, bless and be blessed by those around them. One of the explanations given for dressing in costume on this night is to confuse the evil,  another is to scare off evil. Family ancestors and townsfolk all mingled together, to wade off evil, honor the harvest, their ancestors, and look into the future and wonder.

Samhain can be and I think should be looked at as more a season than just one day.  There are many different components to this season, including food, fun and family celebrations,  and solemn moments that can't all be fit into one day.

  During this season the farm. household, game and woodland animals were honored.
 Ancestors are honored and  when I say ancestors I don't mean just the members of your bloodline. I mean ancient ancestors, and those ancestors who's graves are unmarked, those who had no one to honor them, and those who have been forgotten.  

 The light and growing part of the  year gives way to the dark and waiting part of the year, the King of Winter rules the land.  The hearth fire is extinguished and , rekindled.  And in the hours of darkness between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new there time and distance have little meaning.  Take some time to listen to you heart and the voices of those you honor.  Joyful Samhain and good things in the new/

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cats just gotta dress up for Halloween

 Cats and Halloween, seem to fit together. Probably because of their association with witches. I have heard many versions of how this association came to be.  The cats eyes reflecting the fire's glow, as it warmed itself by the hearth where the cauldron and broom also where, possibly gave rise to an association with the glowing eyes of the Devil, who was believed a very real creature during the Dark Ages. Capable of transforming himself into any shape and recruiting hapless women into his service.  Though the black cat was the most suspect, any cat cold be a familiar.  Cats were often placed in baskets and burned when their mistress was burned for practicing witchcraft.
Cats were regarded as working
animals, not so much pets.  The Church directed that cats were to be hunted and killed, the decrease in the cat population led to an increase in the rodent population which is one of the explanations for the rise of the plague.  Germs, virus, etc, were unknown and the Plague was blamed on evil forces, unfortunately that led to more cat hunting, and this led to....well you guessed it. 
 So may-be that is why cats love to dress up for Halloween, or not. 


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

it's only a halloween dream, , Ivy

The fog, like lavender cheesecloth, had been draped over  the trees in the early dawn light. Ivy stood by the window, there was something deep in her heart,deep in the back of her mind, and it was calling her. Im the rising sun the outlines of the old apple trees visible through the fog.  Ivy paced, and drank coffee, so lost in thought,thoughts so distant she was struggling to remember them. And this morning she so very much wished that Abagail would stop in for a visit  so she could relater her strange dream to her. Abagail knew all about dreams, or so she claimed and may-be she did. 

 Halloween was always Ivy's favorite hoiliday, she loved to go trick or treating and dress up, she also liked to soap windows and gum doorbells with her brothers. Puting one of those papermache skulls on a stick and waving it at someones window was a lot of fun until someone waved one in front of her bedroom window.  But that was then and this is now, and the dream she was already having trouble remembering was tormenting her.  She sat at the table and writing the details.  She looked at the  unwashed plates from last night, 2 plates, 2 mugs, 2 glasses, and her heart leapt, like she was a high schooler again  and the cutest boy in the class passed her a note in the hall.  She liked how it felt then and even more she liked the way it felt now. But they were not high school kids any more and the
long walk to the top of the hill had worn them out. 

Staring out the window in the direction of Gus and Adeline's house, and soon became lost in thought. She could remember how tired she was last night, how good it felt to curl up under the covers and sleep, then she awakened in velvety darkness and the feeling of being caught by the back, a hack gripped her shoulder blade  and then the other hand, reached over her shoulder Ivy struggled to turn herself around and see who or what was behind her, she grabbed the arm over her shoulder, and it disappeared.  She found herself alone in a woodland of knurled and leafless trees, the sky was a leaden color and the whole landscape looked to her like a something from a very wicked fairytale.  And to her amazement she was wearing a beautiful, although muddy, velvet gown, and more jewelry than she owned in real life, she caught sight of her reflection in a puddle, she was indeed, young again.  She saw in the distance, a large building, a castle, at this point ivy realized she was dreaming, but couldn't wake up.  She aimed herself in the direction of the "castle"   and started to pic her way through the woods. Her gown became heavy with mud and she tore a portion of the skirt away using her dagger, to start the rip.  She then looked at the dagger, and wondered where it came from, reminding herself she was dreaming.  Eventually the spooky old woods gave way to the field, where the "castle" stood, amidst it lovely but overgrown gardens of roses, and many plants she didn't recognize. Ivy brushed the bits of leaves, and briar that clung to her skirts and said to herself, "And I did it all by myself, with no Huntsman to save me".
There was no moat or drawbridge, instead the castle steps resembled an escalator. Tenatively she placed her muddy foot on the first step,and the stairs carried her upward to the door, which opened before her to reveal a great hall, warmed by a roaring fire.  Ivy wanted to wake up, she tried to wake up. And though the dream continued she couldn't remember much, wandering through hallways, talking to elves, watching the sunrise, or could that have been real.

Ivy stared into her coffee cup and then out the window and then back again. The sun began to burn off the fog, the colorful leaves sparkled and the dew glittered the those ground. "Just a Halloween dream, nothing more." she muttered as she filled the sink with the unwashed dishes. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

haiku jack-o-lantern

upon each fencepost
they light our way, shine through the
clouds Halloween Moon

Monday, October 26, 2015

October 27th 8:05AM Full Hunters Moon

              ~~artist unknown
The Full Hunter's Moon is glowing , illuminating the nearly bare trees, as it must have centuries ago, when It got it's name.  Imagine a time when the only illumination came from candles and lanterns, the woods was a dark and dangerous place,  filled  with  dangerous animals, murderous humans, and unspeakable specters, all of which had to be braved in order to fill  the larder.  A family with a good supply of food stashed away, or should I say salted down, had a much better chance of surviving the winter. It was the goal to not have to be out hunting in the lean and hungry months of February and March, when the lean and hungry wolves were also looking for a meal. 

Also known as the Moon Before Hallows, Falling Leaves Moon, New Clothes Moon, Whistling Moon, Frost Moon, and my favorite the Gathering Moon. 

Soon our streets will be filled with little ones hunting for candy, and again it is a good thing to have a stash that will last one for awhile, all of those little hunter gatherers in their costumes seeking candy and celebrating Halloween, my favorite holiday.  The full moon is  often depicted  in Halloween décor, but in truth the full moon rarely occurs on Halloween.  As you can see in this list from the Farmers Almanac. 

 I can remember  the 2001 full Halloween moon, after all the Trick or Treaters were home, sneaking candy from their haul, the street was quiet again.  Even the dogs were silent, and I stood on the deck,  enjoying the silence, the leaves that remained rustled in a chilly breeze.  The earthy smell of Autumn hung in the air, as I watched the full moon, with wispy clouds sailing across it's face,  silhouetting the bare trees.  I stood there for some time, barefooted, and wide eyed, and just watched.  I didn't know what a rare sight it was.

Tueday - October 31 - 1944

Monday - October 31 - 1955

Thurday - October 31 - 1974

Wednesday - October 31 - 2001

Saturday - October 31 - 2020

Monday - October 31 - 2039

Thursday - October 31 - 2058

Sunday - October 31 - 2077

Wednesday - October 31 - 2096

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Old tyme Halloween...on this sorta creepy silent Sunday



~~~this just might be a representation of Krampus and therefore is really a Christmastime image


Friday, October 23, 2015

helpful household hints for Halloween

1. Allow houseplants and foundation plantings to  grow unchecked.

2. Hang old sheets out to dry on the front porch,  a few well placed tears and stains will make them look homey.

3. Scatter gravel on the walkway, and hang empty birdcages in the trees.

4. Invest in some foundation stones and place them neatly in the yard, faded artificial flowers may be used to decorate them.

5. Replace the doorbell with a vintage doorknocker, and put a  "Beware of Dog" sign in the window, carefully cut the word dog out using a very sharp Exacto knife. Try to make the cut look like a bitemark.

6. Leave window blinds pulled down, but  prop them such that it looks like someone is peeking out.

7.  Inside sprinkle black glitter on the dust bunnies and dust bats.

8. Partially unscrew lightbulbs so they will flicker.

9.  Loosen door hinges so that they door sag open and/or will not close properly.

10.  Fill vases with twigs and dried branches, a hornet's nest, preferably unoccupied would add a nice touch.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Guest blogger Carolyn Emerick

I spend a lot of time wondering about where ideas, beliefs and customs come from, it keeps me entertained when I am gardening and do other chores. Plus I am just basically curious about when I found this, I had to share. Now I'm gonna spend my rainy day reading the links at the end of the article.
Written by  Carolyn Emerick

Trick or Treat - British or American
I have seen some Brits complaining about "American" trick or treating, happens every year. Many customs, practices, words, phrases, songs, etc, left Britain with Scots-Irish who came to America. Sometimes the custom was preserved as is, and sometimes it evolved. Then when it was reintroduced after it had died out in Britain, the people there no longer recognized the practice.
Trick or treat, though perhaps not under that name, is indeed originally British. Scots-Irish families often came to America due to necessity (famine, highland clearances, etc), but they desperately missed their homeland and the people they left behind. So they kept their customs and cultural identity strong as it was passed down through their families. Europeans often mock Americans for saying "I'm part Irish" or whatever their heritage is. Europeans usually shoot back "um, no you're not, you're American." They don't understand the idea of family cultural identity apart from national identity unless their country has a history of large waves of immigration.
I previously wrote an article on Hop-tu-Naa, which is Halloween on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man has been traditionally somewhat cut off from trends in the rest of Great Britain before the age of mass media and the Internet made contact easier and cheaper. Therefore their old customs stayed alive even when they died out in the rest of Britain. And, they were also separated from incoming new trends, such as American customs.
Children on the Isle of Man have been participating in going door to door asking for treats with their Jack-o-lanterns right along back to ancient times! It died out in the rest of Britain, but not the Isle of Man! Now it's come back, and (sorry) ignorant people are calling it American! (I do not intend the word ignorant as insulting, but simply that people do not have this knowledge of their own cultural heritage).
It makes me saddened and honestly a bit upset to see British people using "American" as a negative connotation and rejecting their own heritage come home because it took a detour in the U.S. It also saddens me because I love culture, history, and believe folk customs are hugely important to social identity, and in America trick-or-treat is dying out due to irrational overly fearful helicopter parents.
So, please, my British friends, do not hate "American" Halloween customs! Realize that it comes from our SHARED heritage! It lived on because families who were forced to leave their homes made an effort to keep culture alive in a new land!
For more on Manx Hop-tu-Naa, please read my article here:…/Hop-tu-Naa-Halloween-o…
Other old European Pagan connections:
The custom of going around through town asking for food or beverage was tied to MANY of the old Pagan high days. In an effort of intense research, I discovered that Trick-or-Treat is related to Christmas Caroling. I also discovered that going around town asking for food and threatening to "curse" any who refused also occurred at Candlemas.
To read about the ancient pagan roots of Christmas Caroling, read my article The Hidden History of Christmas Carols. I promise you will NOT find this information anywhere else! (Unless they stole it from me, people are stealing my research lately)…/The_Hidden_History_of_Christmas_…


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

noms of halloween

What more can I say,  Halloween food, is pretty much made of sugar and all those seriously bad for you things we all crave.  Just another facet of celebrating the circle of the year!  

A way back when people went "A souling!"  on the Feats of all Souls, and beggars and others were giving Souls Cakes in exchange for a promise to pray for the souls in Purgatory.   A Soul cake isn't a mere cookie, but a thick confection  rich mixture of spices , nuts, and dried fruit, a lot of tasty morsels as pay for repeating a few prays.  In the more recent past it was time for parties, where of course many treats were served.  Sometime around the early 1900s, when the pranks and general tomfoolery got to be too much for most towns Halloween parades and door to door "Trick or Treating" began, and of course the bribes for no soaped windows, etc, was candy, or cookies, woe to the house that handed out apples, though.

May-be this is a stretch, but may-be not.   Deep inside I think that sharing food and fattening up for the winter was a part of the All American Halloween.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

haiku, look

to see and be seen
colors of harvest abound
the new from the old

Silent Sunday with animals