Friday, October 31, 2008

Casting a Spell on Halloween

Casting a Spell on Hallowe'een - again (from October 07)

One of my daughters called from far away and asked if I was ready for Halloween, She told me it was her favorite holiday when she was young because the house felt so magical. I live away from the hurly burly of town and don't have many trick-or-treaters anymore, but I know my precious 2-year-old granddaughter Maya will come by, and that is inspiration aplenty. I have always loved to cast a spell on this wonderful night. Or rather, I allow the night to cast a spell on me. It's easy! Here's how.

Put on a cape. Put a pumpkin on the porch and hang up a respectable looking litttle skelton (not a silly or scary looking one), to remind you of your mortality. Set out a bowl of apples from the farm market, a kind of apple you don't usually eat, a true tasting apple that tastes like it just came off the tree. No mass-market red delicious, try McIntosh or Winesap.

Make the house smell like it should. Get out the dark molasses and bake some gingerbread. Put some cider in a pot on the stove and add cinnamon sticks and cloves. If you have the spot, build a big fire in the fireplace. Have plenty of low light in every room of the house, but no overhead lights, just candles and lamps with soft bulbs. I have a wall sconce that holds half a dozen candles- perfect for this night.

Put on Van Morrison or Bob Dylan or whatever you love, full blast. Lay out some Hawthorne and Poe books. Hope to see a beautiful child at your door. Dance.

Remember that it is All Saints Eve, All Hallows Eve- a tradition regarded in one form or another across history and throughout many cultures, particularly those with Gaelic roots, as a time when the dead are near. With the changing seasons, the death of nature's summer vibrance, the harvest over, the falling of leaves and the natural melancholy of fall, there is a momentary crack in the veneer of life. Stay attuned to the restless spirits wandering free of the grave tonight. Welcome them in. Grant them peace. Hope for wind.

from October 07

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