31 October 2005


Merry Goth Christmas!

Via Pandagon, I am amused by yet another article in the "Hallowe'en candy and Harry Potter are tools of Satan" genre, from Linda Harvey.

This stuff is fish-in-a-barrel to mock. I'm gonna have to succumb to temptation on this one for a second.

And those who say that, if we sacrifice Halloween, we'd have to stop celebrating Christmas and Easter, haven't thought this through. Yes, there were originally pagan holidays near Christmas and Easter, but Christ's birth and resurrection have really re-claimed both of these, despite the commercialization. Worldwide, people know what both these holidays are about.

God has left Halloween untouched. There is no significant Christian spiritual or historical event that occurs near Oct. 31.

Huh? Ms. Harvey appears to not actually know the first thing about pagan holidays --- or, it seems, Catholic ones. If she's worried about the survival of pagan practice, she arguably has it backwards.

The names of Œster and Yule have survived, as have many of the key European pagan rituals. Folks paint eggs for Easter. For Yule, folks bring a tree into their living room and decorate it with lights, and kiss under the mistletoe for Goddess' sake.

On the other hand, most folks can't even pronounce the word Samhain, much less recognize it as a name for Hallowe'en. The word "Hallowe'en" comes from "All Hallow's Eve," the day before the Catholic All Saints' Day on 1 November. I'll grant her the pumpkins, but I'd think that from where she stands they aren't nearly as spooky as holly and mistletoe would be if she understood them. Beyond that, considering that most folks celebrate Hallowe'en with candy, beer, pirate costumes, and singularly un-frightening cartoon skeletons, it's hard to be impressed with the amount of pagan ritual observance going on out there. Unless you're the sort of Christian who thinks that anything fun equals evil, and evil equals pagan. (Or, I suppose, if you're the kind of pagan who thinks of the libations as the main event.)

Before I get started on her dread of Harry Potter, I want to get to the real reason I was struck by Ms. Harvey's essay.

Robert Anton Wilson said somewhere that he first saw a t-shirt reading "reality is just a crutch for people who cannot handle science fiction" at a speaking engagement in Kansas, and was astonished by this sign that his philosophy was more pervasive than he thought. Even midwesterners could joke about reality being ontological Silly Putty on a t-shirt.

So, too, I detect a threshhold being crossed. Harvey says:

Halloween marks and highlights the forces of darkness. It's a showcase for mediums, fortune-telling, occult beliefs, to become more and more mysteriously appealing to uninformed children, all whilst they are surrounded in today's America by the lure of "magick." We're not in Kansas anymore.
Whoa, wait a minute! Does everyone know these days that occultists spell magick with a 'k'? How can she be stone ignorant about Œster and Yule, but know that?

No comments: