As today is the Day of the Dead, Halloween or Samhain (say sowen or saveen) and the pumpkins, skeletons and scary-looking costumes are on display, no one seems to find it remotely odd that one is actually celebrating death. To me Halloween is very much a North American tradition with its roots in Celtic paganism, which is taking over the world. I’m sure the ancient Celts dealt differently with dead than humans in modern western society, in which death is very much something to be feared and to be considered ugly and highly unpleasant. Why would one celebrate that? Now, I could be cynical and say it’s very much a commercial affair just like Christmas. Yet, in many cultures around the world and throughout the ages, death is and has been very much part of life and has been celebrated and commemorated as such. So Halloween, whether commercialised or not, could be seen as just another expression of that.
Death is often a reason for sadness as loved ones who pass on leave a void behind and death tends to reminds us that life isn’t forever. People might have been celebrating death throughout the ages to be able to deal with that void and that awareness of one’s own mortality.
What exactly death is on a biological level is an issue of debate. With advancements made in medicine, those whose heart stops beating or whose brain no longer shows any activity are no longer considered deceased as with modern technology these people can now be revived.
Yet, on a metaphysical level death seems a necessary stopover in the cycle of life. A day dedicated to the dead is a moment in time to remember those who passed on and celebrate the vibes they´ve sent out into the world of the living. It’s a moment to realise that death is inevitable and that we have to live life to the fullest. A moment in time to view death as a process, rather than an event. A process of transformation. Taking stock of what is and what is not needed or can’t be used. Letting go of baggage and reinvent oneself as a different and improved person. Like a phoenix rising from her ashes or a certain man from Nazareth rising from the grave.
As I´m currently taking stock, enjoying highly pleasant autumn weather, I’m rather pleased with my harvest and quite excited about ditching some baggage and transform myself into a new and improved Dark Fairy.
Perhaps tonight is just about the dressing up, the tricks or treats or the party at your (not so local) hangout. Celebrate death, celebrate life and reinvent yourself into an even more fabulous specimen.
top image: lisa gawlas’ blog