Greetings, friends. 'Tis the season of the ghoulish and macabre. Which is to say, for most of us, our favorite holiday. The veil between worlds is at its thinnest in the time of Samhain. Restless spirits wander the world, ready to make mischief and play tricks. And ain't that a treat?
I've always enjoyed the transgressive holidays, which mostly means Carnival and Halloween -- those times of the year roughly coinciding with the equinox when we celebrate excess and our darker drives. The globe shifts on its axis and it seems like we are willing to contemplate less ordered, less constrained ways of being. Ignore these seasons at your peril. At the very least, we all need an opportunity to blow off a little dark steam.
In Carbondale, the university used to shut down the dorms and send the students home for Halloween. We have a bit of a reputation for riots. That's going a bit far, to be sure, but there is always something in the air. Maybe when you put on a mask you feel like you can get away with anything. Maybe we all crave a little chaos. Anarchy rules, with most of us preferring Aleister Crowley's abbreviated version of the Witch's Rede: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." The full Wiccan Rede comes with a bit of a caveat: "These Eight words the Rede fulfill: An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will." Something worth remembering when the spirits of the night encourage you to throw a brick through a storefront window. Or worse.
I prefer to let the call to transgress manifest in art. Costume parties are a fun opportunity to build a concept onto my body. Cards and posters are a fun opportunity to play comic arts. We used to decorate our house, but have let the workload eclipse this opportunity for seasonal play. Still, every now and again, I hang a Blair Witch cluster of sticks and bones in a tree around town -- the simplest decorations often being the creepiest.
It's a beautiful fall weekend, folks. Don't let this day and night pass you by. Carve a pumpkin. Celebrate the harvest. Light a bonfire (but be sure to tend it). Play dress up. Play a gentle prank. Dance skyclad in the moonlight. And when the devout hypocrites accuse you of inviting Satan into your heart, remind them that most of these rituals are about tricking him into passing you by. He prefers the shriveled hearts of those who forgot the divine charge to "judge not lest ye be judged."