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October 31, 2011

"Turn off the lights & lie on the floor." Halloween, Druids--and Your Kids.

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Are your kids hanging out with Pagans?

Just a suggestion if you forget to buy the candy. Yes, Halloween--also called "Pooky Night" in some parts of Ireland--is really just a faint shadow of ancient seasonal celebrations of the mysteries of the cosmos: life, death, renewal, Keith Richards, Clarence Thomas. Things we see and sense but cannot explain.

In fact, the entire last week of October offers very old harvest and life-death cycle observances with Pagan, Celtic, Roman and even Christian variations. While some cultures commune a bit more seriously with the spirit world this week, U.S. kids of course love it for its costumes and candy. But for many it's just a sign of Fall. John Keats (1795-1821) was taken with the season, too:

"To Autumn"

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom‑friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch‑eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er‑brimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on the granary floor,
Thy hair soft‑lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or, on a half‑reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twinéd flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider‑press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too—
While barréd clouds bloom the soft‑dying day,
And touch the stubble‑plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full‑grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge‑crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden‑croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

September 19, 1819

Posted by JD Hull at October 31, 2011 11:59 PM


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