A direful salute to you, dear reader. It’s Halloween, most obviously. People decorate their front gardens with Jack O’Lanterns and spooky ghosts. Kids have a perfect excuse to get perky and graze loads of sweets and candy. Admittedly I’m not so very much into the common celebrations, although I’m definitely the trick-or-treat-type; I prefer more demanding little games but, and I just play them with selected persons who have the mental ability to sustain my crazy ideas. *nowimagineanevilgrin* Anyway. In contrast to past year, I’m im Germany, not in Scotland. But horrible masks and ghostly guises in the streets are what we (have to) bear these days, no matter where we are.
It’s peculiar how it changed during the past years. In Germany anyway. I can remember sitting in an Americanesk milk bar in the 1990s, being a teen. My teenage friend Anne, half French, was with me, and we were the only persons in shroud, everyone was talking about us. Afterwards, we went to a cemetary in complete darkness – that was an adventure when you’re a teen in the 90s – and enjoyed the creeps that our imagination gave us, seeing weird figures behind every corner. Today, there are plenty of Halloween articles and even parties, most of them an excuse for adults to get perky and graze, well, loads of beers and cocktails and stuff. But it’s more or less a copy of what Americans do for generations. Halloween is an All-American feast, and Germany loves the commercialized form of spook.
Scotland has a different and much older tradition when it comes to Halloween. The celtic forerunner as it were is called Samhain, and many people – the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Society, for example – celebrate it even in modern times. It’s very mystic and has a completely different mood. The attention is directed to the nature and natural changes, that’s why natural religions such as Wicca usually feel a close link to the celebrations. Oversimplified it is about the battle between summer and winter, and winter wins every year – before summer wins on Beltane (30. April). In Edinburgh, for example, there are parades and stage combats. You can see the strangest figures then, and some of them are scary, but they are no vampires, zombies, monsters but symbols for storm, earthquakes, autumn, harvest, picts, spirits of ancient ancestors. I love the mood, it’s very essential, cabalistic, occult in an innocent and still strongly sensual way.
People who are interested in learning more about history of Samhain versus Halloween will find a lot of information online. That’s why I decided not to explain it all again. But what I will do is telling you two stories during the day. The first one will be an American one. Not American of heritage (it’s my crazed imagination rather), but having its source in the American idea of gothic romantic and ghosts. That’s the link to the classical Halloween. The second one will be a Celtic one with a different mood and a seductive natural spirit instead of ghosts and ghouls. Both will be illustrated with pics that were made of me this night and the coming morning, symbolizing a sinister lady first and a glowing spirit then. It was much work, so I hope you will enjoy that idea and leave some comments to let me know what the night before All Saints means to you. And now turn around, there is something waiting behind you, muahahahahahaaaa….