Halloween Reflection

Halloween Reflection October 21, 2016

Silent darkness covers the entire land,
Hiding the misshapen faces on parade.
The shadows which none can understand,
Torment the populace, making all afraid.

The moon is covered, the light is extinguished,
As the grim festival marches from door to door.
From hand to hand, the tribute relinquished,
Into cavernous bags ready for some more.

From the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Photo by Henry Karlson
From the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Photo by Henry Karlson

While as a Byzantine Catholic, I celebrate All Saints on the Sunday after Pentecost, I have great fondness for Halloween, and the way the West has developed its unique ritual preparation for All Saints.  The oncoming darkness of the winter season reveals the darkness which remains within, and it is up to the glorious light of all the saints to shine in the darkness and expel the necromantic powers which seek to swallow our soul in the second death.

The shadows of the night unite with the dark recesses of the soul. Instead of being afraid of them, instead of keeping them hidden, we must find the means to let them out, to reveal the dark, cantankerous parts of our souls. This is what we find happens with Halloween. We become aware of our spiritual deformities as we let them manifest themselves in our outward appearance. We open ourselves up so that nothing remains hidden. Then, we bring ourselves over to the light, to the bright lights of the heavenly kingdom of God, the saints, and embrace them, asking for their mediation of grace so that through their help, we can exorcise the darkness from our own lives.  Only by revealing the dark forces which remain within can we fight against them and the nihilistic abyss from which they spring.

Halloween can be seen as a Tantric exercise to exorcise our soul. We open ourselves up to the dark powers which remain within us, and summon them forth, lest they remain festering in the hidden crevices of our being. Halloween is the night in which the darkness is revealed – and while it appears that the darkness is great and full of might, it is also the night which reminds us of how weak the darkness really is. It covers us up like a mask, a mask which can therefore be taken off and cast aside.  The night gives way to the day, the darkness to the lights of Christ, the saints, as the true triumph of Christ is revealed in the glory of the kingdom of God. The darkness is shown for what it truly is, the sewage of the soul which needs to be flushed out, and so we bring it out, we let it reveal itself, having fun with it, mocking it, until it is cast aside and the light of the saints remain.

But history continues beyond Halloween and so in our daily lives we find the darkness continues to fight against the light. Until the eschaton, we should continuously make war against the darkness in our lives. Halloween is a ritualistic representation of this which, thanks to the glory of the saints, provides us grace so as to make it through another year of this spiritual combat. We are meant to add our own light into the night, to add our share of grace into the mixture, so that we can conquer that one small portion of darkness within and reveal ourselves to be truly one with the light of Christ. All Saints reminds us, then, of our goal, of the kingdom of heaven and the Light of Tabor which is to shine brightly in us, eliminating all the shadows within as we are truly turned into fire with Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. But that goal, the growing light in the darkness, will thus bring forth more shadows, more distortions of being out into the open: all the monstrosities which parade the streets must be allowed their moment; but in the end, their power is nothing and they are shown to be but clowns, mocking the light which they cannot overcome. They are but masks which we should take off so that the beautiful and bright image of God can truly be revealed. And so with Halloween, the darkness gives way to the light, the masks of the night are swiftly taken off, making us ready  to join in with the saints at God’s magnificent feast.



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