This year the mood is just right for a true Halloween experience, but only if you’re daring. The Sun will set early October 31st, the way it does in this waning season, and after twilight fades, we’ll have four hours of true darkness before a misshapen Moon emerges in the black pool of the midnight hour.
Halloween is the eve of the autumn cross quarter day, which is one of four days in the year that marks the halfway point in a season. Traditionally, the autumn cross quarter day was a sacred celebration of all things holy, so the night before cross quarter, people would engage in all kinds of mischievous activity that was meant to scare away the evil and demonic things that lurk in the cold, damp dark of the season.
But in days gone by it wasn’t enough to just indulge in the mischief of the eve of cross quarter, you had to commit in equal measure to the sacredness of the following days. This meant preparing a place for the birth of an inner light once the absolute darkest time of year arrived, at Winter Solstice. The way to do this was to spend the time following the cross quarter in a rhythmic honoring of loved ones who had died. This is the reason why Ghost Suppers, the Day of the Dead, All Saints and All Soul’s Day all coincide in this season.
But back to Halloween! If you dare to open the portal on the true mood of the season, here’s what I recommend: After the clock strikes midnight on Halloween, take a walk out into the dark to a spot where you’ll be able to see the waning Moon as it rises in the east, about an hour later ~ no cell phone, no artificial light, just you, your imagination, maybe a candle, and the dark. Then, while you’re waiting in that black pool of the midnight hour, light the candle, and tell a story to the flame, one that’s rich in the imagery and mystery of the season (see the link below). Once the Moon rises, snuff out your candle and go home, to greet the season of the dead with the courage of having faced the dark.
A terrific tale for sharing by candlelight at the midnight hour: The Princess in the Chest
This week’s radio segment on going into the dark on All Hallow’d Eve is available at this link.