Updated: Sep 8
Halloween can be a lot of fun and a good excuse to eat way too much chocolate. But really Halloween is probably the healthiest of our popular celebrations: because it is a common catharsis for our communities. It is also the only major ancient Pagan tradition that has not been hijacked by any mainstream religion. These are only some reasons why we need Halloween. And there is more.
On the eve of and on November 1st, most countries in the Western world turn to the dark side and celebrate the monsters hiding in the shadows. It’s a tradition as critically important as ‘Christmas’ (read Saturnalia or Solstice, obviously) or Easter. Maybe more. As we all descend into the darkness (hello November and December), taking the chance to explore our fears and sorrows is a much needed cathartical experience.
HALLOWEEN WAS APPLIED THERAPY, BEFORE THERAPY WAS EVER A THING
Therapy and psychology have not always been around under that name. But they have always been around in the form of folk tales, seasonal celebrations and rituals.
An important aspect of therapy consists in facing the darkness within. We acknowledge the monsters that live in the dark corners of our minds to better understand them, tame them and maybe, get rid of them altogether.
That’s definitely a big part of the Halloween experience. Whatever your monster looks like: a ghost, a murderer, a zombie or a politician…All these creatures stand for specific fears and sometimes even trauma.
Take this chance to question your fears and address them.
HALLOWEEN BELONGS TO WOMEN
That’s right witches. This is our thing.
Although men have been involved in sorcery and medicine since the very beginning, Women have always been the real guardians of our personal and common memories. They were (and still are) the healers, the witches and the ones most deeply connected to both life and death.
It starts with one simple thing: For women to not be threatened by death through the process of giving life is very recent and still only applies to certain more fortunate regions of the world. Women are familiar with death, fear, the shedding of blood and the value of life in a very unique way.
HALLOWEEN IS THE HAPPIEST TIME OF THE YEAR
You read this right.
Life is short. And sometimes we need a reminder a tad bit stronger and more real than a Pinterest post. Halloween reminds us that Death is everywhere. And when we face and accept Death, only then can we truly understand the immense value of life. The simple fact of being here and witnessing this crazy world doing what it does is an incredible blessing. Even when there is pain.
Facing Death. Again.
We all know the devastating feeling of loss. Whether someone we loved passed or left our life for good, which are two different types of grief. Different societies deal with death and grief in different ways. The Western World is very good at keeping it all hidden and out of the way.
Others are more comfortable facing their own mortality and celebrating it. You could argue that it makes life more intense and worthwhile.
The most famous example would be el Dia de los Muertos in Mexico but African and Mediterranean traditions also offer different, more lively ways to deal with painful goodbyes.
So make it a process. Make your Halloween season last a week or two, at least. And if it does fit your personality, lifestyle or beliefs, burn your fears at the stake on the night of October 31st. Whether by throwing a monstrous party or burning old pictures in your backyard.
Oh and of course, don’t forget to include Tarot in your rituals.
What does Halloween mean to you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts :)