Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween In The Modern Age

Much of this article is speculation about the nature of Halloween and its place in modern age.

The origins of Halloween are actually related to the harvest season for most essential crops and the belief that there were evil spirits during the setting and harvesting of crops who would sabotage the crop yields of farmers.

Of course these evil spirits were most often just the result of complex causality such as the weather, parasitic infestations or any other seemingly unfortunate event that directly affected the farmer's yield for a given season and due to the superstitions of the time, such acts were often attributed to persons that would enter into communion with the forces of evil (aka the Devil, Demons or other fauna of the great abyss of the underworld). The movie The Witch depicts this concept in great beauty and terror as a supernatural horror film which finds the protagonists of the film fall victim to an evil that occupies the forest beyond their farm.

Insofar as Witches and their relation to such occurrences, it more likely that they were innocent Women (and Men) cast down by the superstition of the day as being responsible for the misfortunes that befell any farming community. For anyone accused the safest bet for them to escape the crude punishments of the law and superstition at the time were to pin the wrong doing onto a ring leader of sorts. As the accusations supported by more and more people trying to dodge involvement in such activity accumulated, the ring leader would be assured a death sentence and often were tortured for confessions of their sins in this regard. It is from this concept that we likely find the origins of the Witch Hunt as it allowed for sometimes drastic shifts in power between different groups of people and ideologies.

The real involvement of Witches is more likely about those who practiced Sorcercraft attempting to bring good fortune in terms of the crop yield during the harvest season rather than to sabotage it. In any colony their well being relied upon the availability and abundance of food and they would certainly do everything in their ability to contribute to this for their community though likely in secret. Considering that anyone who performed scientific studies was often persecuted unless their research was approved or even ordained by the Church itself as was often the case by those who were courageous enough to pursue knowledge of creation by more empirical approaches. Religion and science were not always enemies, though often religious ideas were never allowed to undergo the rigorous testing and review through which all scientific theories must pass before acceptance. Certainly it was very risky for anyone to be undertaking scientific pursuits up until after the mid seventeen hundreds.

Halloween's origins were part of an effort by farmers to scare such spirits and (who more likely vermin) away by dressing up in terrifying ways. There are other legends associated with tricking or treating that aren't directly related to this first ceremony to protect seasonal crops where those canvasing for treats are taking the role of the tricksters or spirits that would sabotage a farmer's harvest lest they pay a tariff to the trickster in the form of a treat.

In this sense Halloween is more about overcoming the hurdles that could result in a bad harvest and result in famine over the winter for those who depended upon such crops and their trade revenues in the early colonial days of this continent. It makes no sense that this tradition should be glossed over in that sense for it is secular or even pagan in nature in the first place as similar practices have been conducted by nearly every civilization the world over during their growth and harvest season, including the indigenous peoples of the world.

 Therefore, by its very origins, Halloween is inclusive though going by many different names in different parts of the world and in alignment with their calendar harvest season which for the most part would be aligned with one of the two solstices or two equinoxes as a result of the Earth's eliptical orbit around the sun and it's 23.5 degree tilt. Actually, it would be the antithesis of inclusion to do away with it for this reason. Perhaps the focus should be on unifying people more towards a good harvest and tidings for the winter inclusive of all rather than extorting treats from farmers and growers as it symbolized in the past.

Perhaps though given the nature of reality and the effects of an observer upon the collapse of the wave function in the Quantum Physics model of the universe, there is something to be said about the nature of mystery itself. If consciousness itself is linked to the very fabric of the universe, then who is to say that something of a seemingly mystical nature isn't at play in a very mysterious way.

Brian Joseph Johns