Thursday, October 30, 2008

No whistling past the graveyard; nor worshipping the grave

We tarnish our own hallows. For we possess our own hallows, even though they are hallows as potentiality, within time. Their particular colour is yet hidden from us, but what we become goes into making that colour. This is, as far as I can see, the reason for the languishing of Halloween, All Hallows Eve, in the merely ghoulish. All Saints Day necessarily points to our own predestined hallows. (We can say we are predestined for Heaven because God has made every soul for Heaven. It is our bad choices through our own free will that break that predestiny, which is why hell is so hellish)

Surely there was a time when All Hallows Eve began to take up the notion of ghosts and ghouls, of bats and flighty cats driven by dark portents, dashing from the seething underbrush, and low orange moons feathered with the passing of rattling leaves, and yet it remained holy.

Indeed, such things would be expected of All Hallows Eve. For it is about all souls, and if it is about all souls, and their hopeful salvation, and the prayerful recognition of and for the dead which is what we too become, then surely this would include the sudden sight of the ghoulish happenings in one's periphery as one heads forward on his journey. This journey which opens before one like the stripping of the boughs. The onward and upward movement where we realize a quickening sense of the battle we are in, the dangers of the pilgrimage.

The sight of the monsters should give us courage. Our journey then sheds its illusions. The boogies and banshees are no longer hidden, as the propelling of our souls towards our homeland gets kicked up a few notches - or twenty - like the sudden racing of the severed leaves.

But the gargoyles must remain the hunched and burdened rainspouts of the architecture, not the feature of the pinnacle.

Have you read G.K. Chesterton's wonderful essay, The Nightmare? By all means, read it, right here. I read this essay quite a while ago, and have returned to it often, even though it is a short and simple one. I cannot recommend it enough. Read it.

Look, I'll even give you a taster:

"Man may behold what ugliness he likes if he is sure that he will not worship it; but there are some so weak that they will worship a thing only because it is ugly. These must be chained to the beautiful. It is not always wrong even to go, like Dante, to the brink of the lowest promontory and look down at hell. It is when you look up at hell that a serious miscalculation has probably been made."

Now go and read it.

There is also this very interesting article about the Christian origins of Halloween, found here.

Father Dwight Longenecker also has a good post on the subject, here.

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