Monday, October 31, 2011

Reclaiming Halloween.

Halloween is upon us again.

As a child, my parents went thru various stages of shunning halloween. There were years we didn't go trick or treating because my mother was convinced that Halloween was pagan practice unfit for Christians. Then there was the discovery of the true feast of all Saints. Suddenly we wore costumes again and eventually even my mother caved to peer pressure and we were trick or treating again. I never gave all the philosophical dilemmas much thought until I had my own children.

In the end I decided I do let my children go trick-or -treating. Here is why.

In Catholic Tradition we always take what is good about pagan traditions and keep it because it fits in with some aspects of Christian theology and the bad stuff we pitch, like a fabulous cheese with a few moldy spots that can be cut off. True, some cultures have let their cheese rot so badly that the whole thing has to be tossed out but usually just like a good mom, Mother Church tries to see if there is something salvageable The bad stuff of paganism (child sacrifice, etc) is shunned and denounced. Its a pretty simple formula and its worked well for centuries.

So when I returned to my analysis of Halloween I realized that the Church has put together the feasts of All Souls and All Saints. Not separated them, mind you, put them together. They are also placed at a time of year when traditionally pagan cultures turned their thoughts to the shades and spirits that dwell beyond the pale.

There is something important, something necessary about acknowledging fear, and death. They are real and increasingly we live in a culture where death is hidden and ignored. Reminding ourselves on Halloween of death and decay and fear are important, because only then does the triumph of the saints make sense and Christ's victory over them hold weight.

Yes there is a line to be walked between mocking the devils' power, and celebrating ugliness and decay, but walk it me must. I think that dressing as saints, (often offered as an alternative to other costumes) is great and should be encouraged, but the point of the saints (whose feast day follows the morning after Halloween) is that they faced these fears and triumphed . The saints' victory means nothing if act as though all is sweetness and light in this world.

Lastly the feast of all Souls is the church's plea to feed the dead (spiritually of course with acts of prayer and penance) We the faithful need one another in a very real way. just as we depend on one another for material sustenance in this life we need to think of the poor and unfortunate souls still awaiting heaven who hunger spiritually. Reminding ourselves of death reminds us of those who have passed on and are still awaiting heaven.

So yes, I celebrate Halloween.

All that being said, here is what I don't like about the modern American Halloween: the chance to mass market thousands of cheap disposable costumes and shameless commercialism. Loading up kids with tons of fake sugar,especially the attitude that it is a chance to "get the stuff" drive me crazy. This is all similar to the much more shocking butchering of Christmas. Still, all the more reason to celebrate properly or is just casualty surrendered to the cause of secularization. And that is scary, indeed.

Friday, October 21, 2011

some homeschoolin photos and a mushroom pic that Angelica took. Gotta go make pancakes.

Oh October, can you stay with us for one more month?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ronia's guide to street fashion in NYC

Ronia aka "the satorialist."

Hippies in Liberty Park are always cutting edge.

Ronia says "Good cheese is never out of style. " at Beechers in Manhattan

Ronia at DSW. . . "Well, there are lots of leg warmers and funky boots, but where oh where are the diaper covers?"

Ronia contemplates her fleeting youth.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh and Ben took this picture of our house from two fields behind it. You can't see all the roads so we look like we live in the middle of nowhere. Anyway it was a cool view.

Hello again NYC and Occupy Wall Street

Ben took me (and Ronia) up to NEw York with him for my 30th birthday. Wow, what an amazing time! I had lots of lovely time walking around with my husband and looking at all the beautiful buildings shrouded in October mist. There was great banjo music, espresso, and markets. . .

We rode the subway down to wall street to watch the protests and see what was really going on. I don't really trust the right or left media anymore so we thought it was a great chance to see stuff firsthand. I think that on one hand I could see how anger can feed anger and that there is a real clash of cultures mounting to a head here in the US. . . . that makes me a wee bit scared. On the other hand I saw reasons for hope.. . People who want the right to solve their own problems and put a stop to Wall street funding public policy. All very good and noble aims.
I think that the young people know that they have been cheated on one level and are open to change. That is essentially good. I just think we really need a St. Francis to lead them. . . and not a Lenin. At least they were cleaning up after themselves and have lots of fiddlers and banjo players.