Cowart's Common Room

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Halloween past

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Minnie getting bored

As it fell on Friday night this year I am very sad to miss Halloween. I am an October child and it has always been my favourite season.

Each year I remember a wonderful lady who lived in East Twickenham who had open house every year for all the children who had, over at least 25 years, grown up being frightened and enchanted by her. Her name was June, but she should have had an Autumn name. She lived in a suitably pointy house at the end of an ordinary leafy suburban road. Every October it would be transformed from top to bottom by the collections of Halloween decorations she had amassed over the years. In each window spider webs glittered with dew and behind them dark shadowy forms moved. Weird music echoed at the touch of the door bell and, if you were brave enough to stay an old Witch clad in a cobweb strewn hat, pointy boots and long black lace dress would open the creaking door and invite you in to dance. A feast awaited you. Fly and spider sandwiches, bat sweets, wax skeletons filled with sweet liquids. Blood to drink.

June was a loving Sister, Mother and Grandmother, to all who knew her, but she was indeed a Witch. At least once a year.

June had three daughters, two beautiful daughters in law and a young neighbour to inherit her magic and as the years passed and she grew very very old they began to assist her in the celebrations. The story of June has been handed down to many generations of children now, but I was there, a long time ago.

It's been many years now since she died of cancer but I know that every Halloween there are many children of all ages who remember her. East Twickenham has never been the same without her and many are the little children who gaze longingly at the old house up the road where the lead windows were once filled with surprises and hope that maybe, just maybe, one day a broomstick will appear on the porch of the old run down house and they will know that a Witch lives there again. And in places you'd never imagine possible Witches who were taught by June keep faith with the old ways and frighten little children until they laugh and laugh.

We live far away now but I never forget June and try to carry on some of the tradition and magic that she taught me about the season. We were not able to do much this year because we have all been poorly and staying in to rest. Boo!

Meanwhile although we do have one and a half Black cats (half of the village stray adopted by me and next door), a Tortie and a Tiger, our cats came out in sympathy with me and also did not celebrate Halloween this year. The stray has an overactive thyroid and is on meds now and the semi ferals are watching over their adopted sister the Tortie Isabella who has cat flu. Issy is better now and staying in bed with me. Minnie the black semi feral is bored, but practising scary positions for next year.

I hope you all enjoyed a good ghost story, or two, and gave thought last night and today to all of those who have passed over during the proceeding year. On this night the veil between the world of mortals and non mortals is the thinnest of all nights of the year and they say it may be possible for exchanges between the spirit world and ours to occur. The candles we light and the scary Jack O'Lanterns we carve are supposed to keep evil spirits at bay, but I like to think that the candle that I keep burning this week in my kitchen window is for those who we have lost who have passed over the veil. Like June.

A lot of this is of course pagan in origin but I do not believe that it goes against Christian beliefs. It seems natural to think of the coming winter and prepare. Really this is a time for drawing in, of gathering our families by the fire and giving thanks for all that has gone during the summer and all that will keep us well through the dark and the cold. To a new birth next Spring!

Posted at 1st Nov 2008 - 10:16PM   Posted by Crucifix   BELATED HALLOWEEN GREETINGS TO ONE AND ALL Comments: 6

Withy Brook's Avatar For us Anglicans, tomorrow is being 'celebrated' as All Soul's Day'; I should have been last night, but here we are keeping it tomorrow. I shall be in Church at 6.30 to remember those who have left us. This year, as well as my Father, Mother and other relations, including my nephew, I especially remember my first husband who died in April and my second cousin who went a fortnight ago. I do not want to contact them - I hope that they rest at peace with God and Jesus.

Posted by: Withy Brook on 1st Nov 2008 at 10:25PM

Frances's Avatar Beautiful Halloween remembrance of June, from you Crucifix! Just to think of all the children who looked forward to visiting that house on October 31!

Withy, I send wishes to you also, as you remember loved ones who have left.


Posted by: Frances on 1st Nov 2008 at 10:58PM

Exmoorjane's Avatar Ah Cruci, you remind me of the celebration we used to have when I was a child. Hallowe'en was always a big deal in our house - we would have a party, carve lanterns (but out of swedes not pumpkins) and tell fortunes and ghost stories.
I usually still make a bit of a shrine at this time of year (though, like you, we've been a bit off colour t his year so it's fallen a bit by the wayside) to those I want to remember, with some candles and photos and pretty autumn leaves etc. I too tend to feel they are welcoming lights, to show those who have departed that we have not forgotten them and won't forget them.
I don't have any problem marrying the pagan and the Christian personally as in my view all religions are pretty much one.....and yes, All Saint's Eve and Samhain/Hallowe'en as bonded as Yuletide/Christmas, Candlemass/Imbolc etc.

Posted by: Exmoorjane on 1st Nov 2008 at 11:02PM

Nice thoughts Withy - and I think even if we do not want to contact those we have lost that they know we are thinking about them and remembering them still.

Posted by: Crucifix on 1st Nov 2008 at 11:02PM

Westerwitch's Avatar That was a lovely post Crucifix - I would love to have met June.

Posted by: Westerwitch on 2nd Nov 2008 at 09:03AM

Cait's Avatar That was lovely to read, you should blog it so that it is not lost.

Posted by: Cait on 2nd Nov 2008 at 10:37PM

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