#Halloween, Monsters, Witches, Demons – Collective Unconscious
Well happy Halloween everyone. What is all the fuss about? This was a relatively small event till the workings of the American marketing machine got its hands on it. Now it seems to be gaining more and more weight across the globe as American culture seeps out like puss from an open wound! OK that was a little visual but it is Halloween 🙂
But what is this time actually all about? Kids get dressed up in horrifically misshaped and deformed costumes, pretending to be monsters, witches and demons and go round to people’s houses asking ‘Trick or Treat’? So what are the origins of such a tradition? Mostly we forget these things and fall into an automated behaviour which creates cycles of energy influencing our consciousness. For example in the UK we have Bonfire night on the 5th of November. This involves making a straw life size man and putting it on a bonfire and setting it alight. In effect we’re burning someone. It all comes from Guy Fawkes who apparently tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605. For the past 400 years children have been encouraged to symbolise what happens to someone who tries to go against the established order. Someone who disagrees with the current structure will be burned alive. This concept, although not actively in the consciousness of children building these symbolic ‘Guy Fawkes’, is primed within their unconscious and subconscious minds. Now I’m not saying what old Guy (allegedly) tried to do was right, it’s just in a V for Vendetta way, we have become cultural propagators of social norm. Policing our own maintenance of the status quo, breeding it into (or more accurately, out of) our children.
I’ve noted this particularly in the difference between American and British culture. As a frontier explorer of new science, physics, psychology and new cultural political evolution, I am ofter the one who sticks his head out of the crowd. I speak up and try to help people understand new concepts in consciousness. In the UK there is still a left over mentality from the feudal system. This was the rule since the creation of any form of rule in the UK. Namely, there are the rich and the peasants. The peasants work on the land of the rich lord and if any revolt all shall be punished. We saw this depicted nicely in the movie Brave Heart. This way the lord relied on the other peasants, through fear, to keep any radicals in place. In other words, ‘don’t rock the boat, you’ll get us all in trouble’. This mostly worked, but not always.
The US on the other hand was built upon the bravery of new ideas. There was nothing in the land (well except a thriving ancient Native American society) and so a settler culture that encouraged new ideas and forward thinkers was needed. There was nothing but desert there, someone must have the revolutionary idea to change it. Still in the US there is a culture that encourages change and free thinking. However within a limit. It has become very controlled and the population are generally ill educated and very patriotic. In other words, they don’t want to feel uncomfortable and challenge the idea that they are being controlled by being kept down and poor. An issue I addressed in a previous argument outlining the introduction of the Bitcoin. However that is another debate.
So back to Halloween. It was brought over to the States by European settlers in the 1900s. It was a 2000 year old pagan festival called “Samhain” (pronounced “sow-in”) that celebrated the honor of the dead and involved the offering of large sacrifices of crops and animals. This could be where the TREAT part of the offering comes in, as an offering in honour of the Dead (taken on their behalf by the newly living). Most of the pagan culture was eradicated by the Romans. However, still to this day in Europe, in places like Hungary they have the ‘Day of the Dead’. This is not at all like the Halloween of the modern US. In the Day of the Dead mostly candles are placed on graves and shrines as offerings of respect and homage to those past over. The Mexican Day of the Dead (El Día de los Muertos) goes back to the ancient festival of the dead celebrated by Aztecs and the more-ancient Olmec. This was likely where the Guatemalans got their Day of the Dead. Brazilians also celebrate Finados (Day of the Dead). Bolivia has the Day of the Skulls (Día de los Natitas). In Asia, there are similar festivals. For example, the Chinese celebrated the Ghost Festival, which was a day to pay homage to dead ancestors. The Japanese celebrated something similar called O-bon or merely Bon. Even Vietnam has a variant of the Ghost Festival called Tet Trung Nguyen. In Korea, there is Chuseok or Hankawi, in which deceased ancestors are ritualized. In Nepal, there is the cow pilgrimage called Gia Jatra to honor the recently deceased. In the Philippines, there is the Day of the Dead (Araw ng mga Patay), where tombs are cleaned and repainted. The list goes on and on.
Back to Europe in around AD 600, Pope Boniface IV created All Saints’ Day, and Pope Gregory III later moved this holiday to November 1 in an effort to give a Christian alternative to this pagan celebration. Christians who did not want to celebrate pagan festivals celebrated something of positive spiritual value—in this case honoring the saints and martyrs. With the overwhelming expansion of Christianity in Europe, All Saint’s Day became the dominant holiday.
In fact, the current name of “Halloween” originates from the day before All Saint’s Day, which was called “All Hallow Evening”; this name was shortened to “All Hallow’s Eve” or “All Hallow’s Even.” The name changed over time and became “Hallowe’en.”
So Halloween is a Christian related precursor to the All Saints Day, which was supposed to celebrate the positive spiritually enlightened saints of the world. Just like everything here there is duality and there must be a yang to ever yin. So there is a kind of naughtiness to the day, ‘TRICK or TREAT’? It’s a kind of bribery. Give me something nice or I will do something bad to you.
Perhaps it’s a type of cultural cleansing, a milder version of the movie ‘Purge’ where one day a year everything (including murder) is legal. Here we set up a night of naughtiness before the repenting. Kind of like the Jewish festival (day of the dead) version Yom Kipur, repenting for past sins occurs.
However, I can’t help noticing on Halloween that there is an element of the ugly and horrific looking ‘monsters’ being used to represent the monsters in all of us. Teaching us not to be afraid of those unusual things we don’t understand. Gone are the days of actual witch hunts, now that just happens on Twitter. I like to think that Halloween is our way of trying to offer an acceptance for those things we fear. A change to bring the feared objects into our reality and consciousness. To play with them and embrace them. Allow ourselves to be scared and enjoy it.
In fact from a therapeutic perspective I explain that the only way through any emotion is through the emotion. In other words we have to embrace what we fear the most so that it will no longer have control over us. Halloween is an attempt to free us from the anchors of our own avoidance. At least I choose to see it like that.
Happy Halloween and enjoy the scares and frights like you loved them!