All Souls Day - November 2014

'Satania' photo by Joe Zanghi

Happy All Souls Day, Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos! 

I love this time of year. Growing up in Adelaide, Australia Halloween always felt like an anomaly - why are kids dressing up as ghosts and witches and going door to door requesting a trick or a treat? Outside the flowers were blooming and the air had the promise of Spring about it. Wasn't Halloween an Autumn festival? Only later after some research I learned the origins of the festival and how it has survived throughout the ages as a cultural preparation for Winter and a last chance to act up as the Summer finally died. 

Now I live in the Northern Hemisphere so its OK to go about the Art of the Masquerade but I must say it really doesn't belong in Australia or in the Southern Hemisphere at all! Same goes for Christmas and the whole Winter Child being born theme. December 21 is the Height of the Sun. Are we not Sun-worshippers? Shouldn't we be celebrating accordingly?

Try telling that to the Caucasians of Australia where Northern Hemispheric cultural dominance still rules. In the US Halloween is huge. I spent it in Maui a few years ago and all the freaks certainly came out in force. It's amazing really - to "take off the mask" and be wild and weird and for that to be socially acceptable for a day and a night. All in good fun of course. The scare factor of Halloween is real too - nothing like a little dose of Death to get the blood pumping. Honoring Death is as important as honoring life. 

So for my Southern friends and family enjoy the Beltane fires! Fall in love and embrace the power of Youth. As for us up here in the North its time to honor the Elders and to huddle up for warmth to see the Winter through. Tell stories by the fire and appreciate the quietude.

Tokyo is a curious place to have Halloween and yet it fits in so well here! Yes, the American/commercial infuence is responsible to a degree but in a way every day is Halloween here really. The "cosplay" kids in Harajuku, the "gyaru" in Shibuya, the excessive anime, robot restaurants and maid cafes. The Japanese get their masks on and off all the time. They are no stranger to pantomime! Just look at the Kabuki, Takarazuka and Butoh art forms.

So, in the spirit of the season of mists, I hope you are all enjoying the festivities as the "veils are thin" at this time, so they say...


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