1 Nov 2011

Hestia and Hallowe'en

Please note that apostrophe, in Hallowe'en.  Don't forget that apostrophes and semi colons are all that separate us from the Outer Rings of Hell.

Anyway, my Grammar Nazi has been temporarily subdued and I've tidied away my shiny jackboots and Springtime for Hitler song sheet.  Today it's all about Hallowe'en.

It's just about my favourite time of the year and when Tartarus is away, Sonshine and I go the Full Nine Yards for Hallowe'en spookiness.  This year we had a skull with flashing eyes to add to our collection of pumpkin bowls and 'ghoul' lights (thank you Wendy!) and the house was looking suitably scary.

However, we had a lot to get through before our Hallowe'en was done:  Sonshine was going out for his Hallowe'en with the Meerkat - dressed as The Honey Monster and the Cookie Monster.  The Meerkat's mother is a dab hand with the sewing machine and she just ran up a couple of fabulous costumes.

She makes me feel about as domesticated as a field mouse.

Just one of those people who are effortlessly good at everything they do.

I am surprised that we are still friends.  Maybe she pities me :-)

Anyway I had some Tarot readings booked in the local bookshop and the lovely Karen had suggested that I dress up.  Now, as Chairman of The Tarot Association of The British Isles, I spend a lot of my time defending Tarot as a skill and persuading people that we are not all gypsy fortune tellers.

And this was me preparing for my Tarot reading gig:

stereotypical? Not moi! 

There were seven reading slots available and they were all sold out.  

Although each reading was scheduled to last around 15 minutes, it takes a lot out of you (especially when you've not done face to face readings for quite a long time).  By the time 8.30pm came, I was pooped, but happy.  Karen and I might do something similar again soon :-)

Once we were back home and Sonshine was showered (it's a very sweaty being a cookie monster) and in his bed, I could turn my attention to the real focus of the night - my Samhain ritual.

This time of year is when I remember all my dead relatives - the ancestors - who stretch far back into time, each of them paving the way for ME.  From unknown faces in old sepia-toned photographs who once laughed and loved and were vibrantly alive to those further back, utterly forgotten to memory, they are all important to me.  

To you too. 

Their choices enabled US to be who we are today.  So what harm does it do to pour them a little sherry and then tell them that you appreciate them once a year?

A little prayer is offered up for the spirits of those who have gone before,  and I toast them.  Then the sherry is poured on the earth outside.

Mad? Maybe.  But then, I have got a pain au chocolat called Kevin in the bread bin.  And no, I didn't dress him up for Hallowe'en.

But enough of me, what did YOU do for Hallowe'en?! Spill!


  1. Gypsy Ali, you look mighty fine. Here in my rural corner of France....nothing happened, although today,( Toussaint, Bank holiday) the lane outside our house has been chocca with villagers making their way up to the local graveyard, the tombs are positively groaning under the weight of chrysanthemums.

  2. Thanks Dash! Do people go and have a wee picnic in the graveyards or just lay flowers? Wish we could do things like this in the UK!

    Ali x

  3. No, I have not spied any picnickers. actually I find village graveyards are a bit strange in France. They are always separate from the church, usually perched on the highest spot, (closer to heaven) outside the village, there is no grass, just gravel and they are immaculate. Most of the plots are made up of granite family tombs and are often bedecked with photographs of the deceased and plastic flowers. The French have a much healthier attitude to death than we do...or do they, these plots are very expensive but you can rent one, after fifty years, they will turf you out and put someone else in. I think I prefer the Gothic romance of grassy, overgrown, ivy clad British graveyards, complete with lichen covered, crooked tombstones and of course the obligatory Yew tree.

  4. oh yes, you can't whack a good old British churchyard with the attendant weeping angels. Not the Dr Who weeping angels. They're scary as scary things.


  5. we live in a high rise so no little ones begging for sweets, except for my 15 month old niece who did a trial run in a panda costume at our place and melted my heart into a giant puddle, thus prompting my hubby to ask why i don't want one of my own. um, because one of my own would be with me all the bloody time? pretty damn obvious, that!

    polish people go to cemeteries today and light candles. they also splurge vast wads of cash on expensive granite tombs which i find disturbing. but the flickering candles are a thing of beauty.

  6. Sorry Ali, Guising, yes, Americanised Hallowe'en, no.

    I quite agree with you about remembering ancestors, but I'm afraid I couldn't bring myself to actualy waste alcohol; it's not as if they can actualy taste it.
    Can they?

  7. I'd cross your palm with silver, me darling!
    Yes, like you I have celebrated Samhain for years...brought up with it...as in the original festival, not the modern caboodle.
    What did I do last night? Fired up the Mongolian incense, lit up the candles, rolled on bones and talked to my dead, of course...with help from the spirit cupboard. :)

  8. Thanks to you sharing your Samhain ritual last year, I spent some time thinking of those who died this year and though I did not lay a place for them at the table or light many candles, I still thought of them in the ways you described and it really helped me feel at peace as well if that makes any sense. It's given me a different relationship with Hallowe'en too which I really like (I did very little for that this year though).

  9. My three dressed up as a vampire, a deathly bride and a zombie respectively. They, and their two friends looked great. We found some spooky organ music on YouTube and played it whenever anyone knocked on the door and callers had to retrieve their sweets from a cauldron of cold cooked spaghetti and plastic spiders. It was ace! Then everyone, children and all, went down the pub and mum and dad had a small sherry (hic!).

    Like your tights! Hope all your predictions work out too.

  10. Hi, been lurking and reading but thought it was time to say hello!
    Ooh, it's been a long time since I dabbled in Tarot, I love my set of cards though. You definitely look the part.
    I am not really a Hallowe'en fan but made the effort this year (pics on my blog if you have time to look'n'laugh!)
    Love Curtise x

  11. Helllooooooo there Pastcaring! Always nice to see a new name in the comments! I shall go and check out your blog forthwith ;-)

    Looby - sounds like the perfect Hallowe'en - finishing it off with a small bevy :-)

    Siobhan - there are lots of things that you can do to make the night special to you. Some people hold a Dumb Supper where no-one speaks. I would explode if I had to do that - usually we set an extra place for any visiting spectral family and dish them up a portion of lamb stew!

    Exmoorjane - mongolian incense? Better than Nag Champa?!

    TSB - re the alcohol....you just never know *makes scary cackling sound*

    Polish Chick - I quite like the idea of a massively expensive tomb. I fluctuate between willow coffins and just planting a tree over the top of me to the full glass carriage and plumed horses and full granite sarcophagus.....

    Sounds like you all had a good time one way or the other!

  12. it's my dead friend's birthday on all saints day so we celebrated it without her this year.......there were more of us there than when she was alive, she hated birthdays!!!x

  13. We followed Alex around the 'hood as he swept his way round in his bat wings. Once he went to bed, we crept up onto the widows walk roof deck with a bottle of Black Bush and a few glasses. We said a toast to the long departed. It was a beautiful moonlit night.... I think.

  14. Wally - excellent costume that the wee fella had! Were you not dressed up too?!

    YaH - how did it turn out? So many emotions zooming around with that one - were you ok?



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