2020 continues: it's Halloween!!! This is a big, weird day. The only way it could be any weirder is if it dropped on Friday the 13th, because of course this day isn’t just Halloween: it's 2020! and nothing is just anything in 2020. It’s the full moon ... and, it's the 2nd one of the month, a “blue moon” ... and, it is also the day of the evening that the clocks turn back. (It is also a day or two before before something else big is happening ... I can't seem to remember ... I'm sure I'll place it later ....).
As I write, I'm listening to Bob Dylan’s “Freight Train Blues”. Hobos used to “ride the rails”, or hop freight trains, as the simplest way to get from one place to the other, or maybe just as a thing to do. We’ve been riding this train since St. Patrick’s Day .... has this really been the simplest way to get from St. Patrick's Day to Halloween? I think not. Maybe I’ll just think about it as “a thing we did in 2020 …”
Anyway ..... I digress. I really do think it's weird that Halloween occurs on the same day as the blue moon arrives. and the clocks turn back. Halloween, in mythic language, heralds the gift of the harvest while acknowledging the passing of time; the inevitability of Winter and its deep cold; eventual death; and rest for the Earth ... all so it can prepare for new life in the Spring.
But until then, the season of life-giving winds down and we become more aware of “what lies beneath.” Halloween revels in the spooky, the unnerving …. and we love it. It's fun to play with it, dress up, say Boo! It's rooted in ancient traditions whose rituals evolved over eons to help us, in fact, cope with the darkness, the REALITY of the darkness.
Yet when darkness does becomes real .. when things really are spooky, or sad, we modern people don't seem to know what to do with it, and we often push it away. Sadness turns into “depression” .. fear turns into “panic disorder”. But normal feelings don’t really go away, and if we try too hard to ignore them, they haunt us like a goblin.
Halloween celebrates this truth: living things will die. The world will scare us, and we will not feel good. And, every month, at the very moment the moon shines its brightest, it begins to darken, and abandon us. In particularly unnerving years, we might have a blue moon on the one day dedicated to acknowledging the spooky .... and maybe, the clocks will turn back just to mess with us a little more. But the moon will be back the next month, and spring will be back in a few more ........... and one day, we'll feel better.
I read once that it takes a long time for a freight train to stop, and even longer for it to start again in a new direction. But, inevitably, it will.
Then again, sometimes we have to make a conscious and intentional search for a brighter path.
I met someone recently who introduced me to her life’s work, which is to lend strength to remarkable humans, alive on the planet at this time, to do what they can to shine light into darkness. Her mission is called the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity, "aurora" for "dawn". If you like, introduce yourself to this year's honorees; it might make you feel both worse .... and better.
And this is a lovely version of a great old sad song. Humans make art, to shine light into darkness. They also invented headphones. which you should use to listen to this song.