Thursday, October 30, 2008

a christian corruption of a Celtic belief?

Halloween was a topic for conversation at work today... not something we really celebrate here in Australia... with good reason!!!!

"Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. In the early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted them to Christianity, the Celts practiced an elaborate religion through their priestly caste, the Druids, who were priests, poets, scientists and scholars all at once. As religious leaders, ritual specialists, and bearers of learning, the Druids were not unlike the very missionaries and monks who were to Christianize their people and brand them evil devil worshippers.

As a result of their efforts to wipe out "pagan" holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples' customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshipped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship.

In terms of spreading Christianity, this was a brilliant concept and it became a basic approach used in Catholic missionary work. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the mid-winter celebration of many peoples. Likewise, St. John's Day was set on the summer solstice..."
read the article here

and not only is it a christian corruption, it's an american commercialization of a christian corruption!!!!

"The imagery surrounding Halloween is largely an amalgamation of the Halloween season itself, nearly a century of work from American filmmakers and graphic artists, and a rather commercialized take on the dark and mysterious. Halloween imagery tends to involve death, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include... witches, owls, crows, vultures, pumpkin-men, black cats, spiders...

Particularly in America, symbolism is inspired by classic horror films, which contain fictional figures like Frankenstein's monster and The Mummy. Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween..." Wikipedia

I hate this graphic depiction of wise women (aka witches)...

the old decrepit hag,

or the mysterious woman

(I have to put this in here - from an earlier post - THE WITCH / WISE WOMAN

“Women have always been healers. They were the unlicensed doctors and anatomists of western history. They were abortionists, nurses and counselors. They were pharmacists, cultivating healing herbs and exchanging the secrets of their uses. They were mid-wives, traveling from home to home and village to village. For centuries women were doctors without degrees, barred from books and lectures, learning from each other, and passing on experience from neighbour to neighbour and mother to daughter. They were called “wise women” by the people, witches or charlatans but the authorities.” .. Witches, midwives & nurses: a history of women healers

they were ALL of these - healers, midwives - oooooh, dare I say doctors - AND sensual beings, sexual beings - they were WOMEN / WOMYN / WOMIN!!!!!

Unfortunately this was the reality of the 'witch-hunts' - women slaughtered!!!!

This is Bridget Bishop's hanging - check out some shit about her... she was a strong woman, and oooooh, apparently sensual and sexual - a no-no in a patriarchal misogynistic world!!!!!

today she'd be called slut, whore, (another older post - the politics of language).....

or read about Eunice "Goody" Cole - the "Witch Of Hampton" ....
.... i'm a tad bewildered by the acceptance of this crap and the depiction and acceptance of women as ugly, evil - those fucking frightening creatures - witches, (midwives and nurses) -- the slaughter of our sisters - and sympathetic brothers... guess I'm sick of patriarchal shit, american garbage... if you 'play' along with it, you never change it, you just accept it!!!!

.... I'm pretty sure I'll be coming back to this post soon....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

now I hope you know that the only reason I made a jack o lantern is to curry favour with the parents on the street whose kids treat or treat.
the kids are cute and naive, but the parents are potential baby-sitters!
the cats think my lantern is freaky, which is funny. he got carved this morning and has been lit against the gloom all day. They edge around and then reverse then edge around it again.
I did celebrate the real Samhain (or 'sow-ing' as I like to think of it) last year with some work to bring things to my home. but I didn't count on trick or treaters, or the belly-sprog!
good blog as ever