In the In-between

 


Welcome to the LGBT Halloween Blog Hop!

My post is below and info about the other hoppers and the prizes is at the bottom. Enjoy the hop.


 

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There is a thin place between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. Our ancestors knew about this time, this in-between time. It was a time after the harvest. A time when the livestock was thinned for the coming winter and meats cured. A time just before the frost and hardening of the land. A time when death was the closest.

They called this time Samhain, the Day of the Dead, All Saints Day, Halloween or many others. The end of October and the beginning of November was a time to remember the dead, honor them, and even break bread with them.

In the frosty night, we light candles and build bonfires. We drive off the night and the unknown, and welcome the familiar. We make small offerings of our affection and appreciation of those no longer with us. We look to the west at the setting sun, the direction the day goes to die, and we remember and mourn. Then we celebrate. We make fun of death because, for the moment in the in-between, we yet live.

Even though my spiritually has pretty much passed agnostic by and is fast approaching full blown atheism, I still find it important to mark special times of the year and make remembrances. Ritual is a powerful and necessary human need regardless of one’s beliefs. Yes, I’m just queer enough to be a spiritual atheist.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my 54 years. Most of those were due to HIV back in the ‘90s. I don’t want to dwell on that too much, but for those of us that lived through it and lost a lot of friends, and I do mean a lot, it scared us to some extent. It’s not talked about much anymore. Like it ended or something. Hey they have pills for all of that now, right? But when I spend time with gay men my age, a few words will be spoken about it. Eyes will moisten, voices will crack followed by a time of silence. We remember them.

I found myself needing a way to organize the memories; the ghost I carry with me. That’s what ritual is good for, organizing matters of the soul. Not just communities and their collective spirits such as churches and such. But for the individual as well. I think we’ve lost that in America.

Halloween has become a holiday devoted to foolery, dressing up and being something you’re not and just having a good time. And there’s not a damn thing wrong with that. After all that’s what a lot of Mardi Gras or Carnival is all about. But I needed something to help me live with the death and loss I carry with me. We don’t do death well in our culture. We sanitize it when we can. We keep it at arms length. We don’t even like old people. They remind us too much of our final destination. We no longer die at home surrounded by our families. We are sent somewhere else to do that, hoping someone will visit at the end.

I sometimes wonder if our unfamiliarity with actual death leads to the violence of our culture. We don’t get death, don’t do it as a culture, so we don’t see the natural end point of violence. Okay, I’m rambling now.

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Anyway, on my journey of trying to make sense of my life and deal with it, I rediscovered the spiritual roots of Halloween. A time to let the ghost in. A time to sit with them and tell stories. It’s good to have them over for dinner and a drink. Because the oddest thing about death is it doesn’t end a relationship. The relationship continues. A friend is still a friend if they move away. Death is just a loved one taking the ultimate road trip with really shitty cell phone service.

The point that I’m trying to make and seem to be missing, is think about bringing some of the soul back to this time of the year. Try and catch the sunset on October 31. And as the sun touches the horizon say the names of the departed that your still carry with you. As you light candles on Halloween, light one to offer guidance to the memories of your loved ones. Invite them back into your life for an evening. It’s okay to live with the dead on occasion. Trust me, their schedule’s pretty open.

On to other things.

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I don’t personally believe in ghost, but I think they are great literary devices. I love to write me some ghost stories. They’re just about the best damn metaphors we can come up with, because you know, they can talk and do stuff. As a prize for this blog hop, I’m giving away copies of Spooky Tales, my collection of short stories that includes a few ghost. And remember, if you sign up for my newsletter, you can have a copy of any of my books.

So, light a candle, pass out some candy, bob for an apple, and have a very happy Halloween.

Pax,
Stephen

 


Blog Hop Info

We have 25 prizes to give away, donated by some talented, generous people who write LGBT characters:

The grand prize is a $50 Amazon gift card
Enter today and spread the word!

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Author: Stephen del Mar

Stephen del Mar lives in the Tampa Bay area and writes in the Southern Literary tradition. His stories are character driven with rich settings. They often have a touch of the paranormal, supernatural, or magical realism.

Although he writes about serious subjects, they are sweetened with humor and wit. He says, “It’s a southern thing.”

4 thoughts on “In the In-between”

  1. I’ve gotta say I love what you wrote. My favorite: “Death is just a loved one taking the ultimate road trip with really shitty cell phone service.” I personally take Halloween as a time for costumes and trick or treating/party with friends, but I know many take this day differently. To each his/her own but I hope all enjoy this day as they see fit 🙂 Thanks for being on this hop!

  2. i celebrate both my birthday and canadian thanksgiving in october along with Halloween so for me october has always been about celebrating the big and little things in life…and all of november is reserved for recovering from all the sweets i consumed the prior month lol

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