Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en: The ending and the beginning

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Over the past year year, much of my art has focused on exploring our relationship with the natural world. As a result, I have discovered both fascinating things about the earth and frightening things how we treat it. We have come to a time where we face the very real possibility of global catastrophe because of our collective disregard for the earth and the cycles of nature. Many of us (including myself) are starting adjust our lifestyles by reducing waste and conserving energy and I believe it is a step in the right direction. However, in addition to these efforts, I have decided to go a bit deeper. I chose this Halloween to begin relating and connecting to the earth by following the seasonal and lunar cycles. I believe by tuning into the cycle of the earth, I will find myself becoming more psychologically aware of the needs of the earth as well as more harmonized with the energy of seasons. I suspect that by having been separated from these natural rhythms and cycles, I have also become disconnected from the earth, from others and myself as well.

The reason I chose Halloween to begin this new way of being in the world is that traditionally it is the time when the world (the Northern Hemisphere) enters the dark of the year. This is not regarding the sun’s cycle, which is followed by the solstices and the equinoxes, but rather the seasonal cycle. Halloween marks the time when autumn turns into winter. The leaves have fallen from the trees, most of the harvest has been gathered, any blackberries left on the brambles are no longer good to eat, and frosts get heavier and colder. In the Celtic world-view this time marks the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. The ancient Celtic and the Hindu systems (and I believe many others as well) understand that the dark precedes the light, so a time of darkness must begin a natural cycle. Consider that many of the popular holidays and festivals are celebrated on the eve (Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, All Soul’s Eve, etc.).

I am going to experience the energy of the season, by using this time to celebrate the end of the yearly cycle and the beginning of the next. It will be a time to reflect on all the things that I did and did not like about the past year and decide on what should be changed or implemented to benefit the new year.

In ancient tradition, this transition from the old year into the next existed outside of time. I believe this came from following a lunar calendar in which there were a few extra days (five I believe) that didn’t quite fit into a annual system. Those remaining days where held over for this time of year where chaos was given time to rule. People played pranks, dressed up, and generally acted silly or crazy. I suspect this is partly where the tradition of dressing in costumes and celebrating “cabbage night” may have originated. Another belief at this time was that the line that separated the physical world from the Otherworld disappeared. People could commune with their ancestors and those who had passed on before them. By honoring and giving thanks to those who helped to shape them and gave them what they had, they could better understand their own lives.

So tonight at 5:55pm EST (the time of sunset where I live) I will light a candle and take a moment to reflect on the past year, give thanks to those who came before me, and acknowledge the changes that I will need to implement in order to make the coming year beneficial for all who share this beautiful place we call home.

Happy Hallowe’en, All Soul’s Eve, Samhain, Autumn into Winter, etc.

DoAn

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All artwork and text © Copyright 2005-2011 DoAn Art (Antony Galbraith) unless indicated otherwise. All Rights Reserved. Any downloading, copying or use of images on this website is strictly prohibited without express written consent by Antony Galbraith.

1 comment:

Ivan Chan Studio said...

Thank you for sharing your journey and meditation on Halloween.

This painting is beautiful...

Take care,

I.

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