we are the children of the goddess Danu . time and space , land and seas could not contain us. fires and the rack did not kill us. we are still here. you'll put on disguises and get drunk and pretend you are what you are not or what you wish to be this halloween because of us. beneath the moon you will dance to our goddess whether you believe in her or not.
"Mother, my Mother, Mother-Country,
Yet were the fields in bud.
And the harvest,--when shall it rise again
Up through the fire and flood?
* * * * *
"Mother, my Mother, Mother-Country,
Was it not all to save
Harvest of bread?--Harvest of men?
And the bright years, wave on wave?
"Search not, search not, my way-worn;
Search neither weald nor wave.
One is their heavy reaping-time
To the earth, that is one wide grave."
--MARKS: All Souls' Eve.
there are pretty much two things you can be sure of: you were born and you're going to die. our modern culture shows such scant regard for life and living beyond the mere material that it's no wonder all it registers about death is fear and denial and a general sense of repulsion. we forget our old and our dead in a most scandalous callous manner. the one day/time of the year that has been for centuries, predating christianity a, a concept spanning civilizations and continents, set aside for remembrance of our ancestors and our departed beloved has become an empty drunken festival of the usual vain gratification of shallow pointless and base desires without the intended enlightenment that derangement of the senses and giving up control is suppose to bring about. if all that's going to happen is you're going to dress up like some pvc piping clad ass from star wars and puke it's not as if you have any aspiration towards any spiritual advancement whatsoever anyhow- you might as well be pond scum or an amoeba. but as joni mitchell said," life is for learning" and so is death. let's learn something, something about ourselves by learning to accept death as we accept life.
so many people were freaked out when i told them i dealt with my cats' dead bodies myself( and there were a lot of them last year...). i firmly believe everyone should have to dig a grave at least once in their lives for someone, some being they have loved- it's as close to trial by faith you're ever going to get save for being in a life threatening situation. when someone dies we generally cry for ourselves, not for them. we cry out of our own painful loss. celebrations devoid of the generalized negative morbidity our culture sprays all over death, that honor those gone beyond the veil, filled with revery and love and joy can only enjoin a more healthy life affirming relationship with death.
so let's talk about death, baby/ let's talk about you and me- sort of a greatest hits of mortality for your enjoyment.
as usual i will be having a traditional day of the dead celebration and offrenda at my house. you're invited if you'd like to come. we build and altar to honor our lost loved ones, eat and drink and tend to watch an appropriate movie. you place a photo of your loved on on the altar with some of their favorite foods and things. here's an explanation of the tradition in mexico:
the greatest book ripping the lid off the sickness of the modern funeral industry in america is the classic by jessica mitford:" the american way of death", published in 1963 and still relevant.
putting bloated sacks of chemicals in the ground for outrageous amounts of cash was never so amusingly skewered and hung out to fucking dry. i can't speak for the revised text- i read the original-but i found the book by chance and read it right before my grandmother died. my mother nearly had to separate my fist from the mortician's smug shiny fucking face as a result. clearly it had a profound effect on me. 40 years on there finally seems to be more of a movement back to more traditional burial methods that are saner, less invasive, less expensive and better for the environment.
" the loved one" is worth while both in the original book version, because evelyn waugh is one of the greatest writers in the english language, and in the groovy 60s movie version thereof. it involves a pet cemetery, a human cemetery, modern rocketry, youths given to writing romantic verse and a character named "miss aimee thanatogenos". rod steiger gives an astounding performance as mr joyboy and look out for tab hunter who was a truly amazingly handsome young man. liberace presents a flamingly campy cameo. a perfect match for mitford's book being an over the top representation of all she rails against.
few ruminations on suicide are anything but grotesquely morbid or frankly encouraging.
' harold and maude' was a midnight movie favorite, really a cult classic, from when independent film was actually interesting and different from the hollywood cow fodder of the mainstream. it's impossible not to love ruth gordon. morbid young protogoth wants to die until he meets and falls in love with elderly holocaust survivor. it's a movie that affirms both life and death- in it's time. sweetly affecting soundtrack by cat stevens before he went insane and joined a misogynistic murder cult.