Pagans Ate My Sugar Babies

Article: From and Mark Morford

== Mark's Notes & Errata ==
Where opinion meets benign syntax abuse

Pagans Ate My Sugar Babies
Because what we really need now is the ancient, "real" Halloween to thwart those war-drunk evil spirits
By Mark Morford

'Tis the time of disemboweled gourds and spooky black cats and sickly terrifying vice presidential ghosts, of dressing up the wee ones in carefully branded molded-plastic heavily trademarked Disney-owned characters and sending them out into the 'hood with a flashlight and a cute plastic pumpkin bucket and a small semiautomatic weapon and some nice candy-corn mace.

'Tis also the time when we really, really might want to hearken back to the early days of this gloriously pagan Samhain holiday, AKA the "real" Halloween, when the men were men and the women could powerlift an elk and the Celts were half-naked and dancing around a huge Druid fire in crazy masks and animal skins and face paint. This is how it started.

Celebrating, they were, the death of one season and the birth of another, welcoming the friendly spirits and warding off evil spirits and calling out to the fairies and Time and the gods and pleading for a plentiful harvest and a mild winter a nice goblet of mead before bed.

'Tis a time, further, when we suffer the decorative nightmare of orange and black crepe paper strung up like bad tinsel all over Safeway and we must endure Jerry Falwell and John "Calico" Ashcroft and the usual squeals of fidgety sanctimonious protest from the Christian Right who are scared of anything with a tail or a tongue or Wiccan overtones.

Which is exactly why anyone with any devilish tertiary juice or a naughty intuitive sense of history is behooved to remember that Halloween is yet another mystically thick holiday swiped from its original pagan sources by the goodly scowling revisionist church, and stripped of all dirt and funk and earthly reverence and seasonal celebration and naked romps in the Celtic hay. You know, just like Christmas.

Just another sticky chthonically interconnected celebration mutilated and sanitized and renamed by Pope Boniface Scaredofeverything IV back around 500 A.D., to further extend church dominance in Europe and wipe out all traces of fun and Sugar Babies and Exotic Erotic Balls. You know, just like the Burgermeister Meisterburger did to Sombertown.

The Church, ever paranoid and determined to ethnically cleanse those damnable earth-bound rituals, turned the raw Celtic harvest festival into a cutesy faux-holy day to celebrate all the saints, which later mutated into "All Saints Eve" and "All Hallows Eve" and then "Halloween" where children get to dress up like bizarre Japanese cartoon characters and demand a fistful of Milky Way Fun Sizes or else they'll egg your house. In a nutshell.

This is how it happened, more or less, and probably less because we have little idea what the Celts actually did because they didn't write a whole lot down, but in this time of demons and warmongers and religious bile hurled between nations like stale poisonous popcorn balls, this sort of thing might be important to dig into.

October 31 was all about the end of the growing season and honoring the Lord of the Dead, preparing for the cold months ahead, a mark of the cyclic change, the shift from growth to harvest, from warm to cold, from yin to yang, from cute short midriff-baring tunics to long heavy shapeless bear-fur that took exactly forever to unbutton to play "hide the root vegetable."

It was also a day when the spirits of the dead could mingle with the living, when the barrier separating the two worlds was thinnest, when the ghosts of your deceased loved ones could come back from wandering in the woods and request your help in passing to the next life. Just like Strom Thurmond wandering around Congress, only completely different.

But much like the White House, evil scowling spirits with nasty oily agendas and fanged fiends from frat-boy Purgatory could also wander freely and poison your pagan pie, and hence to protect your relative's spirit (and yourself), you'd paint a scary face on a gourd and disguise yourself by smothering your face with paints and donning a monstrous costume and dancing late into the night to a really good Celtic DJ named Gwrtheyrn or maybe Cunobelinus.

This is how it started. This is how it was for hundreds of years. Then came the Romans who added their own harvest fest, all apples and the goddess Pomona, and then the angry scowling Church swept through Europe like a nasty email virus and tried to ruin everything what wasn't patriarchal and depressing and sexually oppressed and appropriately frumpy.

They turned the Celtic harvest festival from an earthly attuned mystically rich spirit party into a terminally bland holy day no one really wanted, and made kids go around door-to-door and collect money for the poor and for Cardinal Zignelli's ancient Greek erotica collection.

Then of course Martin Luther protested about the whole thing, and then the Europeans moved to America and dragged their convoluted customs and ancient rituals with them, and it wasn't until the 1920's that America started celebrating the newly mutated and completely rewritten Halloween in earnest, all costume parties and candy and Nixon masks and bobbing for Pomona's apples.

So then, maybe now is the time to remember. Maybe now is the time to paint your face and don your most blasphemous costume and celebrate the Festival of the Dead and ward of the evil spirits currently scouring the culture and looking to suck the glimmering buds of Sweet Tart hope from your soul, the demons of Cheney and Geedubya and Rummy and Osama and Saddam and OK sure let's just say it, Meg Ryan.

Maybe now is the ideal time, amidst all the religious odium and the sanctimoniousness and the everlasting holy wars centered around whose God is manlier and whose land was decreed by a favoritist Allah and who should suffer a nasty nuclear wedgie because they just won't give us their oil, now it the time to buck the church and rekindle the old traditions and thwart the demons. Maybe this should be the real impetus for Halloween 2002.

See you next Beltane.