Pagans Ate My Sugar Babies
Article: From SFGate.com 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
'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
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
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
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.