At the Crossroads: Anyone Bring a Flashlight?

A day in the life of one witch’s attempts at community organizing, group leadership, public Paganism, and joyous shenanigans. Balancing inner work with external obligations, a professional career with public Paganism, and a full social calendar with gratuitous amounts of sleep.

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A Love Letter

I love October.

I mean, I really, really love it.  Do you know that fluttery, warm, sparkling feeling you get when you hold hands with your beloved, when you catch the eyes of your crush, when you see a message or note with that special name on it?

Well, my calendar is showing that special name.  October’s eyes are bright.  October’s hands are cool.  October’s name is like sweet honey on my tongue.

Ah, October.

Every day of this season is a treasure to me.  But of course, I start getting excited for October while the rest of the world is enjoying the depths of summer.  Right towards the end of June, after Midsummer, is usually when I start feeling it.  The dark half of the year - it’s coming.  The wheel of the year has turned, just so.


Of course I enjoy all of the typical summer pleasures – fireflies and barbecues and lemonade and swimming.  These are not October treats, oh no.  Such things are to be enjoyed in golden sunlight and blue darkness. 

Summer is BIG in only the way that summer can be big.  The dark half of the year is subtle.  It lets the light half of the year take its time, and it doesn’t rush.  Like Death, it waits patiently.  It will come when it is time.  But you can start to feel October early, even in July.  The breeze might feel a bit different, the humidity shifting.  Maybe a leaf or two will fall, or a song on the radio will sound especially spooky.

There it is, October.  Waiting.

The last of the fireflies finally fade away.  The golden sunlight turns to deep amber, almost too lovely and rich to behold.  The moon is rounder and fatter and wears spectacular names like Harvest, Wine, and Blood.  

Take a deep breath.  Do you smell it?  Sandalwood and dirt, candles, and pine.  And yes, beyond… pumpkin spice.  Cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg… 

Take another breath, re-center yourself, and you can hear the lazy music of wind chimes.  It’s like the pop band The Cure wrote the soundtrack to October – perhaps the whole season is the opening track to their deeply emotive album, Disintegration.

The pumpkins are fat and jolly, and with their glow the shadows lengthen.  Some of us pay homage to our inner goth-kid, dressing in black, purple, red, velvet, silk.  Others might prefer wool and knits, shawls and stocking caps and cozy knee-high boots.  As witches and Pagans, we’re happy that we can finally buy altar supplies and decorations at the grocery store – cinnamon brooms, black candles, or maybe a new hat, pointed and wide-brimmed.

As the veil thins and they are closer to us, we share stories of our beloved and blessed dead.  Gladly we invite them into our homes with our memories and offerings and altars.  

Though I watch horror movies any time of the year, I especially start to turn to the macabre in August, escalating closer and closer to Halloween.  October gives the whole world a chance to gaze upon its shadow:

“Look,” October calls to us.  “Humanity, this is you.  The vampire who uses people, draining them of their life.  When we are confronted with blood-suckers, we are left dry, or forever changed.  The werewolf, our inner beast.  Sometimes our actions leave carnage.  Are you a ghost?  Do you cling to the past, not living, not moving on?  Who do you haunt?  How about the zombies, mindless and going with the hoard.  What is your inner-ghoul?  And how do you express it safely?”

When I was speaking with a friend this week she said, “364 days of the year we all wear masks.  Halloween is when we can finally show our true face.” 

October, I don’t know my true face, but I know yours.  You are black and harvest-gold.  You are the orange of a pumpkin, the yellow of a flame, the black of the bat’s wing, the indigo-blue of the night.  You are both hot and cold, as some folks experience the last death-throes of summer, and others dive deep headfirst into winter.  You are wind chimes and you have the voice of Siouxsie Sioux, Peter Murphy, and Robert Smith.  You love parties and large groups of people – state fairs, haunted houses, homecoming games, and any excuse to dress up and dance.  You smell like pie and trees.  You taste like sugar - that point of so much sugar where you can’t even discern flavors any more.  Your mouth just tastes like sweetness and spice.

But October is also sad, though, and it’s scary.  Sometimes the shadows are too dark and too deep, the nights too long and too lonely.  Sometimes our own worst enemies are ourselves, and sometimes they are those who we love and trust the most.  We struggle with our masks, with our shadows, but I am thankful for that opportunity for harsh lessons and confrontations with the darkness.  Without these moments of terror, how will we ever appreciate and know the light?  How will we grow, change, refine, evolve? 

October is a brief moment out of all moments, and it reminds us that we, too, must die.  We MUST, and that’s tragic but it’s also okay.  In October, we all get to dance on both sides of the veil, and that is a very sweet gift this month offers us. 

October, I love you. 

I love your pumpkins and your darkness.  I love your bats and your kitschy witches.  I love seeing kids in costumes and I love seeing teenagers having picnics in graveyards.  I love seeing witches hats and dancing skeletons, and I love seeing altars covered in flowers and offerings and mementos. 

October, thank you.  You’re my own one-true love, and you’ll be gone just as soon as I begin to really settle in.  You’ll break my heart when you leave with the climax of Halloween, a love too true and pure to stick around for too long.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way, because I would never want to take you for granted, October.  I’ll adore you every moment we are together.  When you leave I’ll be sad, but I’ll cope.  I might even forget you for a little while, at least until Midsummer rolls around, and I catch a glimpse of you waiting back there in the shadows.  A crisp leaf falling in the forest… the scent of nutmeg… the first scary movie of the season... 

October, I love you.  Thank you for all of the gifts you give. 

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Trivia is a social worker, freelance writer, minister, and priestess. She loves to have a good adventure. Follow her exploits on Twitter ( and on Tumblr (!
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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Saturday, 01 October 2016

    beautiful! thank you!

  • Trivia at the Crossroads
    Trivia at the Crossroads Tuesday, 25 October 2016

    Thank you for taking the time to comment, Lizann. It really means a lot! And I hope October has been fabulous to you this year!

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