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General Blog Description: Exploring Southern Hemisphere neo-pagan practice and culture from the point of view of a progressive witch living south of Perth, Western Australia.

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Celebrating Halloween in Spring

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


Halloween is tricky business in Australia. For those who wish to indulge in the treat of dressing up, eating lollies (the more common term for 'candy') and celebrating all things spooky, there are a few barriers to hammer against. Luckily for those who have gazed at the event with envy overseas, those barriers are slowly crumbling and Halloween has made its presence felt down under.

Growing up, most Australians would not have experienced trick or treating in their childhood. It has never been a custom here - just a cultural curiosity on cartoons and movies. As time has gone on, trick or treating has hit the streets influenced by resigned parents and enthusiastic children wanting to take on the fun custom. This has sometimes been met with open hostility in some sectors; 'Americanization' is a dirty word here in Oz. Candy is bad, trick or treating is dangerous, kids up to no good on the streets, oh my! The bah-humbug is strong here. However, the sheer fun and frivolity has eaten away at our collective willpower much like a toffee apple at my cavities, and it seems Halloween is here to stay

There are a few problems with this. I was amused to note a columnist from last year disparaging the celebration for much the same reason that I haven't been too favourable of it - Halloween has overwhelmingly autumnal motifs, and it's Spring here. Spring. Pumpkins are not in season and the sight of them being wheeled out of cold storage by the big chain supermarkets makes me a little bit mad. Much like the snowmen at Christmas and the bunnies at Easter, if we want to do the Halloween thing, we're going to have to put up with the seasonally inappropriate trappings with it.

And oh boy, do Aussie witches really really want to celebrate Halloween. People who know I'm a witch but have no knowledge of the Australian wheel of the year like to ask me how am I celebrating this supposed witchy highlight of the calendar? Well, it's true - I've always got something on, my coven usually celebrates a sabbat that resembles Beltane around this time of year, and it's usually a celebration of High Spring, love, and all things blossoming. But it's not really Halloween-y. I want to change that.

My solution is the same as the one I've adopted for Easter and Christmas: let's be bleak and terribly ironic about it. When you're a chaote, it's easy to roll with the punches and use what you've got. If you're after spooky altar items, Halloween is the best place to find them and commence a 6 month hoarding of skull candles. But I don't shun Halloween itself, and we decorate our already spooky looking house and have a bowl of lollies ready just in case some trick-or-treaters come along. (They don't). Given the chance, I'll attend any Halloween parties with gusto. Dressing up is fun! As for blending the Samhain and Beltane energies, well, I'm still working on that. Skulls and flowers do look good together. A deliciously dark and romantic Beltane is certainly possible, and I'm thinking rich chocolatey desserts, candles and florals, and skulls, skulls everywhere! Gothic romance can reconcile the persistent Halloween virus and the warm early summer evenings where roses are at bloom. It's a great way to ease into the 'party season', where warm weather beckons and long evenings stretch out, languid and inviting for all sorts of pagan shenanigans.

Ancestral work, another hallmark of Samhain, is not necessarily seasonal. The ancestors can be honoured at any time of year, and laying out offerings for the dead can be a special way to attune to the twin energies. 

So this little witch is going to be celebrating Halloween in style this year, with meaning and magic. Don't fight the spooky tide, Aussie witches: work with it.


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Lee is an artist and witch hailing from Western Australia. Her practice is one woven from both an intiatory eclectic Wiccan circle and a rigorous solitary practice that is heavily coloured with chaos magic and probably too many unicorns. Sarcasm, dry wit and Happy Squirrels are par for the course.


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