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First, Do No Colonizing

Recently I read a mostly excellent article, in which the author asks white people to stop colonizing Day of the Dead celebrations. In exchange, she offers Halloween. I agree with every single word she writes about colonization and how concerning it is to have Day of the Dead celebrations that are populated exclusively by white people. However, I still had an icky feeling about this article.

The problem? Halloween is already part of Pagan culture.

Don’t advocate anti-colonialism while in the same breath inviting people to colonize a religious minority’s holiday. Witches have enough trouble being taken seriously without further appropriation of what is, for many of us, the witch’s new year. Capitalism has infiltrated Halloween already and made it about candy and costumes (many of them racist). Witches still manage to breathe spirituality into Halloween. They do so with grace: I’ve seen many a Samhain altar decorated with things found at Target and Michael’s that still feels like a sacred space.

So where does this leave white people who aren’t Pagan? They still crave communion with and remembrance of their dearly departed. If you’re in this situation, may I suggest that you remember the dead every day. Set up a space where you keep pictures and mementos of those who have died. Smile at that space every day. Keep it clean. Actively remember those who have died. Tell stories to your kids, to your friends. You don’t need a special day to do any of that. What you need is to step outside the culture that advocates silence about death and forgetting the dead. Ignore it. Fight against it. But please, don’t take our holidays. Any of ours. Be they holidays of a religious, racial, or ethnic minority, don’t take them. Make your own.

I’ll say it again: don’t advocate anti-colonialism while in the same breath inviting people to colonize a religious minority’s holiday. Halloween isn’t yours to give. Halloween isn’t an unclaimed holiday. We witches are still here. We are still celebrating Samhain.

Uhuru

Week 42 (U): uhuru, which means “freedom” in Swahili

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately, and I realized just how lucky I am to be able to be out of the broom closet. I’ve been out since I was 13, reading books about Wicca in middle school. Sure in middle school I got a lot of nasty comments, but that’s middle school for you! I was out of the broom closet all through high school and college, and rarely encountered negative responses from people. Mostly people were interested and wanted to hear more about what it means to me to be pagan. I’m usually happy to oblige (I love talking about it!), so I had a lot of opportunity to educate people.

I'm grateful that I'm able to be out of the broom closet

I’m grateful that I’m able to be out of the broom closet

I know some (many?) other Pagans encounter a great deal of discrimination in their daily lives. This can be because where they live is conservative, or because their families aren’t Pagan-friendly, or (perhaps worst of all) because their partners aren’t open-minded. While none of my partners have been Pagan, they’ve all been respectful of my faith. I’m immensely thankful that, while I’ve had to deal with other types of discrimination, being Pagan is something that’s never caused me harm. May you all find the uhuru to be out of the broom closet.

Undrentide

Week 41 (U): Undrentide

This 2000 album from the Mediæval Bæbes is my favorite of all their albums. They’re an all-women group that sing and weave incredible harmonies, as well as playing instruments both modern and archaic. I sing some of their songs to get my mind focused for ritual or meditation. Plus there’s a medieval drinking song on this album! How can anyone resist?

Images of the Triple Goddess

Week 40 (T): triple goddess appreciation post

I was going to write about tarot for this second T post, but then I stumbled across such beautiful images of the Triple Goddess I thought I’d just share some with you. Artists listed when I know them. If you know an artist and their name isn’t listed, please let me know in the comments!

by MerlinsMoonShadow

by MerlinsMoonShadow

The Pagan Poppet (though I don't think this is the photo credit)

The Pagan Poppet (though I don’t think this is the proper credit for the photo)

couldn't find artist info on this one unfortunately

couldn’t find artist info on this one unfortunately, but wouldn’t this be a stellar tattoo?!

from the Parthenon, now in the British Museum (438-432 B.C.E.)

a lovely statue from the Parthenon, now in the British Museum (438-432 B.C.E.)

missing credit again but how lovely!

missing credit again but I adore this!