I've got a full blown case of Halloweenitis now. Damn, but I love this time of year.
Mostly, I love the symbolism of this time of year, and of the whole holiday, especially in its pagan roots. Death! Rebirth! Renewal! A time of transition, of liminality. In-betweenness. Which, really, for humans can be scary stuff. We like things nice and settled, mostly. Only life doesn't quite work that way, does it? We always get hit with those unsettled times. The transition moments, when for a bit it's hard to say whether we are this or that, or maybe something else entirely.
Those transitions, that's the stuff of horror and other scary stories. Maybe why we like it so much. It's not just the meditation on death and all that -- it's the dealing with moments of change and transformation.
Watching the atheist community, you get to see a lot of that. I'm one of those members who never did the religion thing much. But many, of course, did. They had to grapple with something that was a huge part of their life. Let go of it, or maybe even have it torn away. And often enough thrust...nowhere. Into Limbo, an in-betweeny place with no sense of whether there is something to be had on the other side, or if there is even an other side.
I have so much respect for people in that boat, the ones who have made that journey. Because that's some scary shit. It takes courage. And it strikes me that this is what lies at the heart of skepticism -- embracing that liminality. Refusing the easy answers, the certainty, the solid ground, and setting out into the unknown, never knowing for sure if there is another shore. Or, really, not seeking a shore. Just seeking. A journey with no end point. No enlightenment, only the promise of always being enlightened.
And Halloween, Autumn, this whole topsy-turvy time of year, it's a good time to meditate on that. Embrace it. Let the wildness of the season sink in and embrace the change. Knowing that even as things die -- our certainties and beliefs and safe little thoughts -- new things will be born. Scary shit, but fun. Me, I've been embracing it a bit the last week or so. Doing some writing like I haven't been doing for a while, thinking and planning, finding ways to upend my life and kill a few things so that new things can grow.
The Big Idea: Jean Marie Bauhaus
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