Whatever you celebrate today, I hope it's awesome!
I'm typing this from the "business center" at the hotel in Orlando, where I will be celebrating Samhain tonight. Tomorrow I'll sleep late, then have lunch with my brother and see a friend and her new babies--yay!!!!
Sometimes I'm really glad I don't have children. My best friend's daughter, my "niece", is charming, but also utterly exhausting! Right now, she's burning off some of her energy at the pool while Yemaya and her partner watch. At the airport last night, she conducted a spirited argument with them about why she needed to have her hair straightened. Her mothers absolutely refuse to let her do it until she's in her teens, but some of her classmates' mothers feel differently about their daughters' hair.
Then she talked about a classmate who is going to a church's "alternative" party, who has to dress like a Biblical character, and asked me whether a variety of animals that she likes were in the Bible. (Yemaya's partner says she doesn't remember much of the Bible, and Yemaya herself was raised by a Rastafarian father and a Buddhist mother.) She felt very sorry for her classmate, who couldn't dress as a kangaroo or a dolphin. Then we looked at a huge map on a wall, and we had to explain why the South Pole is as cold as the North Pole. I love that child's busy, buzzing little brain, but boy, I felt like I had *earned* the right to sleep through our flight! I don't know how you parents and grandparents do it, to be honest. I think I have only just enough energy for cats.
Seeing Yemaya with her partner, I felt a little sad that L'Ailee wasn't coming along. But Yemaya's partner is Pagan, too. L'Ailee is atheist. She would have absolutely no connection with tonight's ritual. Even some of our practices for afterwards, like playing only music by dead artists, perplex her. So let her stay up in NYC and go to a costume party with her friends instead, we figure. She worked hard to outfit a group like FLDS women, making such perfectly detailed pastel prairie dresses that a petite FLDS woman would no doubt want to buy the one she's wearing tonight. I helped her with her hair. As I've said before, she shaves hers off, which no FLDS woman would do. But she has a dark shoulder-length wig that she bought for her matron-of-honor duties at her friend's wedding. I had the idea to augment the wig with that tacky black synthetic clip-on hair from Sally Beauty Supply--it's ugly, but it's dead dead cheap, perfect for a one-time costume. It was wonderful to see her in the costume before I left, and not just a picture of it a few days afterwards. I hope they have lots of fun tonight.
It's been a very festive week! We also celebrated Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, on Wednesday. An Indian friend at my work invited us to a multi-family celebration. We were both outsiders there, of course, but we were far from the only ones. (Whereas at Samhain, L'Ailee would have been almost the only non-Pagan.) It was awesome. Some of the older Indian guests were cold to us, but most people were very nice. The food was absolutely delicious, of course! I love dancing with my shoes off; I wish I could do that more often, at least in public. Fireworks are technically illegal up here, but some of the teenagers shot a few off anyway. "North Carolina, shhhh!" an elderly woman said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. We've made that trip before, for Independence Day. Amazing how some things transcend culture.
Samhain, Summer's End, was considered the New Year by ancient Celts. It is still a time of throwing away the old and taking on the new for NeoPagans. We have a bardic circle where we sing or recite poetry before the ritual; I chose Let It Go, by Tim McGraw. We literally write down the things we want to leave behind on paper and throw them into the fire. It feels so good to watch the balls of paper burn to ashes! The timing of this momentous election seems oh-so-appropriate, then. Everything is about to change. It could be good, it could be bad, but no matter what, it will be different. Sometimes that's enough all by itself.
Tricks and treats:
It's a very happy Halloween in Oil City, Pennsylvania. Public celebrations of Halloween were banned there after an 11-year-old girl was abducted and murdered on Halloween 16 years ago. Another girl worked very hard to bring it back.
Unfortunately, in Derry, New Hampshire, a Wiccan teen's "Diversity Day" presentation was considered a little too diverse for her school.
Of all the endorsements for Obama, this one's among the more surprising, right up there with Colin Powell's. NASCAR legend Junior Johnson wrote an open letter urging others to vote for him! This will give you an idea of why that's amazing. This will give you an idea of why Junior Johnson is amazing.
Please don't be Sarah Palin for Halloween! Maybe the writer saw me at Zombiecon a couple weeks back. Of course, I wouldn't listen to this, because I am a lazy woman who likes stupid-easy costumes (I already have glasses and long brown hair with bangs!) and even easier jokes.
Finally, what happens to leftover campaign money, anyway?