If Halloween turns your thoughts to Dracula’s Transylvania, then I have a bit of a remedy for you. This is a recording of part of the Suită Corală din Ţara Oaşului by twentieth century Romanian composer Dariu Pop. This may be only one of the folk songs in the original suite of songs, but both sound and visuals are wonderful.
If I’d known what I was getting into when I agreed to be one of the Vikings present last night at the American Swedish Institute’s annual “Loki’s Bash” Halloween party, I might not have done it. It was only after agreeing that I learned that one of the event’s sponsors was a local paranormal society, and that divination would be performed as part of the festivities.
But I’d given my word, so I set off. As it turns out, it wasn’t so bad. No doubt I was surrounded by people who would have considered me a Nazi if I’d shared any of my views, but that’s a less and less infrequent experience for me. And I don’t think anything went on, in terms of the occult, that didn’t also happen at the Science Fiction cons I attended. In any case, all of that was out of my sight.
What I did see was an endless parade of (mostly) young adults (total attendance, I’m told, was 1,600) adorned in costumes of varying degrees of quality, cleverness, and good taste. A fair number were dressed as they imagined Vikings would be, in keeping with the event theme. Many were identifiable characters from movies and TV shows. Many others, no doubt, were identifiable characters from movies and TV shows I’ve never heard of. Others were puzzles. Some were meant to be puzzles.
Take for instance, my favorite. There was a young woman there dressed in a black dress with white collar and cuffs. She wore a gray wig plaited in two pigtails. And she had an eyepatch and two toy ravens perched on her shoulders.
I finally had to ask. “Schoolgirl Odin?” I asked.
“No,” she laughed. “I knew it was too complicated. I’m Wednesday Addams. But Wednesday is Odin’s day.”
Makes perfect sense when you think about it.
I got home after midnight, and to bed after 1:00 a.m. My alarm clock picked this morning, of all mornings, to lose its bearings and set off its alarm about forty minutes early.
I blame witches.
One of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s early stories is called “The Hollow of the Three Hills,” in which a woman seeks counsel from a witch and receives nothing but bad news. That appears to be the witch’s point, to break the woman’s heart, and that is the reason I believe her revelations to be complete lies. The story doesn’t say the witch is lying, but I see no reason to believe she isn’t. After all, she is in the service of the father of lies.
Deception is my primary filter for viewing occultic things. On the one hand, trusting the stupid words of a horoscope is a great way to hamstring your life. On the other hand, hoping for special advice from a medium or psychic is like trusting your money to Bernie Madoff. Even if what you hear rings true to you, it’s very likely to be a lie.
So it troubled me hear a caller to a radio program about Halloween say that she understood there were witches in her area placing curses on Halloween costumes and she and her church were praying against them this weekend. I suppose prayer against the enemy for any reason is a good thing, but I don’t remember anything in the Bible and I can’t find anything online from trustworthy sources to support the idea that these curses mean anything. Continue reading The Empty Food of Idols
Here’s a bit of creative writing fun we can have for the last half of October, the approach to Halloween. Look at this photo from Carlos Miguez Macho of someone walking in the street. (I don’t believe I would be permitted to display the image here.) Then write a few sentences, a momentary scene based on the photo.
I suppose I should start, but look at the photo before reading the submissions. Continue reading Windy Street Halloween Writing Prompt
A misguided pastor from North Carolina plans to burn “satanic” books this Halloween, including recent translations of the Bible.
“I believe the King James version is God’s preserved, inspired, inerrant, infallible word of God… for English-speaking people,” the pastor said.
Of the non-biblical books to be burned, they have works by Billy Graham, Rick Warren, John Piper, John MacArthur, Mother Teresa and many others. You can read a list here. (Maybe a Christian bookstore closed recently.)
I guess my impulse is to laugh off such foolishness, but I can’t do it this time. I’m grieved. This man and his congregation are deceived about the nature of God’s holy word in English and the mercy or gracious freedom he gives to his people. I’m even more bothered by his claim to have studied at a Christian college in my town. He says he left because they were too liberal, which is a little funny. Fundamentalists are known by the way they divide up believers and separate themselves from others. The plain meaning of the text is all they need to know God’s will, and by “plain meaning” they mean their interpretation alone. They have gone to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice they hear is Jesus’ voice, so how could they misinterpret anything?
I’m not too bothered, of course, because there isn’t anything I can do about it. Still, having heard stories of religious abuse, I can’t laugh when those who appear to be clanging cymbals like this hit the news. I’m not a satirist, I guess–which brings to mind this video of a panel discussion from a Ligonier Ministries conference. Doug Wilson gets into acting like Jesus acted, saying we throw some heavy interpretation into our answers when asking what Jesus would do. We almost never think that Jesus would give a satiric or biting answer, like calling some religious leaders a brood of vipers. Piper, Sproul, and Mohler all comment on that idea.