October 22nd, 2015


Halloween Countdown, Day 22

"Just before his death in 1950 the admirable Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, who wrote in the English language, published a collection of astonishing works under the title Death and Entrances. In this book Thomas abandoned himself to a kind of surrealist-style mode of writing, which allowed him to travel back through time in his unconscious and arrive at a uterine world, where, in rummaging through its remotest nooks and crannies, he discovered what connects life, such as it is experienced on a daily basis, and nonexistence, that of before as well as that of tomorrow -- a metaphysical as well as psychological nonexistence, considered to be a door opening onto the infinite.... For him, and the title of his collection is, in this regard, perfectly eloquent, 'death is the middle of a long life' and causes the one undergoing it to emerge in places other than those he is accustomed to frequenting.

"It is a way not of 'taming death,' as Montaigne said, but of exorcising it by establishing a direct line between before and after, which will display the permanence of life in all its aspects and all its states. This is the appropriate lesson to draw from Samhain and its survivals, whether the Christian All Saints' Day or the folklike manifestations of Halloween."

- The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween: Celebrating the Dark Half of the Year by Jean Markale

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