All Hallows Eve rapidly approaches and in the shadowy corners of the United Kingdom the realities of so-called proscribed worship once more rear their spectral presence. A seeming God fearing nation since even before that faith truly took hold upon any other portion of the globe, the strange homogenous intertwining of Judaic Christianity and paganism is always particularly strong around the changing of the seasons, celebrated with both church approved holidays and the older more mysterious rites that predate the Romanization of those sceptered Isles.
With the exception of a particularly violent form of Protestantism, recalled as Puritanism in Britain, and remembered as the Pilgrim Fathers particularly volatile form of fundamentalism this side of the pond, both the old beliefs and the new existed quite harmoniously, very much hand in hand for almost two thousand years. Critics are inclined to point to periods of intolerance, to witchcraft, Satanism, black magic, but of course they had much more to do with inter religious hostility, the infighting for social and political control and power, than any real animosity worshiper against worshiper. Most families would quite happily for example celebrate All Hallows Eve with great enthusiasm, indulging the various practices, games, rituals that Samhain traditionally prescribes, before attending church the following day, All Saints Day, for Christian service, to include confession and absolution for the excesses of the night before.
No doubt with the spread of the universal version of Halloween, concerned with commercialism, child friendly activities, dress up, and sweet collecting, the older, darker, more resonant traditions have diluted to the point of evaporation. Late night meanders through unlit churchyards and cemeteries are probably unfashionable or decidedly unsafe, family evenings spend in candle lit rooms poring over the Ouija board considered too alarming. Fear has become a form of arousal, to be taken as required visually, with easy access to exit of off button.
A pity I am inclined to consider, for without experiencing real fear how can one ever acknowledge true joy. Similarly, without correlation how can any faith truly stand.