Deeper Into The Strange
I was walking around with some friends the other day, eyeing all the pumpkins and inflatable spiders and cobwebs draped over houses. I wonder why we like spooky things? My friend mused. I was thinking the same thing: how funny is it that there is one month each year when it's totally mainstream and respectable to decorate your home and yourself with all things SPOOKY?!
I'm known to wear snake and spider jewelry all year round, so the Halloween aesthetic is not just seasonal for me. So I almost forget that this type of imagery isn't normal for most people. Normally we don't decorate ourselves with scary stuff. Bright, happy, decidedly non-spooky stuff is the main aesthetic we see in the social world. And yet, we've still reserved one month, one major holiday, for all things creepy, crawly and nocturnal.
I love what that suggests about us-- that maybe we don't want EVERYTHING all bright and happy after all. That maybe we NEED a time and space for the dark and frightening. How interesting is it, after all, that we've kept this holiday alive all this time. Not only alive, but super popular and loved.
I kept thinking about my friend's question-- I wonder why we like spooky things. There are myriad possible reasons; the pure adrenaline rush of seeing a scary movie can do it for lots of folks. But why else? I think, personally, it's because we want mystery. However rational and logical and brightly lit our day-to-day lives may seem, I think that as humans, we're not quite satisfied with that. I think we want the presence of the unknown. I think we want to believe that not everything is rationally or logically explained. I think that some part of us longs for the occult.
Nowadays, the word occult brings to mind Ouija boards and UFO sightings-- it's used to refer to the supernatural and paranormal. But the word itself comes from Latin and means, simply, concealed or secret. That's what's appealing about the occult-- it refers to stuff that's hidden from plain view, stuff that's kept secret from most people. And I think there's something so alluring, so utterly fascinating in this possibility-- that the world is working in complex and secret ways unbeknownst to you-- that we all keep room in our minds for doubt, for questioning, for mystery, for the occult.
Wouldn't it be sad if the world was utterly explainable? I think it would be, and yet that seems to be how we're taught to see it. That tree is just a tree. An inanimate object. A few years ago, I might have believed that. We're taught to treat a tree as a soulless, inanimate object. But is that really the only way to see it? By now, I've experienced and heard enough things to convince me that trees are entirely alive and with spirit. And this belief creates for me a much richer, deeper world to live in.
I think we want hidden meanings, or at least the possibility of them. I know I do, anyway. And I think that's why we keep room for mystery in our lives, whether you're a full-time witch like me or whether you're any normal, non-magic-believing citizen, putting up skulls, witches and vampires in your Halloween display.
p.s. the title of this post comes from a great King Tuff song, Unusual World. "the place you gotta go to change/ is deeper into the strange..."
Blessed be! xxx