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  • Writer's pictureAlice

Find Balance During Halloween; the Gothic Portal with Roots in the Celtic Tradition

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Learn what this transition says about you and how to take advantage of the darkness

Pumpkin lantern with celtic cross and onyx bracelet
Image by the author

Not everyone likes this time of year, but if there is something that we all share during the last days of October and early November, it is a reaction to the feeling that we get when the darkness begins to gain ground over the light.


What for some is a moment of celebration of everything that scares us at night is for others an agony in which the hours pass slowly and thoughts of death take over, creating great anguish.


The scientific explanation behind this reaction, according to the Mayo Clinic health website, is that we are facing what is known as SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Although not all the causes are yet known, this disorder is due to a change in our circadian rhythms triggered by a decrease or lack of natural daylight.


It affects serotonin levels and it produces alterations in melatonin, which are some of the factors that can create these depressive states or moments.


However, for others, this lack of light is an invitation or a call to creativity and to explore imaginative spaces of the mind that cannot happen in any other way, as they cannot be explored in the same way in full-day sunlight.


How people most negatively affected by darkness can balance these depressive feelings, and how those of us who enjoy these moments can enjoy them even more, is what I talk about in this week's post.


Let's begin.


NUNCA LLUEVE A GUSTO DE TODOS (IT NEVER RAINS TO EVERYONE'S LIKING)


The weekend of the 20th, 21st y 22nd of October was la sexta féria de las brujas en Martorell, Barcelona.


Year after year the fair is made up of a small market that begins in the church square and runs along the entire Francesc Santacana street.


I have been going to this market for three years since it represents the only public in-person activity closest to the Gothic experience which I can go and share with my family.


Poster of The 6th Witches Fair, Martorell, Barcelona
Image created with Canva by the author

As always, my little son was in his element. He bought a couple of gems to wear around his neck and one to have as decoration, a couple of key chains (one for him and one for his brother), a lavender-scented bar of soap and he enjoyed most of the stands. On the other hand, my eldest son seemed very disconnected and his immense desire to get out of there was written all over his face.


What balanced one person decompensated the other.


I bought the bracelet and necklace that you see in the photo.


The necklace, designed by Godhalla Craft, is a Celtic witch's knot with an amethyst in the centre.


Just the day before, the prolific author of "All Things Monstrous, Vampire and Gothic", Simon Bacon, accepted my proposal for a collaborative book about the need to return to our origins and how we can see this reflected in gothic and horror works, as well as in other spaces.


During the process of evaluating whether my research on the dark side of the Great Mother archetype could fit this project, I stumbled upon the Celtic triqueta.


Surprisingly, the Celtic triquetra shares with the witch's knot the triple dimension aspect.



Celtic triquetra from Canva
Celtic triquetra from Canva

So, following this synchronicity, I bought the witch's knot in the photo with a lilac gem in the middle, my favourite colour and also a very important colour in Gothic literature since it is an indicator of power, high social status, spirituality and bravery.


As for the bracelet, it is made up of Onyx spheres, a mineral that self-cleans and recharges, and serves as maximum protection for people who deal directly with other people, as is the case of psychologists.


While purchasing this bracelet, and one of my son's gemstones, I ended up engaged in a conversation with a lady who was looking for the most powerful mineral that could offer her protection. The lady told the shopkeeper that she was taking a course on the energy of minerals and something else that I didn't understand but that I found fascinating. She was the one who commented on the properties of the Onyx.


Before she arrived at the booth, I had been searching for the stone of my star sign, just as my youngest son was searching for his. However, upon hearing this lady talk about protection for psychologists, something inside my head clicked; a new synchronicity connected to my current part of the journey presented itself.


As a student of Carl G. Jung, a student of the practical application of Jungian psychology, a patient of analytical psychology, and as someone who uses this psychology as a self-help tool for myself and to help my clients, I often feel in a vulnerable place. So the Onyx bracelet seemed very suitable for this other kind of energetic support.


During all this, my husband, very respectfully, followed me and our youngest son throughout the fair, I suppose hoping that the magic stones and runes would soon run out and we would arrive at the food stand. This has become one of the few pleasures he has left in life, and yet he has to be very careful as he has many restrictions due to his heart.


If you want to know more about this story, here is the link that will take you to the platform "Medium" where the article is posted:

This year the fair coincided with the visit of my in-laws, who, although they accompanied us without any type of resistance, it was clear that walking through tarot readings, aura readings, hand readings, etc... and rituals to cleanse stones and energies were not part of their plans. I could see it in their faces.


This is how towards the end of the day, and trying to find a summary of it, I was left with the following reflection:


The magical world of the supernatural and occult is not presented and/or accepted equally by everyone. Although this may seem overwhelmingly logical to you, I am telling you this from the following point of view:


For sellers and their public, fairs, online events or meetups are presented as a unique opportunity to meet, get to know each other and expand the circle of like-minded people, but above all share those concerns that are reserved for a more intimate and private space and can only be explored at specific times and places.


For those who do not find any affinity with these types of events, knowledge and materials, they can be seen as something unknown about which they do not have much information and therefore they may even fear, to a large extent, by the weight of the history of their country, an aspect that I will precisely tell you about in the next section.

Medieval market decorations
Image from the "Fira de les Bruixes" by the author

THE WEIGHT OF HISTORY


With this month's magazine still very present in my brain, and after a practical observation of the different reactions to the same event, I asked myself again the question of how it is possible that there are no more activities of this type in my country considering the interest that many people show in the world of the occult, the supernatural and the unknown.


I also continue to think that schools need to offer more information about this other side of traditions and beliefs with their origins in civilizations such as the Celtic, which due to years of suppression and bad reputation, are banished to the world of fiction and horror cinema.


However, there is an increasing interest, which I would call balancing, resulting not only from the pandemic but also from a materialistic and consumerist society, that has pushed us to disconnect from a part of ourselves that is so necessary, since It touches directly with our unconscious.


This renewed interest is what, I believe, is triggering a new need to learn and share with other people, concerns and knowledge that until now have been learned outside of the academies and/or in an individual format.


This, on the other hand, stigmatizes these other studies and makes them vulnerable to the proliferation of people who, without adequate preparation, play with the spiritual beliefs of those who are at a critical moment in their lives. The same could be said about anything that is sold online unscrupulously. But this is another topic to be discussed in another entry.


Luckily, we are already beginning to see initiatives like that of Exeter University that offer, for the first time in the history of humanity, a master's in the occult.


Without a doubt, since the pandemic there has been a growth in interest in certain themes, among which are Gothic literature, terror and of course the knowledge of activities considered pagan and of evil origin such as, in this case, what is hidden.


We must not forget that some of those themes that we relegate to horror films during the Halloween season have a historical origin. So, knowing and studying where everything that is still repressed came from and being curious about both the visible and invisible world around us says a lot about you. It means that your balance is found in not being left alone with what you have historically been led to believe until now and that you can use your critical thinking to have a more holistic vision that aligns with your psyche.


For some, this may be a step back to a time when unfounded beliefs could manipulate others and therefore be dangerous. However, for me, this is a great step towards the future, since it helps us connect with a part of our unconscious to bring it to consciousness. This is what, in Jungian terms, allows us to become more complete and happy beings.


Thus, in countries like Spain, in which the historical weight of repression is still very present concerning some issues, it is not surprising that we are still timid and even afraid to acknowledge our concerns.


This is something that not only occurs on a daily level but also on a more academic level, as we can see, for example, in the study of Gothic literature, which is still difficult to access in my country and can only be accessed at a university level and not on a straight line.


This is very clear, for example in the first pages of the book Spanish Gothic: National Identity, Collaboration and Cultural Adaptation by Dr. Xavier Aldana Reyes, Reader in English Literature and Film at Manchester Metropolitan University and founder member of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, who says the following:


In this country, the Gothic has, until recently, been thought of as an imported imaginative impossibility peremptorily censored by the zealous self-righteousness of Christian Catholicism, especially in its Inquisitorial guise, and later by the Francoist regime through similar ideological repressive processes....The Spanish Gothic... has often been perceived in intellectual circles to have a touch of the frivolous, and even of impure: there is no value to it, and its effects might even be pernicious if left unpoliced. The logical resulting critical approach has been to ignore the Gothic, to bury it and, when uncovered, denigrate or belittle it. (P. 1 -2)

Book cover adapted using Canva
Image created with Canva of Spanish Gothic by Xavier Aldana Reyes

Fighting with years of tradition and such harmful beliefs makes it, in my opinion, a titanic task for lovers of all things Gothic, and of little recognition and social value, especially for students of art and written expression, anthropology, sociology and psychology, just to name a few of the most prominent ones.


The knowledge, study and understanding of the origin of our celebrations do not prevent us from feeling depressed when it comes to Halloween. In this case, darkness takes over our homes, triggering thoughts and fears that unbalance us. However, normalization and adequate teaching would not only help many people embrace the darkest side of their mind in a more natural way but would encourage the creation and personal development of those other people with a passion for everything that is in liminal territory.


KNOWLEDGE WILL SET YOU FREE

At this point, I think it goes without saying that everything that is repressed turns into trauma. Something that all psychologists talk about more and more these days, regardless of their approach.


The first step in finding balance, not only during times when darkness, short and cold days depress us but also during painful transitions, losses and grieving processes that occur throughout the year, begins with knowing yourself better, something you can do through the study of Gothic literature and Jungian psychology.


You can do this in two ways:

  • On your own: which might take you hours, days, weeks, months and even years, and that will surely make you desperate since it will lead you to uncertainty and to make an economic investment that may not be appropriate.

  • By taking my course: Get to Know Yourself Better through the Gothic-Jungian Lens and Eat the Monsters that Prevent You from Achieving Your Goals: an online course that will help you gain a deep, but practical knowledge of Gothic literature from the origins to the present day, through the analysis of the archetypes that have governed and govern your psyche during your transitions, so that you can make the most appropriate decisions at all times.

If you want to receive more information about this course, click the following button:

FINAL THOUGHTS

  • Not everyone sees Halloween the same way

  • There is still a lot of information missing about the benefits and history of ancient traditions

  • The key to balance is found in knowing everything that scares us and represses us

  • Events like fairs can be a good place to connect with like-minded people and create new contacts

  • Academicising that knowledge that until now has been stigmatized is a step forward towards a more holistic and globalising self-awareness


Thanks for reading!


Until next entry


Alice


 

BIBLIOGRAPHY







Do you want to know more?


To understand and work on what is blocking you at this point in your journey, download my practical manual: "The Crisis of the Hero/Heroine".

Exercise Book - The Crisis of the Hero/Heroine
Exercise Book - The Crisis of the Hero/Heroine

 

And finally, learn more about the origin of Halloween and its connection to everything Gothic with this month's magazine.








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