On 31st October the specters, ghosts, vampires, witches and wizards will be out to play. This ancient Celtic ritual designed to protect harvested crops from the “underworld” is now a fun evening for children to dress up in their ghoulish best. Children will “trick or treat” around the neighborhoods festooned with pumpkin cut-outs. The candy is symbolic of the household’s plea for the safety of their homes and crops.
Halloween is the night “the hag”, with her blackened teeth, deep furrows and the hairy mole, replaces the princess. Out with the golden locks, blue eyes and dainty ways and in with the woman who takes action.
“Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble” (Macbeth- Shakespeare)
The witches in the opening scene of Macbeth predict his demise and are seen as having prophetic powers. Maybe they didn’t need to have them. All they needed to know was that a man as ambitious and short-sighted as Macbeth could easily be helped to destroy himself. All they did was feed him his own ambition and allow him to feel secure enough to make the mistakes he made.
We challenge every woman who dresses her vampires and hands candy to the neighboring ghouls to embrace the hag within. The hag is astute and she understands life. She is the one who knows that within each of us is a deadly weakness and unless we attend to us it will be our demise. Tame the beast within or you will be broken – but not by her, by yourself. Hags understand that life is not pretty or pink – this is the “wild-ness” to which mankind was banished.
In the same way that Clarissa Pinkola Estes (Women who run with Wolves) says that wolves get a bad rap and are in actual fact remarkable animals, who protect the pack, care for their young and show extraordinary prowess, so does the hag. Forget her blackened teeth and ugly mole. She is beautiful in her prowess and skill. She is untamed and feral, astute and powerful. The hag has the timeless knowledge of instincts. She is not afraid to feed you your own weakness on which you will choke or change. She will not be controlled by public opinion but only by her own. She is filled with good instincts for her survival and the survival of her clan. She knows and is unafraid.
Women have become sanitized into our own ineptitude. We are afraid and our instincts for survival are deadened or faulty. We wait to be saved and protected, caged and handfed. We are taught a repertoire of words like parrots and we have forgotten who we are. The hag has not – she is timeless and trustworthy.