Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Prelude to Hallowe'en

Readers of this blog will know my views on photos of traffic lights. These images seldom work. Either they are over-exposed and the colours look wishy-washy, or the lights change just as you click the shutter. I liked this shot though and frankly it was well under-exposed. Then I did a bit of work to spook it up. We do approach Hallowe'en and the shops are full of colourful decorations and spooky confectionery, so it is time to consider the fun side of what Jung would call the shadow. Here is one place during the year when "the shadow", our unintegrated dark side, can come out and play. Of course all this takes place in a good container and the rites and customs of Halloween are quite old and rather formal. The children are encouraged to dress up in frightening costumes and often they demand confectionery with menaces. This differs from country to country and probably derives from the Celtic Samhain. But the word Hallowe'en is recent and can be traced back to All-Hallows-Even, (evening). That is said to be a Scottish variant of the Old English for All Hallows, ealra hálȝena mæssedæȝ, which can only be attested around 1556. Nonetheless the word for the celebration should really be spelled with that apostrophe for the missing letter "v"! And it does seem that these ghosts in the white sheets are derived from the Scottish custom of dressing young men in white with blackened faces or masks. Boo!