We don’t really celebrate Halloween here in the Netherlands and I think it’s a shame. I’ve always loved holidays, I’m a total sucker for Christmas and Easter and all the magical vibes and decorations and songs, my family celebrates most holidays together and we always have a great time. I went to the Efteling last weekend, it’s the biggest theme park in the Netherlands and one of the oldest in the world and I’m still recovering from the excitement! But Halloween just isn’t a ‘thing’ here and although I guess I could celebrate on my own, it’s just not the same.
I’ve never felt at home in pagan communities, or else I might have celebrated with them. I’ve tried, I’ve been to more pagan meetings than I can count. But the problem is that I consider myself an atheist pagan, an atheist who does not believe in anything supernatural, and the pagan subculture is obsessed with everything outside of the natural world. It’s not just that I think reiki healing, crystal energies and astral bodies do not exist, though that is what I think, it’s mostly that I don’t care about those topics. My religious feelings concern the natural, I’m not interested in acupuncture or homeopathy. They’re like football or fashion, I don’t want to talk about it or learn about it because I don’t care. I remember a meeting where one of the women recalled how she’d been a witch in a previous life and had been burned at the stake. I realised then as I realise now that those memories, although false, were very real and traumatic for her and I held my tongue as the others in the group comforted her as she sobbed. But I couldn’t help thinking “this is not how I want to spend my Saturday afternoon”. Another time a good friend and I attended a Beltane celebration, where a non-pagan author presented her fictional book about witch hunts in the Middle Ages. I’ve never understood why modern-day pagans feel those witch hunts are connected to their religion, but anyway, the author was there and told us something about history. Then this woman stood up and started talking: “the witch hunts are not over, not a little bit! Just a couple of weeks ago, a tree in my street was going to be cut down but the tree talked to me, said it wasn’t ready to die, so I chained myself to the tree and the police eventually came and cut me from the tree and sent me home! They discriminated me because of my religion!”. The author looked puzzled and uncomfortable as others agreed with the tree-loving-witch. My friend and I tried not to laugh, but mostly I realised that this is not my scene. I’m fine with anyone believing in whatever they want, but I don’t want to spend my time on reincarnation and aura-healing. I want some nature-loving pagans to dance around a May-pole with, celebrate the changing of the seasons and read scary stories on Halloween!
So I’ve invited some friends over tomorrow night and hopefully we’ll watch a horror movie or something. Thankfully Sinterklaas and Christmas are coming up, I can’t wait :).