Friday, 26 October 2012

The Hallowe'en Truth: is Hello Kitty Evil?

Hello Kitty stickers
Hello Kitty stickers (Photo credit: diwong)

Urban Dictionary describes Hello Kitty as a "Japanese mass-casualty weapon... Doctors warn that even low-level exposure may cause a perfectly sound mind to crack."

But is Hello Kitty truly evil?

There are plenty of conspiracies connected to the Hello Kitty phenomena. But that doesn't mean that the concept is one of evil.

This is the iconic white cat with the red bow, dots for eyes, and absent mouth that is mysteriously cute as hell to little girls.

The absence of a mouth makes her a little creepy. There are urban legends that state the mouth was left of because she was first drawn by a child suffering abuse, who wanted someone to confide in. There is also a legend that states she was drawn by a mother who's daughter was dying of cancer, and that the little white cat is a the result of a pack she made with the Devil to cure her daughter - the mouth was left off so the character could never spill the beans to anyone.

Hello Kitty Mentaiko?
Hello Kitty Mentaiko? (Photo credit: jpellgen)
If either of these Urbanised tales are true, then surely it would have been reported widely...

A little History on Kittty...

Hello Kitty first came into being in the 70′s when a then new company called Sanrio needed to come up with a merchandise mascot that would appeal to the pre-teen girl demographic. They commissioned an artist to work on the project and she came up with a drawing of a white Japanese Bobtail cat that had a red bow in it’s hair and was wearing blue overalls.

A whole back story for Hello Kitty was created, which is basically this: Hello Kitty is actually a nickname for Kitty White, who is not Japanese but actually British and lives in London with her family.

The Hello Kitty character was deliberately designed without a mouth so the lack of that visual cue made it easier for people to project their own feelings on to the cartoon character.

Their is something fundamentally wrong with a mute character that pre-teen girls can project their own emotion onto with impunity.

If nothing else, this little symbol of girlie cuteness has more of the Japanese Goth about it than British teen. It has seduced a world of females and has made its creators billionaires. (There are even theme parks and beauty products with the white bobtail cat's insignia on them.)

Hello Kitty has reached cult status with many fans - so now is close to becoming a religious icon. If someone truly sold their soul for this phenomena, it was quite a deal, and one that just keep on growing.

Is Hello Kitty Evil? Who knows?...

Personally, I can't stand the thing and find it completely creepy. But what do you think?

The VuDooMan is in the House
When you need a little faith, turn to the VuDooMan

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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

More roots of Halloween in the Celtic festival of Samhain

As I said a couple of weeks ago, the roots of Halloween can be found in the Celtic (Samain) Samhain.

Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Irish manuscripts are peppered with the magical significance of Samhain.

This festival of the dead stands on the boundaries of time. (This was a time when the boundaries between a man's land and his neighbour's were a dangerous place to be at night.)

Because the practice of telling the future (or divination) was part of everyday life for the Celts. It is obvious that divination was a crucial aspect of the festivities of Samhain.

Vestiges of this can be seen today in Halloween traditions: Girls can look in a mirror on the night of October 31st, to see the image of the man they will marry (but run the risk of seeing the devil). If you're brave enough to go to a graveyard at midnight, then walk 3 times round it, they supposed to be offered a glimpse the future (but again run the risk of meeting the devil).

An early 20th century Hallowe'en greeting card
An early 20th century Hallowe'en
greeting card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(The threat of meeting the devil may originate from Christian traditions of associate pagan, or Celtic, god of the dead - Donn the Lord of the Dead - with the Christian Devil.)

Naturally, burial places were avoided on nearly all nights by the Celts, but specifically on Samhain, when ghost and the dead mingled freely with the living. They also believed that bridges and crossroads were likely places to find ghosts and the like.

Graveyard (Photo credit: ~ Phil Moore)
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Friday, 19 October 2012

More Roots of Halloween (the Celtic Samhain)

As I said last week, the roots of Halloween can be found in the Celtic (Samain) Samhain.
For the Celts, this time of the (wheel of the) year was marked by the sun's passage into the underworld - thus allowing the forces of 'the underworld' to ascend.
Halloween Lantern
Halloween Lantern (Photo credit: somewhereintheworldtoday)
Unfettered by the controlling the sun-god, Mog Ruith, the Lord of the Underworld, becomes able to walk the earth from Autumn to Winter, along with all the other creatures -of the dead- of his abode. (In Celtic mythology, the Lord of the Dead is often identified as Donn.)

Both Donn and Mog Ruith (the sun-god  are closely associated with Samhain. (Mog Ruith, as sun-god  sojourned at the realm of the underworld, the abode of Donn during this time of the year.)
The Celts were fascinated by their ancestors  causing a belief that at death they went to the house of their ancestor, the god of the underworld, Donn.
For the Celts, this was a time when fairies, goolies and all manner of other creatures and ghosts traveled abroad (walking the earth).
Their fires were lit in honor of the sun-god  Mog Ruith, and to keep the Lord of the Dead/Underworld at bay.
(Samhain is placed on the boundary between Summer and Winter, between the two halves of the year; giving it the unique status  to the Celts of being suspended in time. Belong to neither the old year nor the new. During the night of Samhain, life's natural order is thrown into chaos; the world of the living becoming entangled with the world of the dead.)
On this night, the unwary Celtic traveler  would expect to encounter creatures of the dead. (Back then, it was advisable to refrain from going out at night.) Ghosts were everywhere.
Lighting the bonfires marked the domestic celebration of the feast. Allowing the spirits of the ancestors back into the household.
The ancestral ghosts needed appeasement in the form of ritual offerings; to insure good luck through the following year. This is were the 'Trick or Treat' tradition of the modern Halloween originated. (Children dressed as the dwellers of the underworld - ghosts, witches, and monsters - visit homes with the hope of getting 'treats' or performing a 'trick' on the household's occupants - the equivalent of a dose of bad luck.)

Toffee Apples
Toffee Apples (Photo credit: julie gibbons)

More next week
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Sunday, 14 October 2012

The roots of Halloween can be found in the Celtic (Samain) Samhain

As millions of children and adults prepare to participate in the fun of Halloween, few are aware of its ancient Celtic roots in the Samhain (Samain) festival.

Halloween Costumes
Halloween Costumes (Photo credit: Transguyjay)

In Celtic Ireland about 2,000 years ago, Samhain was the division of the year between summer (the lighter half of the year) and winter (the darker half if the year.

At Samhain the division between the other-world and this world is at its thinnest; allowing spirits to pass between the two.

The honoured family's ancestors were invited into the home. (Whilst warding-off harmful spirits.)
By wearing masks and costumes, the community disguised themselves as harmful spirits, in the hope of preventing being attacked by them.

The festivities would take place on the Eve of Samhain, as Halloween does today. The Samhain festival marked the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of the next one. (Halloween can be seen to the Celtic equivalent of New Year's Eve. This festival being the most important of the four Celtic Festivals: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.)

A large part of the festivities surrounded bonfires and food: Household fires were extinguished and started again from the communal bonfire. The bones from the slaughtered livestock used to feed the community were cast into this bonfire.

English bonfire
English bonfire (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Both the living and the dead were fed. Because the ancestors were in unable to eat their share, the less well off ritually ate for them.

Great numbers of Irish immigrants flocked to America during the Nineteenth Century (around the time of 1840's famine), taking with them their Halloween traditions. (Where it has become a crucial time of year; one of the USA's major holidays during modern times. The American harvest-time tradition of carving pumpkins has been embedded into these traditions.)

Jack-o-lantern (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is no doubt that that Halloween is loaded with symbolic significance from its Samhain past.

The lighting of these Winter Fires (bonfire) marked the sun's passage across the skies; and preceded its symbolic death in December. Fire being the sun's earthly counterpart, especially during the onset of winter.

More next week
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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Samhain? Is It Time To Talk About Ancestors Yet? « myvillagewitch

reblogged: Samhain? Is It Time To Talk About Ancestors Yet? « myvillagewitch:

'via Blog this'

Not quite? Not yet? Still a holy day to go before that one, you say?
Perhaps I should shorten my vision a bit.
We have been deeply…enmeshed in the process of creating a group of clergy for Mother Grove Goddess Temple. It’s has been scary and invigorating and silly and annoying. And very very good. This time next week, it’ll be a done deal since the rite of ordination occurs Friday night. At New Moon.
In some ways it seems a simple thing–a group of women who’ve been studying for over a year are capping off their studies with a ceremony. Like graduation or something.
And then I remember what this is. It’s the ordination of clergy in a Goddess temple.
A Goddess temple. In Asheville. A College of Celebrants in a…Goddess temple.
Then I gulp and rub my eyes and have to sit down for a minute because that part seems rather glorious and a little magical and filled with mystery and import.
And it is–on the one hand. We’re part of a rising movement across the globe–a movement that is sometimes called the Return of the Goddess or the Rise of the Great Mother. Each time I hear of a new temple starting out, my heart swells with joy and I feel the pull of past and future simultaneously, as though I stand on a hill and see forward and back. I feel the pull of the mythic past and the tug of a future that we weld together with fire and longing.
These are not only Temple priestesses but also clergy as the modern world understands that notion. Marrying and burying and everything in between. In fact, the week after this ordination, there’s a wedding to do. And I’m talking to old friends about a blessing for their grandson.
The pleasant ending of a year of work and exploration. A ceremony of transition for strong and wise women. A liminal place, a doorway through which they walk into a new and ancient world.

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