happy halloween: a soul cake for you
Two of my favorite words are ‘soul’ and ‘cake’, so imagine my delight when I was reading about Halloween (*cough*procrastination*cough*) and came across the concept of soul cakes.
Once upon a time, boys and girls, on the night known as Hallowe’en, people handed out soul cakes – or, more simply, ‘souls’ – to children and the poor who went from door to door, singing songs and making prayers for the dead.
When you ate a cake, you saved a soul.
You released it from Purgatory.
Halloween is all about doors swinging open that under normal circumstances remain firmly shut. The doors of strangers; the doors of Purgatory; the doors between the living and the dead.
The rules of life are suspended.
Small lords and ladies of misrule prowl the streets as ninjas and wizards and robots and vampires. It’s a time to shrug off old identities and try on something new, even forbidden, and maybe in that space between the old and the new, what is permitted and what is taboo –
— you can let something go. You can release it.
After three years in a romantic relationship with a very lovely man, I am single again. I am slipping back into the skin of a single person.
The entity that used to be Us is peacefully deceased, and I’ve been in mourning.
When something in your life comes to an end, the challenge is to face forward. Give the past the respect it deserves, yes, honor and cherish it. But stay too long — reliving memories, getting tangled in what-ifs — and you’re caught in a Purgatory of your own design.
Maybe if I’ve learned anything in the last three or four years, it’s the importance of letting…things…go. What you hold onto, keep trapped inside you, turns against you: a healthy anger turns to poison, a lost love becomes demonic. Only when you let the experience rise through you – and let yourself feel every fucking feeling that attends it – can you then purge that energy from your system, release into the world, for nature to recycle into something fresh.
And in its wake, you create a sacred emptiness: so that some new beauty may enter, some new thing may begin.
Halloween celebrates that liminal place, the in-between: you stand on a threshold between worlds. We celebrate the dead, which is also to celebrate the living — being alive — this life, right here right now.
We look into the dark, we find what’s lost, we let go.
We let go.
Here. Have a cake.
The soul you free might be your own.