Does Halloween Fill a “Spiritual Vacuum”?

The “Halloween season” keeps starting sooner, and its economic impact increases.

Not everyone is pleased. Bloomberg News columnist Amity Shlaes reacts against its “paganism.” She is pleased to see the violence of “Mischief Night” fading but continues, ”

Unmask Halloween, however, and you’ll also find some disconcerting features. Christmas and Easter may be secularized these days, relative to their past, but they remain Christian holidays. People value Halloween, like Valentine’s Day, because they can tell themselves that it’s not merely secularized but actually secular, which is to say, not Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Muslim. . .

But as much as we’d like it to be, Halloween isn’t secular. It is pagan. There’s nothing else to call a set of ceremonies in which people utter magical phrases, flirt with the night and evoke the dead.

She appears to think that there is something religious going on here—something outside the traditions of Middle Eastern monotheism—but cannot quite say its name.

One thought on “Does Halloween Fill a “Spiritual Vacuum”?

  1. Pitch313

    Way back, my world view took a turn away from evaluating things by how + or – “Christian” and “pro-capitalism” they happened to be. I simply do not experience any sort of “vacuum” because something is “pagan” or “co-operative” in nature. I find other aspects of modern life bothersome, but not celebrating Halloween.

    Maybe Shlaes has us Pagans confused with those Sam Hanians who invented ancient Irish pumpkinism, certainly a reality that threatens profit and good order as we know them.

    And, just as an aside, extraterrestrials don’t have much to to with magic as I do it. But I prefer to work on a home planet scale. Zeta Reticualns go away! Abduct and probe us on another holiday! Alternatively, start with the infamous 1%!

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