Samhain 2020, Punkie Night and the unquiet departed

Samhain is fast approaching as is All Saints Day, both observances that I find personally meaningful . For they provide a moment to pause and recognize that liminal in-between state of the Quick and of the Dead. Whether you are seeking the portal to Fairyland, or beseeching the intercession of the saints, it is a backward glance, one familiar and comforting as winter hunkers down. Given my general melancholic state , it is my favorite time of year. In order to best honor Samhain I annually create a drawing to celebrate this Punkienight, the haunt of woodspirits, fairyfolk and frightening rutabagas demanding one “Give me a candle, give me a light If you don’t, you’ll get a fright”.

What’s not to love?

Taken in my neighborhood , where napolitos replace rutabagas!

So today’s daily drawing honors this special time of year, where the dead, the fairy, the saint, are all in our midst. Enjoy their company. In my neighborhood, one with a vibrant Mexican American community, the Dia de los Muertos altars are being set up, bright with orange marigolds, culinary treats, candles, confectionary skulls and the wafting aroma of ancient copal, and clearly , most importantly, the gathering of loved ones, particularly poignant in this moment of isolation. Tomorrow I will burn copal (hopefully my smoke alarm will behave itself), I will read the mass of the Saints, I will reflect upon those passed and treasure those in my midst. honoring both the spirits of life and the souls of the parted.

Happy Halloween, good Samhain, a festive Dia de los Muertos and may the legion of Saints guide you to light and peace.

Punkie Night, daily drawing 30th October 2020, color pencil , gouache highlights on toned paper, 12 by 9 inches

Author: babylonbaroque

I am a painter and printmaker working towards creating a body of work that reflects my own developing aesthetic. New work ,first link. The second link is an on-line portfolio.

3 thoughts on “Samhain 2020, Punkie Night and the unquiet departed”

  1. You give Halloween a whole new meaning- showing the sad beauty within and honoring those departed.
    It will also be a full moon tonight -this is quite a lovely drawing. I’ve always enjoyed gouache.

  2. Leonard, I missed reading your post amid the build-up to the American election and England entering its second lockdown, so it came as a much-welcome restorative to happen upon the words and pictures you have shared with us today.

    Your post makes me think of the Celtic saying which tells us that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, and in “thin places” they are even closer, which is a notion that has always resonated with me. “Thin places”, according to Celtic spirituality and the Celtic Christians, are locales where the distance between heaven and earth collapses and we mortals may catch glimpses of the divine and the transcendent. For me, your words capture what it feels like to encounter a “thin place” through the daily rituals of our everyday lives, as you honour the feast days of your faith, which are enriched by the vibrant living traditions of the Mexican American population of your neighbourhood, and are then mixed up, for good measure, with America’s great love of Halloween. Historically, the ancient Celts viewed “thin places” as locations or moments in the cycle of the year where the veil between this world and the spiritual realm diminished and they could encounter those who had gone before them. In bringing the meaning of “thin places” to life for me, in the modern world, with your deeply personal and touching celebrations, you also remind me of how much folklore and folk culture is still around us all the time and how important daily and seasonal rituals are in bringing us that bit closer to the divine.

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