“when i die, i’m alive. when i lose, i find my identity.” – the middle east
the american in me loves october because of halloween. i mean, what’s not to love? costumes. candy. parties. trick-or-treating. scary movies. ghost stories. witches + goblins. haunted places. and that ever-so-awesome feeling of adrenaline rushing through your body because you just got so freaked out you don’t know what to do.
for my entire life, halloween has been a holiday to look forward to. my parents did it up right when my brother + i were kids. they dressed up. we played scary, spooky music from a big jam box sitting in an open windowsill in our home. we hosted halloween parties. i mean, we went all out. and i loved every single minute of it.
as i’ve grown older, i may not have been able to enjoy the thrills + chills of halloween in quite the same way – no one else on earth is so crazy as americans are about their halloween. but… this year… hold on to your broomsticks, folks! lina + i are hosting a costume halloween party in our apartment on halloween!
just the other day, we got a package from my parents stuffed with all sorts of kooky and tacky and fun halloween decorations. our little place is gonna be maxed out! and, we’ve heard that some of our guests are going all out as they design + create their costumes. it’s gonna be freaking epic!
so, we’ve got all of october to look forward to our celebration. and prepare as much spooky goodness as we can. perhaps i’ll even do a little research on some haunted places here in uppsala, like i did last year in asheville. there have got to be tons here! i mean this place is as old and ancient and dark as the vikings and middle ages can get.
but, you know, this whole obsession with the halloween thing. i don’t really know what it is with americans. do we just love candy and playing dress up that much? or is it because it’s a chance to embrace our darkness? a chance to finally not pretend that everything is all great and beautiful and wonderful?
i am sure most of us never really take the time to think about why we love halloween. who really cares actually? it’s just fun. and why can’t we just let it be that? pure, crazy, silly fun.
well, we can. and i will always keep it fun. but, indulge me for just a moment. i want to dig a little deeper + unearth some of the things that i also think about during the month of october.
i also love october (and halloween) because we actually do get to embrace that dark side. and not just in silly halloween-y ways. we get to walk on the edge of darkness. we get to come face to face with it, culminating in the celebration of the dead on halloween + all saint’s day. all around us, it is literally getting darker and darker as each day passes. and i love the cozy feeling of being wrapped up and safe. of peering out into the darkness and accepting that this, too, is a part of life.
death. fear. mystery.
we may not like it. it may make us uncomfortable. but, nonetheless, it is important for us to admit that the darkness abides within + around us.
the darkness is there to wake us. the mystery is there to remind us that we don’t have to understand it all. and if we can embrace both of those things, then we are empowered. because of the darkness and because of the mystery we see the light. we understand what is true and real and important. it may not all make sense. and, the fact that it doesn’t make sense frightens us, but we forge ahead anyway. knowing that because of the dark, because of death, because of chaos, because of mystery… we have life.
out of all of the crap, we create and are born and are transformed. the darkness changes us, but not for the worse. for the better. it teaches us how to live. how to embrace our emotions and fears, and then how to move forward. it is only because of the darkness that we know how blissful it is in the light.
so, i’ve created a playlist that’s dark and mysterious. it’s perfect for when you want to light a candle and feel cozy. or for when you are in awe of something that you don’t understand. or for when you feel confused and angry and defeated. it’s perfect for when you want to go deep. when you want to face your demons and then kick them to the curb.
yes, my friends, we are darkness and light. we are bones and blood. we are life and death.
during october, let’s embrace it all. let’s trust our journey in life, knowing that we are whole only when we are able to reconcile our dark side with our light side. and only when we embrace and accept our darkness + our light can we be aware + awake + truly present.
only when we see who we really are can we really become who we are meant to be.
here’s some music to accompany on your journey. blessings of peace in the midst of the dark. just click on the photo to be taken to the playlist link in spotify. or you can also click –> here.
onwards + upwards! xoxo
Owl and Raven – Jason Molina
Troubles – Anna & Elizabeth
Devil’s Backbone – The Civil Wars
Gone Forever – Mick Flannery
Devil’s Got My Woman – Andrew Combs
Wicked Dreams – Pale Seas
In The Dark – Rosie Catalano
Ghosts – Laura Marling
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground – Chris Thile
Murder in the City – The Avett Brothers
Blood on Your Bootheels – Caroline Rose
Hawk and Crow – Emily Smith
Bottom Of The River – Delta Rae
That Old Black Hole – Dr. Dog
Ain’t No Grave – Crooked Still
Deep Dark Below – Amanda Shires
Hollow – Trampled By Turtles
Jealous Love – Noah Gundersen
Shady Grove – Trent Wagler and The Steel Wheels
Carving Pumpkins – Snuzz
Dark Autumn Hour – Frontier Ruckus
Dearly Departed (feat. Esmé Patterson) – Shakey Graves
Share the Moon – Indigo Girls
Demon Host – Timber Timbre
Devil’s Spoke – Laura Marling
Wolf – First Aid Kit
Shadows Passed – Elephant Revival
Ghosts – Trampled By Turtles
Some Die Young – Laleh
Into The Fog – Jens Carelius
Even The Darkness Has Arms – The Barr Brothers
Skin And Bones – The Avett Brothers
Mystic – Joshua James
Blood & Bone – Vaudeville Etiquette
Gethsemane – Dry the River
Monsters Calling Home – Run River North
Meet Me in the Woods – Lord Huron
Same Same Stars – Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
You or the Mystery – Samantha Crain
Bad Blood – Spotify Sessions / Curated By Jim Eno – Bear’s Den
Ghost – Jeremy Messersmith
Wolves – Down Like Silver
Ashes – Lindi Ortega
I Of The Storm – Of Monsters And Men
Dead Deer – Evening Hymns
Waiting Around to Die – Quiet Life, Jim James
Rattling Bone – Iron & Wine
Tuck the Darkness In – Bowerbirds
Half Crazy – The Barr Brothers
Dark Bird Is Home – The Tallest Man On Earth
The Darkest Side – The Middle East
Funeral Beds – The Districts
Evil – Shovels & Rope
The Ghost of Tom Joad/Do-Re-Mi – Elvis Costello, Mumford & Sons
Haunted House – Treetop Flyers