Halloween: Is it Evil?

Hello again.  It’s Halloween today.  A lot of Christians consider the day to be evil, and want nothing to do with it.  Well I’ve done a bit of research, and this is what I’ve found out, about the origins of this controversial holiday.

It’s actually a mixture of a pagan holiday, and a Christian one.  This is not unusual.  Most of the man-made Christian Holy Days are mixed with paganism.  It was a way of the early church, making Christianity more palatable for the masses who had always followed Pagan Rituals.  Do you remember me mentioning Easter in my last post?  Well Easter is a case in point.

Easter is mixed up with the worship of an Egyptian fertility goddess called Eostre  Her symbol was a rabbit.  This rabbit is now world famous, and we call him, ‘The Easter Bunny’.  So do you see how our so-called holy times become corrupted?

Getting back to Halloween.  Early Christians created a time to remember the Christian Martyrs.  It is called, All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, or Hallowmas.  The day before is called, All Hallows Eve, which we now refer to mostly, as Halloween.

This holy time became mixed up with an Irish pagan harvest festival, called Samhain.  Samhain means, Summer’s End.

It is said, in Irish legend, that Samhain is the time when the walls of the spirit world grow thin, and spirits walk the Earth.  This ties in to my late Irish Nana’s belief that the souls of the dead visit the living on the evening of All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) In her family, they used to put out chairs before they went to bed, so that the souls of the departed would have somewhere to sit.  I kid you not!

It doesn’t take much imagination therefore, to believe that if good spirits can walk the Earth, then so can evil ones, and for the idea of evil spirits walking the Earth on Halloween, to become much more of an issue to people.  So now we get Halloween, depicting the time when evil can come to Earth and posses people.

Is Halloween evil?  Well, and this is just my opinion, it is no more evil than any other day of the year.  If people want to bring evil spirits out into the open, they are going to do that anyway.  They are not going to wait for October 31st.

Even the holy days, All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day, are not true holy days.  The only true holy days are the ones talked about in The Bible.  All else is man-created, not God-created, so there is no proof that the souls of the dead actually do come to Earth, or that the spirit world is more accessible to us at this particular time.

The spirit world is accessible to us, if we pray to Jesus.  That’s how we access the world beyond this life.  We can really do it, no other way.  If we try to, then we may invoke demons, and that is not a good idea at any time of year.

So, should we shun Halloween?  Well my opinion is that we don’t really need to worry about the day itself.  For most people, Halloween is a chance to have some fun.  Most people aren’t interested in bringing out any evil spirits, they just want to dress up in costumes and have a laugh.  If that is all they are doing, then, in my opinion, no harm is being done.

When I was a child in the 1960s, we did not bother with Halloween.  The idea behind making a big thing of Halloween, originated in the USA.  They started the ritual of knocking on doors saying,  “trick-or-treat”, and the dressing up in costumes.  We copied America, just as we always seem to do.  But in my day, Bonfire night was the time we got excited about.

Instead of knocking on doors saying “trick-or-treat”, us kids used to make an effigy of Guy Fawkes out of old material, stuffed with old socks and other rags, then, we would wheel the effigy around in an old child’s stroller (then called a trolly) and knock on doors, saying, “a penny for the guy.”  People would give us one old penny which we could put towards sweets or fireworks.  On Bonfire night itself, Mum used to bake potatoes in the oven and then we would light the bonfire and set off our fireworks.

So, I hope I’ve given you some good information.  Everything I write is only my own opinion.  I don’t personally think Halloween is threatening.  Like any other day of the year, it is, what you make of it.  Evil will always beget evil, no matter the time of year, and at all times of the year, we can always pray to Jesus.  He is our only safe haven and always will be.

I will post again soon

Love from Mari

 

To perform, or not? That is the question

Hello again.  I had a great time last night!  I’ve joined a storyteller’s club in Sale, and there was a get-together last night.  I have to tell you all that I love to perform.

I was told, last night, that I am a natural performance artist.  It meant so much to me.  I performed a story which I had written especially for that night.  It is a horror story called, ‘Fresh Young Meat’.  It’s on my portfolio on writing.com.  I have several  pieces of writing listed there, which you can read if you wish.

Mastin at writing.com/portfolio

My sister Joan, who I am not in contact with anymore, has always been dismissive of my talents.  She was not the only one who dismissed me either.  I used to go to church, because I am a Christian, and I would always tend to volunteer as a worship leader, since I speak well in public and really felt called, by God, to do that kind of thing, or I would wish to sing, either in the choir, or maybe, I would ask to do a solo.

I always felt, in the churches we attended, that I was tolerated at best, or frozen-out, at worst.  There were always people in whatever church Alan and I joined, who were the ones who did everything and woe-betide anyone who wished to upset the apple-cart.  I might get a chance, in order to keep me sweet, but there was a problem, I was good at what I did.  I honestly think they saw me as a threat to their positions of power, even though I really wasn’t.

I don’t say that they were threatened by me, in order to be vain about myself, or in order to say that I’m better than the next person.  I have always been a team player and I know when to step back, but my talents have always lain in things which put me on show.  I’ve never been that good at stuff which is behind the scenes.  It’s just how I am.  It is ME.  I love to use my talents which, I believe, God has given me to use.

If I perform a song, or speak in public, I always give the glory to the God who gave me the gifts to do that, but for all of my life I have been made to feel that I’m showing off, when other people, who do the same thing as me, are not made to feel that way.

There was a lay-preacher in one of the churches I attended, who would insist on bringing his violin with him, every time  he conducted a service.  He played with a big orchestra  and I’m not sure if he still does, or if he is retired.  That is not important.  What is important is that everyone was (and probably still is) really supportive and no one has ever said.  “Why is he bringing his fiddle with him again?”  They just always accepted that this is what he does.

There was another lay preacher.  A woman who had a lovely singing voice.  When she used to come to preach, she always sang, and people used to natter behind her back.  “Why does she always have to sing?  Why is she showing off every time she comes?”  This double standard really got on my nerves, and I just knew that many of them would have said the same thing about me, so I tended not to push myself.   But sometimes the urge to get up and use my talents was so strong.  If you are a singer, actor or performance artist yourself, you will understand how I felt and the dilemma I was in.

In the end, Alan and I stopped going to church.  We are still Christians and do our own Bible Studies at home.  We also celebrate our Sabbath on a Saturday, which is the day that the Sabbath was always held on, until Emperor Constantine mixed Christianity with the worship of the sun, and changed the day to Sunday (the sun’s day)

We don’t call Easter Sunday, “Easter Sunday”, either.  We call it Resurrection Day.  When you think about it, Easter, as it is celebrated in our Christian churches, is not accurate.  The Bible never states what day it was, when Our Lord was crucified, but it does state that Jesus was in the tomb for three days, before he was resurrected.  Alan researched the real story, so I am confident of what I write.  Jesus was crucified on the Wednesday, not the Friday.  there was an extra holy-day that week, on the Thursday, and that was why they had to hurry up and get Jesus’s body out of the way.  He came back to life sometime after the normal Saturday Sabbath.  Somewhere between sunset on Saturday, and sunrise on Sunday.  Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to prepare the body, on the Sunday Morning, and met the risen Christ, as everyone knows.  Therefore, from Wednesday evening, to Sunday morning, we have the right time frame, which agrees with what is actually written in The Bible.

I don’t mention all of this to rain on anyone’s deeply held beliefs, but I don’t see any harm in mentioning what we discovered, when Alan looked into the background of aspects of Christianity.  It’s worse to hide things, better to talk about them and bring things into the open.

Anyway, this blog-post is a bit different, I know.  But I think it is good to share different things about myself.  I am not just someone who is face-blind, I am a whole person, with wishes, dreams, beliefs and hopes.

That’s all for now.  I will post again soon.

Love from Mari

 

How I cope with Faceblindness

The official website for face blindness is http://www.faceblind.org  and they can direct you to a test to determined how face-blind you are.  I took the test and I am in the upper-top-half.

Okay, so last time I told you all that I have Prosopagnosia.  I cannot recognize faces.  Well… In my case it’s not exactly true.  I have the type of Prosopagnosia which is connected to memory.  It’s like writing something on a computer, and forgetting to click ‘save’.  Once the face is out of my sight, the memory of it is lost within seconds.

I can make myself remember certain things.  For example; Jane and Anne are similar looking, but Jane has a mole on her cheek.  Gary and Mark both have dark hair, but Gary is thin, Mark is heavier set.  That kind of thing.

To explain other ways of coping with face-blindness, I’ll talk about something which will be familiar to all of you.

You are in the street and someone comes up to you.  They call you by your name and are excited to see you again after such a long time.  They ask how you are doing.  You paste a smile on your face and answer their questions, all the time you are thinking… “Who the hell is it?”

Then you try to find something in their face, or voice, or something in what they are saying to you, in order to place-the-face.  Did you know them from work?  From School?  From somewhere else?

You don’t want to tell them you can’t recognize them, because you think it would be rude not to be able to place them.  Maybe you get away with it.  Maybe they say something which triggers a memory for you, and suddenly everything is clear.  “It’s Mavis, who used to live in our road!  Thank God for that”.

I’ve had that experience too.  But I also have it with people I saw yesterday.  Before I realized that face-blindness was a recognized condition, called Prosopagnosia, I used to do what I described above, with everyone.  But I got really good at it.  When I see a face, my brain doesn’t just concentrate on the face.  I look for other signs.  I also rely a lot on the person’s voice.  Not just on what they are saying, but on the voice itself. I can recognize voices where others can’t.

Here’s a true story for you:  My favorite actress is called Jeri Ryan.  she is best known for her role as the unique Borg Drone Seven of Nine, in Star Trek Voyager.

Let me digress here, to tell you that all of my favorite TV characters have looked different from the norm.  I did not even realize this, until I began to talk about face-blindness.  It was when I started watching black-and-white TV, that my family recognized that I had a problem.  I could not tell the characters apart.  One dark-haired cowboy looked just like the next one to me, unless they were in the same scene and I could see both of them at once.  I was continually asking my family, who was who?  The fact that they knew who was who and  I did not, told me and my family that I had a difficulty that they did not have.  Mum suddenly understood why people we all knew well, were coming up to her in the street and telling her that I was rude and ill-mannered.  I had walked right past them without letting on to them.

So my favorite TV characters and actors have always had something distinctive about them, and I have always loved shows like Star Trek, where the faces have distinctive make-up.  Mr Spock, for example, was my very first teenage crush.

I recognize Seven of Nine.  She has a crescent shaped implant above her left eye, and a star-shaped one near her right ear.  She also has a distinctive voice.  At least, I think so.  So I love to see Jeri Ryan in other work, because I love her voice.

Alan, Steve and I were watching a documentary one night, more than ten years ago.  It was called, I think, UFOs and Aliens.  My husband and son were wrapped up in the documentary, but my ears had moved (my ears do move by the way) and I was listening intently.  Suddenly I got up and hunted for the Star Trek mag.  Alan and Steve thought I was nuts, but I found it and looked up stuff that Jeri had done.  There it was!  Jeri was narrating the documentary.  I was the only one in our house who had realized.  I had recognized the unique inflections of her voice.

I hope you liked that story, and it helps you to understand the skills which prosopagnosiacs use.  We are like detectives in-a-way, and the fact is that people often don’t realize we have a problem, because we get so good at hiding it.

However, we shouldn’t have to hide it, which is why I try to raise awareness of the condition.  Now, if I see someone I can’t recognize, I just tell them I am face-blind.  It makes things so much easier for me.

I have an article:  ‘When Everyone Is A Stranger’ and other writing I have done.  You can access it at  mastin at writing.com/portfolio  I think the Prosopagnosia article is also published separate from the portfolio.

Enjoy, and I’ll post again son.

Love from Mari

My Complex Life

Hi there.

My name is Mari.  I am an ordinary housewife.  I am 62 years old.  I am married to Alan who is also 62 at the moment.  He will be 63 in November.  Since I was born in August, 9 months before him, I always joke that he was going in, as I was coming out.

I have started my blog for two reasons.  First, I love to write.  A few months ago I joined a writing group in Sale, which has fired up my interest in writing again  Sale is where I’m from.  It’s a town in Greater Manchester (that’s just in case I get nationwide readership) ha ha.  Anyway, I’ve lived in Sale since I was married, 35 years ago, but I briefly lived in Sale when I was very young.  After that, my family moved to Timperley and we lived on a council estate called, The Broomwood.  I have stories about my past which I would love to share, and will do so, on here.

Here is my second reason for my blog.  I wish to raise awareness of two rare medical conditions, which I have, and I will share with you about them, how I cope with them.  The first is the umbrella condition, for want of a better word.  It’s basically, what causes everything else that’s wrong with me (including the second condition) and the umbrella condition is called Tuberous Sclerosis Complex.  It’s a syndrome, and it is also known as Epiloia. It causes calcified tumors to form in various organs.  Mine are in my brain and central nervous system.  Until I was 45, I never knew what was wrong with me, but a brain scan gave me the answer in my middle-age.  I lived all my life before the age of 45, not knowing what was causing my problems.  There was misdiagnosis, there were people who thought I was “putting it on”.  If there is anything like that, that any of you have had to put up with, before you got your correct diagnosis, I understand and I’ve lived with it.  You can share with me and talk about it.  I’ve been there.

The second rare condition is Prosopagnosia.  It’s the inability to recognize faces.  this is not the usual thing of going up to the wrong person in the street.  Everyone does that sometimes.  Prosopagnosia is saying hello to your neighbour, when you see them in their own garden, and then, half an hour later, walking past them in the street, because you can’t recognize them when they are not where you expect them to be.

Any prosopagnosiac will recognize this story.  When my son started nursery school I was terrified of going to pick him up.  I told my mum why.  The truth is, I was terrified I would not recognize him if he was playing with a group of other brown-haired children.  I had brought him up and he was 18 months old.  I had played with him, changed his nappy and I was his mother, yet I feared I wouldn’t recognize him.

Yet my mother understood.  She was used to my condition.  She calmly told me to remember what clothes I had put him into, that day, then just look out for the clothes.  So that’s what I did.

I cannot retain the memory of a face.  It doesn’t get filed away in the memory centre of my brain.  There is another kind of Prosopagnosia which can come on after someone has a stroke, or other sudden brain trauma.  That type of Prosopagnosia means that every face looks blank and that’s why they can’t tell people apart.  That’s not the kind I have.  With my type of the condition, it’s to do with my memory not working right.  I can tell people apart if they are right there, and I can see them all at once, but once they go out of my sight, I loose the memory, so I’ll see someone again, and not know them.  Every time I see a face, I’m seeing it for the first time.

I’ll share more, and talk a bit about coping strategies, next time I post.  I’ll also tell a story from my past

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and that you will come back and read any subsequent posts.  Please feel free to leave a comment.

By for now.  Love from Mari