The thought is that the door cracks open on October 31 and all the haunts that aren’t done can slip back in and do their work until the door slams closed again the night before May 1. Some pagans see it as one half of the year devoted to darkness, one half devoted to light. One half to living, one half to dying.
I don’t think it works that easy. We all have our own rhythms. At Thanksgiving, we were talking about May in our family, how it’s become the month of family deaths (and some births, obviously, or I would not be here typing this thing to you now). And clearly, if the door so firmly closes at the beginning of May for everyone, you’d not see so many of us spilling over in one direction or the other throughout the month.
But, my friends, I do think that December is a hard month, for the living and the dead–that time of year when our absenses from each other are the most obvious. Grandma will not make her cinnamon rolls for Christmas breakfast. You father will not stamp his feet in the doorway again to shake the snow loose. His daughter will not light the candles in the evening.
And yet, that longing is palpable isn’t it? From both sides. To do those things with each other, now, at this time of year.
I did a tarot card reading once that I still don’t know how to talk about. It wasn’t like I normally do tarot card readings; it was like they go in horror movies. Except that I guess it was only scary to me. The thing was the grief, just this whole-body, soul-shaking grief that wasn’t mine.
I don’t know if we ever learn better. I don’t know if we even go on. I just know that feeling does, even after the person whose grief it is has gone.