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SAMHAIN: Fall Equinox - Day of Reckoning

by Marlene T. Bell

My house is quiet except for Swan Lake, a crescendo of sound rising from the little radio in my kitchen. I think Tchiakovsky wrote the music on just such nights, a pas de deux from the lap of chaos. No magicians as I focus my attention to the ballet. I always do. It stops the hurrying Circle momentarily, like a quiet angelus.

Outside, the wind rules our village. Branches and leaves fly by in scurrying whirls then abruptly stop. The weather has been demanding for a few days.

In suburban woods, fallen angels and high demons chatter and gossip, their laughter and chit-chat sending dog-like sensations down my arms.

It's Halloween, but no little kiddies will come by for dubious treats in their cute little costumes. I bought candy knowing I would eat it. There are no children in this neighborhood. In fact, the world of men seems to have lost its children.

Summer houses look down with vacant windows. The houses are hibernating right now, and will not come back to life until next April, when they will be purified by the cleaning ladies.

That wind! It resembles a snowstorm, but it's only millions of leaves, falling to the ground like satiated cicadas. Today was a day of blustery darkness and thin clouds interspersed with torrential downpours.

Last week the weather hunted golden apples from the Colchis, Land of the Golden Fleece. At night the skies were packed with stars, the universe was close, almost attainable, the night brittle with a touch of that inhospitable emptiness beyond space, yet holding its own promise. And it's not even Indian Summer yet.

Celebrating Samhain in Galway, Marlene and Go Leith (pronouned Golya, which means 'Come Here')

I sit here at my keyboard seeking the perfect sentence. I am aware of the flow of the Hours. Compline?

I wish I could get some Irish Barmbrack bread to tell my future. This would be an easy life, predestined by enchanted bread. I like that. I'd cut a piece and obtain some easy meaning, get the wrong piece and misfortune could befall, at least expected though.

If I get the brass ring I could be married forthwith, a yellow brick road sweeping me over the poppy fields and into OZ, where the wizard lives.

Is that a banshee I hear sighing loudly in the old trees? A silky, screeching from out at sea? Faeries come to drag me into the next dimension? A pooka horse with red eyes?

The Silky can't easily destroy ships, like in the old days, when they were wood. Has the Silky lost her children? Should I help her? Can she be trusted?

The year is now divided. I need to extinguish the old fires. Do I remember Tlachna, the great fire festival? There are no livestock parts to be cast into the communal fires to feed the community. I'm not sad about that. I don't remember.

I never understood powerful spirits afraid of scary pumpkins. Well, after Samhain all fruit is bewitched.

Photograph published courtesy of Marlene T. Bell


Marlene T. Bell is a Representational and Abstract artist and writer living in Osterville. She is also an historian and former teacher.

Two of Marlene's short stories, The Moxie Plant and Christmas 1953 can be found in the Fall and Holiday 2012 issues of Cape Women Online magazine.

To view Marlene's paintings visit her website: She is also a studio artist at Xanadu Gallery, in Scottsdale, AZ and is featured on the Artist's Info, International Directory, UK.