Halloween or The Mask of the Self

the mask of the true self
A moon shadowed by clouds

I have a confession to make: I don’t really care for Halloween. I don’t dress up for the occasion if I can avoid doing so, even though I admire and appreciate a well-crafted ruse. I avoid Halloween gatherings like the plague unless they are Samhain in nature. This morning I got to thinking about why. Where the more modern-day celebration feels false and empty to me, the more ancient ceremonies and rituals from which it sprung, strip away the pretense in honor of the soul. Their substance feels like truth.

This morning, after waking from a dream in which I was debating whether to buy a sweater that looked like one I already had, I was reminded of the garments we choose to cover ourselves with. I thought of the modern-day tendency to amass large quantities of clothing and shoes in an effort to make ourselves stand out from the crowd, when in fact what we are actually doing is donning a false garment to cover up the true self. A self, that in its essence, is the same as the others around it. Halloween, I realized, in its modern-day materialist form, feels like another example of covering. Of hiding in the masquerade of pretending we are something we are not.

What is hidden becomes revealed
The true light of the moon becomes more revealed

I know this makes me sound like a real party-pooper, and in the interest of full-disclosure, I do try to make the best of the occasion. I buy gobs of candy to hand out to treaters, and do my best not to cringe at the massive sugar consumption this contributes to. I decorate the yard and enjoy my children’s delight in the holiday. Yet, I’m finding I need to come to terms with why it feels like a rather empty holiday for me, despite all the sweets we fill it with (symbolic, I believe, of a deeper craving we may be trying to cover up).

Perhaps it is this craving that is really what bothers me the most. The filling of the belly with something that tastes good to the tongue, but is not good for the “body” of the soul, is akin to the starvation of the true self. A denial of this essence that is always searching for the stripping away of the false garments with which we cover it.


On the eve of Halloween, I had a client who came to me for a healing. During our session together, I kept receiving what felt to me like glimpses of her past lives. This is not uncommon during energy healings, but one of the lives I saw, I hesitated to share with her. After the session, while we were chatting about what came up, I finally told her what I had seen. “Oh,” she laughed, “Yes, I know I was a witch in a past life.” Like it was no big deal. Of course, I realized, it shouldn’t be. I’m pretty certain I was a “witch” too in a past life, along with a number of other lives where I lived closely in-tune with the hidden realms that were once not so hidden.

Shadows and light revealed on a full moon
The full light of the moon reveals itself through the shadows of the self.

Why do we hide the true self in fear of persecution? Why do we choose to look at another as an “other,” in the belief that “you are not like me?” Are we afraid of being naked? Of the realization that underneath all these garments we choose to wear on the outside, and all these cravings we use to fill the inside of our bodies, that we will discover there is nothing special about ourselves? I’d like to think that one day, perhaps in the not so distant future, we will embrace the idea that instead of striving for the specialness of separation, we might embrace the fullness of union. That underneath the false garments, what we wear is Love, and really, can there be anything greater?