For the Other People, Halloween kicks off our fall/winter holy days. With it, we enter into preparations for Reunion, our holy week occurring from December 25 to January 1. Before we move into the joyful (and busy) season, we give one last nod to the chaotic, wonderful, and violent spirits in the Otherfaith – those spirits who fall right at home in the horror genre beloved of this time of year in the secular US.
The Otherfaith holy days are definitely influenced by the US secular calendar. Our calendar is also quite small at the current time, as I attempt to craft together proper correspondences or await divine inspiration. As more information concerning the gods and spirits (such as apotheosis dates, marriages, etc.) comes forward, either through me or other members of the faith, our calendar will grow. We do have a Wiki if you want to suggest a date for a holy day.
Halloween, taking from the secular holiday, is about sweets, fun, and fear. One of the best ways to get in the mood for this holy day religiously is to engage in the same activities many people already do – watching scary movies, reading or telling scary stories, and figuring out what frightens you. My particular reading list usually includes H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, and a myriad of faery tales, especially modern retellings. Whether you favor gore, torture porn, thriller, paranormal, or anything that is lumped in with horror, this is the time to get your blood pumping.
Fun is still an important part of the holiday, making it less serious than the Apotheosis of the Dierne (which can also have horror influences), as are sweets. the Dierne and Laethelia are tied to Halloween. Indulging in sweets can be a sacred act for them, as they are both tied to sweetness and indulgence. the Dierne, for example, would be the house that hands out full-sized candies to trick-or-treaters. Both of these gods are associated with masks and glamour (more so than the other Four Gods, as they are all tied to ‘masking’ in some form).
Dressing up is obviously an important part of Halloween, and in the Otherfaith it acts as a way to honor the Dierne and Laethelia – and to ward off spirits that are on the prowl. The spirits mentioned at the beginning of this piece who would be welcome in any horror story. These spirits are often just as much about excess and indulgence as the gods of this holiday, but on this night they are on the hunt for candies. They’re on the hunt for their own brand of fun, one which involves bloody revelries as they clean the streets. For the People, wearing costumes acts as a protection against these spirits. They won’t attack those who are obscured or hidden in some way.
The primary spirits active at this time are the Rabbit Troupe and Flower Maidens. These spirits regularly ‘clean’ the streets of the otherworld, but on Halloween their revelries and bloody orgies take on a different tone. All who fall victim to them on this night awaken, whole and hale, the next morning. That does not make their violence any less on this night.
The Flower Maidens are a group of flower faeries the size of humans, notably tall and made of flowers and vines. Their troupe grows through the addition of new Maidens when they pull out a mortal or other spirit’s heart and replace it with a blooming flower. They are tied to the Dierne’s White Court, and on occasion the Dierne Hirself will run with them through the City. They reside, peacefully, in the countryside and parks within the otherworld; their relationship to the city streets is that of a blooming, powerful, earthy energy. They rip apart their victims, limb from limb and organ from organ, often feasting upon their flesh before moving on. What remains in their wake are flowers, coated in blood and gore, but growing all the same. They are indiscriminate in their tearing apart, attacking even their own Court members if they run into them on a run.
The Rabbit Troupe are equally violent, but they do not rip or tear. They are lead by the powerful spirit Alynah Blake, the daughter of Althea Altair (the child of the Laetha) and Lilibell (sister to the Dierne), who was said to be born with the Troupe ready for her. Unlike the Flower Maidens, Alynah and her faeries spend their time living in the city, socializing and enjoying its pleasures. They do not leave flowers in the wake of their runs, but bodies. They run through the streets armed with baseball bats, maces, and crude homemade weaponry and beat those they find. They take great pleasure in this, in coating themselves in blood and gore and sometimes holding up their kills like trophies, and on Halloween they are no different. They sprint through the streets, packs of rabbit-eared, ungulate-legged faeries, swinging all sorts of weapons in the pursuit of blood and death.
Other spirits especially active in the Otherfaith at this time are some of the Aletheias, Anne Marie (murderer who becomes a haunted house spirit), Blaim and Blair (witches related to the Dierne), Grace (a shapeshifter), and Malaise and Malice (witches related to the Ophelia). There are also many Smaller Spirits, child-spirits who are made of some pure energy or material, running about at this time, acting as a nice balance to the blood and gore the Flower Maidens and Rabbit Troupe spread.
It may seem strange to have such violent, bloody spirits in a faith that, for a large part, seems modern and tame. ‘Goodness’ seems to win out. But we’re playing with gods and faeries, and there is horror in them. The violence of the Maidens and Rabbits isn’t some archaic, ‘primitive’ (a problematic word in itself) thing – it is based in the terror of modern life. They remind us that there is always a dark side, and they remind us that any concept of a perfect ‘civilized’ world is going to involve horrid violence. We haven’t escaped torture and death and blood and guts, we’ve just pushed them off to the side or onto the screen. These chaotic spirits are not just accepted by the Four Gods of the Otherfaith but embraced. Their stories are not mere cautionary tales.
These spirits don’t hide their ‘true selves’ from us, but instead reveal them in all their gory reality for us to see, perhaps even be pulled into.
Alynah, after all, may approach one of the Other People and offer everything they could dream of, and it is only by knowing her as wholly as we can that we could accept such a deal.
So while we may wake up whole again, the fear was still there. Was still real. This may ultimately be a holiday of fun and candy, kicking off our exuberant and cheerful Reunion preparations, but it too has a dark side.
If you are in the mood for some creepy, scary, and Halloween-ish treats, here are some recommendations of things to read/watch:
- Mystery Skulls – Ghost (Fanvideo)
- It’s a Good Life by Jerome Brixby
- What Do Horror Movies and Cable News Networks Have in Common?
If you want some more Otherfaith fare, many people have told me that they find ‘The Red Room‘ to be especially frightening.
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.