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30 October 2015

Halloween

Most of us forget to look up the sky. Don't.

Halloween is nothing to be scared of. It is just an astronomical holiday. It’s a critical point, where a sanctified day (1 November: All Saints’ Day/Hallowmas/Samhain) is preceded by a night (31 October: Halloween) in which the forces of evil are thought to be unusually active.

Our ancestors were keen observers of the sky. October 31 is a so called cross-quarter day, a day more or less midway between an equinox (when the sun sets due west) and a solstice (when the sun sets at its most northern or southern point on the horizon). Halloween is the midway point between the autumn equinox and winter solstice, for people in the ‘northern hemisphere’ (if you know what I mean here).

halloween

On different levels this means the transition to dead, winter, night or introspection.

And don’t forget to look up on Halloween evening. We can see the beautiful Pleiades star cluster also known as the Seven Sisters, almost overhead at midnight. Seven stars with an exquisit halo… Do you see the origin of Halloween now? That ‘halo’ of the Pleiades around 31 october (‘Halo Evening’) became ‘Hallow’s Eve’ and finally ‘Halloween’.

Have fun!