“Before the modern era, the unseen worlds were considered very real. Ancient practitioners of Halloween believed in the afterlife as a matter of course; they would have found incomprehensible the idea that cultivating a relationship with the dead was wrong or evil. Nor did they think they had to go through high priests to do it. Ordinary people sought wisdom through exploring the dimensions beyond death, before death, and between lives; an exploration which had not yet been declared taboo. Moreover, the cult of rationalism had not yet come along to condemn intuition as being inferior to mental logic, a development which was henceforth to embarrass into silence those who believed in ghosts. For our ancestors, the souls of the departed were felt to be as worthy of respect as any other souls, and Halloween was when people communicated with them.” – Jessica Murray in MotherEarth blog
There are worlds within this world. Everyone is capable of experiencing places where the border realms collide, but most won’t share these stories out of fear of being publicly shamed for having them. These moments exist in our shadows, and are often some of our most emotionally charged memories. At this point on the calendar wheel, we celebrate the thinning of the veil between worlds. Now mostly lost in a flurry of costumes and candy, the potential to reach across the divide is still intuitively understood, though hidden in plain sight. Echoes of ghosts can be encountered across the web as well, as we begin to hit digital memorialization and the effects of developing AI.
The veil; now to be found between the corporeal and the digital, a ghost in the machine.
Assuming an online identity, like a theatrical identity, is achieved by donning symbolic clothing. At least as much about releasing a shaded version of yourself as bingeing on refined and modified sugars or content. Elsewhere and throughout time, ritual garb has been an integral component of ceremony, worship and group catharsis. A mask allows us to assume another identity, but how do we know how that entity behaves? We know because it is a part of us waiting to be seen and acknowledged, craving attention and validation. My costume is a declaration of who I would like to be the rest of the year, it’s not about the commercialization of the desire to be something else for a day.
We cycle along, reverberating symmetrically forward and back through time.
Time is the constant in this equation, but seems to be too complicated and pervasive a force to be purely linear in nature. Maybe speaking to the dead, or our shadow, isn’t so much about communicating across a threshold as it is down through the years. Think of it something like how communication breaks through impossible barriers in science fiction films like Contact, Interstellar or even Arrival. Communication of any kind is profound, we take is for granted constantly. Science fiction does a marvelous job of exploring the edges of what is possible in the way of language. They say Jules Verne designed the first submarine in ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’, and Star Trek invented the concept of a tablet computer decades ahead of Apple, maybe there’s more gold to be mined from these stories when viewed as an exploration of inner space than distant galaxies.