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Monday, October 11, 2010



“The lake it is said

Never gives up her dead

When the skies of November turn gloomy. ...


… And every man knew

And the captain did too

’Twas the witch of November

come stealin’.”


—Gordon Lightfoot (from his song, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” a freighter that sank in a storm on Lake Superior in November 1975)



The three-day period from October 31 to November 2—All Hallows’ Eve, All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day—used to be known as the time of the “Festival of the Dead,” and was commemorated throughout Europe.  A festival of this type has also been observed at or near the first of November by Peruvians, Hindus, Tonga Islanders, Australians, and Ancient Egyptians.  It is at this time, almost everywhere, that attention is paid to the appeasement of the dead. 


October is infamous for financial crises.  On October 29, 1929, the Great Depression began.  Pluto, the King of the Dead—god of wealth and agricultural productivity—drew down what was his.  The October 19th crash of 1987, when the Dow dropped 555 points had world-wide effects.  It is of interest that Wall Street uses the expression “witching hour” for periods of high volatility in certain markets.


And, of course, there was the financial crisis of October 2008.


On October 30, 1961, Russia exploded a 50-megaton weapon9—to “appease the ghost of Stalin.”  In October 1962, we had the Cuban missile crisis.  On Hallowe’en, 1963, there was a confrontation with the U.S.S.R. over Berlin and a call for war with Algeria.  The New York Herald-Tribune called it “the treacherous October tidings pushing the United States and Russia in[tol an eyeball to eyeball confrontation that could lead to conflict.”  On October 23, the Herald-Tribune had the following headline: “On Anniversary of Missiles Crisis/Gun Play on High Seas of Cuba.”  The same issue contained a cartoon showing John F. Kennedy riding through the sky on a broom, clad as a witch.  On November 1, 1963, the civil war conflict began in Saigon.  In the novel Tears of Autumn (1968) by Charles McCarty, Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, was seen as the result of Vietnamese ancestral spirits demanding the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy in retribution for the fateful CIA-backed assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem, then president of South Vietnam. 


October 15, 1964: Khrushchev was removed from office.  The papers wrote of future increases in tension.  On October 16, 1964, China exploded its first atomic bomb.


On Hallowe’en, 1964, the Viet Cong launched its devastating attack at Bien Hoa air-base.*


Indira Gandhi was assassinated on October 31, and was quoted as saying: “If I die today, every drop of my blood will invigorate the nation.”


It appears from folklore and from history that death and the deadly may have a special affinity for the autumn months. 


The month of November is called the month of the Pleiades in the Hindu calendar.  Way back when, I was listening to someone discourse on messages received recently in Switzerland from Pleiadean extraterrestrials.  One of the messages from the E.T.s was that a serious confrontation between the United States and the U.S.S.R. would occur in November of that year in the Atlantic.  (In Mexico, the Festival of the Dead was traditionally regulated by the rising of the Pleiades in the evening around the middle of November.)  The U.S.–U.S.S.R. confrontation didn’t happen.     

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