a few nights ago, by borrowed tradition, people all over america celebrated an ancient holy-day…and got to dress up as whatsoever they desired, more or less. houses in the neighborhood announced their receptivity to night callers with jack-o-lanterns and other spooky things.
our house is always the loudest and scariest on the block. both ziona and i are a bit dark and very creative, so it only stands to reason that this would be our special time of year.
it is a time of year for masks and makeup, make-believe and for some of us catching up with our inner child. for ziona, it is a time when being transgender is trumped by being otherworldly! at one point, before being allowed to live as the girl she is (my bad), she always dressed up as a girl ‘something’. whether a girl witch, a girl faerie, or something other. but the moment she was acknowledged as a girl, by myself and everyone else, the costumes became reflective of a deeper part of her being, and demonstrative of the well of creativity from which she draws.
this year she was an argonian mage. argonians are a race of reptilian creatures in her favorite role-playing video game, ‘skyrim’. they come in two genders, like most rpg’s and of course she always chooses the female mode. still we often talk about how it would be nice if they had more than just two genders from which to choose. her beautiful mind was the first to suggest this. don’t know that i would’ve come up with it.
this train of thought seemed to arise, initially, after a discussion she was having with me about what is an androgyne. it is a word she had heard me use to describe how i am quite a bit different from ‘other girls’ in that i don’t acknowledge a set of behaviours that define feminine people or masculine people. as i was explaining to her the etymology of the word, it occurred to me that even using that term seems to affirm prejudicial ideas and ascribed gender roles. so i mentioned to her that there are life forms that don’t have gender at all, or have both. like flowers.
so she posited that there are already more than two genders of humans…not only male and female…there are transgender people. and to that i added “and gender non-specific” , then had to define non-specific.
i love being a mom. especially being the mother of a young person as incredibly interesting, creative and intelligent as is ziona. she teaches me so much, just by being her pure and curiosity-ridden self! she has been responsible for a great many experiences i’ve had in this, my later life, just by her own desire to do things. like fly in a small two-engine plane, take a helicopter ride over a live volcano, stay in a treehouse in the jungles of belize.
we talk alot about earth religion people, wiccans, native peoples of this hemisphere. so this halloween she asked me why it is celebrated. she had heard it referred to as ‘the day of the dead’. and when i told her about ‘dia de la muerte’ and how it is celebrated in mexico, her curiosity piqued she required a history of the tradition of celebrating the day.
i told her about the shift to agriculture from hunter-gatherer 12 to 25 thousand years ago, and how the wheel of the year with the solstices and equinoxes were important. that the eight corners of the year included four holy-days between these major four and that the one between the autumnal equinox and winter solstice was considered the beginning of a new year by many ancient people. we talked about harvest time and gathering in for the long winter months.
by the time we were done she had one request.
“can we make roasted pumpkin seeds and a pie out of the jack-o-lantern this year?”
she didn’t want to waste a thing after our little historical journey. she wanted to have a real hallowed eve, not the commercialised version. (altho we did go trick or treating) it was a great thing to realise what she had taken away from our talk. that her curiosity had led her to a deeper understanding as to the importance of resources.
so i spent the day after halloween rendering the huge jack-o-lantern into pumpkin for pies and soup, roasting the seeds in the oven and introduced her to sabbath cakes…lovely oat and honey treats with a history especially for european wiccans. with my lovely daughter by my side, we veered into an earth honoring celebration of the time of year.
honestly, sometimes her curiosity wears me out!