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My friend Sapphire is back to chat about the thinning of the veil tonight on Samhain or as you might know the night, if you’re not pagan, Hallowe’en.

Some of you might be celebrating All Saints Evening, the evening before All Saints Day, especially if you’re Catholic. Some, especially in certain parts of Europe, take All Saints Day seriously enough to go to the graves of their loved ones and pray for their departed dead to help get them from purgatory into heaven.

Some of you, especially in Latin America and the United States, are getting ready to connect with your departed relatives over the next couple of days on Dia de Muertos.

Or maybe this is just another day in the two weeks before Diwali, this year on November 14th. Keep in mind Indians don’t follow the Gregorian calendar, meaning the holiday falls on different days each year. Last year it was October 27th, and the year before, November 7th. Or perhaps you’re celebrating one of many other traditions. If I missed you, write in and let me know. I’ll happily give you a shout out on a future episode.

I also want to shout out Islamic Emperor Muhammad bin Tughlaq – apologies for my pronunciation – who ruled from his court in Delhi, India from 1324 to 1351 for being the first muslim emperor to celebrate a Hindu festival in his court. One of the reasons the Mushals made up a quarter of the world’s GDP at their height, eclipsing even the superpower of the age, the Ming dynasty was their inclusion of many different cultural groups in their empire. India is a bit of a buffet of varied cultural traditions and uniting most of it could not have been easy. I hope we can learn from their example and encourage those around us to be tolerant, especially as we approach a divisive and polarizing election season.

Speaking of collections of diverse cultures and traditions – for many of us secular folks like myself, Hallowe’en is just that. In Vancouver, Canada or the stolen unceeded lands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Wautulth peoples, it barely resembles to me, traditional All Saints Eve even though it is technically the same holiday originally.

This modern version of Hallowe’en with Trick or Treating, horror movies, Autumn harvest feasting be it Samwain or a day early for All Saints’ Day’s feast – it is what many modern holidays are: an excuse to curl up warm after dinner and share some laughs with those who matter most to you.

The pandemic has made so many things harder for so many of us, especially those who are currently unpartnered. I encourage you to reach out and connect with groups online. There are plenty of folks on discord or reddit or many other places, who are just as desperate for a warm human voice to talk to. If you are really struggling and can afford it, consider joining some kind of distraction as a service provider like World of Warcraft or if you don’t have any money, something like Heroes of the Storm or Modern Warfare or any number of other free gaming communities online. There are *tons*.

We’re also fast approaching the darkest months of the year, and I’m extremely grateful to have found the mental health medication that works for me. Do you need to check in with your GP about starting into a medication? Or maybe you need to google what kind of sliding scale counselling is most readily available where you live? Don’t forget to do those things if they sound like they might be right for you. I can’t stress enough how important planning is in dealing with seasonal depression, something I’ve struggled with my entire life. I started trying medications in the summer. I do counselling every couple of weeks. I am working through workbooks on mental health and healthy communication. I’m also not saying any of those are right for you. I’m just reminding you they’re options.

And now that you’ve been reminded of the origins, variety of traditions, and self care things that come part and parcel with this season, let’s hear from Sapphire about the thinning of the veil here on Intimate Interactions