Posted by Terry Glover
I love Samhain. One of the original Gaelic festivals, it marks the end of the harvest, the last hurrah before the dark days of winter set in. It’s a liminal threshold, in more ways than one. Folklore about this time of year abounds: people say it is the moment when the veil between our world and other worlds is thinnest. Maybe it’s because of the way the landscape is stripped back and revealed, even here in the city – the bare outlines of the trees form suggestive shapes, and the shadows which creep in ever earlier in the day can sometimes coalesce into strange faces, eerie and familiar.
Teenagers and punks tend to love this time of year as well. Since we didn’t celebrate Halloween as kids in Australia, I remember getting into it when I was a teen: I loved witches; I wanted to learn everything about paganism and Wicca and started growing horseradishes to use in spells. The punkers I hung out with throughout my 20s were into it too. They resonated with the space that this holiday creates for getting acquainted with the dark and the macabre in a way that’s rambunctious, irreverent and joyful – they got a kick out of the mischief of it, the excuse it gave to run amok.
And, of course, kids love it too. The magic and mystery of the long shadows and the old stories; the fun and play of dressing up and staying out late. On the nights around 31 October a sort of inversion takes place, where trickery reigns and kids have permission to explore different possibilities: the liberty to go into the streets at night, the power to frighten adults, the magic of being whoever you want to be. It’s a creative space, an imaginary world in which dark tales are delicious and intriguing. It’s a way of using stories to cope with deep fears, and teaching young people to navigate the darkness that life can bring.
At the moment we're reading Paul Stamets’s Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Save The World, and making food inspired by Nancy Silverton’s Sandwich Book. We’re serving the season’s ingredients in our menu: sandwiches filled with roasted mushrooms, leek pesto, feta and spinach (there’s a bacon addition that works really well too) or roasted mushroom and hazelnut pate with truffle oil. We have organic pumpkin and turmeric lattes and seven mushroom hot chocolate to keep your brain ticking, or a tangy apple and cardamon shrub, as well as sweet pies and pumpkin cakes.
Come on in, we’d love to see you!