We humans are a screwy lot. We use our differences to bitch and bicker and fight and throw tea party rallies at each other when the truth is we all come from the same metaphysical soup. Whether we hail from Toledo or Tunisia, San Francisco or San Salvador, we all pretty much share the same seasonal rituals reflecting life, rebirth, and, well, death. Take Halloween. No wait. We mean All Hallows Eve. Make that Dia de los Muertos. That is to say, Samhain (which is pronounced SAH-wen and no, we're not sure why that m turns into a w either). But you get the idea. These originate from different cultures and eras, but they all recognize that fall is a time of dying, and to acknowledge this darker spoke in the wheel of life we have to take it by the lapels, look it in the eye, and give it a big fat kiss. Wiccans and pagans gather tonight for one of their fall rituals, Spiral Dance. Think of it as their New Year's Eve in Times Square. These folks believe that the veil between the worlds of living and dead is at its thinnest around now, so they embrace the dead and do, in fact, celebrate a kind of spiritual new year. Led by writer, activist, and witch Starhawk, Spiral Dance includes aerial dancers, drummers, and a 50-member chorus. In recent years, 1,000 people have shown up. Starhawk calls it a chance to experience the real meaning of Halloween: that death is not something to fear, but a part of the circle of life.
Sat., Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m., 2010