Nurturing creativity with art, animals, and science fiction

Month: October 2019 Page 1 of 2

This title image is the word Samhain

Samhain: a thinning of the veil

I’ve had my Halloween post for this year up for a couple of days. Time now for a journey back into the roots of our traditions. The thinning of the veil between our world and the spirit realm is traditionally most extreme at Samhain.

The word "Samhain," pronounced something like "Sah-ween," stands out from a woven background with reddish-brown and black sun symbols.

It’s pronounced something like “Sahween,” according to my sources. It springs from ancient Celtic tradition.

Its popular, secular descendant is the contemporary craziness that is Halloween, but in its origins and in some of the rising spiritual communities of today it is celebrated more as a time of spiritual renewal.

A thinning of the veil

I see a common thread in the concept that the barriers of the spirit realm become less firm at certain pivotal times of the year

Two disparate cultural threads in my own experience come from the ancient Celtic traditions in the form of Samhain, and from Mesoamerica via the increasingly popular Días de los Muertos. (Yes, many people celebrate only one, but the Oaxacan tradition observes at least two). Whatever their other differences, they agree about a thinning of the veil.

You don’t have to worship your ancestors to feel a sense of connection with them. Even if they have long since passed on. We are, as Linda Hogan has so elegantly written, “The result of the love of thousands.” For many people Samhain can be a time of reconnection. Of rediscovering our families and the cultures and traditions from which we grew.

This is the Xoxo Cemetery in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead celebrations sometime before 2009. Photo by Greg Willis.
This is the Xoxo Cemetery in Oaxaca during the Day of the Dead celebrations sometime before 2009. Photo by Greg Willis.

How do you reconnect with someone who died years ago? The Circle Sanctuary’s Selena Fox offers some representative suggestions.


Graveyard Visits. Once again, the Oaxacans have elevated this to a fine art form. They clean, decorate, and then settle in by their ancestors’ graves. Sometimes for days. Meals are picnics. Music and “Ancestor Stories” abound. It’s a community party. What ancestral spirit wouldn’t want to come to that reunion?

Consider a family “Ancestors Altar,” “memory niche,” or display. This is kind of like the ofrendas created for Días de los Muertos. 

Have a Feast of the Dead, with a place setting held empty. It can either be on your table or on the altar/ofrenda. Leave a food and drink offering there. A Celtic tradition is a “Dumb Feast,” or “Dumb Supper” when no one talks. This recognizes the fact that our deceased ancestors can no longer speak directly with us.

My favorite approach (imagine that) is telling “Ancestor Stories” These are tales that have been passed down through the generations. There’s a whole contemporary movement of writing down, recording, or otherwise preserving ancestors’ stories.

This labyrinth is illuminated at dusk for an "Autumn Candlelight Labyrinth Walk" at the Copper Beech Institute in Connecticut during a retreat.
This labyrinth is illuminated at dusk for an “Autumn Candlelight Labyrinth Walk” at the Copper Beech Institute in Connecticut during a retreat.

Natural connections and reflection

Many neopagan communities find this a particularly apt moment to reconnect with nature, too. Mindfulness of our connections with the natural world are essential to our continued survival (in my humble opinion). You might want to try some of these approaches, even if you follow a different religious tradition.

Go on a nature walk, or walk a labyrinth in a beautiful natural setting. Contemplate the year, your place in the grand scheme, or other spiritual matters. Many spiritual traditions (including Christian) find a labyrinth a deeply spirit-feeding experience. There’s a labyrinth inside Chartres Cathedral, for instance.

Gather with your community around a bonfireIn earlier times a bonfire was seen as a hedge against evil spiritsCircle Sanctuary’s Selina Fox suggests a ceremony of shedding old habits or other unhealthy things in your life. She suggests writing them down on a piece of paper, then casting them into the flames.

Fox also suggests that other forms of reflection and spiritual renewal may come through reflections on the past (perhaps via journals, photographs, etc.). Renovate or refresh some part of your home, office, or life. Or seek other guidance

traditional Samhain bonfire may offer an opportunity for reflection, and also possibly parting ways with old habits or unhealthy attitudes or influences in your life.

However you celebrate Samhain (or don’t), and however you experience the thinning of the veil (or don’t), I wish you a deeper connection with the most important things in life.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Slingofest, for the gorgeous Luluna Slings “Salana Samhain” wrap (glitter) that formed the backdrop for the title image. I am grateful to Tripsavvy and Greg Willis, for the photo from the Xoxo Cemetery. It was originally posted on Flickr (but now it’s a 404 error on the link).  I also appreciate’s article on a deeper Samhain, for the photo of the Samhain bonfire.

Because Halloween is for the adults these days, it can get crazy out there!

Halloween is for the adults?

A Halloween Quote of the Week

It’s not quite Halloween yet, but many people I know have been preparing for weeks already. Making or reserving rental costumes, planning parties, and putting up sometimes elaborate decorations takes time. That’s just for the adults. It really does seem that, more and more in recent years, Halloween is for the adults.

A photo from the 2011 Greenwich Village Halloween Parade gives evidence of the increasing ways that Halloween is for the adults these days.
Adults rule the night at the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in New York. This photo is from the 2011 event. Photo by Emmanuel Dunand, AFP/Getty Images.

No, Halloween’s not for kids anymore–if it ever wasI guess there may have been a brief period when it was mostly all for the kiddos. But that’s hard to imagine, these days.

Today, grownups are definitely out in large numbers for this holiday. And all across the land, police forces have to be ready. Most lay on extra officers. Some do outreach beforehand to connect with the community and take the opportunity to spread safety tipsAn article on Halloween policing gave us our Quote of the Week.

The Halloween Quote of the week is from Police Magazine: "Grownups somehow see certain holidays as an excuse to pour large quantities of alcohol down their throats and summon their inner moron . . . [among them] Halloween seems to be the craziest.

Halloween definitely involves our companion animals, too. A few years ago on this blog, The Artdog did a Countdown to Halloween Pet Safety. It included: #1 Food Safety#2 Lost Pets#3 Pet Costumes (if ever there was a sure sign that Halloween is for the adults these days, it’s the proliferation of pet costumes, especially in childless homes); #4 Pet Fire Safety (especially including cats in Jack-O-Lanterns); and #5 Electrical Safety

Even when we involve the kids, dress up the pets, or do any of the other fun things available to do on Halloween, it’s still up to the adults in the room to keep everyone safe. So don’t go crazy, out there!

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Emmanuel Dunand, AFP/Getty Images, via USA Today, for the photo from Greenwich Village. Deepest gratitude to Tithi Luadthong and 123RF for the image that brings the Wyllie quote to life.


Happy Diwali!

Today is the first day of Diwali, a five-day celebration of lights and of the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil. Happy Diwali!

Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs all over the world celebrate this holiday, each based on their own traditions. Sometimes likened to a “Hindu Christmas” rolled up with a New Year celebration, most scholars believe it originated as a post-harvest festival.

A beautiful display of rangoli and lights illustrates a wish for a happy Diwali.

In contemporary times, people celebrate Diwali all over the world, wherever Hindus, Jains, or Sikhs have dispersed. It is an important through Southeast Asia, notably Thailand. The “epicenter,” however, remains India.

The wide spread of the festival is notable, however. The Mayor of London last year called for it to be made an official national holiday, along with Eid. Click here for his clarion call to embrace diversity. 

Despite differing traditions and sometimes slightly different dates, there are several important elements in any Diwali celebrationFor me, that’s a happy thought for Diwali!


Diwali is a festival of lights. Here we see everything from a municipal fireworks display by the water, through colorful lanterns, to the small clay diyas of the season.
Clockwise from upper Left: A municipal fireworks display for Diwali; a Rangoli with burning diya lamps; festival lanterns; and more diyas on display.

The name “Diwali” actually means “a row of lights.” This is a celebration of light/goodness in triumph over darkness/evil.

Thus, lights–everything from the traditional little clay oil lamps called diyas to massive municipal fireworks displays–illuminate everything like it was Christmas on the Country Club Plaza.


Create Rangoli by drawing the design first in chalk, then filling in the centers of the shapes with colored rice, sand, or something similarThis is an amazing creative art form that all kinds of people create. Here are some designs, but if you look online there’s no limit.

These are only four of the endless possibilities for rangouli designs.
Here’s a collection of amazing rangoli created for Diwali.


Food is another essential ingredient for the holiday–especially snacks and sweets. Recipes abound, and the variety is endless. But breaking bread together is a universal value, and an essential part of having a happy Diwali.

Food is essential if you want to have a happy Diwali. Here's a sampling.
There’s a whole range of Diwali food. This collection offers a sample.

No matter how or where you celebrate, I hope you have a happy and prosperous Diwali.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to Amonwipu Injad, via 123RF, for the beautiful “Happy Diwali” greeting graphic. I deeply appreciate the video from National Geographic, via YouTube.  Many thanks to the Express UK, for the images in the “lights” montage: of the fireworks, diyas on the rangoli, and the overview of diyas, via Getty Images, and also for the lanterns in lower right. The rangoli are from (upper left): Deepika Pant, via YouTube, and Express UK (for all the others). The montage of Diwali food is from the Food Network UK. Many thanks to all!

Will you or won’t you Na-No-Wri-Mo? Here’s something for both sides.

The Artdog Image of Interest 

One more thought as we approach National Novel-Writing Month, AKA Na-No-Wri-Mo. Remember: one week from today, it starts! But I have to admit that this is usually my strategy!

IMAGE: Many thanks for the ever-wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her Will Write for Chocolate blog, for this cartoon!

Here is a graphic design of a tree, with some of its branches seemingly in each of their normal season, to mark the transitions of the year.


The Artdog Quote(s) of the Week

It’s back! Did you miss the Quote of the Week? A series of Monday holidays and other timing-related posts (as well as Convention-travel schedule-disruptions) have pre-empted this feature recently. But anyway, it’s back today to introduce some thoughts on transitions.

A tree-lined road forms the backdrop for this quote about transitions from Nova Bair: "October's poplars are flaming torches lighting the was to winter."

Transitions as metaphors 

Why do we so often think of summer and winter as “destinations,” but spring and fall as transitions? Probably because spring and fall each manifest more of a progression. In just a few short weeks of spring, we move from freezing temperatures and snow through a greening and warming of the world. We progress through a riot of flowers, fluctuating sunshine and rain. 

But then we settle down into summer. Yes, summer has its phases, too. But they’re more subtle. The wild swings of temperature and plant behavior start up again in autumn

Here is a graphic design of a tree, with some of its branches seemingly in each of their normal season, to mark the transitions of the year.
The cycle of seasons in a temperate climate speak to us in metaphors (123RF/Martin Malchev)

If it seems that just a week or so ago I had a window air conditioner in my upstairs office and periodically needed it, that’s because I did. Now the AC unit is in storage. I won’t need it again until May. Meanwhile, my window is available to open for an autumn zephyr or close against a frosty night

Comparing the seasons of a temperate climate zone to passages in life is nothing new–but in the realm of lived experiences autumn and spring also mark transitions. The cycle of seasons and holidays, the patterns of academic semesters, and the business cycles most industries go through in a year are part of everyone’s life.

Importance of transitions

Transitions are fraught moments. Important moments. Defining moments. Consider the transitions from child to adult, from midlife to old age, from single to married, from childless to parenthood. Transitions are arguably the most important experiences we have.

A park bench in autumn provides the backdrop for this quote: "All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy, for what we leave behind os is a part of ourselves: we must die to one life before we can enter into the other."

Some of us resist change, even when refusing to change harms us. Some of us fling ourselves wholeheartedly into change, even when doing so is foolish. Our attitudes toward change are hardwired in by genetics, researchers currently think–which is not to say that a habitual conservative may never become optimistic about certain things, or vice-versa.

We are, thank goodness, more than the sum of our genetic parts (or our environment growing up). We can shoot the rapids of even dramatic changes when we find ourselves dealing with new lives.

What it takes is respect for transitions.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to YourDictionary for the “October” illustrated quote from the poet Nova Schubert Bair, to Martin Malchev of 123RF for the cycle-of-the-seasons illustration, and to for the illustrated quote from Anatole France.

It’s getting on toward time. Are you ready?

The Artdog Image of Interest 

Each year in November, it’s National Novel-Writing Month, AKA Na-No-Wri-Mo. Each year in October, I consider participating. Will this be the year?

IMAGE: Many thanks to Errol Elumir’s blog NaNoToons and the Na-No-Wri-Mo organization for the use of this cartoon.

What are your pronouns? This badge ribbon from a science fiction convention is one attempt to affirm respect for all in fandom.

What are your pronouns?

Have you ever been asked, “What are your pronouns?” I have been, on several occasions, so far, all at sf conventions. (Mine are “She/Her”). But more and more often today, you can’t necessarily predict a person’s PGPs (preferred gender pronouns) just by looking. That’s why I’ve often seen variations on this badge ribbon in the last couple years at conventions.

This badge ribbon from an science fiction convention says, "my pronouns are," then provides a blank to fill in. What are your prounouns?
I forget which convention gave me this badge ribbon, but they’re cropping up all over. They’re a sign of a new awareness and an acknowledgement that identities deserve respect.

No, it’s not an excess of political correctness, although there are those who’ll moan that it is. For those who claim non-traditional pronouns as their own, it’s a question of identity affirmation versus erasure

Because I really want to be an ally, I have been trying to educate myself. And if the badge isn’t flipped so you can’t read the ribbons, this little “cue” really can be helpful!

I’ve had pronouns on my mind recently, especially in the wake of moderating the “LGBTQ+ Representation in Fandom” panel at Archon 43, where the topic came up. Then my friend Lucy contacted me for my thoughts after she’d been tapped to be on a panel about inclusive pronouns at Windycon 2019.

There's quite a range of variations these days, to answer the question, "What are your pronouns?" Here an artist depicts eight variations on the traditional male/female icons.
Did the artist get a little carried away with this illustration? Possibly NOT. It seems there are more variations on gender than some of us ever imagined–but that is not a valid reason to disrespect any person’s identity.

“It” just doesn’t cut it! (but “they” might)

As my friend Lucy A. Synk pointed out in a recent email, “‘it’ is not acceptable for a human once the question “is it a boy or a girl?” has been answered, or for God.” We’ve gone through several decades of controversy in religious circles about pronouns in modern English translations of the Bibleand the controversy is far from over todayLucy mentioned “debate in the Catholic Church among those of us who resent referring to the human race and God as “he, him, his, brother, son, father, etc.” Non-Catholics have been having that one, too.

Yes, “it” is only fit for objects, and is understood correctly to be demeaning when applied to a person. But the historically-loaded tanker ships‘-worth of baggage and assumptions we attach to “him” and “her” have led many people to seek alternative pronouns.

A nursing student writes their pronouns, as well as other facts about themself, on a whiteboard in this photo.
What are your pronouns? This nursing student introduces themself and their preferred gender pronouns. (BBC/Kit Wilson)

Until recently, I’ve had a problem with “they/them” as singular pronouns, because I was taught these are plural. However, people who identify as they/them will point you to Shakespeare as an example of how the usage was considered “grammatically correct” in earlier times (when there actually wasn’t a standard as we define it, but never mind).

I don’t argue with them anymore. They don’t care what my grammar teachers taught me in high school. English is a living language. Living languages, by their very nature, change. If “you” can be both singular and plural in English, then why not “they”?

Non-terrestrials, gender, and pronouns

It is perhaps not strange at all that some members of science fiction fandom want to assert non-traditional pronouns. 

Science fiction authors have been exploring ideas about both human and non-terrestrial genders for decadesThis sometimes also has led to pronoun variations, although not as often as one might expect.

“Alien sex” has been a fascination of science fiction writers for-almost-ever, but understandings have evolved slowly, most likely because the field was dominated by a cisgender white “boys’ club” for a long time. Some of them weren’t above misogyny and imperialism, although others wrote brilliant, insightful works. Some have experimented with alternative pronouns.

Two Pulp-Age covers from "Thrills Incorporated" magazine depict outmoded tropes that once were popular, but which never made sense to the author of this post. Why would a giant robot or an alien have any interest in a human woman?
Why a giant robot or a devilish-looking alien would have any interest in a female human has always escaped me, but thank goodness the field has evolved since the days when people thought only pubescent white boys would read science fiction. I guarantee that no one was wondering about the robots’ or aliens’ preferred gender pronouns back then.

The straight white men may have dominated, but not completelyDon’t ever forget that science fiction arguably was invented by Mary Shelley. And such pioneers as Andre NortonMarion Zimmer BradleyJames Tiptree, Jr.Ursula K. LeGuinC.J. CherryhLois McMaster Bujold, and Octavia Butler have been influencing the field for decades.

Alternative voices and viewpoints have been a growing factor in science fiction for a long timeRepresentation mattersThe range of expressions and subgenres is expanding, thanks in part to pressure on traditional publishing by the “age of Indie writers.” Representation, as well as “post-binary gender” pronouns, are gradually gaining ground.

After all, why would anyone from another planetidentify in terrestrial terms of “he” and “she”? Even if there are two genders, “he” and “she” are culturally-loaded concepts for Earth people. If non-terrestrials don’t understand the same connotations and backloading as pertaining to them (and why would they?), then it seems to me it’s not reasonable to use “he/she” to describe them. 

Why would an android or AI identify as male or female, unless their choice was dictated by the body shape they’d been placed in, and convenience? Ann Leckie’s books of the Imperial Radche are but one recent high-profile example of rethinking this question. Another fresh take is the Murderbot stories of Martha Wells.

Using pronouns in the XK9 books

This type of question came up several times for me in writing What’s Bred in the Bone and subsequent titles in the XK9 series, because the cast of characters includes a variety of non-humans and non-terrestrials.

The system I use for Dr. SCISCO and nir siblings (who are genderless cybernetic entities) is taken from a marvelous resource, The Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog. But since 2016, when I went searching for pronoun ideas and found it, there’s been an explosion of resources online.

This chart of pronouns from "The Gender Neutral Pronoun Blog" offers a range of alternative, invented pronouns, in addition to the traditional English ones.
This chart from the Gender Neutral Pronouns Blog offers a helpful range of pronoun variations. I played with all of them, and felt most comfortable using the Ne variations for Doc Sheesh and nir siblings. The author acknowledges a Wikepedia chart of pronouns as the primary source for this one.

Readers of my books also have encountered “k’kim” and “k’kir” for ozzirikkians, the non-terrestrials who are citizens of Rana Station, along with the humans and the XK9sOzzirikkians may experience several gender states during their lifetimes. However, they don’t distinguish between them (at least, not with pronouns) in Pan-Ozzirikkian, the language they use for conversation and commerce with non-ozzirikkians.

What difference does fiction make?

I don’t think I can stress this enough: Representation mattersIt matters in deeper ways for under-represented individuals than the over-represented members of a dominant culture can begin to imagine. 

Representation of gender identity and sexual orientation. Representation of ethnicity and racial identity. Representation of the differently-abled in positive, life-affirming ways. Representation is recognition that one exists. That one matters. Representation and respect for one’s preferred gender pronouns is the antidote to erasure.

Asking “What are your pronouns?” is an affirmation of respect.

A little girl stands next to a poster for the movie "HOME" in a grocery store, with a huge grin on her face. The lead character looks a lot like her. Representation matters!
Representation matters, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you relate to. Not being “erased” feels really good.

Even when the characters aren’t human, we humans relate. We relate by identifying with characters whom we may recognize as stand-ins for our identities (why do you imagine fanfics gain such followings? Not only are they authentic voices of admiration, but they’re often free to go places and explore areas where more traditionally-oriented media can’t or won’t go).

Representation matters. And pronouns matter, too. What are your pronouns? We really need to know.

IMAGE CREDITS: The “my pronouns are” badge ribbon is mine. I think I got this one at either SoonerCon or Capricon in 2019. I took the photo, and I’d be delighted if you spread it around all over the Internet. You don’t even need to attribute this one or include a link back (although that would be nice of you). 

The “gender variations” image is courtesy of Chapman University (no artist credit given). The photo of the nursing student is courtesy of the BBC/Kit Wilson. Many thanks to Coverbrowser and Thrills Unlimited for the pulp fiction cover art (again, I could find no artist credits), and to the Gender Neutral Pronouns Blog for the table listing alternative pronouns. 

And finally, many thanks to Denene Miller’s “My Brown Baby” blog for the awesome”represenation” photo!

Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day!

Please join me in celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day today.

Warm colors and well-chosen imagery and font combine to encourage us to celebrate Indigenous People's Dau.

The official Federal Holiday that has allowed my Beloved to be home today is Columbus Day. Traditionally, it’s been celebrated as an Italian-American ethnic celebration, and I heartily believe that Italian-Americans have good reason to be proud of their heritage.

But as anyone who reads this blog regularly is aware, I have serious problems with the idea of making Christopher Columbus the hero of anything. So while I uplift the idea of Italian pride, I’ll be celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day today.

This design includes a smaller-size "Columbus Day" that's marked through with a red X, below which it says "Indigenous People's Day" in larger letters. This is a substitution the Artdog can endorse.

The “Columbian Exchange” created disruption all over the world, some of it positive and some of it negative. There’s a strong argument to be made that it benefitted much of Europe. However, its effects on the so-called “New World” of the Americas, and ultimately on Africa (especially via colonialism and the slave trade) and the rest of the world were not so benign. It could even be called a disaster for the 90% of indigenous Americans who died from plague after plague for which their immune systems were unprepared. 

It was enormously consequential–but it’s been egregiously misrepresented in school curricula for literal centuriesalthough many teachers have begun to grapple with the gaps in the traditional narrative. Still today, however, this information from Scholastic is representative of the kind of things being taught. 

This infographic makes the point with statistics that most Americans are disappointed with what they learned in school about Native American culture, and strongly support reforms. Since Columbus Day is routinely celebrated in US schools, serious issues surrounding it would need to be addressed in curriculum reforms.

It’s time to push for a more complete view of history, and more balanced representation. It does need to take root in schools, certainly. But if it’s only confined to schools we’ll have a “diversity backlash.” Some people will persist in seeing the narrative of a dominant monoculture as the “most important” part. They’ll argue anything else is just political correctness run amok.

We have enough of that kind of thinking already. Countering it is a long, slow process, but for me it will include persistently celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to “World of Wellesley” from Wellesley, MA, for the Indigenous Peoples Day design; to Freedonia State University of New York for the “Columbus Day X-out” image; and to Illuminatives for the infographic about Native American representation in the school curricula of the United States.

a round palm branch frames "Happy Sukkot!" the citron, myrtle, and willow artistically round out the four species of tradtion.

Happy Sukkot!

If it seems to you that there have been a lot of Jewish holidays recently, that’s because there have been. September through October is a busy time of year for our observant Jewish friends and neighbors. Tonight at sundown begins another holiday, one that’s been in preparation since Yom Kippur ended. Happy Sukkot!

a round palm branch frames "Happy Sukkot!" the citron, myrtle, and willow artistically round out the four species of tradtion.

Also known as the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot is, as one commenter put it, kind of a “picnic holiday,” because you eat outside in a little hut, and may even sleep outside in it. The production company BimBam even put together a take-off on The LEGO Movie to explain about the holiday (Don’t worry, it’s only about 4 minutes long).

I could see this having the makings of a fun, family thing to do. Indeed, there are guidelines made especially for parents, to help ensure that children will find the holiday special and enjoyable

But it’s not just a holiday for children. It’s clearly a ritual of faith that all ages can enjoy (and even ignorant Gentiles such as me can appreciate). The traditional greeting is “Chag Sameach” (“Joyous festival”), but “Happy Sukkot!” also works.

In this photo from 2018, members of the Beth Hillel congregation of Kenosha, WI celebrate Sukkot in a  tent-like sukkah with branches and decorations.
In this photo from 2018, members of the Beth Hillel congregation of Kenosha, WI celebrate Sukkot (Kevin Poirier/Kenosha News photo)

I’ve found online instructions for building a sukkah, using everything from concrete blocksto a prefab kit. Clearly, the tradition started in a hot, dry desert. But Jews live everywhere, even in places such as North and South Dakota and Minnesota, where they’re currently having winter-storm conditions

The weather forecast for Aberdeen, SD is a case in point that Sukkot isn't always celebrated in balmy weather. The headline on this 5-day forecast from the National Weather Service says, "Snow continues into Sunday morning, below average temps continue."

There was a blizzard in Denver, Colorado yesterday, for pity’s sake. How do you celebrate Sukkot in a blizzard, I wondered. Since there is nothing new under the sun, I checked, and yes. There are Sukkot guidelines for bad weather. According to Shir Tikvah in St. Paul, MNthe way to celebrate Sukkot in Minnesota during a snowstorm is indoors

I also found an enlightening discussion from 2015 about what to do if a hurricane threatens on Sukkot. You might enjoy the dry humor of the full article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Not much to anyone’s surprise, weathering adversity seems to be something they take in stride.

So, to all Jews everywhere, wherever, and in whatever kind of sukkah you celebrate, however, I wish you a happy Sukkot! (and may you stay warm and dry).

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to bettystrange of 123RF for the “Happy Sukkot!” design, and to BimBam, for The LEGO Sukkot Movie. I also appreciate Kevin Poirier’s photo from the Kenosha News to offer a real-life example of a Sukkot celebration. The graphic from the National Weather Service is the forecast for Aberdeen, SD, as of the time I wrote this post.

Archon 43 had a lot to offer. Here are visual hints.

In the halls of Archon 43

Artdog Images of Interest

The hall costumes are always amazing at Archon, and Archon 43 was no exception. I wandered around in the halls of Archon 43 on Saturday of the convention, and I think I got some fun “crowd photos.” I apologize that, because they’re all group shots and overviews, I wasn’t able to get the names of anyone in these photos.

Two views of costumes photographed at Archon 43: everything from Renaissance costumes to futuristic bounty hunters joined the parade.
These photos were taken near the main entrance of the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL.
Here's a look at some of the costumes and vendors in the "Authors' Alley" end of the Collinsville, IL Gateway Center at Archon 43.
Here’s a glimpse of the “Authors’ Alley” end of the main corridor at Archon 43.
The crowd was just as colorful in the "Artists' Alley" end of the main hallway at the Gateway Center during Archon 43.
Here’s a view of the “Artists’ Alley” end of the main Gateway Center hallway at Archon 43.

I’ve previously written about the costumes that wander the halls of Archon. But every year brings new visions from the convention’s dedicated costumers. They flourished in the halls of Archon 43 just as faithfully and flamboyantly as ever.

Everything from media cosplay to social commentary was on parade in the halls of Archon 43.
Everything from media cosplay to social commentary was on parade in the halls at Archon 43.
Here's another view of the central hallway in the Gateway Center during Archon 43.
Here’s another view of the central hallway in the Gateway Center during Archon 43.
Yet more of the costumed throng in the halls of Archon 43 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL.
Yet more of the costumed throng in the halls of Archon 43 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL.

All of these photos were taken October 5, 2019 inside the Gateway Center in Collinsville, IL. I hope you’ve enjoyed these glimpses of the passing parade from the halls of Archon 43!

IMAGE CREDITS: Once again, I apologize for the fact that I recognize none of these costumed persons, although I am humbled by their creative prowess. Jan S. Gephardt took all the photos shared here, in this little virtual stroll in the halls of Archon 43. Repost and re-blog freely, but please cite the source and provide a link back! Thanks!

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