I've been thinking about costumes this week. Not so much deciding what to wear this Hallow's Eve, but what costumes are about, from a slightly deeper dig.
Ritual costumes help represent or manifest large forces and beings that can't or don't exist in everyday life. I'm dressed as one version of the Green Man in the first photo. When we dress like him, or like a wild animal, or ghost, we call up those non-human beings or concepts and invite them into our family or community for a few hours. These non-human visitors always have something to teach us, like a famous guest lecturer in an otherwise quotidian class.
Costumes also help draw out big forces or archetypes from within. In another photo in this post, I'm dressed as Odyssyus, the Greek hero. When we dress as a superhero or famous celebrity, we get to spend time with bigger, bolder, more powerful aspects of ourselves. Our relationship to these aspects is complicated. We crave the power and agency that these heroes have but part of us knows we already have those qualities. Wearing the costume can be a way to simultaneously manifest and celebrate the presence of the powerful qualities.
The other photos in this post show me wearing the costume of the Fundraiser, the TEDx Speaker, the Adventurer. Each represent a slightly more integrated and everyday part of me. Despite being more common, I still work to consciously to put on the right costume and persona for each occasion. Each costume comes with the appropriate super powers!
So... I encourage everyone to allow the donning of a costume this week to be a fun, intentional act of embodiment and actualization. But remember that your newly acknowledged superpowers are symbolic not literal. Maybe don't try to fly off the 3rd floor. AND know that you can fly.