I have been consulting on a series of books called the  Amazing Adventures of Harry Moon and the Enchanted World of Honey Moon. Harry, 13, and Honey, 10 are brother and sister and live in the fictional town of Sleepy Hollow, Massachusetts.

The stories are about children and the world of the spirit. They are not occult books. They are a value and virtue proposition. There is an underpinning of Christian worldview but it doesn’t hit the young reader over the head with a jackhammer.

As Halloween is coming up and the fictional town of Sleepy Hollow is a quaint New England tourism town, I thought it would be of value to put down some messaging for parents of our young readers for the website and catalogues. Here is it with a little help from my friends at Rabbit Publishers.

By the way, the “Great Magician” mentioned is referencing Jesus.


Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

We are told by the Great Magician that there will always be trouble in the world,  but to be happy for he has overcome the world.  Too often, believers are given the message to run away from the world with its darkness and evil confusion rather than engage it with truth and understanding.

In the Amazing Adventures of Harry Moon, the tween reader is educated in active virtues such as compassion, love, patience and kindness. He or she learns about a treasure chest of  qualities  that help equip them to be  adults of  strong character.  “There will always be trouble in the world, “ says Harry’s invisible friend, Rabbit, a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, “so there will always be a time for heroes”.

In one hundred and three passages in the Gospels, we are told not to be afraid.  But as believers, we ignore the words and seem to fear a notion like Halloween. Some warn us, saying that the day is a manifestation of all that is wrong in the world, celebrating violence and recklessness.

All the while Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays in the Western World. Spiritually-minded parents are not going to keep their kids from Halloween. Perhaps as parents and spiritual citizens of another Kingdom, we are all better served by equipping our children for the dark rather than teaching them to run from it.

In the 5th century, the  early church wisely took the ancient holidays of the winter solstice and the  spring festival of Easter and transformed  them into holidays that celebrated the story of the Christ. Today, we know Christmas as a celebration of the birth of the Christ and Easter as the marker of his death and resurrection.

Samhain,  the night that eventually became Halloween, was an ancient holiday  in early  England. Samhain was an annual  event  to commemorate the ancestors. The locals dressed in the fashion of those  people long gone to show reverence for  their  lives and accomplishments in their respective cultures.

Just as  Christmas and Easter celebrates birth, death and resurrection, we at Rabbit Publishers  believe that Halloween can be a place to celebrate what the Great Magician left behind for all people, the Holy Spirit.

The Amazing Adventures of Harry Moon takes place in the small, New England town of Sleepy Hollow where “Every day is Halloween night”.  This fictional branding was decided by an evil mayor of Sleepy Hollow in order to bring tourism to a little town suffering from the realities of economic hardship.

For Rabbit Publishers, we have decided to take our young readers boldly into the sometimes dark and mis-directed world  of Halloween and celebrate it with the  power and mystery of the comforter, the Holy Spirit.

Never before has there been a series for the Christian tween that regards the Spirit in a manner that speaks to the contemporary young reader. We are convinced that Halloween can be viewed as a teachable spiritual laboratory for the young mind and soul of the 21st century tween.

Rabbit Publishers understands that this is an extraordinary feat and we take our task seriously.  Our young protagonists, thirteen-year old Harry Moon, and Honey Moon, ten,  come from a solid and healthy home that embraces faith.  The fruits of the Spirit are stenciled on the kitchen alcove where they eat every morning. Harry and his sister, Honey take on the evils of Sleepy Hollow because they are children of  faith and virtue. While they are imperfect, they are authentic role models for their readers.  They are emerging heroes.

We live in a complicated world, a Halloween world. It is neither black nor white, neither good nor evil. Instead, it is  a world that is incredibly ambiguous. We must  develop strength in our children to be able to figure it out and make right and healthy choices. As the great Evangelist John Stott said, “Culture is ambiguous because man is ambiguous. Man is both noble (because made in God’s image) and ignoble (because fallen and sinful). And his culture faithfully reflects these two aspects.”

We must be watchful for things that go bump in the night as well as in daylight. In the last book in the series, Harry’s War, Harry  Moon must go toe-to-toe with the evil mayor, Kligore and discovers once and for all his own ancestral lineage and his eventual spiritual calling.

Harry Moon will also finally understand where his own name sprang from. As Genesis states,   “God made two great lights – the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night.” Harry Moon’s name came from God. He was named as the light to govern the night. When you see the moon on every book, on ever standee and every picture with our Amazing Adventures series, Rabbit Publishers is always pointing to the generation of the future who will be the light in the night.

Don’t be afraid of the dark. There will always be trouble in the world, so there will always be a time for heroes.

womanFor a moment, forget the battle is between people. Forget the politics. Nix most of the noise. Look at them as ancient Greece might view them – as forces on Olympus. For almost two thousand years, the patriarchy has pushed maternal power into the ground. For most of that time, civilization, with all the good it has done, has kicked mom – the goddess, the wise woman, the giver of life – to the curb. Men have built the cities. And the armies. Women have had to cope with the construct and the death. Now, we are at the brink . These are growing pains. They hurt like hell. The masculine is being rebalanced with the feminine. No healthy civilization can survive without the Mother.

This woman is not fully feminine. She had to fight like a man to produce the change. There was no other way. Still she bears most of the marks of majestic woman – lover, mother, nurturer, shaper of ideas. She was maimed by a well-meaning , powerful husband who let Eros transmute him, for a time, into a scoundrel and a fool. She is our transitional mother. Some call her “hawk”. She wears a pantsuit. The child she battles for is not yet ready to accept a fully sexualized mother. Still, she is the woman right for the times.

Rise of the Feminine

To rebalance, mom must go to war with a monstrous shadow of the patriarchy, Bad Dad. In epic measure, Bad Dad represents the reckless underbelly of unbalanced masculinity. He is everything wrong with the cities. Bad Dad marries his courtesans. He touches his daughters like courtesans. No dragon has slain his ego. He demonizes race. He demonizes religious sects. Only the father’s name appears on his golden towers in his cities of gold.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. What were the last words of the Christ? “Here is your mother.” And we have been bashing mother into the ground ever since. It is as if we men can not embrace the blood, and the sex, and the power of the feminine mystique. The woman brings life but life is too mysterious for man to bear. In the conclusion to Herman Hesse’s classic about the male psyche, the sensualist Goldmund asks the  unbending aesthetic patriarch, Goldmund, “But how will  die when your time comes, Narcissus, since you have  no mother? Without a mother, one cannot love. Without a mother, one cannot die.” Psychiatrist Carl Jung maintained that there will never be peace until the masculine and the feminine become balanced in the circle of belonging.

What is before us is more than detail, more than people, more than politics. It is the hand of life at the throttle of the psychic energies that shape humankind. As the Greeks might view it today, Transitional Mom must battle Bad Dad over the fate of the child. And who is the child? In myth, it is always the same. The child is the world.

Marni Nixon at her home in New York

With her two shopping bags full of notes, and her velvet gloves, she helped a punk college kid launch his first musical based on Medea, the play by Euripides. What was I thinking? She was tireless, funny, tough, and impossible. I had no idea what I was doing but she got me through it. I could not afford to pay her except with cheap lunches and dinners at the local diner, Tiny Naylors. She did not care. She loved the patty melts . She cut the lousy songs, kept the passable ones. She edited the book. She coached the children in the show how to carry a tune. She even dubbed the voice of the sorceress, Medea, when the lead clammed up and couldn’t hit the high notes.

Marni Nixon was a sorceress, herself – hiding behind the screen and lending her voice to the musical treasures of American film history including West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and The King and I. Her mimetic gift allowed her to transform her singing voice to sound like an movie star’s speaking voice. The kind and friendly Ghost Voice of the American movie musical has died at 86. Surely, a sacred confluence is gathering somewhere in the stars where Marni, Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr, and Natalie Wood can sing as one , and in key, as they celebrate the sheer miracle of life.