Black Petals Issue #98 Winter, 2022

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Editor's Page
Artists' Page
BP Guidelines
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Worm Food-Fiction by Michael Dority
Bells in the Woods-Fiction by Richard Brown
The Smiling Dead-Fiction by Guido Eekhaut
Beneath-Fiction by Samantha Brooke
The Reality Engine-Fiction by M.T. Johnson
Bug-Fiction by David Starobin
The Family Upstairs-Fiction by Ally Schwam
Hoola-Fiction by Lamont A. Turner
The Barber Shop-Fiction by Roy Dorman
On the Corner of 15th and Jackson-Fiction by Kat Vatne
Prisoners-Fiction by Paul Lee
Twinkles-Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Party-Time Trio-Flash Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Shadowed Soul-Flash Fiction by Jess Boaden
5G Generation-Poem by Joseph Danoski
Creature of Habit-Poem by Joseph Danoski
Joe Schmoe & Jayne Doe-Poem by Joseph Danoski
The World-Poem by S. Wiseman-Rose
Exquisite Corpse-Villanelle-Poem by S. Wiseman-Rose
Edwardian-Poem by S. Wiseman-Rose
Bloody Fingers-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Pathway Down-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Another Red Nightmare-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
The Avenue of Pines (Re-visited)-Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Lover's Meadow-Poem by Brielle Amick
Scarecrow in Female-Poem by Meg Smith
Regards to Buzzards-Poem by Meg Smith
Failed Conjuring-Poem by Meg Smith
Missing Among Wildflowers-Poem by Meg Smith
Lords of Extinction-Poem by Meg Smith

Winter, 2022—Chris Friend


Hello and Happy New Year from Mars. This month, we chose to reprint one of Chris’ favorite Mars articles from way back in issue #65—ed.

In the Old World Halloween was not the only spooky holiday. Saint Andrew’s Eve (Nov. 30th) was a night of many uncanny events throughout Europe in the old days. Like Halloween it was a night of divinations and magic. On this night a young girl could pour hot wax into cold water and it would take the form of the tools of her future husband’s trade. In some versions the wax would take the form of the letter of the alphabet that would be the first letter of her future husband’s last name.

In old Saxony and Bohemia a maiden would go into the darkness to extract a piece of wood from the wood pile. If the wood was sturdy and strong, her future husband would be well built and healthy. If the piece of wood was twisted and knotted, her future groom would be equally ill developed and possibly hunchbacked.

But the most interesting folklore about St. Andrew’s Eve can be found in old time Rumania. On this night it was believed that vampires left their graves and wandered. Great processions of vampires, werewolves, and goblins (among other spooks) could be seen traveling on Saint Andrew’s Eve. It was an especially bad night for travelers who might find themselves at a lonely crossroads; these intersections were the favorite hunting grounds for the undead and their kindred.

Most old peasant women, trusting the power of garlic, would smear it on door locks and window frames. Often doorways and window casements would be painted blue, the bane of vampires and their ilk. And, at one time, Saint Andrew’s Eve was considered the first day of winter in Western Germany.

One spell a young maid of yesteryear might use goes thus: “St. Andrew’s Eve is today, sleep all people—all children of men, who are between heaven and earth—except this only man, maybe mine in marriage.”

In Lithuania, the last country to be converted to Christianity, pagan traditions lasted into the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries where, many travelers reported, late October remained the pagan New Year. One person’s account had the celebration being held on Halloween, but others reported it being held on November 2nd. On this night straw was strewn on tables and sacks of straw were tossed onto the floor. Bread and two jugs of beer were set upon the table, along with servings of every variety of farm animal roasted on an open fire.


A prayer was offered to an ancient god known as Zimiennik (possibly an ancestral spirit), which went: “Accept our burnt sacrifice, oh Zimiennik, and kindly partake thereof.” Then a great feast followed. Like traditional Halloween, the shades of the dead were invited to leave their graves and share in the celebration by eating from huge platters of food left out for three days. Sometimes food and drink would even be left on familial graves.

And from January 2022…

January is named after Janus, the Roman god of thresholds. Janus is depicted as having two faces—one looking at the past and another looking foreward. Thresholds are important during the New Year since it’s betwixt and between the old and new year. Midnight is also threshold time between yesterday and tomorrow, the reason people set off fireworks and other rough music is to drive away the dark forces of the old year and set the stage for the positive forces of the New Year. Janus was also connected to the crossroads which is another uncanny place connected to thresholds and the supernatural.

Janus is considered one of the oldest gods in the Roman pantheon. He is likely a part of the mythos even before the Romans came about. The Roman temple dedicated to Janus has two doorways known as the gates of war. When Rome saw peace throughout the kingdom the doorway of peace was left open. His two faces represent looking at both the old year and forward to the new. At this time the Romans held a great revelry to drive out the old and embrace the new. Oven-baked whole grain was left out for Janus to get the year off on the proverbial ‘first foot.’

Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va , who wrote BP #85’s poem, “Demons Play Flutes”; BP # 84’s poems, “The Sentinel” and “Psalm of Mithra”; the BP #81 poem set, “Angel of the Bereft,” Beauty’s Sleep,” & “Dark Trinity”; the BP #80 poem, “The Temple of Colors”; BP #79 poems, “The Marquis” and “My Bloody Valentine”; the BP #78 poem, “The Old Yule Goat”; BP #77’s 4-poem set: “At 50,” “Owls,” “Vintage Halloween,” & “Xmas in the Doll Asylum”; BP #76’s 4-poem set: “Hag Fairy Communion,” “Love’s Sepulcher,” “Night Wanderer,” & “St. Andrew’s Feast”; 2 poems for BP #75, “Angel of the Pagan Dead” and “Churchyard Watcher”; BP #72’s 2-poem set, “Ed Gein” & “Sour Puss”; and the 2008 poem “All Hallows’ Eve”, writes and illustrates our “MARS News” column. He did a cover for Black Petals back in 2000 for the fall issue, and has been around ever since. BP keeps up two websites for him and prints his column in the issue quarterly. Chris has a gallery at and was featured artist in Kurt Newton’s Ultimate PerVersities (Naked Snake) [Jan. 2011].

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