Black Petals Issue #102, Winter, 2023

Mars-News, Views and Commentary

Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Betterment Day: Fiction by Malik Mandeville
Bridget Magnus: Fiction by Dean Patrick
Cemetery Road: Fiction by Richard Brown
I Quit: Fiction by Michael Stoll
Ivory Tower: Fiction by Aron Reinhold
Letter from a Poison Pen Pal: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Neck of the Woods: Fiction by Harris Coverley
No Angels: Fiction by Kilmo
It's A Dry Heat: Fiction by Roy Dorman
Requited Love: Fiction by Travis Mushanski
Stuck in Transit: Fiction by Michael Woods
Cold Yearning: Flash Fiction by Kat Sandefer
I Married a Zombie: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Snack Time: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
The Boy Who Loved Bolt: Flash Fiction by Ron Capshaw
The Cutting Room: Flash Fiction by Karen Schauber
Dirty Blue Bandana: Flash Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Bidee Bodee, Bidee Beaux: Poem by Thomas Fischer
Blood of Whitechapel: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Rotten to the Core: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Seque into Shadows: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Sensitivity to Light: Poem by Kenneth Vincent Walker
Boo Hag: Poem by Richard Stevenson
Paranormal Parasites: Poem by Richard Stevenson
Huggin Molly: Poem by Richard Stevenson
In the Morgue of Memory: Poem by Hillary Lyon
Unexpected Culinary Opportunity: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
OI (Oo-ee): Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Plant Eater Gone Carnivorous: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
They Shouldn't Be There: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
The Needle Spins: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Cold: Poem by Rp Verlaine
The Sleepwalker: Poem by Rp Verlaine

Chris Friend-Winter, 2023

Art by Chris Friend 2023

During New Year's Eve people often set off fire crackers and make noise sometimes referred to as 'rough music'. Most likely a relic of an earlier practice of driving away the negative forces of the old year and welcoming in the more positive forces of the new year. New Year's Eve is a threshold time, not being the old year and not the new one, being betwixt and between. Since transition happens at midnight, another threshold time, which adds to it's being an uncanny time. Because their ambiguity makes thresholds a place of supernatural and uncanny activity. Twilight and dawn are thresholds between night and day and are magical since they are between the two.

Many spirits were believed to congregate at crossroads due to the fact they are four directions at once. It helps they are places of confusion where travelers could easily get lost. This created the crossroads good prime places for vampires, werewolves and other evil spirits to find easy prey. At New Year’s special rites were used to set the stage for welcoming in the hope of a better year ahead. With the betwixt and between of the New Year all manner of ways to chase away the year. Besides rough music some would take a broom and sweep from the back door the front to chase away the shadows of the old. Many people would go to church on New Years to get the New Year off on the proverbial first foot.

Wassailing on the New Year is offering a toast to the New Year as a way of toasting the new year. Such a toast would naturally occur at midnight. And simply saying Happy New Year could also be considered a good luck charm to get the new year off on the first foot.

Art by Chris Friend 2023

As I have often written, the month of January gets its name from the two-faced Roman god Janus. Janus had two faces with one looking back at the past and the other looking forward towards the future. This ability to see in both directions gives him a certain connection to thresholds such as doorways and windows. He has the rare gift of governing time.

It seems that Janus is a very old member of the Roman pantheon of Roman gods and goddesses. It is possible that before Jupiter became such an important god of the Romans it was Janus who was the more important deity. Even after Jupiter moved ahead in the ranks, Janus maintained his right to be first. As an important deity of beginnings and one soon have a connection to the first day of the month with January 1st being his feast day.

When the Romans moved the New Year from March 1st to January 1st, it became a day to honor the god of beginnings. With this ability to look back at the old year and at the same time look forward to the new helped make Janus a deity connected to divination and rituals to start the New Year on the proverbial right foot.

Homes were often decorated with evergreens such as holly and mistletoe with their obvious connection to magical forces. Decorating thresholds such as doorways were especially important to honor this lord of beginnings. His number is one (obviously) and his tree is the sturdy oak. He sometimes goes by the name Dianus or Giano. And so it goes.




Chris Friend,, of Parkersberg, W.Va , who wrote BP #91 Poems, “Land of Big Teeth” & “Possessed” (+ BP’s fall 2018 poems, “Demons Play Flutes” & “Purdy Picture”; 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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