Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Truth about Holloween

I have been asked by some friends to post my feelings, information, experiences on Halloween. Mine is not a popular belief, not even among my brothers and sisters in the Lord. It doesn't come from research done on the Internet. It does not come from supposition or fear. My stand on Halloween comes from personal experience. For 6 years, I was a witch.

The origins of Halloween lie with the Celtic Druids. Their celebration was to honor their gods for the harvest and to appease and frighten the spirits of the dead. As far as I know, all Pagans believe that the veil between worlds, the spiritual and the earthly, is especially thin on that night. The spirits of the unhappy dead can come through, looking for a new home with the living. But these spirits do not bring blessing. It is bad luck to even acknowledge them if you see one unless you are a holy man and know how to handle such. The Druids would go to the villages, seeking offerings of food for the spirits to appease them. They warned the people that if they did not give, they would be in danger of bad luck from the spirits themselves; trick or treat.

The Druids dressed in frightening regalia to scare away any errant spirits they met on the roads. They carried with them lanterns carved in frightening vestiges both to see by in the dark, and to keep away the rising spirits. When it was time, when they had gathered all of the offerings, they would bring them to a designated place, and from what we understand of the history, they would be burned so that the spirits could partake of the smoke of the offering. They cannot, of course, eat food, being spirits.

The Catholic Church, doing much missionary work in the Celtic countries (Ireland, Scotland and Wales primarily), sought to convert these heathen to their belief system. They told the story of Christs sacrifice for them, how he rose again in power. Druids understand power, from what I have experienced of them, that is their main focus, regardless of how they go about it. The Catholics were able to convince many of the Druids of God's love and grace but their feast days and traditions were so entrenched in their hearts and minds that they were reluctant to convert to a religion that did not celebrate them. To "deal with" this the Catholic priests of the time made concessions as they saw best. To appease their need to pacify their ancestral spirits, the Catholics instituted All Saints Day.

All Saints Day wasn't meant as a day of offering to the dead, but rather a day to remember those saints who had gone before and to feast in their honor, giving glory to God for their lives and examples. Another name for the day was All hallows (a celebration of the holy). Many Druids accepted this, but chose not to completely relinquish their own traditions, celebrating All Hallows Eve still with dressing up, trick or treating and (in some cases) giving their offerings to the poor so that they would have food for All hollows to feast with. This was seen as acceptable and even embraced by some of the Priests.

What's wrong with that? Holding onto an un-sanctified tradition in order to use it for good? The problem comes from what the Bible, God's Word and the guidebook for our lives here on Earth, says about that practice.

Deuteronomy 18:9-13
Avoid Wicked Customs

 9 “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the LORD your God has not appointed such for you.
We are called not to participate in or imitate the practices of the cultures we come out of when we become Christian. We no longer belong to that culture, but to God and God alone. He is a jealous God and will not put up with us continuing to do things that are in any way a part of what held us captive.
Today Halloween is billed as a "kids" holiday. If that is true why are half of the costumes sold adult size? If it's just about candy and the novelty of dressing up, why are there so many "after hours" parties where so called grown-ups debase themselves with excessive alcohol, slinky costumes and the excuse that it is "the day to be naughty"?

To a Pagan, regardless of what sect, Halloween heralds Sanhain, the highest holy day of the year. It is a time for harvest offerings. It's a time for family and blessings. It's a true holiday in their religion. Do they dress up and go trick or treating? Not typically. Most of the witches I know do family stuff, much like Thanksgiving. There are rites and offerings to be made. There are the remembrances of those past. Some, have midnight celebrations and seances to make use of the thinner veil between worlds.

When I was a witch, we gave out candy for Halloween. One thing my coven did was to bless the candy we gave out. It was a two-fold blessing. First it was meant to send our positive energy out into the world through the pure spirits of the children and to receive back positive energy through them. Second, it was a call. A call is a spell that is meant to seek out those "intended" or "destined" for the Wiccan faith. It attaches itself to them and feeds their natural curiosity about paganism. It's not intended to harm or coerce, only to attach to those it is meant for. That is how I spent my Samhain, blessing the homes we visited with my daughter, handing out blessed candy and making my offerings to the goddess for a fruitful and blessed new year.

I am no longer pagan. I converted in 1995. I chose to abandon my ways and beliefs and seek Him, Jesus Christ, with my whole heart. I counted the cost of that decision and gladly choose again, every day of my life, to continue in His way. What does that mean for my family on Halloween, and during the Halloween "season"? For us, it means we do not, in any way, participate in the rigamarole of the holiday, for a holiday it is. Just as I do not celebrate Ramadan because I am not Muslim and I do not celebrate Diwali because I am not Hindu and I do not celebrate Halloween because I am not Pagan.  Beyond the basic fact that I do not participate in the celebrations that honor the belief in other gods (why would I? Isn't that hypocritical?) I also have issues with wanting my children to be "blessed" by those of other faiths.

 I do not believe that all gods are one god and all faiths lead to the same road. I cannot believe this if I truly believe in Jesus Christ, Jehovah Jireh, Yahweh, El Shaddai. He requires that I accept the fact, by virtue of His honor, that He is the ONLY real God and that all others are demonic and/or human contrivances created solely to entice His creation away from His blessing. I don't believe in universalism. I do not believe in singularity. I do not believe we all go to heaven regardless of which deity we subscribe to.  Here's a shocker for most people, neither do Pagans, or Muslims or Hindus. While some religions believe that many of the worlds faiths are intertwined I do not believe that any believe that ALL are the same. Why is it that only my faith, being that it is eternally exclusionary yet temporally accepting of all who choose to accept it, it closed minded? Muslims, Jews and Pagans believe the same thing, they just label it differently.

That's what I know about and how I feel about Halloween. For those who asked me to share, I hope it helps you in some small way understand my choice and perhaps gives you reason to consider your own. For those who didn't ask for my thoughts, yet chose to read them through to the end anyway, thank you for your respect and consideration. I hope that what I have said hasn't offended you, but also that the truth of my words will shed light maybe where there was darkness or a grey area.

Please note; I do not look down on anyone who chooses to celebrate Halloween, Christian or otherwise. I don't because of what I believe. That's my choice. I'm grateful for my God given and Nationally accepted right to choose. How can I then disdain another person for exercising that same right? I have pagan friends still who celebrate and I love them dearly. I do not have to agree with your point of view to love you or to accept your value as a human being. I would hope that others can afford me the same grace

Be well and Blessed

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