Halloween is not just a children’s holiday. It is, and always was, an adult holiday. If you go out to certain public spaces on and around October 31st you’re going to see sites and representations of ancient pagan rituals and occult rites in a masquerade. You might also see a congregation of witches and occultists of varying levels of sophistication depending on where you happen to be. It is far more common today than at any point in modern times to see lovers of the occult in plain sight. Something that used to be hidden and underground has now become very open and accepted as normal and as just an expression of individuality or fun.
The WITCH’S DAY
Among ancient and modern Druid and western occultists the day of Halloween is known as “The Witch’s Holiday”. In medieval Scotland it was called, “The Witches Day”. In those days it was common to burn all the black cats one could find on the The Witch’s Day due to the belief that witches could inhabit black cats to cloak themselves. But these days no one is burning witches. That is not because they aren’t around anymore. The ancient practices and the demonic forces that rule them have evolved into new expressions. Today it just happens to be far more accepted and even encouraged as a normal element of secular society. Often, modern witchcraft is masked by so-called “white magic” and/or Wiccan practitioners and/or New Age spiritual mavens and shamans. Today, occultists are not occult-ed (hidden) at all, rather they are free to flaunt themselves openly in plain site. The core of this modern expression of witchcraft is no different than the original. The tradition is rooted in the veneration of and communion with the Dead. Therefore, as we see it presented so boldly in our society today, a day set aside for practices of veneration of the dead has become one of the biggest and most active American holidays. The Author of Confusion and the Father of Lies must get quite a chuckle out of what he sees on this day every year.
TRICK? OR TREAT?
If you go to the stores on or around this day you’re going to see all kinds of candy and preparations for a holiday tradition. In this case a tradition where children are encouraged to disguise themselves and to go out in the evening and go door-to-door soliciting a “trick-or-treat”. Have we truly taken any time to consider this tradition or its implications? Or have we just followed suit and fallen in line with a ritual so as to not be deemed odd or weird? Where does the tradition originate? What do the machinations of it imply? Might it have any positive effect on our children spiritually? Any negative effect? Important questions that deserve attention.
On Halloween we encourage our children to take a lead role in a very particular ancient ritual. On this day, and as the ritual was originally designed, the child goes to the door of a home and repeats the incantation “trick-or-treat” and the person (apparently) has a choice. Present a treat, in this case, candy, or the person will receive a trick. What is a trick? What is this implied consequence for not offering a treat? Is it really just about candy and fun? It is a good thing that the tricks aren’t very active anymore and the treats are plentiful. But also take notice of the style of the majority of the face paintings and the garish, sometimes hideous costumes such as ghosts, skeletons, wizards, witches and even demons. This is where we see evidence of the true origin and purpose of the ritual. These rituals that we promote and encourage our children to engage in were originally and unambiguously meant for venerating, appeasing and even appropriating (make use of) the spirits of the dead; more plainly stated, specifically to interact with spirits of the dead.
The traditional teachings of witchcraft taught that the old shamans or witch doctors would use intoxicating mind-altering substances to produce visions or conjure images within a dream or a meditation. From these visions, said to be given by the spirits, the shaman would direct the people to paint their faces, wear masks and costumes that made them appear like the entities the shaman saw in his vision. In other words, the shaman directed the people to alter their appearance to take on the form of the spirits (demons) he saw in vision in order to gain the power or the energy of those spirits. They also believed that within the trees and within the plants and all of nature were spirits that were eager to serve and also able to harm. This is no different than modern day Wicca or some forms of western esoteric and planetary magick. These festivals were filled with ceremonies and rituals centered around veneration, placation of and one-ness with the dead.
One of the primary teachings in occult traditions was (and is) that we can gain power from the forces of nature or the gods we venerate. The goal is to become one with nature and be able to use the forces of nature and the spirits of the dead for one’s own purposes. Similarly, in order to gain the power of the spirits of the dead one would practice rituals that invited these spirits to come into and merge with one’s own spirit. Something we might today call, possession. Some might suggest, perhaps correctly, that to engage directly with such a tradition by representing the prescribed rites is to invite the same mindset and ultimately to embrace the spiritual intentions of an unholy ritual. It’s more serious than it seems, which is a common disguise worn by evil.
In the Druid tradition the day of Oct 31st and Nov. 1st was a time when the veil between the living and the dead was at its thinnest. Human and animal sacrifices were offered on a bonfire as an offering to their nature gods and to the spirits of the dead as a way to merge into one-ness with nature and these spirits. These bonfires were considered to be sanctifying (or cleansing). We love our bonfires today. It’s not a bad thing to have a fire and burn off some brush and have friends gather around for warmth and fellowship in the glow of the flames. But, it’s wise to always pay attention to the habits we take on and to make sure we are being vigilant so that evil doesn’t breach an unsecured back door. In this case, we consider the word ”bonfire” and the practice. It is a compound word that comes from the words, bone and fire. The bonfire, or BONE FIRE is, representative of a ritual of animal and human sacrifice. Something to think about. By all means, enjoy outdoor fellowship and gather round the fire. Let’s just be aware so that our focus and relationship with divinity is not tarnished by any unholy spiritual predators.
This was the celebration of the Druid or Celtic New Year. Then, when the fires died down in the early morning before sunrise they took the glowing hot coals from the fires and placed them into gouged out turnips and gourds and carried them as lamps. Thus, the likely origin of the Jack-O-Lantern. At this time of year it was also believed that there were malevolent spirits roaming around seeking to do evil. In order to keep these spirits appeased and to prevent suffering the evil deeds (or tricks) from these wandering spirits they placed food out on their doorstep as an offering. Thus, the origin of the ritual of trick-or-treat. What role are our children playing in this ritual? They are re-enacting the role of the evil spirits of the dead who wander about the land seeking to do evil. If not careful, we could be encouraging our children, through trick-or-treating, to keep the tradition of venerating the dead and spirit worship alive.
ALL HALLOW’S – ALL SOUL’S – HALLOWE’EN
As the Roman Church took over in these areas inhabited by Druids and Celts they sought to do away with their familiar particular forms of worship. The Roman church set aside a day, November 1st, which would be a new day of festival called All Hallows day. “Hallows” means sanctified. The new day came to be known as “All Saints Day”. The night before was known as “All Hallows Eve” which is short for “All Hallow’s Evening” and today in secular societies is shortened to the now common Hallowe’en. Under a new name, the original purpose remains. The Roman church overlaid the traditions with practices that were spiritually no less unholy than the originals. The ‘new’ festivals and rituals employed by the Roman church were and still are intended for veneration of the dead, a practice that is obviously un-biblical and an abomination to God. The only change made was that the Roman Catholic church did away with the Druid deities and gods and replaced them their own dead men’s bones. There is nothing Christian whatsoever about any of this. What makes it dangerous is that in most cases these new traditions pose themselves as Christian causing confusion. On this new day of worship the Roman Catholics are to honor all the dead canonized figures from church history. In order to absorb the Celtic religion the Roman church created another holiday and called it “All Souls Day”. On that day the people are to pray for the souls of those who are in Hell and introduces the heretical idea of purgatory. Creating a version of the afterlife where people could move from one place to another brought in a tremendous amount of money to the Roman church in the form of “indulgences”. An Indulgence is the Roman Catholic practice of paying money to the church for sacraments. These sacramental indulgences are intended to allow someone to access the credits of righteousness (or merits) of the Saints and to apply those credits toward a soul that was not yet in Heaven. In short, one pays the church to get a dead loved-one moved out of purgatory and into Heaven. Interestingly, a part of this practice was for the people set out gifts for those priests that wandered the streets collecting money for these indulgences on All Hallows Eve or All Saints Day. The resemblance to the Celt tradition is obvious with the priests taking the role of wandering “evil spirits”. The Roman church still teaches to this day that credits (merits) can be earned from the church to move dead loved ones out of purgatory. A very strange doctrine for an organization that claims to be Christian.
Jack’s Ol’ Lantern
What about this Jack-o’-lantern? The Roman Catholic tradition maintains a story of a man named Jack who made a pact with the Devil to become the master of masters in the art of blacksmith-ing. Jack was very prideful and because of this Jesus and Peter visited him and tried to dissuade him from this pact with the Devil, but Jack paid no attention. Peter decided to give Jack three wishes in the hope that he would wish the right wish. Jack used the wishes to: First, if he tricks someone into a tree he wants him to stay there. Second, if he tricks that person into a chair he wants him to stay there. Third, if he tricks someone into his purse he has to stay there. When the Devil came back after seven years, which was determined on the pact for Jack’s soul, the story says that he, the Devil, was tricked by jack into the tree and then into the chair and then into his purse. The Devil would only be released when he promised Jack another seven years of mastery and life. This happened three times until the Devil was scared of Jack and left him alone and went back to Hell. When Jack died, he couldn’t go to heaven because he had so sorely disobeyed Peter and chosen three wishes on his pride. So Jack must go down to Hell. But, since the Devil is scared to death of Jack he issues demons to lock up all the doors of Hell to keep Jack out. Outside the doors to Hell Jack waited while munching on a turnip. The Devil flung a piece of hot coal at him and Jack scooped up the bright red hot coal and put it in his scraped out turnip which made a good lamp. Banned from both Heaven and Hell, and with no one to pay his way out of purgatory, Jack forever wanders the nether world carrying his Jack-o’-lantern. In America the tradition turned from a turnip to a pumpkin. So, the smiling face of the Jack-o’-lantern represents a lost spirit wandering the earth and draws its reference from the ancient worship of the dead. Jack represents all the evil awaiting Judgment Day.
Upon hearing or reading these traditions we might find them harmless, even charming yarns that merely mark the season. For most, that is likely the case. However, the courting of evil in any form s a dangerous practice for one who values his soul. Evil finds its way into our lives through modesty and through breaching the less observed channels. Evil finds it way into our lives through simple means that seem harmless and even fun. Vigilance is the way of the Christian. Not blind paralyzing superstition, just common sense vigilance in keeping our focus on our Savior and not opening the doors to that which would seek to interrupt or co-opt that focus and faith.
The most solemn note of all, considering the timing and the explosion of occultism, is that the worship of dark entities and the use of children by certain sects of occultism for ritual purposes is a very real thing that exists in our reality today. There is one day per year when these individuals and the spirit of Antichrist seem to be in closest union and that is the day of and the days immediately adjacent to Halloween. We need not be a paranoid lot, but it is a very good idea for all of us as followers of Jesus Christ to remain vigilant and to heed the warning found in God’s Word:
“Prove all things; and hold fast to that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”1 Thessalonians 5 verse 22: