A plea for awareness: How strange that on one specific night of the year, during the hours of darkness, we increasingly allow our children to dress up in costumes which make them unrecognisable and encourage them to knock on the doors of strangers to demand sweets, ‘trick or treating”. Halloween has become a secular holiday, perceived as harmless fun, an opportunity to engage in shared community activities. We have forgotten the significance of the 2000 year old Celtic pagan origins which were a celebration of naturals cycles; a thanksgiving for harvest in preparation for the coming of winter, but one which marked the division between the spirit world and our own.
Halloween has its roots in Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) the Celtic festival celebrated on November 1st, the day which marked the seasonal division of the year between light and darkness. The Celts followed a lunar calendar and festivities began on the eve before, October 31st. It was believed that on this night the veils between the worlds was thinned making communication with departed souls easier. Deceased family and friends were remembered and honoured on this day; this day unfortunately also allowed other malevolent entities, of the spirit world to cross over into the physical. Bonfires were lit with torchlight processions of masked revellers. Costumes depicting the beings who inhabit the underworld were worn as a means of disguise in the hope that unfriendly spirits they might meet would be tricked into believing they were ghosts, ghouls, goblins etc.
The later Christian association comes from the 7th century when All Saints Day was established by Pope Boniface lV to honour the departed saints of the church. Initially observed on May 13th. the feast day was moved to November 1st by Pope Gregory 111 inthe 9th century supposedly in an effort to integrate pre Christian pagan calendars. October 31st was then designated All Hallows Eve (eventually Halloween) a time to pray for the souls of the departed who had not yet entered heaven. Later still pagan ritual was modified to a more acceptable form, children would dress up and go from door to door asking for ‘soul cakes’ in return for praying for the departed souls, the origin of ‘trick or treat’. The combination of pagan/Christian origins continues today in the more extreme form as in Mexico’s “Los Dias de los Muertos” (The Days of the Dead) when souls are invited to step over the threshold.
What we might ask has this got to do with a 21st century secular holiday? For the atheist or for those who consider a belief in the paranormal to be nothing more than the remnant of superstition …. the answer is ‘Nothing’. Others retain if not a conviction then a healthy respect for the possibility that we are a soul with a body rather than simply a body with a mind. Halloween provides an opportunity to pause to consider the potential dimensions beyond the physical realm and those who may inhabit them.
White witchcraft or ritualized magic is the belief in the manipulation of natural forces for benevolent purposes eg healing, it has millions of adherents throughout the world.Today white witches continue to celebrate Samhain a major pagan religious festival on November 1st, commencing on 31st October. Confusion has arisen regarding the association of Halloween with pagan Sabats, (Sabbaths) sacred days. This resulted from the infamous medieval persecution by the Christian church towards those they regarded as heretics. These included women accused of practicing witchcraft or ritualized ‘magic’. In medieval Europe and beyond when hundreds of thousands, mainly women, were incarcerated, tortured and often put to death for practicing herbalism and the healing arts. (witch means ‘wise woman’)
There is another form of ritualized magic which is far from benevolent. Satanism is a perversion of the healing arts, the worship of the ‘devil’ (deified evil) as a personification of the ego, which denies God in any form, elevating man as the supreme expression of consciousness. The anti Christ focus of the ‘black mass’ inverts the symbolism and artifacts of the Christian mass as a means of magnifying and directing cosmic forces. Satanic ritual has historically involved both human and animal sacrifice which continues among some adherents today, it has been linked to human trafficking, particularly of children. No surprise then that Halloween remains an important date in their calendar.
It is for each of us to decide whether or not we believe in supernatural forces or a spirit world. If we do,we must surely question whether or not the festival of Halloween potentially opens a portal between the worlds as our ancestors believed. Our allegiance inevitably reflects our spiritual beliefs, or lack of them. We have the choice to align to positive or negative force fields and aspects of consciousness and also to reject them. As in all things decision requires informed choice. Ignorance is not bliss ….it simply makes us vulnerable. Before we send our children out to have fun, dressed as vampires, ghouls and devils we might pause to consider the astral forces which do not dissolve, simply because we do not believe in their existence. For those with clairvoyant vision entities are all too real and operate in accordance with natural law – ‘like attracts like’. This might help us decide what costume we might choose to dress our child in.
The increased awareness that consciousness is multi dimensional leads us to a fascinating study of paranormal realms and spheres and the journey of the soul. To be of value it should be more than an academic study, the knowledge should be applied. Just as we would not allow our children to venture out alone and unprotected in every day life, we should not invite the attention of those whose motives and intentions may be questionable – whether they reside in this world or another.
‘There are more things in heaven and Earth Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy’ William Shakespeare
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