Spooky. Fun. Innocent.
Are those the words you would use to describe Halloween? If so, buckle up, because have I got a wake up call for you! Do you think of Halloween as a fun time, one night a year, where you can leave yourself behind and dress up as something spooky or sexy and deviate from the norm? A witch, a ghost, or something kooky like a jack-o-lantern?
However, do you ever stop and wonder where exactly it is that these themes originate from? Many of the present day Halloween customs have evolved from the practices and rituals of the ancient Celtic people. From 200 BC to 200 AD. these people were wholly involved in an organized religion called Druidism.
Druid priests were sourcers, spellbinders, and seers who foretold the future and taught that souls do not die. They instructed that good souls would be automatically reincarnated into the bodies of newborns and small children and that bad souls would be sent to occupy the bodies of animals. October 31st honored the sun god Samhain and was one of the most celebrated feasts of the year. The Celtic new year began on Nov. 1st and the day of Samhain seemed to belong neither to the old year, nor the new. The Druids believed that evil spirits could be saved by gifts and sacrifices to Samhain, who had theauthority to decide in what form their existence would continue. Meaning they believed Samhain would decide if they were to return as humans or in the form of an animal and that on this one night a year, the veil between the living and the dead thinned just enough to have their requests heard and granted. The Druid priest would also choose a home in which a virginal sacrifice must be produced. If the sacrifice was not offered to them a massive hexagram would be drawn on the door of the home in blood so that the spirits would know who was to blame. Usually, the people inside would be slaughtered by the hands of the priests themselves. The sacrifices were atrocious. Horses were burned as they were sacred to the sun god. Other animals such as black cats were also thrown into the fire, for it was believed that they were witches who had been sent back in animal form. But for Samhain “Lord of the Dead” humans were sacrificed. Men would be bound and locked into wicker and thatch cages built into the shapes of animals or giants and put into the scorching fires. By watching them burn, and observing how they died, the priest were able to see the future. Apart from the sacrificial fires, other vast bonfires were built as well. They could be seen on hill tops and in the villages. These fires were ignited to reinvigorate the sun and to guide the “good” spirits on their journey as well as banish the “evil” ones.
Huge buffets of every harvested food imaginable were prepared for the spirits in hopes they would be contented.
Also in hopes that they would help with the magical spells and curses invoked during the feast. Afterwards the villagers, in costumes and masks, would lead the spirits away from town. It is these masks and costumes that have been passed down to the children who go from house to house for the offerings that once belonged to the dead, and play small malicious tricks on those that would refuse them. THE POWERS OF DARKNESS!!!!
Although the formal Druid religion eventually died down, it’s beliefs and rights were passed down by groups of people throughout the centuries. One of these, the worship of the horned god was continued by the wicca or witches across Europe. Witches sabbaths were held several times a year with the main celebration on Oct. 31st. It celebrates the coming of the winter months. Witch feast is when spirits are more susceptible to interrogation. They are forced to answer questions and some can prophesy. Witches usually wear masks at this sabbath. Even when main clans celebrate separately, spies will infiltrate. If detected, the spies are slain, and their blood and bone taken for dark magics. Much of the Halloween folklore of today such as black cats, cauldrons, broomsticks, and spells come from the Black Sabbath.
Just like the Druid priests who went door to door looking for a sacrificial virgin, witches have their own dark history. They were believed to be the wives of Satan himself who practiced cannibalistic infanticide and danced naked in the woods during their ritualistic orgies. They were often accused of stealing the children from villages to make offerings to their dark lord and to use the remains in their potions and spells. And this is celebrated by God fearing Christians?!?
The third precursor to Halloween goes back to the early Roman Catholic Church. The church had appointed certain days to honor each saint and basically ran out of days in the year for all their saints to have a day, so they decided to have one day to remember all the saints. They called it “All Saints’ Day” In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III changed All Saints’ Day from May 13th to November 1st, and in the year 834 Pope Gregory IV extended this celebration to the entire Roman Church. This event was called Allhallowmass, and as you might suppose, there was a celebration the night before on October 31st called All Hallow E’en. All hallow meaning all of the hallowed ones and as you might have already guessed the contraction of “Hallow” and “E’en” is where the word Halloween was derived.
Where did the jack-o-lantern originate?
The carved pumpkin may have originated with the witches’ use of a collection of skulls with a candle in each to light the way to coven meetings. But among the Irish, who, as noted, prompted the popularization of Halloween in America, the legend of “Irish Jack” explains the jack-o’-lantern. According to the legend, a stingy drunk named Jack tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree for an apple, but then cut the sign of a cross into the trunk of the tree to prevent the devil from coming down. Jack then forced the devil to swear he would never come after Jack’s soul. The devil reluctantly agreed.
Jack eventually died, but he was turned away at the gates of heaven because of his drunkenness and life of selfishness. He was sent to the devil, who also rejected him, keeping his promise. Since Jack had no place to go, he was condemned to wander the earth. As he was leaving hell (he happened to be eating a turnip), the devil threw a live coal at him. He put the coal inside the turnip and has since forever been roaming the earth with his “jack-o’-lantern” in search of a place to rest. Eventually, pumpkins replaced turnips since it was much easier to symbolize the devil’s coal inside a pumpkin.
I hope my research will enable you to familiarize yourself with the ways the occult uses our own ignorance against us.
Your sister in Christ, Jennifer.