October 22, 2013

Experts: Pagans Celebrate Halloween Today as Religious Holiday

Early Druid Bone-fire
No one would likely argue against the fact that Halloween traditions have been passed down from ancient Druid and Wiccan practices. The question is, Once you are familiar with the true religious roots of Halloween and the manner in which Satanists, Wiccans and Pagans honor it and celebrate it today, would you really want to support it?

Recent archaeological evidence suggests that Druids committed cannibalism and ritual human sacrifice.[1] And the manner of which human bones have been discovered suggests this occurred on a wide scale, such as described, "...mass of bone that was just dumped in a mass like broken up Weetabix at the bottom of this pit,"

These types of accounts add weight to Julius Caesar's accounts, such as a described "wicker man," a huge wicker human effigy used by the ancient Druids for burning large quantities of human sacrifices in order to appease their gods. There is a theory today that Druid sacrifices increased as the Roman armies advanced and gained advantage.

According to a Digital Journal post, Wicca is America's fastest growing religion. Based on past research, Wicca grew an average annual growth of 143% for the period 1990 to 2001. According to The Statesman Anne Elizabeth Wynn claims "The two most recent American Religious Identification Surveys declare Wicca, one form of paganism, as the fastest growing spiritual identification in America". The "Free Press Release Distribution Service" claims Wicca is one of the fastest growing religions in the United States as well." OK, now guess what one of the most popular holiday dates for Wiccans is? You guessed it, October 31.

1. The U.S. Army defines October 31st as a religious holiday:

Mitch Horowitz describes how close to home the religious symbolism of Halloween hits: "If you want to watch the night of goblins and ghosties morph into a serious and historically grounded religious observance, look no further than the U.S. military."[2]

"The Handbook specifies October 31st—which it calls by the traditional names of “Samhain, Sowyn, or Hallows”—as a major festival or “Sabbat” for Wiccans. The original Celtic holiday became bound up with the Christian “All Saints’ Day” or “All Hallow’s Eve” during the Middle Ages. But twenty-first century Wiccans see it as a deeply rooted celebration of nature and ancestors."[3]

The Military has noted a steady increase in Wiccan faith in the armed services: "In 2005, the Pentagon counted religious preferences in the Air Force and discovered more than 1,800 active-service, self-identified Wiccans within that branch."[4] Many of the ancient and present practices related to October 31st celebrations can be traced directly to many of the identified and classified faiths: "The U.S. Military Personnel System recognizes seven nature-based faiths: Pagan, Wiccan, Druid, Shaman, Dianic Wicca, Gardnerian Wicca, and Seax Wicca."

2. Expert Wiccan Christine Hoff Kraemer defines Halloween as a religious holiday

Special contributor to CNN, Christine Hoff Kraemer, who is managing editor of the Patheos.com Pagan Channel and an instructor in Theology and Religious History at Cherry Hill Seminary, states,

"As a Pagan, I gather with friends and family on or near the night of October 31 to tell stories of our deceased loved ones. My beloved dead continue to teach me through the stories of their lives."[5]

In her CNN post, she states, "So it may surprise you to learn that the roots of Halloween are religious. In fact, for Americans who practice contemporary Paganism, Halloween is one of the two most important religious holidays of the year. Known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-un), the holiday is modeled after the ancient Celtic festival that marked the beginning of winter."[6]

Christine describes how the holiday was relayed into the present thank to Christians, who not exactly following the tenets of scripture, by the way. Whether you consider it Pagan or Catholic, they both represent specific religious faiths.

3. History documents how Halloween traditions and symbols have religious meaning

"Samhain, also spelled Samain ,  (Celtic: “End of Summer”), one of the most important and sinister calendar festivals of the Celtic year. At Samhain, held on November 1, the world of the gods was believed to be made visible to mankind, and the gods played many tricks on their mortal worshipers; it was a time fraught with danger, charged with fear, and full of supernatural episodes. Sacrifices and propitiations of every kind were thought to be vital, for without them the Celts believed they could not prevail over the perils of the season or counteract the activities of the deities. Samhain was an important precursor to Halloween."[7] - Encyclopedia Britannica

History experts, such as Todd Elder, summarize how "Wicca (Witchcraft), Pagan, and Neo-Pagan groups ...continue to perform these ancient rituals with their full occult knowledge and purposes including divination, spell casting, and even blood sacrifices. Halloween is considered the end of the year and a festival of the dead. It is also regarded as the best time for contacting the dead."[8]

Of the many "harmless" symbols used at schools and secular locations, bats are important symbols on Halloween. First, they were apparently abundant at the Druid bonfires where the flames attracted inspects and bats came to feed. Second, they operate at night by use of radar, which is neither sight nor sound, but another means of navigation which can symbolize the unseen spiritual dimension. Third, bats, and all animals, have been thought to possess spirits that maybe  be transferred into people, as described in the Encyclopedia of Wicca. Fourth, vampire bats are known to drink blood, a practice associated with both Satanists and Wiccans.

4. Wiccan religious texts and ceremonies advocate such practices as drinking human blood.

The following hand-fasting blood-drinking Wiccan ceremony is from a website on Wiccan courses:

"Couple consecrate wine & bread as follows:
HPS fills chalice with red wine.
HP holds needle over flame to sterilize, prick finger of G and B in turn to put a drop of blood from each into the chalice.
HP hold athame in the wine and say: "Old ones bless this wine, infuse it with your love.", B and G take a sip each."

http://isle-of-avalon.com/wicca/handfas1.htm


A wedding resource website describes this tradition:
  
"One wedding tradition reported that the bride and groom's wrists were pricked and their hands tied, their mingling blood symbolic of the joining of their two hearts. During the night of the Beltane, courting couples collect branches, wearing flower garlands, which could be incorporated into a Wiccan wedding." http://weddings.weddingchannel.com/wedding-planning-ideas/wedding-ceremony-ideas/articles/religious-traditions-wicca.aspx

Jim Morrison of The Doors drank blood in a Wiccan hand-fasting marriage ceremony. Mrs. Morrison said, "there were ceremonial cuts upon himself in the handfasting. (Page 383, Strange Days) In this pagan, some say demonic, ceremony they used a dagger to cut themselves. In Mrs. Morrison's words, I make two tiny cuts on the inside of my left wrist, carefully over the bone; we don't want to slice any arteries here. and "blood wells up immediately." (Page 172) Her and Jim Morrison then mix their blood. (Page173)

Patricia Keneally-Morrison, who played herself in a movie on the same subject, stated, "they cut each other's wrists and drink some blood" and "its what real witches do." (Page 379, Strange Days) She has furthermore said that there was "an accusation that she killed Jim by witchcraft" in Morrison biographies. (Page 403, Strange Days)

England is well-known for its heightened occult activity. A German woman learned the art of vampirism and drinking blood while visiting London. She now faces life in prison, having been busted for killing a "friend" and drinking his blood. "Returning to Germany she began to give substance to her sinister fantasies. She started to mix with people who went to graveyards at night where they would "have a perfectly normal chat and drink some blood". The blood came from donors contacted on the internet.  he also learned how to suck blood from another person's neck without penetrating the artery. And she had two of her teeth removed and replaced with long animal fangs."

5. Pagans and Satanists often see Halloween as a gateway holiday.

Satanists, Pagans and occultists in general will often admit that Halloween serves as a kind of gateway into heightened occult interest. A former Wiccan, Kimberly McRae, offers her opinion:
  
"The lure of the Occult is a powerful tool used by Satan to draw young people and adults to him. Halloween, Samhain, is the most sacred holiday for Wiccans and should not be celebrated by Christians."
   
At the Church of Satan website, we have a little inside look into the influential allure of Halloween
 
"Satanists embrace what this holiday has become, and do not feel the need to be tied to ancient practices. This night, we smile at the amateur explorers of their own inner darkness, for we know that they enjoy their brief dip into the pool of the “shadow world.” We encourage their tenebrous fantasies, the candied indulgence, and the wide-ranging evocation of our aesthetics (while tolerating some of the chintzy versions), even if it is but once a year."[9]

And consider a J.K. Rowling quote: "Is evil attractive? Yes, I think that's very true."[10]

Christians will also point out this allure of evil: "But I do see Halloween for what it is – a candy-coated introduction to evil as cool."

Some Wiccan websites are set up for the stated purpose of downplaying the more bizarre practices associated with their beliefs. And Wiccan websites that do display bizarre Wiccan traditions will offer a warning in advance, such as this one:

"WARNING - This document is part of the esoteric teaching of the Wiccan priesthood. The occult nature may offend persons who chance upon it. Keep print-outs safe. Persons reading this document do so at their own risk. - If you came to this module via a link or a search engine and would like the rest of the course please go to Introduction to Wicca - INITIATION - Stepping stones to the Grail.

http://isle-of-avalon.com/wicca/handfas1.htm
  

6. Conscientious schools choose to celebrate a "Harvest Festival" or "Fall Festival" instead.

Perhaps for legal reasons, perhaps preferring healthier alternatives to gorging on high-fructose GE junk candy and celebrating fear, darkness and death, or, perhaps recognizing the Pagan and dark religious themes associated with Halloween, many private, public and charter schools have been renaming the holiday and redirecting the focus. Here's a private school example,  "The first quarter is celebrated with a Fall Festival where students participate in Harvest games..."[11] And here is a NY public school moving to do the same: Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools  FALL HARVEST FESTIVAL Sunday, October 30, 2011 • 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm • Woodmere Middle School.[12]

References

[1] National Geographic, Druids Committed Human Sacrifice, Cannibalism?
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090320-druids-sacrifice-cannibalism.html
[2] bigthink.com - Halloween as a Religious Holiday? You Better Believe It, Soldier, http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/halloween-as-a-religious-holiday-you-better-believe-it-soldier
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] CNN - My Faith: Reclaiming Halloween's religious roots, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/31/my-faith-reclaiming-halloweens-religious-roots/
[6] Ibid.
[7] Encyclopedia Britannica, Samhain, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/520460/Samhain
[8] Exploring Creation,  Halloween Origins, History, and Holiday Traditions, http://www.exploringcreation.info/tradition/halloween.htm
[9] Church of Satan, Holidays, http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/_FAQ09.html
[10] Quote originally sourced at a Time interview: http://www.time.com/time/pacific/magazine/20001030/potter.html - now reference saved for posterity at Crossroad: "A Conversation with J.K. Rowling - A Good Scare: The wizard of Harry Potter explains what kids need to know of the dark side," TIME, October 30, 2000, http://www.crossroad.to/articles2/Halloween2000.html#1
[11] Wikipedia, Mount Zion Christian School. Fall Harvest Festival, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Zion_Christian_Schools_(Manchester,_New_Hampshire)
[12] Hewlett-Woodmere Public Schools  Fall Harvest Festival,  http://www.hwpsef.org/harvest/


Tags: Halloween is religious, Halloween as gateway drug, Halloween gateway holiday, J.K. Rowling quote on alluring evil, Halloween symbols, meaning of Halloween symbols, Wiccans drink blood, Satanists drink blood

12 comments:

  1. I notice throughout this article you try and conflate Pagans and Satanists.

    You do realize that's a bigger stretch than conflating Jews, Christians, and Muslims, right? At least those three religions agree on *some* elements of scriptural commonality.

    Would you argue that "Take, eat, this is my body' is a gateway to cannibalism? That's the kind of leap you're trying to make here, in your scaremongering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Moh, "throughout this article"??? - The only places the word "Satanist" is mentioned are the into and point #4.

      Because Satanism is mentioned in one of 5 points, then mentioning it in the intro is justified. The point where it is mentioned does not conflate the rituals or beliefs of the two, but the fact that participation in Halloween maybe seen as an enticing invitation to learn more about these beliefs and the occult in general.

      Even if your claim that I am conflating issues were valid, you have not made a very strong point:

      "Would you argue that "Take, eat, this is my body' is a gateway to cannibalism? That's the kind of leap you're trying to make here, in your scaremongering."

      Few if any Christians believe Jesus and the disciples literally drank blood at the last supper. The wine they drank was a metaphor of his sacrifice. However, it is well known that some Wiccans have and still do practice "hand-fasting" ceremonies wherein they drink each others literal blood. Jim Morrison's hand-fasting ceremony is a documented example:

      Mrs. Morrison said, "there were ceremonial cuts upon himself in the handfasting. (Page 383, Strange Days) In this pagan, some say demonic, ceremony they used a dagger to cut themselves. In Mrs. Morrison's words, I make two tiny cuts on the inside of my left wrist, carefully over the bone; we don't want to slice any arteries here. and "blood wells up immediately." (Page 172) Her and Jim Morrison then mix their blood. (Page173)

      Patricia Keneally-Morrison, who played herself in a movie on the same subject, stated, "they cut each other's wrists and drink some blood" and "its what real witches do." (Page 379, Strange Days) She furthermore said that there was "an accusation that she killed Jim by witchcraft" in Morrison biographies. (Page 403, Strange Days)

      http://truelegends.info/amityville/doors.htm

      Delete
    2. Let's see; you start by saying " Pagans and Satanists often see Halloween as a gateway holiday.", with a link to the Church of Satan. You then cite one Satanic source, one fiction writer, and one Christian -- oh, and you added a quote that explicitly conflates "pagan" and "demonic". I'd call that conflation.

      Few if any Christians believe Jesus and the disciples literally drank blood at the last supper.

      You are familiar with the doctrine of Transubstantiation, yes? Or are you saying Catholics and Eastern Orthodox aren't Christian?

      (And if you are, then your conflating "pagan", "Wiccan", and "Satanist" is even *more* ridiculous.)

      Someone trying to have a reasonable discussion about religion wouldn't lump Satanism (functionally a Christian heresy) in with Paganism. Like I said (and you didn't answer) it's like saying all the religions of the book are really the same, so what you say about one applies to the others.


      Delete
    3. Oh, and while we're at it:
      http://wicca.cnbeyer.com/wicca101/do-wiccans-have-to.shtml

      So, stop trying to proclaim blood drinking as required, or standard practice. Again, to use the metaphor, it's like saying Christians are snake-handlers.

      Delete
    4. >You are familiar with the doctrine of Transubstantiation, yes? Or are you saying Catholics and Eastern Orthodox aren't Christian?

      - Yes, According to their theory of Transubstantiation, the bread and wine are not fully changed:

      "...while all that is accessible to the senses (the outward appearances - species[4][5][6] in Latin) remains unchanged."

      So, no literal drinking of blood as far as the material world is concerned (what they see, taste and touch).

      However, in the Jim Morrison case noted and in the Satanist case I inserted into the same section, the drinking of blood is literal and the use of bats is a ubiquitous symbol on Halloween which has a connection to the drinking of blood by virtue of the vampire bat. Decorations of bats, witches, goblins, magic... all nice little candy coated introductions into the occult. If you refuse to acknowledge that plain fact, there is no point in attempting to try and reason with you on this point.

      >(And if you are, then your conflating "pagan", "Wiccan", and "Satanist" is even *more* ridiculous.)

      - For former Wiccans who understand the reality of Satan, this is not an arbitrary conflation but a case of causation.

      >Someone trying to have a reasonable discussion about religion wouldn't lump Satanism (functionally a Christian heresy) in with Paganism

      - It appears that you only desire to discuss the topic through your limited understanding of the deeper spiritual reality and perhaps it bothers you that there is evidence that your view is not accurate.

      Do you deny that Jim Morrison drank blood in a Wiccan ceremony? Do you deny that Satanists today are known to drink blood as well?

      Delete
    5. "...while all that is accessible to the senses (the outward appearances - species[4][5][6] in Latin) remains unchanged."

      In the article about Venn diagrams and true Christians, you talked a lot about changes and evidence that couldn't be seen -- as if they were real.

      Yet here, when a change is supposed to happen you can't see, you're saying it's not real.

      You're contradicting yourself.

      However, in the Jim Morrison case noted and in the Satanist case I inserted into the same section,

      Did you bother to look at the link I posted?

      Decorations of bats, witches, goblins, magic... all nice little candy coated introductions into the occult. If you refuse to acknowledge that plain fact, there is no point in attempting to try and reason with you on this point.

      You see, here's part of your problem, writ large: You're lumping in two very different things -- Satanism, a Christian heresy, and Paganism -- under the big blanket of "the occult", a constructed category.

      I'm not saying "No pagan has ever engaged in blood-drinking"; that's not the same as saying "Pagans drink blood" -- do you see?

      - For former Wiccans who understand the reality of Satan, this is not an arbitrary conflation but a case of causation.

      Did it ever occur to you that ex-Wiccan converts to Christianity might not be the most unbiased witnesses on the subject? Considering the lengthy history of falsifications in the ex-Satanist realm (viz. Mike Warnke: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Warnke), anything they say has to be taken with a grain of salt. Would you accept as truth the opinions of atheists who were raised religious on the truth of Christianity? I suspect not.

      - It appears that you only desire to discuss the topic through your limited understanding of the deeper spiritual reality

      All of us have a "limited understanding". I do, you do -- we all do. None of us is omniscient. But

      Do you deny that Jim Morrison drank blood in a Wiccan ceremony? Do you deny that Satanists today are known to drink blood as well?

      As I said before, these questions are like saying "Do you deny that snake handlers are Christians?" and then going on to assert that therefore, Christians are snake handlers.

      Delete

    6. >You're contradicting yourself.

      No, I tend tend to take a logical approach towards interpreting scripture. There are reasons why certain denominations have chosen interpretations which support their desire for more control over their flock, but the reasoning behind such interpretations is not strong. For example, when Jesus said "You must be born again" by The Spirit, he said there would be outward visible evidence of this spiritual transformation. The Catholic church does not teach it is possible to have salvation outside the Catholic church, therefore they have avoided this important aspect of being born again.

      In the case of their transubstantiation view, there is no visible evidence or strong scriptural support for their position. Jesus never implied his statement was anything but a metaphor. 1 Corinithians 11.24 outlines the purpose of the Lord's Supper: a timer of remembrance when God's grace is imparted to believers who simply take part in the communion: Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of me." When Jesus take, "Take, eat, this is my body" He did not rip off a part of his arm to feed people. He was offering a remembrance of his sacrifice on the cross for eternal life. When Jesus said, "You are my sheep" he did not imply that Christians have the DNA of sheep. But this is the kind of stretch the Catholics have made and there is no logical support for it, other than an effectual means of attempting to control people by trying to monopolize the distribution of the sacraments.

      As far as Wiccan handfasting is concerned, the tradition of drinking blood is not a secret and is listed at wedding resource webpages: "One wedding tradition reported that the bride and groom's wrists were pricked and their hands tied, their mingling blood symbolic of the joining of their two hearts. During the night of the Beltane, courting couples collect branches, wearing flower garlands, which could be incorporated into a Wiccan wedding." http://weddings.weddingchannel.com/wedding-planning-ideas/wedding-ceremony-ideas/articles/religious-traditions-wicca.aspx

      Delete
    7. Moh, you offered a link to Wiccan commentary. Let's look at some actual text prepared for a Wiccan ceremony:

      "Couple consecrate wine & bread as follows:
      HPS fills chalice with red wine.
      HP holds needle over flame to sterilize, prick finger of G and B in turn to put a drop of blood from each into the chalice.
      HP hold athame in the wine and say: "Old ones bless this wine, infuse it with your love.", B and G take a sip each."

      http://isle-of-avalon.com/wicca/handfas1.htm

      Which holds more efficacy, a website where the stated purpose is to prevent prejudice agains Wiccans, or a text which specifically describes the acts in a Wiccan ceremony and contains "Wiccan courses" for teaching the practices of Wicca?

      The fact is, Wiccans are a bit paranoid that non-wiccans will read about what they actually do. The following is an into into Wiccan innitiations:

      "WARNING - This document is part of the esoteric teaching of the Wiccan priesthood. The occult nature may offend persons who chance upon it. Keep print-outs safe. Persons reading this document do so at their own risk. - If you came to this module via a link or a search engine and would like the rest of the course please go to Introduction to Wicca - INITIATION - Stepping stones to the Grail.

      http://isle-of-avalon.com/wicca/handfas1.htm

      Delete
    8. It's pretty clear, you're hopeless on this point. You deny Catholics Christianity, based on your standards, but then go on to say: "Which holds more efficacy, a website where the stated purpose is to prevent prejudice agains Wiccans, or a text which specifically describes the acts in a Wiccan ceremony and contains "Wiccan courses" for teaching the practices of Wicca?"

      The answer is -- they're both representative of *some* parts of the religion. Just as with Christianity, there are people with different beliefs under the same larger tent.

      By saying "Wiccans believe X", you're trying to lump them all together. You can see, in front of you, evidence that they don't all believe the same thing -- yet you insist that only one part can be trusted.

      Similarly, you seem intent on saying you know what it means to be Christian, and all those other people who say they're Christian are doing it wrong.

      Oh, and you write: "The fact is, Wiccans are a bit paranoid that non-wiccans will read about what they actually do. "

      I wonder why, when there are people like you around conflating them with Satanists and implying that they're evil.

      I wonder why, considering that in most places until very recently, if even now, while it might be unconstitutional to discriminate against Wiccans, that doesn't mean it didn't happen all the time.

      Considering that Wiccan shrines are often desecrated by Christians (see the Air Force Academy), I can't imagine why Wiccans might not be paranoid.

      Heck -- *Christians* were paranoid about their beliefs and views being known back when they were actually being persecuted, thousands of years ago. Why should this be any different?

      Delete
    9. >You deny Catholics Christianity, based on your standards,

      - No, I am sure that there are many Catholics who are true believers, and there are many Protestants who are not true believers.

      No matter what the doctrine in certain areas. scripture highlights the importance of a personal relationship with Christ. See Matthew 7.22-23:

      "On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you."

      Many Catholics know Christ and have been born again through the word of God and through sincere faith, even though they may not use that terminology.

      Many times, Jesus uses plants as metaphors for spiritual conditions and spiritual growth, implying that there are visible signs:

      Matthew 7.16-20: "You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions."

      Though we can see signs of spiritual conditions, there is a danger of being over-confident in such, as noted in the parable of the weeds:

      The Parable of the Weeds

      24Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

      27“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

      28“ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

      “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

      29“ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ” (Matthew 13.24-30)

      Delete
  2. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that Druids committed cannibalism and ritual human sacrifice.

    And plenty of historical evidence suggests that Christians have engaged in genocide, yet the U.S. Government allows Easter as a religious holiday.

    Your point?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The point of the above post was not to imply that the Holiday of Halloween should be illegal. Although, considering all it entails, it is legally dubious to allow school-time Halloween parades and parties in public schools.

      Delete

You are welcome to post on-topic comments but, please, no uncivilized blog abuse or spamming. Thank you!