|Early Druid Bone-fire|
Recent archaeological evidence suggests that Druids committed cannibalism and ritual human sacrifice. 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."
"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."
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." 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."
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."
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." - 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."
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."
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."
And consider a J.K. Rowling quote: "Is evil attractive? Yes, I think that's very true."
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.
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..." 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.
 National Geographic, Druids Committed Human Sacrifice, Cannibalism?
 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
 CNN - My Faith: Reclaiming Halloween's religious roots, http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/31/my-faith-reclaiming-halloweens-religious-roots/
 Encyclopedia Britannica, Samhain, http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/520460/Samhain
 Exploring Creation, Halloween Origins, History, and Holiday Traditions, http://www.exploringcreation.info/tradition/halloween.htm
 Church of Satan, Holidays, http://www.churchofsatan.com/Pages/_FAQ09.html
 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
 Wikipedia, Mount Zion Christian School. Fall Harvest Festival, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Zion_Christian_Schools_(Manchester,_New_Hampshire)
 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