Halloween: An Invitation to the Occult

Halloween, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, is a yearly holiday observed around the world on October 31st, the eve before the Western Christian feast of All Hallows. According to some scholars, All Hallows’ Eve initially incorporated traditions from pagan harvest festivals and festivals honoring the dead, particularly the Celtic Samhain; other scholars maintain that the feast originated entirely independently of Samhain.

Typical festive Halloween activities include trick-or-treating (also known as “guising“), attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, lighting bonfiresapple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films, as well as the religious observances of prayingfasting and attending vigils or church services.

All Saints’ Day (in the Roman Catholic Church officially the  and also called All Hallows or Hallowmas), often shortened to All Saints, is a solemnity celebrated on 1 November by parts of Western Christianity, and on the first Sunday after Pentecost in Eastern Christianity, in honour of all the saints, known and unknown. In the Western calendar it is the day after Halloween and the day before All Souls’ Day.

In Western Christian theology, the day commemorates all those who have attained the beatific vision in Heaven. It is a  national holiday in many historically Catholic countries. In the Catholic Church and many Anglican churches, the next day specifically commemorates the departed faithful who have not yet been purified and reached heaven. Christians who celebrate All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day do so in the fundamental belief that there is a prayerful spiritual bond between those in purgatory (the ‘Church Suffering‘), those in heaven (the ‘church triumphant‘), and the living (the ‘church militant‘). Other Christian traditions define, remember and respond to the saints in different ways; for example, in the Methodist Church, the word “saints” refers to all Christians and therefore, on All Saint’s Day, the Church Universal, as well as the deceased members of a local congregation, are honoured and remembered.

Samhain is a Gaelic harvest festival held on October 31–November 1. It was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and was popularized as the “Celtic New Year” from the late 19th century, following Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer. The date of Samhain was later associated with the Catholic All Saints’ Day (and later All Souls’ Day) from at least the 8th century, and both the Gaelic and the Catholic liturgical festival have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween.

The medieval Goidelic festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”. It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead.Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames.

Samhain is celebrated as a religious festival by some neopagans.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
(James 4:7 ESV)

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
(Isaiah 5:20 ESV)

The Healing Power of Trees

“We are healers. You are healers. All life is sacred, as is our connection to you and you to us. Wake up, humankind and take up your rightful place and heritage in the holy scheme of nature. We are not separate and have never been so. Paradise exists right here and right now. Paradise is this planet in it’s beauty and perfection. We invite you to become one with us and recognize the perfection that you are and that we are. Remember, in protecting the Tree People, you are protecting your own species and all of life. This is what you are to do. This is your stewardship.”
(Sharyn Hidalgo)

Sharyn Hidalgo wrote a book called “The Healing Power of Trees: Spiritual Journeys Through the Celtic Tree Calendar” and also has a New Age website called “Metaphysical Supplies for Myth, Ritual and Centered Living.”

Her website says. “From the birch to the willow, Sharlyn Hidalgo invites you to walk in the footsteps of the druids and enrich your life with the sacred power of trees. This wise and inspiring book will introduce you to all fifteen revered trees of the Celtic Tree Calendar and their unique gifts of healing, guidance, and higher consciousness.”

“Progress through the calendar in sequence or choose a particular month to cultivate a relationship with these majestic spirits of nature. Perform guided meditations and go on journeys to discover the totems, guides, and deities corresponding to each species. Travel through the Wheel of the Year and learn about each tree’s astrology, ruling planets, rune symbol, and ogham, its letter of the Celtic tree alphabet.”

“The Healing Power of Trees is your guide to living the principles of the Celtic tradition, tuning in to the rhythms of nature, respecting the land, and fulfilling your role as a steward of the earth.”

The Wheel of the Year in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere these festivals are commonly shifted by six months to match the local seasons. The festivals listed are of Satanic, Wiccan and pagan origin.

Her biography says.”Sharlyn Hidalgo (Seattle, WA) has been a practicing astrologer, dream interpreter, and tarot reader for over twenty years. She teaches classes on the Egyptian Mysteries and the Celtic Tree Calendar, practices Alchemical Healing, and has worked as a psychotherapist in agencies and private practice.Includes information on all 25 ogham letters, Celtic holidays, and how to conduct a tree-honoring ceremony.

Her writings have apparently inspired a movie that is currently in production called TreeStory.

A druid was a member of the priestly class in Britain, Ireland, and Gaul (France), and possibly other parts of Celtic Europe and Galatia during the Iron Age and even farther back. Very little is known about the ancient druids. They left no written accounts about themselves and the only evidence is a few descriptions left by Greek, Roman and various scattered authors and artists, also stories created by later medieval Irish writers,.While archaeological evidence has been uncovered pertaining to the religious practices of the Iron Age people, “not one single artefact or image has been unearthed that can undoubtedly be connected with the ancient Druids.” Various recurring themes emerge in a number of the Greco-Roman accounts of the druids, including that they performed human sacrifice, believed in a form of reincarnation, and that they held a high position in Gaulish society. Ancient pieces of literature also report homosexual activity and homo-eroticism taking place within Druid life, especially within the warrior subculture, but there is little other evidence to support this. Next to nothing is known about their cultic practice, except for the ritual of oak and mistletoe as described by Pliny the Elder.

The earliest known reference to the druids dates to 200 BCE, although the oldest actual description comes from the Roman military general Julius Caesar in his “Commentarii de Bello Gallico (50s BCE). Later Greco-Roman writers also described the druids, including Cicero, Tacitus and Pliny the Elder.Following the invasion of Gaul by the Roman Empire, druidism was suppressed by the Roman government under the 1st-century emperors Tiberius and Claudius, and it disappeared from the written record by the 2nd century.

In about 750 CE the word druid appears in a poem by Blathmac, who wrote about Jesus saying that he was “…better than a prophet, more knowledgeable than every druid, a king who was a bishop and a complete sage. The druids then also appear in some of the medieval tales from Christianised Ireland like the Táin Bó Cúailnge, where they are largely portrayed as sorcerers who opposed the coming of Christianity. In the wake of the Celtic revival during the 18th and 19th centuries, fraternal and Neopagan groups were founded based upon the ideas about the ancient druids, a movement which is known as Neo-Druidism.

  • According to historian Ronald Hutton, “we can know virtually nothing of certainty about the ancient Druids, so that, although they certainly existed, they function more or less as legendary figures.However, the sources provided about them by ancient and medieval writers, coupled with archaeological evidence, can give us an idea of what they might have performed as a part of their religious duties.
There is archaeological evidence from western Europe that has been widely used to back up the idea that human sacrifice was performed by the Iron Age Celts. Mass graves found in a ritual context dating from this period have been unearthed in Gaul, at both Gournay-sur-Aronde and Ribemont-sur-Ancre in what was the region of the Belgae chiefdom. The excavator of these sites, Jean-Louis Brunaux, interpreted them as areas of human sacrifice in devotion to a war god, although this view was criticised by another archaeologist, Martin Brown, who believed that the corpses might be those of honoured warriors buried in the sanctuary rather than sacrifithe evidence by stating that “the Greek and Roman sources for Druidry are not, as we have received them, of sufficiently good quality to make a clear and final decision on whether human sacrifice was indeed a part of their belief system.”Peter Berresford Wllis a Celtic nationalist who authored The Druids (1994), believed them to be the equivalents of the Indian Brahmincaste, and considered accusations of human sacrifice to remain unproven, whilst an expert in medieval Welsh and Irish literature, Nora Chadwick, who believed them to be great phces. Some historians have questioned whether the Greco-Roman writers were accurate in their claims. J. Rives remarked that it was “ambiguous” whether the druids ever performed such sacrifices, for the Romans and Greeks were known to project what they saw as barbarian traits onto foreign peoples including not only druids but Jews and Christians as well, thereby confirming their own “cultural superiority” in their own minds. Taking a similar opinion, Ronald Hutton summarised ilosophers, fervently purported the idea that they had not been involved in human sacrifice, and that such accusations were imperialist Roman propaganda.

  • “These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power and in very important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest; by observing the way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood, they are able to read the future.”

One of the few things that both the Greco-Roman and the vernacular Irish sources agree on about the druids was that they played an important part in pagan Celtic society. In his description, Julius Caesar claimed that they were one of the two most important social groups in the region (alongside the equites, or nobles), and were responsible for organising worship and sacrifices, divination, and judicial procedure in Gaulish and British society. He also claimed that they were exempt from military service and from the payment of taxes, and that they had the power to excommunicate people from religious festivals, making them social outcasts. Two other classical writers, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo also wrote about the role of druids in Gallic society, claiming that the druids were held in such respect that if they intervened between two armies they could stop the battle.

Pomponius Mela is the first author who says that the druids’ instruction was secret, and was carried on in caves and forests. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses learned by heart, and Caesar remarked that it could take up to twenty years to complete the course of study. There is no historic evidence during the period when Druidism was flourishing to suggest that Druids were other than male. What was taught to Druid novices anywhere is conjecture: of the druids’ oral literature, not one certifiably ancient verse is known to have survived, even in translation. All instruction was communicated orally, but for ordinary purposes, Caesar reports, the Gauls had a written language in which they used Greek characters. In this he probably draws on earlier writers; by the time of Caesar, Gaulish inscriptions had moved from the Greek script to the Latin script.

Greek and Roman writers frequently made reference to the druids as practitioners of human sacrifice, a trait they themselves reviled, believing it to be barbaric Such reports of druidic human sacrifice are found in the works of Lucan, Julius Caesar, Suetonius and Cicero. Caesar claimed that the sacrifice was primarily of criminals, but at times innocents would also be used, and that they would be burned alive in a large wooden effigy, now often known as a wicker man. A differing account came from the 10th-century Commenta Bernensia, which claimed that sacrifices to the deities Teutates, Esus and Taranis were by drowning, hanging and burning, respectively.

Diodorus Siculus asserts that a sacrifice acceptable to the Celtic gods had to be attended by a druid, for they were the intermediaries between the people and the divinities. He remarked upon the importance of prophets in druidic ritual:

  • “These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power… and in very important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest; by observing the way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood, they are able to read the future.”

There is archaeological evidence from western Europe that has been widely used to back up the idea that human sacrifice was performed by the Iron Age Celts. Mass graves found in a ritual context dating from this period have been unearthed in Gaul, at both Gournay-sur-Aronde and Ribemont-sur-Ancre in what was the region of the Belgae chiefdom. The excavator of these sites, Jean-Louis Brunaux, interpreted them as areas of human sacrifice in devotion to a war god, although this view was criticised by another archaeologist, Martin Brown, who believed that the corpses might be those of honoured warriors buried in the sanctuary rather than sacrifices. Some historians have questioned whether the Greco-Roman writers were accurate in their claims. J. Rives remarked that it was “ambiguous” whether the druids ever performed such sacrifices, for the Romans and Greeks were known to project what they saw as barbarian traits onto foreign peoples including not only druids but Jews and Christians as well, thereby confirming their own “cultural superiority” in their own minds. Taking a similar opinion, Ronald Hutton summarised the evidence by stating that “the Greek and Roman sources for Druidry are not, as we have received them, of sufficiently good quality to make a clear and final decision on whether human sacrifice was indeed a part of their belief system.” Peter Berresford Ellis, a Celtic nationalist who authored The Druids (1994), believed them to be the equivalents of the Indian Brahmin caste, and considered accusations of human sacrifice to remain unproven, whilst an expert in medieval Welsh and Irish literature, Nora Chadwick, who believed them to be great philosophers, fervently purported the idea that they had not been involved in human sacrifice, and that such accusations were imperialist Roman propaganda.

These practices and attitudes towards trees and Mystery Religions go back to Babylon, and I am sure they were well established before Flood of Noah. Satan has just repackaged the same lies and deceit in a new manner (environmentalism and New Age philosophies).

What does the Bible have to say about these pagan rituals? Plenty, and I will include the Scriptural references below.

These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth. Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree: And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place. Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.
(Deuteronomy 12:1-4 KJV)

For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.
(1 Kings 14:23 KJV)

Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father. But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
(2 Kings 16:2-4 KJV)

And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the LORD their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the LORD carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the LORD to anger: For they served idols, whereof the LORD had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
(2 Kings 17:9-12 KJV)

Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. He sacrificed also and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.
(2 Chronicles 28:3-4 KJV)

Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks? Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these? Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
(Isaiah 57:5-7 KJV)

Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
(Jeremiah 2:19-20 KJV)

Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest. The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
(Jeremiah 3:5-6 KJV)

Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.
(Jeremiah 3:13 KJV)

Then shall ye know that I am the LORD, when their slain men shall be among their idols round about their altars, upon every high hill, in all the tops of the mountains, and under every green tree, and under every thick oak, the place where they did offer sweet savour to all their idols.
(Ezekiel 6:13 KJV)

And all the trees of the field shall know that I the LORD have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the LORD have spoken and have done it.
(Ezekiel 17:24 KJV)

Son of man, set thy face toward the south, and drop thy word toward the south, and prophesy against the forest of the south field; And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein.
(Ezekiel 20:46-47 KJV)

But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
(Luke 23:28-31 KJV)

As you look at the Wheel of the Year in the above illustration, you will notice eight pagan festivals. I will now summarize what these festivals are and what they represent.

In most traditions, Yule is celebrated as the rebirth of the Great God, who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. The method of gathering for this sabbat varies by group or individual practitioner. Some have private ceremonies at home, while others hold coven celebrations. The celebration of Christmas on the 25th day of December marks the choice by leaders of the early Catholic Church to adapt popular pre-Christian festivals concerning the Winter solstice.

Imbolc (or Candlemas) is one of four “fire festivals” of the Wheel of the Year. Among Dianic Wiccans, Imbolc is the traditional time for initiations. Imbolc is strongly associated with the goddess Brighid. Among Reclaiming-style Witches, Imbolc is considered a traditional time for rededication and pledges for the coming year.

Ostara (sometimes referred to as the vernal equinox), is celebrated in the Northern hemisphere around March 21 and in the Southern hemisphere around September 23, depending upon the specific timing of the equinox. Among the Wiccan sabbats, it is preceded by Imbolc and followed by Beltane. The name Ostara may be related to the word for “east”. It has been connected to the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre (Nimrod’s wife and mother Queen Semiramis) by Jacob Grimm in his Deutsche Mythologie. In terms of Wiccan ditheism, this festival is characterized by the rejoining of the Mother Goddess and her lover-consort-son, who spent the winter months in death. Other variations include the young God regaining strength in his youth after being born at Yule (Christmas), and the Goddess returning to her Maiden aspect.

Beltane is one of the four “fire festivals” or “greater sabbats”. Although the holiday may use features of the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire (The Wicker Man), it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as maypole dancing). Some Wiccans celebrate ‘High Beltaine’ by enacting a ritual union of the May Lord and Lady.

Midsummer is one of the four solar holidays, and is considered the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. Among the Wiccan sabbats, Midsummer is preceded by Beltane, and followed by Lammas or Lughnasadh. Some traditions call the festival “Litha”, a name occurring in Bede’s “Reckoning of Time” (De Temporum Ratione, 7th century), which preserves a list of the (then-obsolete) Anglo-Saxon names for the twelve months. Ærra Liða (‘first’ or ‘preceding’ Liða) roughly corresponds to June in our calendar, and Æfterra Liða (‘following’ Liða) to July. Bede writes that “Litha means ‘gentle’ or ‘navigable’, because in both these months the calm breezes are gentle and they were wont to sail upon the smooth sea.”

Lammas/Lughnasadh is the first of the three pagan autumn harvest festivals, the other two being the Autumn equinox (or Mabon) and Samhain. Wiccans mark the holiday by baking a figure of the god in bread, and then symbolically sacrificing and eating it. However, Lamas/Lughnasadh celebrations vary, as not all pagans are Wiccans. Wiccan celebrations are not based on Celtic culture, despite common use of a Celtic name Lughnasadh. This name seems to have been a late adoption among Wiccans, since in early versions of Wiccan literature the festival is merely referred to as “August Eve”. The name Lammas (contraction of Loaf-mass) implies it is an agrarian-based festival and feast of thanksgiving for grain and bread, which symbolizes the first fruits of the harvest. Pagan/Eclectic Neopagan rituals may incorporate elements from either festival.

The holiday of Autumn Equinox, Harvest Horne, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druidic traditions), is a pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the winter months. The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. In the northern hemisphere this equinox occurs anywhere from September 21 to 24. In the southern hemisphere, the autumn equinox occurs anywhere from March 20–23. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas/Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

The Samhain is a Gaelic harvest festival held on October 31–November 1. It was linked to festivals held around the same time in other Celtic cultures, and was popularised as the “Celtic New Year” from the late 19th century, following Sir John Rhys and Sir James Frazer. The date of Samhain was associated with the Catholic All Saints’ Day (and later All Souls’ Day) from at least the 8th century, and both the secular Gaelic and the Catholic liturgical festival have influenced the secular customs now connected with Halloween. The medieval Goidelic festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half”. It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead.Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames. Samhain is celebrated as a religious festival by some neopagans.

Most of the aforementioned holidays and rituals also had extensive sexual activities and orgies associated with them.

Unfortunately, in their attempt to get pagans to more readily accept Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church adopted many pagan holidays and rituals (in direct violation of Torah) in order to “Christianize” these holidays and rituals. It is not possible to “Christianize” a pagan holiday or ritual.

The Apostle Paul, in his second epistle to the Corinthians wrote. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-18 KJV)