This first thing I want to make clear is that in
no way am I putting down Christianity or any other
religions. I am merely making comparisons as to how
Hallowe'en has gotten such a bad image from some groups.
Long before Christianity, many other religions were
honoured. Pagan religions were among the most prolific.
Most cultures worshipped the earth, seasons, sun,
and moon. The word "pagan" originally meant
"farm dweller" and referred to anyone who
respected the circle of the year and honoured the
changing seasons. By that definition you will find
a great many "pagans" in every community.
Talk to any farmer (even the Christian ones) and they
will tell you that there are certain times of the
year for planting and harvesting, for the birth and
slaughter of animals. They work from sunrise to sunset
and know that temperature, sunlight, and rain all
play an important part in whether or not their farm
will earn them a livelihood.
Hallowe'en or Samhain (pronounced sowen) does have
its roots in pagan beliefs. It is a night of celebrations
but not one that celebrates evil. In pre-Christian
times the Celts and Druids celebrated this day as
a festival to: A)mark the final harvest--the harvest
of the hardy vegetables and meat. The earth was then
prepared for its rejuvenating sleep or winter. B)To
say goodbye to any friends or family who had passed
away from November 1 of the previous year to October
30 of this year. October 31 was believed to be the
one day of the year where the veil between our physical
world and the spiritual world was the thinnest. This
meant that spirits could come to the living to say
goodbye and let their loved ones know that they had
gone to a better place (Christians call it Heaven).
But, just as there is good and evil in all humans,
it was believed that some of these spirits could use
this time to seek revenge on those who may have harmed
them when they were alive. Hence, these ancient people
worried about "evil spirits" frightening
them. Pumpkins (a hardy vegetable) were carved with
scary faces and placed outside homes or gatherings
in an attempt to scare away any evil spirits.
The practice of dressing in costumes had two reasons.
The first was safety. During the time of the Crusades
non-Christians were branded as witches and jailed,
tortured, and often killed. Therefore, out of fear,
many people would claim to be Christian and secretly
hold on to their pagan beliefs and customs in private
or in small groups on masked gatherings at night.
If they met in the dark and were wearing costumes
and masks it reduced the risk of being seen and identified
when observing pagan holidays. If someone was "found
out" they would not be able to name the others
in the group because they truly hadn't seen anyone
else. Secondly, as Samhain does mark the celebration
of the Druid New Year, people celebrated by dressing
in costumes that represented the traits they felt
they were lacking and wanted to possess. For example
if you felt that you were too serious you would dress
and act like a jester to add humour to your life.
If you wanted grace and elegance you would dress as
royalty. Not surprisingly, if you ask a child what
they want to be for Hallowe'en they will undoubtedly
will pick a costume that reflects who they want to
be like, such as a TV or action hero.
I hope this helps put a bit of perspective on the
true origins of Hallow'en. It was never intended to
be an evil holiday. Fear, ignorance and prejudice
are the real culprits for turning this day into an
Witches are not Satan worshippers (Satan is a product
of Christian beliefs) and we take offence at anyone
who suggests that we have allegiances with devils.
We are not green, we don't usually have warts on our
noses, don't eat small children, don't fly on a broom,
and don't put curses on people. We have one tenet
to live by: "so long as it harms none, do as
you will". This means that we must strive to
find our purpose in life, but not at the expense of
If anyone would like more information either about
Wiccan spirituality or Graphology please contact me.
Carol St. Clair,
( firstname.lastname@example.org )
I have been studying Graphology
since 1982, and received my Master Graphologist Certification
in 1998 though the Institute of Graphological Sciences
in Dallas. I am currently studying to get my Documents
Examiners Certification. So if anyone has a signature
or document that is being disputed I would love to
have a look at it (free of charge at this time).
In my "spare" time I am a counsellor in
a Women's shelter, and the very proud mom to Erin
a very happy and healthy one year old.
With the holidays fast approaching I would like to
offer the folks at the Coffeerooms a unique gift idea.
I am offering gift certificates for analysis for the
discounted rate of $45.00 (usual cost $60.00) from
October 1 - December 1, 2000. For more information
about Handwriting analysis please contact Carol at