Halloween – the spiritual connection to our native Pagan past
By Pat Regan
Pagan author, campaigner and researcher
HALLOWEEN – HOME TRUTHS THEY HOPE YOU WILL NEVER DISCOVER
Halloween was originally called 'SAMHAIN,' which comes from the Gaelic/Celtic meaning for ‘November’ and ‘summer’s end’. The original Celtic settlers arrived here in around 600 BC, fetching with them their own 'nature based' polytheistic form of spiritual belief systems. Samhain represented the beginning of the long cold winter; a time when the cattle had to be herded into sheltered quarters as a defensive measure against expected harsh snow-fall, frost, and blizzard. It was also a gloomy period for many Celts, as the winter’s chill could always prove too much for many elderly, sick, or loved ones badly injured in combat.
FESTIVAL OF THE DEAD
Samhain, because of its link with the 'Dark Half' of the year, was then regarded as the "Festival of the Dead," and a time when the barrier betwixt the living and their treasured ancestors was at the thinnest point.
This had nothing to do with evil of any kind. Such ridiculous notions were only promoted later on by the narrow-minded Church in order to win the populace away from its indigenous, heathen spiritual code. Today's Halloween party games such as Trick or treat, Apple-bobbing etc, all stem from ancient Celtic customs/traditions. Samhain, although often a tremendously serious affair to the elders, was in addition a last chance for the younger hearts in the clan to let off steam before the cold blanket of winter finally settled in. For many years Christianity and Paganism coexisted quite well. However, in the year 601 AD, Pope Gregory instructed his missionary St Augustine to: ‘Destroy all Pagan Idols and cleanse the native temples’ in order to convert the indigenous peoples to Christianity. The iron-fist of 'monotheistic - absolutism' was to open up the floodgates of cultural spiritual terrorism for the unsuspecting Pagan folk of these green isles. Many pre-Christian festivals had by this time been hijacked by the new-fangled ‘one god’ religion from the East. Nevertheless, Samhain with its mysterious blend of reflection, sadness, magic and joy proved the hardest nut for the obsessive missionaries to crack.
The Celtic 'Horned God’ Cernunnos, Herne, or Belatucadros (to mention but a few of his titles), is a deity representing the vital masculine fertilising aspects inherent in nature. The Greek Pan and Roman Faunus also fill similar 'Horned God' roles.
More about the Horned God here: http://ufodigest.com/article/sign-horned-one
The Pagan Celts did not believe in the Christian idea of evil (Satan), however in order to vilify the old native religions the Christian Church conceived the destructive myth that indigenous horned deities, like the above, were all different faces of the 'Devil'. Intolerant absolutist moralisers are still to this day using this preposterous Christian falsehood; deviously linking our rich Pagan birthright with ecclesiastically-professed evil. Halloween then is essentially an ancient celebration of love for life, our mysterious affiliation with the earth and intimate respect for the dearly departed.
No amount of modern pious, anti-Halloween based, propaganda from smug religious activists will ever change that!
Contemporary Church Intolerance – the following report was from 2008
2008: the Church of England incited religious hatred against the UK’s Pagans at Halloween
PAN (Pagan Anti-Defamation Network) founder, Pat Regan, complained to Lambeth Palace and received an 'apology' - but little else! The Church of England (CofE) mounted a crusade, which was apparently being spearheaded by the Manchester Diocese, to make Halloween celebrations unpopular, leading to an expected eventual ban on this ancient holiday.
The 2008 CofE assault on Halloween in effect incited hatred towards UK Pagans. This potentially unlawful action was seen by Pagans as a vindictive, fundamentalist effort against our traditional and sacred 'Samhain' festival.
Inciting religious hate is not an option under UK law for the CofE.
PAN had at that time been in correspondence with the Archbishop of Canterbury’s office to complain about this insult to Paganism.
Lambeth Palace in fact replied several times to Pat Regan (PAN founder) with a guarded apology for any offence caused to Pagans. However, Pat was not impressed with the apparent inability for them to halt this hate campaign against Pagans. Lambeth Palace conveniently suggested that Dr Williams had ‘no’ part in this campaign and that it is solely a Manchester Diocese initiative, based on combating consumerism. This lame excuse was however NOT good enough, it did NOT wash! The CofE were, PAN believed, in violation of religious hate laws and must be accountable for their unwarranted actions. PAN demanded that this socially - destructive evangelical crusade must be halted immediately and that a proper apology should be issued by the Church to all UK Pagans. The CofE can of course correct this religious hatred, which is on-going, by stopping the campaign completely. Alternatively, they can correct it by leaving the campaign intact and including proper ‘disclaimers’ about Paganism in their offensive literature.
It's time this unnecessary religious intolerance was eradicated!
More on the ‘real’ reasons behind the CofE crusade: http://saff.nfshost.com/haloween.htm
See also: http://saff.nfshost.com/hallowe.htm
Discover the facts below for reference on the Pagan perspective regarding this avoidable issue:
(1) Halloween is traditionally one of the oldest British religious festivals celebrated in Scotland particularly up to and beyond 1870s.
(2) Trick or Treat is not an American invention - the games, fun and ‘Harum scarum’ at Halloween are all typically British being listed in Robert Burns 1875 poem ‘Halloween’ for all to see. It is part of our traditional culture.
(3) There is absolutely no medical evidence to suggest that dressing up or the wearing of masks is psychologically damaging to children or in any way harmful. The allegation is false. Children have been happily celebrating Halloween for hundreds of years without harm.
(4) Halloween is a genuine Celtic festival and was celebrated in Britain long before it was Christianised. The early Christians invented All Saints Day on November 2 to try to replace Halloween but failed because the people enjoyed Halloween so much.
(5) Attacks on Halloween by religious bigots are now outlawed under the Religious Hatred laws and Pagans are demanding that the Church of England stops those amongst its members who feel they have to insult the ceremonies and rites of other religions. Can you imagine the outcry if they had accused Moslems of abusing their children by making them fast during Ramadan?
(6) Everyone to his/her own, Pagans see the modern Christmas as an appallingly materialistic travesty of ancient religious ideals, yet we don't go around demanding that Christmas decorations and outdoor illuminations are banned.
(7) Saman's Vigil is the Anglicised interpretation of the Celtic festival 'Samhain', pronounced 'Zoween' or 'Sowin'. It is also termed Festival of Light or Fire. The Vigil of Saman, or Samhain, occurs on October 31st and was observed for at least a thousand years before Britain was Christianised.
(8) Samhain was the Celts' most important festival because it was marked as their New Year's Day.
(9) Saman is the Celtic lord of Death and Rebirth. Samhain is the mysterious, late season festival for remembering our beloved ancestors and renewing fire for the harsh cold months of winter. Its basis is intimately linked with 'LOVE' and the natural cycle and not any type of evil, as trouble-making evangelists would have us believe.
(10) Christian fundamentalist activists always rush in to claim that Halloween is not a British tradition and should not be followed in the U.K. This falsehood relies upon igniting 'Anti-American' sentiment within insular British minds, because the truth of the matter is that Halloween is NOT an American importation, it is an entirely British tradition, which was actually exported to the U.S.A. by European immigrants. Such fundamentally - inspired racism, against our American cousins, should not be tolerated in a modern UK society.
The CofE are guilty of hypocrisy when it comes to concern for children
The Church of England killjoys have persistently crusaded to get major retailers to stop stocking Halloween joke masks and costumes.
They insist that dressing up can somehow cause irreparable long-term psychological damage! Does this also apply to their Nativity Plays? After all I once saw a person dressed up as a virtually naked man hanging on a cross with blood running down his head from thorns piercing his scalp and with a gaping gash in his abdomen dripping blood, whilst having nails hammered through his hands and feet into a wooden cross. We certainly wouldn't want children to see something like that - would we?
Anyone with any common sense knows that the only ‘irreparable damage’ Halloween causes is to the future of sourpusses in the Church of England because ordinary folk are sick to death of listening to these harbingers of doom trying to stop children having fun and enjoying themselves.
Author of The New Pagan Handbook, Pat Regan, recalls:
“As a small child I was taken to a church by my mother. Images of the Stations of the Cross were so graphically sadistic and bloody that I would faint on a regular basis and have to be carried outside onto the lawn to recover. Such blatant images haunted me for many years and I would ask - how many other youngsters were also affected by this obscene blood spectacle, via make-believe scenes of religious agony and death? In view of this the latest church effort against Halloween fun gives evidence that clear double standards are alive and well today in that bogus belief system. The Christian Easter torture exhibition is furthermore displayed to innocent children as being a REAL event. Alternatively, Halloween they are told, is only FANTASY. Consequently, will we now see the Church banning their own representations (many of which are in fact historically erroneous) of a man suffering death in a most heinous fashion on a wooden cross, or is this a satisfactory image for little children to glare at? The situation habitually drummed up by the Church at Halloween (which now includes inciting potential religious hate) is therefore hypocritical, ridiculous and wholly untenable. I would sincerely hope that all parents, supermarket managers and everyone else would be able to see through this ludicrous fundamentalist fiasco - once and for all.”
It is indeed vitally important for all parents to understand the hidden missionary agenda behind the CofE's latest campaign.
I invite the Media to follow up this story because it affects us 'all' and is a question of human rights, liberty and dignity in this country and others.
MORE HALLOWEEN POINTS FROM THAT TIME
The Manchester Diocese appears to be is a source of disconcerting evangelical activism and they obviously plan a concerted attempt, along with other CofE Dioceses, to use Halloween to reclaim influence and missionise.
This site page contains several misconceptions and errors, proving how ignorant the CofE in fact is in this respect. http://www.halloweenchoice.org/index_Page387.htm NB. This site appears to now be defunct, yet all data is saved. The CofE has now stepped up their crusade against Halloween (under the quaint guise of concern about excess consumerism) by setting up a website which infers that Halloween fun is psychologically damaging to children. This assertion is unsubstantiated and fallacious. So far Dr Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) has apparently washed his hands of the matter and told concerned Pagans, who have written to his office, that he was ‘not’ a party to this ill-advised campaign.
NB: Please also see this link regarding Dr Williams
Pagans see this Pagan ‘CHILD ABUSE’ allegation, against one of our most sacred festivals (Samhain) which Halloween is based on, as an immense insult and very damaging.
We believe that the CofE are, with this crusade, breaching UK incitement to hate laws.
They would not try the same thing with Muslims, Hindus, etc. Similar child abuse claims in the 1990 resulted in dawn raids by police and social workers acting on erroneous information from troublemaking evangelists. Numerous children were dragged into care homes, their families ruined and the tax payer forced into wasting millions of pounds whilst the authorities jumped to the fundamentalists’ socially-destructive tune.
The latest CofE anti-Halloween crusade in fact threatens to bring this spectre back into our society, via misinformation and mistrust against the Pagan minority.
Do we really need another Rochdale, Notts or Orkney etc? Manchester is in close proximity to Rochdale, so judge for yourself! CofE ignorance/apathy is astonishing in light of the above.
NB. Christianity invented (993 AD) ‘ALL HALLOWS’ (1stNov.) to arrogate the ancient Celtic, Pagan Samhain (31stOct.) festival. The term Halloween is a compound word derived from ALL HALLOWS and SAMHAIN – pronounced ‘Soween’, i.e. ‘Hallo –ween’
Halloween can help kids manage fears, explore new roles
Published story by Akron Children's Hospital
POSTED: 08:40 a.m. EDT, Oct 16, 2008
The “fear” that comes with Halloween can be a fun and healthy experience for children as long as parents ensure the stories, movies, costumes and festivities are age appropriate, said Susan Leib, Ph.D., a pediatric psychologist at Akron Children’s Hospital.
So now in 2015 how do thing fair with the CofE campaign against the Pagan religion?
The so-called ‘Festival of Light' (the tawdry CofE counterpart to Halloween) is now well established in schools etc. Nevertheless, following SAFF and PAN counter-campaigns the Church has backed off from seeking to blame Pagans and witches for any perceived malevolent issues at Samhain. Enormous successes such as this are never truly understood by the rank and file Pagans, yet SAFF effort has genuinely paid dividends. We haven't had reason to criticise the CofE since then (not at least on the Halloween front) because they've been rather careful not to create more offense. The fundamentalist don't like it but the impetus is unstoppable. Of course the original meaning of Samhain gets a bit lost in all this modern commercialism but this is far better than the undesirable antagonism that the CofE foolishly proposed before. I am indebted to SAFF for expert data and fact schedules herein. PAN is affiliated to SAFF.
A word of caution
Children are best accompanied by adults when trick or treating and the serious dangers of messing with fire at Halloween, Bonfire Night, or indeed at any other parties, must always be kept in mind.
Finally, I recently also had the pleasure of photographing a local Halloween parade in my Southport, home town.
This story reached the Southport news.
Have a brilliant and happy Halloween
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Pat Regan ©
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