Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thoughts on Halloween from an Ex-Wiccan

Halloween, or Samhain, used to be my favorite holiday. The pagan new year, the day when the veil between the worlds is the thinnest, and spirits of the dead can return to communicate. It used to be the day of harvest and celebration, and people would dress in masks to ward away any evil spirits that would take advantage of the thin veil. For pagans, it is the biggest holiday of the year, a day to possibly communicate with deceased loved ones, start a new year, celebrate the gods and the cycle of nature. Halloween is a purely pagan holiday.

Many people see dressing up and partying or trick-or-treating as being a harmless pastime, and in some cases it is. But many people don't really understand Halloween and some of the new cultural things that come with it. What does dressing up little kids as ghosts, goblins, devils, vampires, and witches do? Is it harmless? Or is it sending a message saying that these things are not evil, in fact, they're fun! Or does it send a message saying that evil doesn't exist?

As a kid I loved dressing up as a witch. But I was always a 'good witch'. As I got older and the role of a 'good witch' was more emphasized in modern culture, I began to personify that ideal. I enjoyed watching shows like Charmed and started dabbling in witchcraft. Eventually this lead me down a path of creating a god in my own image that I worshipped. I stepped away from my Catholic faith and joined the New Age movement.

The New Age movement is very prevalent in our society, and is manifests itself more visibly around Halloween. Halloween specials on TV, geared for kid and family viewing, may have the 'good witch' protagonist.

For example: The Hallmark Channel has created a mini-series called The Good Witch.

The protagonist, Cassandra, is a very beautiful, outgoing, charming, intuitive woman who uses subtle magic to improve the lives of those around her. She owns a New Age shop called the Bell, Book, & Candle where she offers little trinkets to those in need.
While there is a message of treating everyone around you with respect, it also portrays a message that practicing magic will make you wise and give you power. This show is geared for family viewing, what message is this sending to young women who watch it? This was the kind of trap that I fell into. Practicing magic of following a New Age philosophy wold somehow make me a better woman.

These kind of message may be subtle, but they do have an impact, especially on young developing ladies who want to have an impact on the world. But it can lead them away from God.

I am weary of Halloween. The paganistic and New Age undertones run rampant. If you decide to celebrate it, just be careful. It can be a day of fun, or it can be a day that takes you one step further away from God. 

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