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Peg BS: Wicca and Halloween?? (62* d) RE: BS: Wicca and Halloween?? 31 Oct 04

Walpurgis Night is not at Hallows, it's actually the other end of the celendar, May 1, at Beltane...

I call myself a witch, not a "Wiccan," but I can say that one reason these celebrations are getting banned in more and more places each year is related to a very sneaky and calculated effort on the part of Pentecostal and other right-wing Christian groups to "beat us at our own game." In other words, by mounting campaigns that sound like poltically-correct attempts to "not offend" anyone they are making sure a holiday they see as "satanic" is not going to pollute their children's minds...and they do it in the guise of trying to censor Hallowe'en celebrations so as not to offend Wiccans. It's quite insidious actually.

Witches celebrate this holiday as they celebrate others included in their calendar, which are based ona nd borrowed from agrarian and fertility festivals in western Europe and the British Isles and Ireland. Most of the USA's Hallowe'en customs arrived with Irish immigrants. The "Wiccan" ways of celebrating Samhain or Hallowmass tend to borrow more from Scottish and English tradition: dumb suppers, Harvest Home celebrations (also based on the Thomas Tryon novel of the same name), mystery plays, and feasts of the dead. It's an acknowledgement of the changing season (Samhain is Gaelic for "summer's end"), and of the Irish belief that this is a time (it also occurs at Beltane) when the "veil between the worlds," or the barrier separating this world from the realm of the dead, is thinner than usual, allowing us to contact the dead, and to assist in sending recently-deceased souls onward in their journey to the afterlife...

It's not "new age clap-trap" as Clinton Hammond so wrongly puts it--it's a belief system drawn from ancient and time-held customs and practices from the lands of our ancestors. Many of the rituals I have attended are highly literate and poetic and very powerful. And most modern witches take this holiday very seriously...but we attend our share of parties too!


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