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I found an old e-mail about Halloween's Tribal Origins

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  • I found an old e-mail about Halloween's Tribal Origins

    HALLOWEEN

    (All Hallows 'Eve)

    In ancient Europe prior to the advent of Christianity, life was based upon Pagan rituals and beliefs. A pagan is defined as one who is neither a Christian, a Jew, nor a Muslim. The term pagan is derived from the Latin root paganus - heathen, and pagus - the country, both of which originally referred to a "barren land (heath) dweller" or "rural villager". Hence a pagan is one whose spiritual or religious beliefs and practice are based upon 'nature' - nature spirits, and the monthly-yearly cycles of nature. In truth, pagan beliefs and nature are the historical root of all the worlds religions. The simplicity and reality of Spirit/God is first manifested and seen through and as "Creation"- the world - animal, vegetable, mineral, and human existence (nature).

    The pagan calendar included eight major religious holidays, spaced about six weeks apart throughout the year. Pagan festivals took place during the night (same as most religious Sabbaths begin) before the corresponding Christianized "saints' day" because the pagan calendar had reckoned the days from noon to noon (as all ancient calendars did), not midnight to midnight. One of the most important holidays was/is the 'eve' before November 1st called "Halloween" (old Samhain, the Celtic feast of the dead), a time to show respect for and revere the deceased ancestors as well as give thanks and retribution for the nature spirits and for the years harvest. In many of the Old World cultures Hallows 'Eve represented the ending and the beginning of a new cycle of life, thus this time was celebrated as the pagan 'New Year'. Nature festivals and traditions have been combined with other festivals and ceremonies in different ways and in various parts of the world. The Catholic Church eventually adopted many of them and reassigned them or at least, their following daytimes, to various saints. The day after Halloween became "All Saints' Day" or "All Hallows" because the original festival had honored the spirits of all the pagan dead together. The term 'hallow' meaning to make or regard as holy or sacred.

    It was thought that at this crucial time, there came an opening in the crack between the worlds (dimensions of life): a possibility of connection and interpenetrating between the spirit world and the world of the living earth dwellers. That’s why the ghost of dead ancestors were and could be invited to the feast on Halloween and petitioned for oracular consultations; and why earth like fairies and elves (who are really a personification of the ancient dead) came out of the hills, barrows and cemeteries to dance and make merry. The word ghost and guest use to be the same word denoting a "visitor". Out of respect, these occasions needed appropriate ceremonies, according to ancient belief. Natures' time cycles and the deceased must be duly honored so that all things (life) would be maintained in the right sequence (ecological balance and the harmony of levity). Our remote ancestors doubtless believed that their human rituals were necessary to keep the world going and to help stave off the arrival of destruction and calamity (dooms-day). This belief is what gave origin to the custom of Halloweens' "trick or treat". For if the visiting dead were appeased or the Lord of the underworld (natures' Samhain/Sammael) accepted the offering on behalf of the dead, the spirits were satisfied and would refrain from mischief and doing harm. In Mexico there is a similar festive tradition to Halloween which observes one day of the year that belongs to the dead. On November 2nd - "The Day of the Dead", the dead are granted celestial permission to visit friends and relatives. On that day the entire country is given over to fiesta. Tombs are adorned with flowers; altars are built featuring marigolds, paper cut outs, candles, and incense; the visiting dead - ghost/guest are served with special foods. For Mexico such rituals support and exemplify its' half-humorous conviction that death is a part of life. In some parts of the world on November 1st and throughout the year many people visit the graves of their loved ones and offer food, flowers, or other things (tobacco, etc.) that the deceased enjoyed in life as a heart felt gesture of remembrance, love and respect.

    The presence of and annual visitation by ancestral spirits/souls is often depicted as floating light. A depiction that is symbolized during Hallowed 'Eve with ceremonial candles or by lighted pumpkins with carved faces on them. Such pumpkins being called "Jack-o-lantern" with their human face caricature are symbolic of the harvest and with their light is a representation of the ancestral dead - soul being carried or portrayed by the living. The term/name 'Jack' literally means "one who serves", thereby a Jack-o-lantern signifies the nature spirits of the harvest and the soul of the dead serving and being served by the living. The wearing of ceremonial "mask" and "costume" originally depicted the likeness, a caricature of the dead and was another _expression of remembering and exemplifying a respect and reverence for the dead. Because of its' alleged nine lives - physical resilience, and black signifying mystery, the Halloween "black cat" represents the secrets of cyclic fertility. Similarly in character to the nocturnal cat, the Halloween "owl" signifies silent wisdom and the ability to see beyond the limitations of darkness, i.e., insight into the mystery of things. While the witches old "broomstick" represents a cyclic sweeping out of the old and ushering in the new, and signifies a marital union between the spiritual and the material - living and the dead.

    Certain traditional colors were established for certain festivals to represent the nature or characters of the festival. For Halloween the primary color has always been black, the color of the Crone Goddess (old wise and sacred woman - "Witch") who presides over the feast of the Dead. The secondary colors orange and green represent the rising and setting sun and the harvest. Halloween (Hallows ' Eve -Samhain) being one of the years most significant pagan festivals, is why through ignorance and religious dogma the medieval church so thoroughly vilified and diabolized it that it is still associated in the popular mind with devils, demons, witches, goblins, and other alleged unholy beings. The ghost is the most authentic representative of this holiday because Samhain was dedicated to the ghosts of all generations of ancestors, during a period when worship of ancestors and ancestresses was the basis of the tribal bond. Each ghost was invited to the clan feast as a guest (honored visitor) and after being suitably entertained, might provide oracular advice to her or his descendents. Hence the feast of the Dead was considered one of the primary time-locked cracks between the worlds. As the Dead and their world is considered to be merely another dimensional existence of the living. This concept is supported in physics, by the 1st law of Thermodynamics which states that: "Matter or energy can not be created nor destroyed, but is merely transformed". In its' truest metaphysical context, this scientific theorem correctly verifies that there is no death and no true dead, there is only the different facets or aspects of life. Ultimately the essence, Spirit - Soul the truth of our being, can never die, nor was it ever literally created … Spirit (pure 'Light' energy - God) has always been, is, and shall ever be.

    Ancestors sufficiently revered eventually became gods and goddesses. These pagan spirits were precisely what the churches called devils, who could be summoned from the other world by tribal priest and priestesses, whom the church called witches. So the pagan night-before festival acquired diabolic overtones, while the following day All Saints, or All Hallows - simply stole the pagan idea and applied it to a horde of Christianized spirits. In celebrating the feast of the Dead with various funereal trappings, it should be remembered that such celebrations are aimed at overcoming the fear of death. This by providing some familiarity with it; by looking, so to speak, upon the dread face of the death dealing Crone - the Witch, wise old matron mother. The "Witch" is a characterization of matrilineal ancestral wisdom, from the Saxon, 'Wicca' meaning to know. A synonym for witch is "Hag" which is a patriarchal stereotype given to identify any old woman - especially a witch. The popular cartoon image of the hag as an ugly old witch loses sight of her original meaning. A hag (hagio) used to be a "holy woman" or wise-woman; the female shaman of pre-Christian Europe, or tribal matriarch who knew the wise ways of nature, healing, divination, civilized arts, and traditions of the Goddess. Ancient sages used to say that the Goddess -Mother remains unknown to one who does not understand her death aspect - of life. Therefore a calendar of holy days/nights should include recognition of mortality, the better to appreciate and cherish life while it lasts. It is said that one who refuses to confront the fact of death will not, and can not properly respect the world of the living.

    Finally, the Halloween witches "cauldron" symbolizes the Great Mother Natures' Cosmic Womb and cyclic regeneration and rejuvenation of life. As its' liquid contents signify lifes' mixture of souls and all that which constitutes human mortality. Of all the worlds celebrated holidays (holy-days) Hallows 'Eve (Halloween) is the one of the most ancient and certainly is the most sacred and universally meaningful. Reverence for all life and true respect being given to our Ancestors and to nature - the ecology, which has given incipience to our perceived reality of life and has sustained us throughout the year/s, is our best effort at appreciating life and exemplifying such appreciation.

    Dr. Ol Doinyo Laetoli le Baaba

    10/28/2001

    Bibliography:

    Womans' Rituals

    Womans' Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets

    Womans' Dictionary of Sacred Symbols and Objects - author, Barbara Walker

    Websters' Unabridged Encyclopedic Dictionary

    Animal-Speak - author, Ted Andrews

    Mexico: The Day of the Dead - publisher, Shambhala Redstone Editions

    Suggested Films/Movies to view are: "The Sixth Sense" and "The Others", 2001 releases.

  • #2
    Wow, they did a great job of 'reverse engineering' all symbols of Halloween. Solid B+ on the term paper. However, a lot of that should be taken with a grain of salt or two.

    I saw a TV show over the weekend that went over the 'recent' uprising of the holiday of Halloween. VERY interesting!
    ...it is what it is...

    Comment


    • #3
      I like to know where something comes from, for me to believe it. When I heard that christian holy/holidays came from, or were moved to coinside with the pagan ones, so christians would go to or celebrate their own, oppsed to the pagan ones, it made me question the christian ones, and think I should probably follow pagan teachings, if they were copied. Maybe they are more true, or whatever.

      I'm not one who needs to celebrate or party, to be happy, or feel connected, and like to be connected to what is Real, not someones idea or invention. They seem just man made, and not truth. I think just existing and experiencing life and nature is what others would call worshiping or honoring what we are, and everything that exists, from the soil, grass, trees, animals, or the planets and stars. I like to immerse myself in everything, and experience it, not do something that is supposed to celebrate.

      Vince F

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