Halloween — harmlessly fun or deceptively evil?
Published: Monday, October 24, 2011
Updated: Monday, October 24, 2011 11:10
I remember waiting all year for Halloween when I was a kid. Once October rolled around, I'd start getting all excited knowing my favorite holiday was just around the bend. It was so wonderful to me—dressing up, getting to run around outside for hours in the (hopefully) cool air and getting lots of candy. Not to mention the month-long horror film marathons. I was brought up a Lutheran, raised to believe in the Christian God and always shared my love of Halloween with everyone in my church community. I was never told that my favorite holiday was evil—at least until I got to middle school. For some reason, it was about that time when the parents of my peers started to outwardly show their dislike for the holiday, branding it an "evil ritual" and not allowing their children to partake in the festivities of the night. I can understand that parents have to do what they believe is right for their children, even if it means denying them tons of candy in the process. But I also feel like there are many misconceptions about the dark nature of Halloween. While there are definitely groups out there who treat Halloween as a night to work dark magick, this is not the case for everyone. I am a Wiccan Witch. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term ‘"Wiccan," it basically means someone who follows the Pagan religion of Wicca. Wicca is very much defined by the practitioner, but typically it is a duo-theistic or polytheistic religion that involves the worship of deity within nature. While you don't necessarily have to be a Wiccan to be a Witch, I choose to do both. The majority of Wiccans I know practice white magick, usually defined as witchcraft that is non-harmful (healing spells, energy work.) The main rule of the Wiccan Rede is "An it harm none, do what ye will." Basically, if it doesn't hurt anyone or manipulate free will, you can use your magick at your own discretion. But when people hear the word ‘Witch,' they automatically put on the mental brakes and hold up their crucifixes. Within the religion of Wicca, there are eight major sabbats, with Samhain (also known as Halloween and pronounced like ‘Sow-ehn') being one of the more celebrated. It is the Witches' New Year, and the night when Witches and non-Witches alike can celebrate and communicate with the dead. The veil between the two worlds is very thin on that night, and certain activities like divination are likely to be stronger, and the results more accurate. Stepping away from its association with magick, Samahin is also a celebration of the fall harvest, and hoping for the Earth to be fertile and healthy in the next year. Once you break down the holiday into those little things, you can see that there's nothing far too menacing — a bonfire, perhaps, or maybe some Tarot card reading. So, why do so many people feel Halloween is evil? It's simple. Even for people who know nothing about Wicca or witchcraft, they vaguely understand that it is a holiday for Witches, and assume that being a Witch equals worshipping the devil, though there is no place for Satan in Wicca. I can't speak for everyone because I know everyone's path is different, but the people I practice with and myself have no ill intent, especially on that day. Before assuming an entire day is evil and depriving you and the little ones of the fun, please understand that there are two sides to everything, and just because there is a dark side to Samhain, it is not evil in itself. Have a happy Halloween, and remember to watch out for the things that go bump in the night. Tori is a freshman vocal music education major from Cypress and a contributing writer for The Pine Log.