By Anna Von Reitz
There are evil men and evil powers in this world, but what do they all share in common?
They are all deluded. Every single one.
And the majority of those evil ones among us are surprisingly banal. They don’t wear costumes or perform any dark rites at the stroke of midnight. They look like everyone else, but the truth is, evil beliefs have taken root in them.
A belief is something that may or may not be true, something which cannot be proven, but which people nonetheless accept as being true—- sometimes to the point of being willing to die for a belief or kill others for a belief—- for something that can’t be proven.
Did I mention that in a sense, evil people are insane?
How else can you explain people so caught up in their own imaginations and self-importance that they lose all perspective and give their minds and souls over to a belief?
It could be a good belief or a bad belief, just the fact that they go so overboard about any belief is the problem.
We must know the limitations of our beliefs and hold them at arms’s length, admitting that we don’t know what we don’t know. Accept the mystery of life. And let go.
Look at some of the profoundly damaging beliefs men have held?
The belief in a Chosen or Master Race.
The belief in a vengeful God.
The belief that colored people are inferior.
The belief that Earth is overpopulated.
The belief that carbon dioxide is a problem.
The belief in graven images.
We have a long history of beliefs and we know these beliefs have caused no end of misery, yet we don’t pause to examine and test the beliefs we have.
Tomorrow is Halloween complete with black cats and Jack O Lanterns, rustling leaves and full moons.
And there are those who believe that Halloween is evil,, when it is nothing but the Celtic New Year.
Unlike today the Celtic Peoples based everything on Nature and Seasons and reasoned that a new year must begin when the year’s harvest was all brought in, in the late fall, instead of January.
This annual observation of the passing year has inspired many harmless rituals. Closing down any fires on the hearth or in the stove, and making a new fire to “kindle” the New Year was standard practice in the Celtic world and in many countries in Northern Europe, still is.
Cleaning the house and sweeping out the old year is another.
Holding a Memorial Supper in honor of all those who died in the past year was common practice and gave the community a time and place to share both grief for the losses and gratitude for the lives of those remembered.
In Celtic times both animals and people who died during the ending year were remembered and “Thank Gifts” were passed around within the community and even to strangers.
Food gifts were left at crossroads where anyone could take what they needed for their winter larder. Gifts of dried herbs and medicinal plants were common as were gifts of cheese, grain, vegetables, salted cod
A man who lost his sheep dog might receive a new puppy at Samhain (pronounced “Sow -ween”) A girl might find her grandmother’s necklace placed around her neck. Tools and kitchen vessels that belonged to the year’s dead were passed out to friends and family and neighbors.
Small bags of seeds and dried bulbs were exchanged in token of the new life and new season of planting to come. This was a way for farmers to share seeds and roots of their best crops. This communal sharing made sure that the robust non-hybrid crops of pre-Christian times continued to have genetic diversity and selection for the plants with the best characteristics.
It was not lost on the Celts that they placed these seeds, which appear to be dead, into the ground, and the whole wonder of the garden comes forth again in spring.
It was not supposed in the Celtic World that the dead were ever truly dead; they believed as Jesus said, that the dead were resting, or sleeping, until they would again come into the world.
Reincarnation was a widely accepted belief in the Celtic world, similar to Hindu beliefs in India, only the Celts did not think that people would come back as cats or cows or ants. Instead the vital essence of a person would naturally replenish itself by resting and come back as a baby in due time.
After the Community Supper honoring the dead, the celebration moved on to a community bonfire and passing out of bundles of fire wood to the poor, the elderly, and sick. This would help kindle the New Year and bring comfort to those in need.
At Celtic New Year — the precursor of Halloween, it was all treats, no tricks.
It was a solemn yet joyful time that expressed sorrow for losses, gratitude for blessings, and faith in the future. Most of all it was a time for neighbors to come together and share this season, the harvest, and it’s place in the Great Wheel of the year—- another understanding the Celts shared with the people of India.
The Great Wheel of the year akin to the Great Wheel of Karma in India, preserved a worldview that is all inclusive. Life and death are always dynamic expressions of the same whole in Celtic symbolism.
The black cats, spiders, witches ghosts, and cobwebs, that we associate with Halloween today are recent additions from the nineteenth century.
These familiar symbols became attached to the Spiritualist Movement of the Nineteenth Century along with seances, Ouija boards, “spells”, reading tea leaves, crystal balls and all the clap-trap of the modern Halloween, including the Jack O’ Lantern. We would not recognize these symbols if we were born in an earlier time.
Regardless of the changes Halloween has gone through there is no reason to fear this holiday.
Evil men may cast their cloaks over it, redefine it, and celebrate it according to their madness and their whims, but Halloween’s nature is not about these recent and superficial additions.
Even the Roman Catholic creation of All Hallow’s Eve is a very recent add on compared to the thousands of years people have celebrated Samhain.
It is, for those who cherish it, a time for healing, community, and celebration heralding the end of one Celtic year and the beginning of another.