Halloween orgins date back 2000 years ago to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (prodounced sow-in). October 31st is the Great Sabbat Samhain and fire festival. Samhain means "end of summer" and is an ancient Celtic festival that celebrates the beginning of winter, marked by death and is considered to be the Witches' New Year.
In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honour saints and martyrs. It is believed that the pope was attempting to replace Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hollowmas (from Middle English Alholwesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually Halloween.
November 1, the Day of the Dead (also celebrated by some on November 2) the dead were thought to return to earth. People would leave food on the tables for them and would usually stay indoors.
The Celts called it Samhaïn, which means Night of the Druids. It marks a time dedicated to exploring the future with, the help of the Ancestors, all the loved ones who have passed on to the Spiritual World.
It’s a very special, unique time, the only day of the year when the border between the material and immaterial worlds becomes as fine as a veil, allowing men and women with a pure heart to enter into contact with the Higher Spiritual Forces, and benefit from their protection.
During this very rare exchange, the Druid Spirits send "magic energy" into your life, enabling you to be Lucky, find Love, stay healthy and obtain great good fortune. All the "prayers" and sacred gestures you apply are to trigger the intervention of the Higher Spiritual Forces in your favor.
There’s nothing complicated you need to do, as the Spiritual Forces guide you straight to success and happiness.
Samhain is the Witches' New Year. We project correctness, health, and love for the coming year. At this time, the world of the living and that of the spirit are closest to each other. We honor the ancestors and invite them to join in our celebration.
Witches do divination for guidance. Witches also choose this time to release the "old" in order to allow for the "new". We move from here toward a time of inner growth and introspection as we approach the coming Winter months.
If you have just been through a difficult period in your life, full of anxiety, fear, and moments of discouragement or doubt now is the time to open your heart and mind to those in the unseen world and ask for guidance.
The name Jack in Jack-o-Lanterns perhaps comes from the story of "Jack the Irish Villain", a man rejected by good and evil who wandered the world forever looking for a place to rest. His only warmth came from a small candle in a rotten potato. Irish immigrants brought with them to North America the Jack-o-Lantern tradition, but turnips were scarce so the pumpkin became a good replacement.
A prominent emblem of modern Holloween festivites, the pumpkin was long revered as a symbol of fertility and protection againts evil. Today's grotesque hollowed-out pumpkins, lit from within by candles, were orginally intended to protect revellers by scaring away any evil spirits abroad on the particular night. Nowadays, this function seems to be increasingly forgotton as popalar mythology revels in tales of pumpkin monsters and pumpkin-headed demons, leading successive generations of children into the mistaken belief that pumpkins themselves represent evil and may be in league with witches, vampires and so forth.
In keeping with the orginal idea that pumpkins bestowed protection against evil was the old tradition that they were best planted on Good Friday. Once growing, they should never be pointed at: to do so inflicts the power of the evil eye and stunts their further development.
Witchlore suggested that pumpkin seeds could be consumed to calm an excessively passionate nature, and that when mixed into a paste with oil and rubbed on the skin they eradicated freckles. Cassell Dictionary of Witchcraft David Pickering Pg. 216
Here are some common superstitions that have long been a part of the folklore around this time of tear:
Burning candles inside a Jack O’ Lantern keeps evil spirits away. If you don’t burn candles on Samhain, you will suffer bad luck the rest of the year.
If you gaze into the flame of a candle on Samhain, you will be able to see the future.
If you hear footsteps behind you on this night, do not turn around to see who it is or you could be confronted by the personification of Death and pass away!
If you allow a fire to burn out on Samhain, you will have bad luck the rest of the year unless it is relit by a priest.
If you see a spider on Samhain, then it is likely that the spirit of a dead loved one is watching you.
If you want to meet a witch on this night, put your clothes on inside out and walk backwards.
If you give out nuts to children on Samhain, you will be protected from the Devil.
If you ring a bell on Samhain, then the dark spirits will be scared away! It’s a good thing that a lot of doorbells are rang on that night.
If a bat flies around your house three times on Samhain, you will die within the year.
To ward off bad spirits, bury animal bones in your front yard.
If the flame of a candle flickers and turns blue, there is a spirit in the room.
If a crow caws at night on Samhain, then death is very near.
All souls in purgatory are released for 48 hours to roam the earth on Samhain.
If you float egg yolks in a bowl of water on this night, you will see patterns that will tell you about your future.
If you eat a hazelnut on Samhain night and fall asleep, you will dream of your future spouse.
The first person to go apple bobbing and successfully catch and entire apple in their mouth would also be the first to marry.
Knocking on wood on Samhain will keep bad luck away.
Gazing into the flame of a candle on Samhain will allow you to see your future.
If you look down and you are casting no shadow at all, then you are in danger of having an evil spirit steal your soul.
If you walk backwards down a staircase holding a mirror and candle, you will see the face of your future wife or husband.
If you blindfold yourself and go out into the garden on Samhain and pull up Kale, the roots will tell you whether or not your future wife or husband will be tall or short, old or young, or healthy or unhealthy.
The leaves may be changing and the weather becoming cooler and crisper, but the stars see no reason to let the start of Autumn dampen your spirits!
October kicks off with the Sun, Mercury, Venus and Saturn residing in equitable Libra.
On October 3rd, aggressive Mars and lucky Jupiter will square off, giving you a dose of enthusiasm and overconfidence. This is great for getting your way, but be careful not to get carried away thinking rules don't apply to you!
On October 6th, chatty Mercury will line up with severe Saturn. This may bring a hint of gloominess and a slight negative tone to conversations, but nothing too difficult. Then, on the 7th, charming Venus will meet with fanciful Neptune. Your good intentions could bring romantic fantasies to life, as long as you're not too impractical with your plans. When Venus moves into intense Scorpio on the 9th, you'll experience blissful closeness with your sweetheart. Just beware of unreasonable jealousy!
The full Moon will rise in Aries on the 12th, making you feel high-spirited and impulsive, but this will be tempered by a distinct cautiousness. Meanwhile, Venus will pair up with Pluto on the same day, creating a sexy and seductive mood. October 13th will be another cosmically active day as Saturn tips its hat to the Sun and Mercury moves into Scorpio. Saturn will ensure agreements are satisfied to their most minute details. Mercury in Scorpio will bring a couple weeks of deep, meaningful conversations, peppered with forceful and exuberant opinions.
After a few days of rest, the stars kick into gear again as the Sun shines a soft light on Neptune on the 21st, creating an aura of compassion. On the 23rd, the Sun will move out of wishy-washy Libra and into decisive, resourceful Scorpio. After spending the last month hearing every side of every issue, you'll now be able to act with confidence.
The new Moon, Mars and Saturn will all play a role on the 26th to give you a military discipline, which will help you force through new plans with unrelenting determination.
Finally, October will end on a high note, as first Jupiter and then the Sun line up to shake hands with Pluto on the 28th and 29th. You'll experience incredible confidence blended with a sense of empowerment. Anything and everything is possible!
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When we demand too much certainty in life, and ask for too many guarantees, we only frustrate ourselves and waste an immense amount of our energy.
When, however, we are able to live without certainty, comfortable with the paradoxes of life, answers have a way of arriving in their own time.
In order to be at ease with the rhythms of existence, we need a sense of curiosity and wonder. We need to be able to face the insecurities of life with an eternal question in our heart, rather than a constant demand for concrete answers.
Being comfortable with not knowing is as necessary to learning process as an empty mouth is to feeding.
(In Search of Balance John Robbins & Ann Mortifee H J Kramer Inc. pg.44)
English magician and occultist, who described himself as the 'Beast of the Apocalypse' and was called by the media 'The Wickest Man in the World'.
Crowley both enraged and fascinated others with his rites of sex, magic and blood sacrifice Despite the excesses, some consider him one of the most brilliant modern times.
He was born Edward Alexander Crowely in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. His parents, members of a foundamentalist sect, the plymouth Brethren, raised him in an atmosphere of repression and religous bigotry. He rebelled to such an extent that his mother christened him 'the Beasr' after the Anyichrist.
Crowley was drawn to the occult at a young age and was fascinated by blood, torture and sexual degradation. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, but never earned a degree, instead devoting his time to writing poetry and studying occultism. in 1898, he joined the London chapter of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (HOGD) and quickly advanced to the highest grade. After leaving Cambridge he named himself Count Vladimir and pursued his occult activities full-time in London.
Stories of bizarre incidents circulated, perhaps fuelled in part byCrowley's mesmerising eyes and aura of supernatural power. Some indivduals professed to see ghostly light surrounding him, which he said was his astral spirit. His flat was said to be pervaded by an evil presence, and people who crossed him were said to suffer accidents. (This power was also claimed by Crowley's contemporary, the eminent novelist John Cowper Powyers, although Powyers feared and tried to sublimate this 'gift' in himself).
Fowllowing his explusion from the HOGD, Crowley travelled and delved into Eastern mysticism. He lived for a time at Boleskin Manor on the southern shore of Loch Ness in Scottland. He had an enormous sexual appetite, and his animal vitality and raw behaviour attracted an unending stream of willing women.
In 1903 he married Rose Kelly, the first of two wives, who bore him one child. He had a steady string of mistresses and also tried unsuccessfull to beget a child by magic, the efforts of which he fictionalised in a novel, Moorzchild(1929).
He spent World War I in the United States, putting out proGerman propaganda. In 1920, while driving through Italy, he had a vision of a hillside villa. He found a place on Sicily, took it over and renamed it the Sacred Abbey of the Thelemic Mysteries. Envisioned as a magical colony, the villa served as the site for numerous sexual orgies and magical rites, many attended by his illegitimite children. The behaviour led Benito Mussolini to expel Crowley from Italy in May 1923.
Crowley's later years were plagued with poor health, drug addiction and finacle triuble. He earned a meagre living by publishing his writings. Much of his nonfiction is rambling and muddled but continues to have an audience. In 1934, desperate for money, he sued the sculptress Nina Hammett for libel in her biography of him, Laughing Torso (1932), in which she stated that Crowley had practised black magic and indulged in human sacrifice. The testimony given at the trail so repulsed the judge and jury that the trail was stopped and the jury found in favour of Hammett.
In 1945 Crowley moved to a boarding house in Hastings, where he lived the last two years of his life, dissipated, drug-addicted and bored. Cowley's published books include The Book of Law (1904), Magick in Theory and Practice (1929) and The Book of Thoth (1944)
Dictionaty of the Occult 1996 Geddes & Grosset pg.59,60,61
*** I am not a fan of Aleister Crowley, but to have an opinion should have knowledge on the topic.