Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween's Deadly Door: Fact or Fiction?

Over the next few days I will be posting a series on halloween from an article I wrote for Pray! magazine a couple of years ago. The article itself was excerpted from a book on witchcraft that I was working on at the time. If you don't believe in this sort of thing that's fine. I write this for those who are obliviously ignorant of the inherent dangers of the dark spirit world, and who might, in this season when darkness is unwittingly celebrated, be opening themselves up to more than they are aware.

Welcome, won’t you come on in?

It’s late in the evening and the lights are out in most homes on Kennedy Boulevard. Except for a few vagrants foraging through the garbage for scraps of food, and an occasional barking dog, the streets are devoid of life. An eerie silence hangs over the little town of Asgard as ominous storm clouds gather, casting long shadows against the backdrop of gray buildings. The thirsty ground sucks up the driving rain, as the vagrants scurry for shelter, leaving the impression of a ghost-town.

A few of the bolder townsfolk tentatively peer through theirs shutters, but most of the inhabitants huddle together in their living rooms, whispering, waiting, and wondering. The mysterious and gory deaths of four of the town’s residents at last year’s celebration of the feast have left a bitter taste in their mouths, and they can’t help but wonder what this year’s celebration has in store for their small but close knit community.

It is the feast of All Hallows. Unseen to the natural eye, there is a flurry of activity in the town of Asgard. This is the one feast that demons look forward to, the one celebration all year that pays homage to ghouls, goblins and ghosts, darkness and evil. It is the time of year when the line between the dark spirit world and the human world is thinnest. The demons swarm in like hungry locusts looking to devour everyone in their path. But they are not here as uninvited guests. You see, unwittingly, the inhabitants of Asgard have invited them into their town, their homes, and consequently their lives.

Sound like another Frank Peretti bestseller? Unfortunately, this is not fiction. Like Peretti’s books, the town above is fictional, but unlike his books, the story line is real.

Open doors lead to open hearts

The Bible is replete with warnings against “opening” ourselves up to the dark spirit world, and reminds us that we are continually in a battle that is not being waged against humans but against unseen spiritual forces in the heavenly places.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms – Ephesians 6:12

One of many doors that open our cities up to the dark world of the occult is the celebration of Halloween. Among numerous other practices that are an inadvertent venture into the occult, the celebration of this feast leaves us exposed to the influx of the demonic.

Halloween is a feast that celebrates the dead and the dark spirit world. As unsuspecting, well-meaning people delve into all sorts of “fun” things like “trick or treat” and dressing up in costumes (the more fiendish or devilish the better), they open themselves up to spiritual influences that they may not even be aware of. In almost every store on Main Street USA, you will find an entire section dedicated to Halloween costumes promoting dark fantasies. Ordinarily parents would be concerned if their children came home from school decked out in vampire costumes complete with fangs. However during Halloween this is quite acceptable. Harmless fun? You be the judge!

The origin of Halloween should serve as a warning for us to stay away from such activities. The celebration of Halloween dates back to the ancient Celtic people. They lived about 2000 years ago in the geographic are that today marks out Ireland, the United Kingdom and France. The feast, originally known as the feast of Samhain (pronounced sow-ain), was celebrated on November 1 in commemoration of their New Year. The Celts believed that on the night before the New Year, the boundary between the world of the living and the world of the dead became blurred. On October 31, the eve of the feast, they believed that Samhain, who was generally recognized as the lord of death, assembled the spirits of all who had died during the previous year. During this time, it was said that the spirits of the dead returned to earth to visit the living.

During the actual celebration of the feast, crops and animals were burned on a huge bonfire as sacrifices to appease the appetite of Samhain. By the 800’s the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, and in the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saint’s Day to honor saints and martyrs. This celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowsmas (from Middle English alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.