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Friday, 25 November 2011

Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which? CHAPTER TWO....The Occult Origins of Halloween, Heathen Gods and Goddesses

Deuteronomy 32:16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. Deu 32:17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Isaiah 29:15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? Isa 29:16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Leviticus 18:21 And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. Zephaniah 1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. Deu 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Deu 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. Deu 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Deu 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. Deu 18:14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. Exodus 22:18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Pages 8-14

Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?

by Fred R. Coulter



The Occult Origins of Halloween, Heathen Gods and Goddesses

Every year hundreds of millions of people throughout the world celebrate Halloween. During this celebration, children put on costumes or disguise themselves, walk through neighborhoods, knock on doors, and speak the words “trick or treat,” expecting to receive candy or money. Many churches are involved, sponsoring Halloween parties for children, complete with costumes, games and apple-bobbing contests. Adults attend glitzy Halloween costume parties, dances and balls, most of them oblivious to the fact that this night celebrates Wicca’s most important “high Sabbat” in devotion to pagan gods and goddesses.

Centuries after the apostles’ deaths, Orthodox Christendom appropriated

Halloween as one of its official holidays, and Halloween’s observance

has been accepted as “Christian” ever since. However, it is anything but

Christian! In fact, the custom originated in the ancient pagan world and was

celebrated centuries before the New Testament Church was founded. In

tracing the roots of this pagan holiday, it is necessary to go back to an early

period in mankind’s history, to the time just after sin entered the world

through disobedience to God and His laws and commandments.

Pre-Christian History

After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden for their

sins, their descendants continued to live in disobedience and wickedness.

There were only a few who loved and obeyed God. After fifteen hundred

years, all mankind had given themselves over to evil and wickedness, causing

the Lord God to execute His judgment against them and destroy that world

with a universal flood. “And the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was

great on the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only

evil continually. And the LORD repented that He had made man on the earth,

and He was grieved in His heart. And the LORD said, ‘I will destroy man

whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, and the

crawling thing, and the fowl of the air; for I repent that I have made them.’…

Now the earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.

And God looked upon the earth, and behold, it was corrupt—for all

flesh had corrupted its way upon the earth. And God said to Noah, ‘The end

of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through

them. And, behold, I will destroy them with the earth’ ” (Gen. 6:5-7, 11-13).

(See Appendix C, Halloween and the Flood of Noah—Is There a Link?

p. 287.) Because Noah was a just man and walked with God, he found “grace

in the eyes of the LORD.” In His mercy God rescued Noah, his wife, his three

sons and their wives. In addition, God selected certain animals, and together

they were all saved in the ark from the destruction of that world by the flood

(Gen. 6:8-8:22).

After the flood, however, mankind soon returned to their wicked

ways in rebellion against God and began following Nimrod. “And Cush

begat Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty

hunter against [in place of] the LORD. Therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod—

the mighty hunter against [in place of] the LORD.’ And the beginning of

his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of

Shinar” (Gen. 10:8-10).

At Babel, Nimrod and his wife, Semiramis, established a religious

system in rebellion against God—wherein they and their followers also tried

to establish a dictatorial government epitomized by building a tower to

“reach unto heaven.” They believed Satan’s lie that if they worshiped him

they would become gods in the flesh. (See The Two Babylons by Alexander

Hislop for a complete and detailed historical documentation; available at

www.cbcg.org or www.biblicaltruthministries.org.)

The book of Genesis contains this account: “And the whole earth

was of one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they traveled

from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they settled

there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and burn

them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for

mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build us a city and a tower, with its top

reaching into the heavens. And let us establish a name for ourselves, lest we

be scattered upon the face of the whole earth.’ And the LORD came down to

see the city and the tower which the children of men had built. And the

LORD said, ‘Behold, the people are one and they all have one language.

And this is only the beginning of what they will do—now nothing which

they have imagined to do will be restrained from them. Come, let Us go

down and there confuse their language, so that they cannot understand one

another’s speech.’ So the LORD scattered them abroad from that place upon

the face of all the earth. And they quit building the city. Therefore the name

of it is called Babel, because the LORD confused the language of all the

earth there. And from there the LORD scattered them abroad upon the face

of all the earth” (Gen. 11:1-9).

Wherever the people were scattered, they took their false religion

with them. Since their one language was changed into many languages, we

find in antiquity various names for the same false gods and goddesses (or


In his epistle to the Romans, the apostle Paul wrote that because men

did not want to retain the knowledge of God, He abandoned them to their

own depraved imaginations: “And in exact proportion as they did not

consent to have God in their knowledge, God abandoned them to a reprobate

mind…” (Rom. 1:28-32).

The worship of the sun (symbolized by the sacred serpent), along

with nature worship, has its roots in this rejection of God and His Word. In

rebellion, mankind watched the changing of the seasons and observed the

life and death of crops, perceiving such natural processes as mystic. They

developed fertility cults with gods and goddesses who died and were reborn.

Thus the worship of the earth’s “spirit” as a mother and the incarnation of

the earth’s fertility forces within dying gods and goddesses developed into

one of the most widespread forms of pagan religion recorded in antiquity.

Whether it was Inanna of the Sumerians, Ishtar of the Babylonians,

or Fortuna of the Romans, every civilization had a sect of religion based on

the embodiment of the earth’s spirit as a caring mother-goddess. The Egyptians

worshipped Hathor in this manner, as did the Chinese with Shingmoo.

The Germans worshipped Hertha as the great Mother Earth, and the apostate

Jews idolized “the queen of heaven.” In Greece, Gaia is Mother Earth,

the creator of all things. Beneath her were many other earth goddesses

including Demeter, Artemis, Aphrodite, and Hecate. Hecate, the Titan earth

mother of wizards and witches, was considered to be the underworld sorceress

of all that is demonic.

Goddess Hecate: As the dark goddess of witchcraft, Hecate was

worshiped with mystical rites and magical incantations. Her name was most

likely derived from the ancient Egyptian word Heka (“sorcery” or

“magical”), which may explain her association with the Egyptian frog

goddess of the same name. This may also explain the affiliation of frogs

with witchcraft.

Hecate’s followers sincerely believed in and feared her magic and

presence, and magical ritual was used to appease her. This appeasement

of the dark goddess was primarily due to her role as the sorceress of the

afterlife, but pagans also thought she had the ability to afflict the mind with


Physical locations that had a history of violence were believed to be

magnets for malevolent spirits, a concept similar to that of “haunted

houses.” If one wanted to get along with the local resident ghosts, he needed

to sacrifice to the ruler of the darkness, Hecate. A night owl was thought to

announce the acceptance of these sacrifices, and those who gathered on the

eve of the full moon perceived its hoot as a good omen. Hecate’s devotees

left food offerings for the goddess (“Hecate’s Supper”) and sometimes sacrificed

puppies and female black lambs.

Deformed and vicious owl-like affiliates of Hecate called “strigae”

were thought to fly through the night feeding on the bodies of unattended

babies. During the day the strigae appeared as simple old women, and such

folklore may account for the myths of flying witches. The same strigae hid

amidst the leaves of trees during the annual festival of Hecate, held on

August 13, when Hecate’s followers offered up the highest praise to the

goddess, communed with the tree spirits (earth spirits, including Hecate,

were thought to inhabit trees—the basis for the modern radical ecology

movement) and summoned the souls of the dead from the mouths of nearby

caves. It was here that Hecate was known as Hecate-Chthonia (“Hecate of

the earth”), a depiction in which she most clearly embodied the popular

earth-mother-spirit—or Mother Nature.

Hecate was known by other names throughout the pagan world.

Some people regarded her as Hecate-Propylaia, “the one before the gate,” a

role in which she guarded the entrances of homes and temples from nefarious

outside evils. Others knew her as Hecate-Propolos, “the one who leads”

as an underworld guide. Finally, she was known as Hecate-Phosphoros,

“the light bearer,” her most sacred title and one that recalls another powerful

underworld spirit, Satan, who appears as a messenger of light. However, it

was her role as the feminist earth-goddess-spirit Hecate-Chthonia that popularized

her divinity (Anderson, D., Happy Halloween? 2004).

Modern pagans perceive the earth similarly, often referring to the

earth as Gaia—a living, caring entity. They believe that people are one of

Mother Earth’s species rather than her dominators. She provides the living

biosphere—the regions on, above, and below her surface, where created

things, both physical and spiritual, live (Anderson, D., What Witches Do

After Halloween, 2004).

Wiccans (modern pagans) and witches acknowledge all of the

so-called deities (demons) that ancient peoples worshipped. However, the

primary deities are “the Goddess and the God,” the Great (Earth) Mother

and her horned consort, the “Horned God,” the ancient god of fertility.

Horned God: The Horned God is actually a modern term invented

in the 20th century to link together numerous male nature gods out of such

widely dispersed and historically unconnected mythologies as the Celtic

Cernunnos, the Welsh Caerwiden, the English Herne the Hunter, the

Hindu Pashupati, the Greek Pan and various satyrs—and even a Paleolithic

cave painting known as “the Sorcerer” in the Cave of the Three

Brothers in France.

The Greek god Pan is perhaps the most familiar form of the Horned

God/Wild Man archetype. The ancient scholars of Alexandria believed that

Pan personified the Natural Cosmos, and the word Pantheism is derived

from this idea in which all Nature is God and God is All Nature. Arcadian

Greece first recorded Pan’s worship.

The Horned One, or Cernunnos, is a Celtic god of fertility, life, animals,

wealth, and the underworld. His worship spread throughout Gaul and

into Britain as well. Paleolithic cave paintings found in France that depict a

stag standing upright or a man dressed in stag costume seem to indicate that

Cernunnos’ origins date to those times. Known to the Druids as Hu Gadarn,

he was the god of the underworld and astral planes and the consort of the

great goddess.

The Horned God has cloven hoofs or the hindquarters of a goat with

a human torso and a human but goat-horned head. The god’s horns are seen

as phallic symbols, representing male potency, strength and protection. As

a symbol of sexuality, the Horned God is complementary to female fertility

deities known collectively as the Great Mother. In this context, he is

sometimes referred to as the Great God or the Great Father. He impregnates

the goddess and dies during the autumn and winter months and is reborn

gloriously in the spring, while the goddess always lives on as Mother Earth,

giving life to the Horned God as he moves through the eternal cycle of life,

death and rebirth. He alternates with the goddess of the moon in ruling over

life and death, continuing the cycle of death, rebirth and reincarnation

(Wikipedia, Horned God, 2005; Smith, Dr. A., Cernunnos, 1997, 1999).

This pagan belief in a cycle of life, death and rebirth as portrayed by

the seasons of the year can be found in every ancient culture.

Druid Origins and Customs of Halloween

The origins of Halloween can specifically be traced to the ancient

Celts (who lived in what is now known as Ireland, Scotland, Wales and

Northern France) and their Druid priests. The end of October commemorated

their festival of the waning year, when the sun began its downward

course and the fields yielded ripened grain. “Samhain” or “Summer’s End,”

as this feast to the dying sun was called, was celebrated with human sacrifice,

divination or soothsaying and prayers. Druids believed that during this

season spirits walked, and evil held power over the souls of men.

On October 31, their New Year’s Eve, great bonfires were kindled,

which were thought to simulate the sun and to procure blessings for the

entire succeeding year. The fires remained burning as a means to frighten

away evil spirits. The Druids held these early Halloween celebrations in

honor of Samhain, also known as Lord of the Dead, whose festival fell on

November 1. These bonfires, or “bone fires,” were also used in animal and

human sacrifice—thus the name. The tradition of lighting a bonfire has

continued to modern times.

The Druids believed that people needed to be cleansed after they

died. Samhain supposedly condemned the souls of the departed to inhabit

the bodies of animals. Kurt Koch writes in Occult ABC, “During the night

of October 31, the enchanted souls were freed by the Druid god, Samhain,

and taken together into the Druid heaven. This festival was always accompanied

by animal and sometimes human sacrifices and linked with all kinds

of magic” (p. 87). The Druids held back no cruelty in attempting to please

the Lord of the Dead!

During the festival of Samhain, people believed that there was a

very thin veil between the living and the dead, and they feared that the dead

would come back in search of bodies to possess. Fearing possession, people

did many things to trick the spirits such as dressing up to look like them.

Druid priests wore masks, so they would not be recognized and attacked by

evil spirits. Others wore frightening costumes to scare the evil spirits away.

Celts also hollowed out a turnip, on which they carved a grotesque face to

fool demons. They carried lanterns to light their way in the dark and to

ward off evil spirits (Pagan Traditions of the Holidays, pp. 79-80).

Druid Jack-O-Lantern and Trick-or-Treat: The Druids originated

the practice of hollowing out turnips or potatoes (Jack-O-Lanterns) and

filling them with human fat. Whenever a raiding party came to a home to

demand of the husband that someone inside be surrendered as a human

sacrifice, they would light a Jack-O-Lantern filled with human fat; if the

husband relented and provided one of his loved ones as a sacrifice, the

Druid party would leave the burning Jack-O-Lantern on the porch. This

lantern would tell the other raiding parties and the demonic host that this

home had surrendered a human for sacrifice and that the remaining people

inside were to be left alone. This guarantee, that no one else in the house

would be harmed, was the “treat.”

If the husband refused to surrender one of his loved ones, a “trick”

would be placed upon the house. The members of the raiding party would

draw a large hexagram using human blood on the front door. (They got the

blood for the hexagram from a dead body which they dragged around with

them.) The demonic host would be attracted to this hexagram and would

invade the house, causing one or more of the inhabitants to either go insane

or die from fright (America’s Occult Holidays, p. 20).

Various names for the Jack-O-Lantern through the years have included

“Lantern Men,” “Hob-O-Langer,” “Will-O-The-Wisp,” “Fox Fairy,” etc.

“Jack” is a nickname for “John,” which is a common slang word meaning,

“man.” Thus, “Jack-O-Lantern” literally means, “man with a lantern.”

Many legends have grown up around the lore of the Jack-O-Lantern.

According to some, Jack is a wandering soul trapped between heaven and

hell. Another tale—about a drunk named Jack who made a deal with the

devil—claims to be the true origin of the Jack-O-Lantern myth. In Halloween,

Helen Borten writes:

An Irish legend tells how this [lantern] custom

began. A man named Jack was kept out

of Heaven because he was stingy. The gates

of Hell were closed to him, too, because he

had played jokes on the Devil. Poor Jack,

carrying a lantern to light his way, was supposed

to walk the earth forever.

Whatever the true roots of the Jack-O-Lantern, it has become a predominant

symbol of Halloween.

Games to divine the future have always been popular Halloween

rituals. “Bobbing for apples” was a game played during the ancient Roman

Pomona’s festival (Pomona was the goddess of fruit), which occurred at

about the same time after the autumn equinox. This game was later adopted

by the Celts, who used it to divine the future. A young man who was able to

secure an apple between his teeth was assured of his girl’s love for the coming

year. The Snap Apple game was one in which each person, in his turn,

would spring up in an attempt to bite an apple that was being twirled on the

end of a stick. The first to succeed would be the first to marry.

Questions concerning marriage, luck, health, and the time of one’s

death were popular subjects of divination. In Scotland, young people pulled

shoots out of the ground to ascertain which of them would marry during the

coming year and in what order the marriages should occur.

Owls, bats, cats and toads were an essential part of Halloween divination.

Witches considered these creatures to be demon-possessed and controlled.

Traditionally they were known as the “witch’s familiars.” A divining

“familiar” was the species of animal whose shape Satan would assume

in order to aid the witch in divining the future. A witch would closely watch

the animal’s movements (whether slow or fast)—and she would note the

direction in which the animal moved and the kinds of sounds it made in

order to foretell length of life and/or impending illness (Pagan Traditions of

Holidays, pp. 75-76).

Today in parts of Ireland, October 31 is still known as “Oidhch

Shamhna,” or “Vigil of Saman.” In the next chapter, we will learn how

Halloween became an official holiday of Orthodox Christendom.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

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