All Hallow's Eve Is More Than Candy and Playtime For Dark Members of Society. Halloween comes and goes for most of us. But for members of Wicca--one of the fastest growing religions in the world--the season of Samhain is a magick time.
The Halloween Sabbat (celebration) concludes for Wiccans on November 1 with the final turn of the year-wheel. Mother Earth nods a sad farewell to the god who will be reborn at Yule (December 20), and the life cycle begins again. This is a time to honor the Earth Mother, (Gaia) remember the Ancients, and revere the Horned god of the Hunt.
According to the Celtic Almanac, the Wiccan year begins following Halloween. The seasonal scenario that follows is reminiscent of the
earth goddess and dying-god cults of ancient civilizations.
Yule is on December 20 and celebrates the goddess giving birth to the Sun god.
The next season is Imbolc and marks the recovery of the goddess after giving birth to the god.
The Spring Equinox (Ostara) marks the first day of Spring. The goddess awakes as the days grow longer and the light overtakes the darkness. The goddess fills the earth with fertility.
Beltane celebrates the transformation of the boy god into manhood. He is filled with lust for the goddess and lies with her in the grass.
The earth becomes pregnant with her vitality. Crops begin to grow. Flowers bloom.
Litha (midsummer) arrives as the powers of nature escalate. The Earth Mother is filled with fertility. Wiccans practice numerous kinds of magic during this season.
The next season is Lughnasadh, the time of the first harvest. The Wiccan god begins to lose his strength as the Sun rises higher each day. The nights grow longer. The god begins to die.
Mabon is the completion of the harvest. The Wiccan god suffers death, draws back into darkness, and waits to be reborn at Yule.
The Wicca year-cycle described above is very similar to concepts held by early pagans, who viewed the natural world with awe and
superstition. Ancients watched the changing of the seasons and wondered about the life and death of crops. They perceived such natural processes as mystic, and developed fertility cults with gods and goddesses who died and were reborn. 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 paganism 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 way, as did the Chinese, Shingmoo. The Germans worshipped Hertha as the great Mother Earth, and the apostate Jews idolized "the queen of heaven." In Greece, the queen of the Olympian goddesses and Mother Earth was Hera. Before her was Gaia (Gaea), the creator-mother earth, and beneath her were many other earth goddesses including Demeter, Artemis, Aphrodite, and Hecate.
MOTHER EARTH IN ANTIQUITY
The principal idea was, and evidently still is among Wiccans, that the Earth is a sentient being. The ancient and universally accepted idea that the "living Earth" was also a fertile mother was conceptualized in different ways and in various goddess myths and images throughout the ancient world. In The Golden Asse, by second century Roman philosopher Lucius Apuleius, evidence reveals that the spirit of the earth was perceived as a feminine force, and that such force incarnated itself at various times, and to different people, within the goddess mothers. Notehow Lucius prays to the earth spirit: O blessed Queene of Heaven, whether thou be the Dame Ceres [Demeter] which art the original and motherly source of all fruitful things in earth, who after the finding of thy daughter Proserpina [Persephone], through thy great joy which thou diddest presently conceive, madest barraine and unfruitful ground to be plowed and sowne, and now thou inhabitest in the land of Eleusie [Eleusis]; or whether thou be the celestiall Venus [or] horrible Proserpina, thou hast the power to stoppe and put away the invasion of the hags and ghoasts which appeare unto men, and to keep them downe in the closures [womb] of the earth; thou which nourishest all the fruits of the world by thy vigor and force; with
whatsoever name is or fashion it is lawful to call upon thee, I pray thee, to end my great travaile.
The earth spirit responds to Lucius: Behold Lucius I am come, thy weeping and prayers hath mooved me to succour thee. I am she that is the natural mother of all things, mistresse and governesse of all the elements, the initial progeny of worlds, chiefe of powers divine, Queene of heaven, the principall of the Gods celestiall, the light of the goddesses: at my will the planets of the ayre [air], the wholesome winds of the Seas, and the silence of hell be disposed; my name, my divinity is adored throughout all the world in divers manners, in variable customes and in many names, for the
Phrygians call me the mother of the Gods: the Athenians, Minerva: the Cyprians, Venus: the Candians, Diana: the Sicilians, Proserpina: the Eleusians, Ceres: some Juno, other Bellona, other Hecate: and principally the aethiopians, Queene Isis.
One could assume, based on such texts, that a single spiritual source (or realm) energized the many goddess myths. Likewise, in the ancient Hymn, "To Earth, The Mother Of All," Homer illustrates how the earth-spirit was universally involved in the affairs and lives of nations. Through Homer's dedication to the earth we discover how far-reaching and omnipresent the mother-earth spirit was thought to be: I will sing of well founded Earth, mother of all, eldest of all beings. She feeds all creatures that are in the world, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed by her store. Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children and blessed in their harvests, and to you it belongs to give means of life to mortal men and to take it away. Happy is the man whom you delight to honour! He hath all things abundantly: his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered with cattle, and his house is filled with good things. Such men rule orderly in their cities of fair women: great riches and wealth follow them: their sons exult with ever-fresh delight, and their daughters in flower-laden bands play and skip merrily over the soft flowers of the field. Thus it is with those whom you honour O holy goddess, bountiful spirit. Hail, mother of the gods, wife of starry Heaven; freely bestow upon me for this my song substance that cheers the heart! And now I will remember you and another song also.
From these and other ancient records, it is obvious that the earth was more than an agricultural or herbaceous facility to the pagans. She was the personable and "eldest of all beings," the "holy goddess," the "bountiful spirit," the all-nourishing mother of men who manifested herself within the popular idols of the mother goddesses.
Modern Wiccans and other neo-pagans perceive the earth similarly, often referring to the earth as Gaia--a living, caring entity. We are told that people are just one of Mother Earth's species, not her dominators. She provides the living biosphere: the regions on, above, and below her surface, where created things, both physical and spiritual, live. During the Samhain sabbot (Halloween), pagans celebrate the time when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, thus spirits beneath Gaia's surface can more easily communicate with the living.
SOMETHING WICCA THIS WAY COMES
Wiccans might find it interesting that many Christian theologians also believe the physical earth contains spiritual forces. In the Book of Revelation, chapter nine and verse fourteen, we read of "the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates." Likewise, in Job 26:5, we find "Dead things are formed from under the waters." The literal Hebrew translation says, "The Rafa (fallen angels) are made to writhe from beneath the waters."
Additional biblical references indicate that the earth is a kind of holding tank, or prison, where God has bound certain fallen entities.
2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6) That such fallen spirits seek to communicate with, or participate in the affairs of humanity, is defined in Scripture. The Hebrew people were warned that earth spirits pretending to be gods might seek communion with men, and, when the witch of Endor communicated with the same, they ascended up from "out of the earth" (1 Sam. 28:13). It would seem, based on such Scriptures, that the dynamic or energy behind the earth-goddess-spirits of Halloween is indeed real, and, according to the Christian doctrine, is identical with the legions of fallen spiritual forces that are bound within the earth.
Sadly, as in antiquity, those who practice modern paganism are deceived into worshipping "devils" (Rev. 9:20). The dogma that were once embraced (and still are through Wicca) as the wisdom of the goddesses, are defined in the scriptures as the "doctrines of devils." The Apostle Paul said, "the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils" (1 Cor. 10:20). In Acts 7:41-42 (Jerusalem Bible), we find that those who worship idols are joined to the "army of heaven" [stratos, the "fallen angel army"], and Psalm 96:5 concludes, "all the gods of the nations are idols" (elilim, LXX daimonia [demons]). Thus, pagan images, such as represented the ancient gods and goddesses, were "elilim" (empty,
nothing, vanity), but behind the empty idols were the living dynamics of idolatry, and spiritual objects of heathen adoration: demons.
Because the Bible clearly defines earth-centered goddess worship as the homage of demons, and since demons are eternal personalities which desire the worship of humans, it is fair to characterize Wiccan deities, including the god, goddess, and Horned god of the Hunt, as neo pagan titles attributed to demon spirits.