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Article: Halloween – The Darkest of Nights by Kristine McGuire
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Article: Halloween – The Darkest of Nights by Kristine McGuire

17 Oct Posted by in Articles | Comments Off on Article: Halloween – The Darkest of Nights by Kristine McGuire
Article: Halloween – The Darkest of Nights by Kristine McGuire

A year ago I read a book that changed my life. It enthralled me. It frightened me. And it put me on point for spiritual battles to come. Part memoir, part reference, Escaping the Cauldron was written by Kristine McGuire, a former witch. The part of Kristine’s story that usually stuns people the most is the fact that she practiced her witchcraft while teaching pre-school for her church.  I firmly believe that anyone in the ministry should have Kristine’s book on their shelves. 

With Halloween approaching, I reached out and asked Kristine if she would write something for us. I’m honored that she shared this article with us. I think you’ll find her insight as engaging and delightful as I did. 

-Lori

The change of seasons will always fill me with a deep appreciation for nature, but Autumn holds a special place in my heart.  In Michigan, it 

means green leaves turning red , orange, and gold. The weather is pleasant in a “baby bear” kind of way (not too hot or cold). Orange pumpkins, hearty root vegetables, and sweet crisp apples make an appearance on roadside stands and in farmer’s m

arkets. What can I say? There is just something comforting about this time of year.

Growing up, however, there was another reason for enjoying Autumn which overshadowed it’s harvest bounty. Three consecutive months of holiday celebrations, each with it’s own accompanying traditions, crafts, and parties. Halloween (the first up) was a definite favorite of mine.

You see, as a child (and well into adulthood) I was drawn to anything spooky.

During Halloween, my interest in witches, ghosts, and things which go bump in the night (not to mention the opportunity to dress up in costume and beg my neighbors for free candy) was free to be indulged. My elementary school was filled with skeletons and bats as the classrooms were festooned in orange and black decorations. On Halloween, half the day was spent on parades and parties. Even my church sponsored a “haunted house” in the basement, back in the day, as an activity for teenagers. Scary was fun!

What I did not know back then was how, even as a Christian (having accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at the age of six), indulging an interest in such things would one day lead me down a very different spiritual path.

You see, there was a time in my life when anger, depression, and confusion led me to seek out answers from anything different than what I knew about God. As a result, I was introduced to a goddess religion known as Wicca. Through reading a book (and trying various recommended meditation exercises) a remembered interest in magick sparked within me. Over time, I journeyed into witchcraft, spiritualism, and ghost hunting until (finally) finding my way back eight years later to the truth of God’s mercy, forgiveness, and power.

Needless to say, my current opinion about October 31st (a major sabbat which I celebrated as a witch) has been altered from what it used to be as I’ve studied the day’s ancient Celtic origins in the fire festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”).

Modern Halloween celebrations were introduced to America in the mid-19th century by Scottish and Irish immigrants. When it became mainstream in the 20th century, Halloween became known as a “children’s holiday”, despite it’s darker themes. In the 21st century, more adults celebrate the holiday than ever before. Did you know, in a 2012 article written for Forbes.com, Larissa Faw stated “Some 13% of Americans ages 18-44 say Halloween is their favorite holiday” ? According to another article from Time.com in 2011, Americans were estimated to spend 7 billion dollars on Halloween that year. And it’s estimated 71% of Americans celebrated Halloween (spending over 10 billion dollars) in 2012.

Yet, what I’m curious about is how the subtle influence of the occult (which has become mainstream in American pop-culture over the last ten years or so) might be connected to this increase in Halloween’s popularity? How has the meteoric rise of Neo-Pagan religious beliefs (such as Wicca) in North America influenced this spooky holiday’s celebration?

Now, I’m not saying every child who dons a clown or princess outfit or hollers “Trick-or-Treat” is going to follow in my footsteps. Heaven forbid! Nor am I’m saying an adult who celebrates Halloween is (unwittingly or not) honoring the enemy. Every person who professes Christ must seek God’s direction on that one.

I do believe, however, it is imperative Christians understand the origins of this October festival and reconsider our approach or involvement. What does it say to our secular neighbors if our “harvest” activities on October 31st reflect very little difference from their own Halloween celebrations? Shouldn’t our “alternative” be even more winsome? But let me take it one step further. My belief is we need to recognize and respond to the current fascination with the occult in popular culture (and our own potential indulgence of it) first. Only then, will we be able to shine the true light of the gospel on Halloween, this darkest of nights.

 

 

 

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