The Origins of Allhallowtide

Halloween is a party that is celebrated in much of the western world on the night of October 31, the eve of All Saints’ Day (November 1). Its origins date back to the Celts, and the party was exported to the United States by Irish emigrants in the 19th century, more or less by 1846.

Due to the recent influence of business marketing, Halloween has also become popular in other countries despite the fact that many people still consider it an American holiday especially where there are more entrenched customs for this on the same day.

The word Halloween has its origins in the Catholic Church. It is a taken from the prayer of All Hallows Eve which means “All Saints’ Day” and is a Catholic religious holiday celebrated on November 1.

The Eve of November, All Saints’ Day, the Gaelic festival of the fire of Samhain or Samhuin, sounds more ominous than other festivals. It’s the end of the summer, when the powers of the underworld are making themselves felt more and more, with their doors wide open and all their troops released, both good and bad. Non-wizards are used to barring their doors and windows to Hallowe’en and using candles placed in pumpkins to scare evil spirits, a custom that continues today.

Witches had a less defensive attitude; they were actively facing the season by calling friendly spirits. Modern witches do the same, deliberately trying to contact deceased friends and relatives. The ritual begins with a walk or a slow dance – the coven carries torches and candles, led by the High Priest and High Priestess who hold the chopsticks. They play or sing an appropriate song at a slow tempo.

When finished, the High Priest and High Priestess trace the Pentagram of Invocation with their athames, while the High Priestess recites a prayer.

Each woman then gives the Fivefold Kiss to the High Priest, as a personification of God.

No precise method is fixed to induce the visualization of deceased friends. The choice depends on the individual coven, who may have found this or that other system more effective according to their own experience.

The cakes and the wine, the dances and the games follow, and if one is in the right state of mind, then one might be able to feel another presence.

Of the eight feasts, it is the one for which the Book of Shadows insists most vigorously on the Great Rite. If that is not possible at this time, the Book says that the High Priest and the High Priestess will have to celebrate it as soon as possible. Since Hallowe’en’s ritual is intimately connected with Death and the Dead, it should probably end in an intense and solemn reaffirmation of life.

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