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Forklore and Legends

  • Halloween dates back to the 1700's in the USA, but it has roots going back thousands of years and influences from many different cultures.  These include the Celtic festival of Samhain, the Christian All Soul's Day (which comes from Samhain in Ireland when the Christians converted the country, but wanted to retain some familiar festivals and events), and the Roman goddess Pomona.
  • Beware of the Black Cat:
    • This creature earned its status as a result of its connection with the Witch.  Witchcraft and black magic were are part of Druid (Celtic Priests or Holy Men) Samhain celebrations, end-of-harvest ceremonies when the living and the dead were thought to be closest together.  I was believed that Samhain, a Druid lord of the dead, commanded sprits to take the form of animals during these celebrations, with the most evil becoming cats.  Early settlers to America brought their belief in witches ability to take forms, including that of cats.  Out of this grew the superstitious that if a black cat crosses your path, you should turn and go back to avoid bad luck.  {"Samhain" is the name of the holiday. There is no evidence of any god or demon named "Samhain," "Samain," "Sam Hane," or however you want to vary the spelling.} The Celts didn't have a concept of Satan or devil in their worship or daily lives. There was an underworld, but it was not the Hell of Christianity, it was just another realm of existence.
  • Magickal Mystical Apples:
    • When the Romans conquered Britain, they brought with them the apple tree.  The apple represented Pomona, goddess of the fruit trees, who was known for her beauty and fertility.  The apple, ripened in the fall, was embraced as part of the harvest celebrations that would grow up into Halloween.  The seeds in the core of the apple - sliced in half it formed the shape of a pentagram - are another fertility symbol the Celts revered.
  • The Pumpkin and Folk magic:
    • This is of Irish Origin.  They carved faces on hallowed-out turnips, inserted a candle, and placed them on the doorstep to frighten away ghosts on All Hallows Eve.  When the Irish emigrated to America, they found the plump pumpkin was a perfect substitute.
  • St. Luke's Divine Magic
    • From pagan to Christian times, herbs have played an important role in magical divinations.  In England, on St. Luke's Day (October 11), young women concocted a special herbal ointment made of honey and vinegar, into which they mixed calendula, marjoram, thyme and wormwood.  They anointed themselves with this mixture, chanting this charm "St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me.  In dreams may I my true love see".
 
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