Home LifestyleHolidays Halloween Through a Witch’s Eyes

Halloween Through a Witch’s Eyes

by Shawn Engel
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Halloween is a big favorite of folks all over the world. Any excuse to dress up, party, and eat your body weight in candy would certainly draw some attention. But, for the witchcraft community, Halloween has a deeper meaning. It’s only right that we bring in HG’s very own spiritual contributor, Shawn {of Witchy Wisdoms} to explain exactly what Halloween means to real-life witches — and no, not the kind that fly with a broom and wear a big hat. 

halloween witch history

In terms of the Wheel of the Year, which is the Pagan Calendar, Halloween follows the final harvest of Mabon and lands on the same day as Samhain {pronounced Sow-en} or the Witches New Year.

As the Wheel of the Year turns to a rest and hibernation period, Samhain celebrates moving us into the darker half. By now we have felt the changing of the seasons and the chill begin to creep steadily in. Leaves are changing and dying, and the earth is slowly transitioning towards Yule.

READ: 6 Hoboken Spots for Locally-Made Halloween Sweets

What’s interesting though, in addition to seasonally feeling a shift, there are many old-school pagan traditions of Samhain that are still kept alive today. You can see this with the presence of costumes and forms of divination — hello seánces!

Samhain originated in Celtic paganism and was thought to be the time the veil between the dead and the living was thinnest. As one of the four fire festivals in Gaelic traditions, a large bonfire would be made by spinning a large wheel and creating sparks. People would dance and feast around the fire while leaving offerings to the spirits of loved ones who are currently passing over or coming home for hospitality. This idea leads to a lot of the mythology surrounding Halloween, being marked with ghouls, goblins, and ghosts.

From the large fire, people would extinguish their hearth and relight it with the celebratory flame. This was symbolically meant to heat their home for the darker half of the year, and to welcome passed spirits with warmth and friendliness.

However, as the veil was thinnest, not only loved ones were present, but evil spirits thought to be demons and fairies were too. The idea of costumes originated in this belief. People would dress up as monsters to keep the harmful spirits away while protecting the offerings they have made to their ancestors.

So, as you can see, though many traditions lose their meaning or transform over time, you can still feel the connection to their roots. Honoring the changing of the seasons helps to keep us connected to the earth and to the origins of our practice. So, when you’re getting ready to put on your costume this Halloween, remember the thinning of the veil, and celebrate safely!

See More: Our Favorite Halloween Decorations Around Hoboken {2018}

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