Halloween and Samhain: No Room for Compromise! Part 2
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
October 31, 1998

Last Updated :
August 22, 2012

Lady Francesca Wilde And "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms And Superstitions Of Ireland", November Spells: Raising The Dead Lady Wilde On Baal Fires Moloch Worship And Human Sacrifices, Wilde Used "Prince of Darkness" And "Evil One" For The Devil, The Marriage Of Irish Celtic Paganism And Roman Catholicism, Misguided Christians Promote Samhain As A "God Of The Dead", Festival To Celebrate End Of The Harvest And Honor The Dead, Origin Of Wearing Costumes And Masks On Halloween, Warding Off Evil Spirits And Garlic Bulbs, Necromancy Divination And Other Evils, Wiccan Celebration Of Samhain, Druids: Celtic Priesthood, Violent Head Hunters And Homosexuals, The Roman Catholic Church's Compromise And Marriage To Pagan Beliefs, Saint Patrick And The Shamrock, Our Modern Bastardized And Hybridized Form Of Christianity, Babylon The Great Is The Mother Of Harlots, All Saints Day And All Souls Day, Eve Of All Hallows, Sanctify Saints And Holy, Halloween Observance Arrives On American Shores, Becoming One To Win People To Christ, Celtic Bonfire Purification Ceremonies, Evil That Is Disguised As Harmless Innocent Fun, Very Profitable Holiday, Wearing Innocent Costume Is Still Compromise, Don't Be Double Minded, Choose Your Side, Don't Fellowship With The Darkness

Six decades later in 1888, Jane Francesca Agnes -- an Irish poet and nationalist later to be known as Lady Wilde, Lady Francesca Wilde and "Speranza" -- published "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland, with Sketches of the Irish Past". This book delves deeply into Irish legends regarding the Sidhe; that is, the fairies of Ireland. In some of the stories and legends which are contained in the work -- which number many dozens -- Wilde amply discusses the Devil, the walking dead, curses, a Baal festival during midsummer at which time bonfires are lit, and other topics related to the dead and dying. For example, in "November Spells" she writes as follows:

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"The ancient Irish divided the year into summer and winter; Samrath and Gheimrath; the former beginning in May, the latter in November, called also Sam-fuim (summer end). At this season, when the sun dies, the powers of darkness exercise great and evil influence over all things. The witch-women say they can then ride at night through the air with Diana of the Ephesians, and Herodias, and others leagued with the devil: and change men to beasts; and ride with the dead and cover leagues of ground on swift spirit-horses. Also on November Eve, by certain incantations, the dead can be made to appear and answer questions; but for this purpose blood must be sprinkled on the dead body when it rises; for it is said the spirits love blood. The colour excites them and give them for the time the power and the semblance of life."

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Hoping to find some specific mention of Samhain being a "God of the Dead", "Lord of the Dead" or a dark "Lord of Death", I read close to a dozen of Lady Wilde's stories and legends. However, I was not able to find anything which supported the claim. But I persisted, and eventually I found the following quotes in different sections of her lengthy introduction to the book. As you can see, she mentions lighting fires to the false god Baal, offering human sacrifices to the Prince of Darkness, sacrificing animals to Moloch -- or Molech -- and serpent worship:

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"There is also a belief that every seven years the fairies are obliged to deliver up a victim to the Evil One, and to save their own people they try to abduct some beautiful young mortal girl, and her they hand over to the Prince of Darkness . . . The Baal fires are still lit at Midsummer, though no longer in honour of the sun, but of St. John; and the peasants still make their cattle pass between two fires; not, indeed, as of old, in the name of Moloch, but of some patron saint. . . . We are told also by the ancient chroniclers that serpent-worship once prevailed in Ireland, and that St. Patrick hewed down the serpent idol Crom-Cruadh (the great worm) and cast it into the Boyne (from whence arose the legend that St. Patrick banished all venomous things from the island). Now as the Irish never could have seen a serpent, none existing in Ireland, this worship must have come from the far East, where this beautiful and deadly creature is looked upon as the symbol of the Evil One, and worshipped and propitiated by votive offerings, as all evil things were in the early world, in the hope of turning away their evil hatred from man, and to induce them to show mercy and pity; just as the Egyptians propitiated the sacred crocodile by subtle flatteries and hung costly jewels in its ears."

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While I only read a small portion of Wilde's book -- about a dozen legends, plus her introduction -- my impression is that in employing phrases such as "Prince of Darkness" and "Evil One", she is in fact referring to the Devil and not to a "God of the Dead", "Lord of the Dead" or "Lord of Death" who is called Samhain. In fact, in the previous quote that I shared with you, she even uses the phrase "others leagued with the devil". Therefore, it is safe to assume that when she writes "Prince of Darkness" and "Evil One", she is also using these as descriptive terms for the Devil.

This view that Wilde is referring to the Devil, and not to a Celtic god named Samhain, is supported by the fact that in her book, not only does she repeatedly refer to the Christian faith, but she informs her readers that when Christianity -- or more specifically, Roman Catholicism -- was introduced to Ireland by Saint Patrick during the second half of the Fifth Century, it was embraced by the Irish people. However, in her introduction, Lady Wilde writes the following in which she makes it clear that embracing Roman Catholicism did not mean forsaking the old Celtic pagan belief system:

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"Christianity was readily accepted by the Irish. The pathetic tale of the beautiful young Virgin-Mother and the Child-God, for central objects, touched all the deepest chords of feeling in the tender, loving, and sympathetic Irish heart. The legends of ancient times were not overthrown by it, however, but taken up and incorporated with the new Christian faith. The holy wells and the sacred trees remained, and were even made holier by association with a saint's name. And to this day the old mythology holds its ground with a force and vitality untouched by any symptoms of weakness or decay."

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As you will see momentarily, this marriage between Irish and Celtic folklore and pagan rituals and Roman Catholicism has been an ongoing practice within the Roman Catholic Church for many centuries now, and it is a worldwide phenomenon. At any rate, as a result of the aforementioned writings by these different authors, during the course of the past one hundred plus years, a number of religiously conservative Christians have made the mistake of not seriously researching the matter concerning the origin and significance of Samhain. Instead, they have simply embraced the false belief that Samhain was the Celtic "God of the Dead", "Lord of the Dead" or "Lord of Death". While like its Roman Catholic counterpart -- the Day of the Dead -- Samhain is a festive period which is in part dedicated to honoring the dead, let me reiterate again that, as far as I know, there is no god named Samhain involved in this pagan festival.

Please note that my purpose in sharing this information with you is not to in any way downplay the demonic influences that are associated with Samhain, or Halloween, as they are easily apparent to any Bible-believing Christian. Rather, it is to make you aware of the fact that in their desire to condemn Halloween -- as we obviously should -- some of our misguided Christian brethren are promoting ideas which appear to be at the very least inaccurate.

To reiterate what I stated in part one, in Irish-Gaelic and Scottish-Gaelic cultures, Samhain marks the supposed death of the Sun at the beginning of Gheimrath -- that is, the Winter season in November -- and the beginning of the long period of darkness, while Samrath marks the beginning of the Summer months -- or Samrath -- the following May when days are long and sunny. It is a festival and observance which is very much tied to agriculture and the end of the harvest, and preparing for the cold Winter months. The Wikipedia website notes the following:

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"The medieval Goidelic festival of Samhain marked the end of the harvest, the end of the "lighter half" of the year and beginning of the "darker half". It was celebrated over the course of several days and had some elements of a Festival of the Dead. Bonfires played a large part in the festivities. People and their livestock would often walk between two bonfires as a cleansing ritual, and the bones of slaughtered livestock were cast into its flames."

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In addition to lighting bonfires which were used as a means of purification, the ancient Gaelic customs associated with the Winter festival of Samhain also included wearing costumes and masks. This was apparently an attempt by these ancient peoples to either copy the evil spirits, or perhaps to ward them off. As I have mentioned before, in some Latin American countries, wreaths made out of garlic bulbs are used for the very same purpose of warding off evil spirits to this very day. The Wikipedia website notes the following, and explains how these pagan rituals became a part of the annual American tradition called Halloween:

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"Guisers -- men in disguise -- were prevalent in the 16th century in the Scottish countryside. Children going door to door "guising" (or "Galoshin" on the south bank of the lower Clyde) in costumes and masks, carrying turnip lanterns, offering entertainment of various sorts in return for food or coins, was traditional in the 19th century and continued well into the 20th century. At the time of mass transatlantic Irish and Scottish immigration, which popularized Halloween in North America, Halloween in Ireland and Scotland had a strong tradition of guising and pranks."

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At the same time, as we have already seen, people of Celtic origin believe that Samhain marks a time when the invisible veil between the world of the living and the world of the dead is thinner, thus permitting the spirits of the departed souls to socialize with living humans. Therefore, the dead are invited to enjoy meals with them, and they honor them on this day, just as many Roman Catholics do on the Day of the Dead, or "El Día de los Muertos", as we learned in part one.

In other words, in its original form, the festival of Samhain clearly involved practices which are condemned in God's Word, including necromancy -- that is, communicating with the dead -- and divination, or endeavoring to foretell one's future. Furthermore, as Lady Wilde noted, in ancient times, prior to the arrival of Roman Catholicism, Celtic religious rituals also involved worship of Baal, human sacrifice every seven years to appease the Prince of Darkness, and honoring the god Moloch, or Molech.

As I briefly mentioned in part one, modern neopagans such as the Wiccans celebrate eight annual festivals each year which they refer to as "Sabbats". Of the four "greater Sabbats", Samhain is considered the most important by many Wiccans. The Wikipedia website notes the following concerning the Wiccan belief system:

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"Samhain is one of the eight annual festivals, often referred to as 'Sabbats', observed as part of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. It is considered by most Wiccans to be the most important of the four 'greater Sabbats'. It is generally observed on October 31 in the Northern Hemisphere, starting at sundown. Samhain is considered by some Wiccans as a time to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on, and it often involves paying respect to ancestors, family members, elders of the faith, friends, pets and other loved ones who have died. In some rituals the spirits of the departed are invited to attend the festivities. It is seen as a festival of darkness, which is balanced at the opposite point of the wheel by the spring festival of Beltane, which Wiccans celebrate as a festival of light and fertility."

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Allow me to share additional information with you concerning the practices and beliefs of the Celts. As should already be clear to you, similar to a number of other ancient cultures, many Celtic beliefs and rituals were based upon the worship and observance of nature. The priests of Celtic society were known as the Druids. They were considered to be intellectuals insofar as class structure was concerned. The Wikipedia website states the following concerning the Druids:

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"Druids fulfilled a variety of roles in Celtic religion, as priests and religious officiants, but also as judges, sacrificers, teachers, and lore-keepers. Druids organized and ran the religious ceremonies, and they memorized and taught the calendar. Other classes of druids performed ceremonial sacrifices of crops and animals for the perceived benefit of the community."

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There are some other rather disturbing aspects regarding the ancient Celtic culture. For example, according to the German scholar Paul Jacobsthal, whose area of expertise was Greek vase painting and Celtic art, the Celts had a reputation for being notorious head hunters. In his 1944 study entitled "Early Celtic Art", Jacobsthal states that "Amongst the Celts the human head was venerated above all else, since the head was to the Celt the soul, centre of the emotions as well as of life itself, a symbol of divinity and of the powers of the other-world." This reminds me of what we learned in part one regarding the ancient native tribes of Mexico keeping skulls as trophies, and then displaying them during their rituals, as a symbol of death and rebirth.

In reality, Jacobsthal was only reiterating what had been stated earlier by Greek historian Diodorus Siculus; who in his First Century work entitled "Bibliotheca Historica" -- that is, "Historical Library" -- had this to say concerning Celtic head hunters:

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"They cut off the heads of enemies slain in battle and attach them to the necks of their horses. The blood-stained spoils they hand over to their attendants and striking up a paean and singing a song of victory; and they nail up these first fruits upon their houses, just as do those who lay low wild animals in certain kinds of hunting. They embalm in cedar oil the heads of the most distinguished enemies, and preserve them carefully in a chest, and display them with pride to strangers, saying that for this head one of their ancestors, or his father, or the man himself, refused the offer of a large sum of money. They say that some of them boast that they refused the weight of the head in gold."

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It seems that necromancy, divination, human sacrifices, the worship of the false gods and head-hunting were not the only dark aspects of ancient Celtic society. According to Greek and Roman writers such as Aristotle, Ammianus, Athenaeus, Diodorus Siculus and Poseidonius, while Celtic women were said to be quite beautiful, nevertheless, homosexuality was quite rampant within Celtic society. Men preferred to sleep with other men, rather than with their own women. In fact, some of these writers state that Celtic men freely offered themselves to passers-by.

As I briefly mentioned earlier, and more amply point out in such articles as "Our Pagan World: The Easter Myth Exposed" and "Pontifex Maximus: Pagan High Priest to Roman Catholic Pope", many centuries ago, in order to expand their sphere of power and influence, the original founders of the Roman Catholic Church -- that is, Emperor Constantine I and the wayward Christian bishops who associated themselves with him during the Fourth Century -- chose to compromise our faith, by adopting -- and in fact absorbing -- many pagan beliefs and practices.

In other words, these irresponsible men "Christianized" some of these pagan feast days and practices, in order to attract the pagan masses into the Roman Catholic fold. Rather than risk offending the masses, by telling them that they had to forsake their ungodly pagan ways, the Roman Catholic Church preached a socially-acceptable Gospel. They preached a Gospel which would be popular, and which would thus be embraced by many people, because it did not involve personal sacrifice, and it did not require one to forsake his erroneous beliefs. It was a non-offensive, feel-good religion, just like we see being preached and practiced in the so-called "Christian" United States of America today.

As we discussed earlier, in her book, Lady Francesca Wilde notes that one reason why the ancient Irish -- the Celts -- found it so easy to embrace Roman Catholicism, is because it did not require them to forsake their own pagan beliefs regarding fairies, communicating with and entertaining the dead, etc. They merely combined these two very different belief systems into a new bastardized form of Christianity.

One simple example involves the shamrock, or what we in the United States refer to as the three-leafed clover. No doubt many of you are familiar with the false belief that finding a four-leafed clover will bring a person luck, as if luck is a real thing. In ancient Ireland, where this all began, the three-leafed shamrock was regarded -- and continues to be regarded -- as being sacred. Many people saw its color and shape as symbols of rebirth and eternal life. Furthermore, the number three was also regarded as a sacred number; and within their pantheon of gods and goddesses, a number of so-called "Triple Goddesses" existed. These include Brighid, Eriu and the Morrigan. Eriu was the daughter of Ernmas of the Tuatha De Danann. To this day, she is in fact regarded as the matron goddess of Ireland, and the nation is named after her.

When St. Patrick returned to Ireland during the latter half of the Fifth Century as a Roman Catholic bishop, rather than frown upon the beliefs surrounding the three-leafed shamrock, according to legend at least, he instead informed the Irish that it symbolized the Holy Trinity of the Roman Catholic Church. In other words, as I explained a moment ago, Patrick "Christianized" what was clearly a pagan belief; and this is but one of many examples. In similar fashion, the pagan gods and goddesses were simply replaced with the worship of Roman Catholic saints. I won't even get into how the Catholics use the so-called "relics" of saints. It is rather disgusting.

As a result of the compromised evangelization tactics which were employed by the early Roman Catholic Church, holidays such as Easter, Halloween, and Christmas came into existence, and that is just the tip of the ice berg. For many centuries now, this wayward church has used the very same methods to expand its power base throughout the world. It has created a hybridized, bastardized form of Christianity where just about anything is allowed -- or at least purposely overlooked -- as long as Roman Catholicism remains the dominant religion in a nation. The Roman Catholic Church is very much like Babylon the Great who has compromised with the world, and who rides the Beast in the Book of Revelation. Sadly, she is called the "Mother of Harlots" for a reason. Many of her daughters now do the very same thing. They promote a bastardized and compromised form of Christianity, and people love it.

In the case of Samhain -- or Halloween, if you prefer -- as we discussed in part one, the Roman Catholic Church declared that the first day of November would be celebrated as "All Saints Day". This edict was then followed by November the 2nd being declared "All Soul's Day". It should be noted, however, that "All Saints Day" really began at sundown on the evening of October the 31st. Thus, the night of October 31st became known as the "Eve of All Saints Day", or as the "Eve of All Hallows".

The word "hallows" is actually derived from the Greek word "hagiazo". This word signifies "to sanctify" or "to be holy". Similarly, the Greek word "hagios" means "saints", or "most holy thing". This explains why when the Lord was teaching His followers how to pray to our Heavenly Father, in the English King James Version of the Bible it is translated as "hallowed be thy name"; that is, "holy be thy name", or "sanctified be thy name", as we see in these two verses:

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."
Matthew 6:9, KJV

"And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth."
Luke 11:2, KJV

In the Old Testament, the word "hallowed" is derived from the Hebrew words "qadash" and "qodesh". These words have the very same meaning; that is, to sanctify, to consecrate, to hallow, or to dedicate. That is why we are the Saints of the Most High God. That is, because we have all been set aside from the world, and have been consecrated and dedicated to God's service. For more information regarding this topic, please refer to such articles as "Striving for Perfection: Are You a Sinless Saint?".

But to continue, "Eve of All Hallows" was eventually shortened to simply "Hallow Even", then to "Hallow E'en, and ultimately today, to our current form of "Halloween". This then is how an ancient, pagan, Celtic festival called "Samhain" -- with all of its attachments to necromancy, human sacrifices, head hunting, homosexuality, spells and curses, fairies, Baal and Molech worship, bonfire purification rituals, costumes and masks, grotesque carved pumpkin heads -- they were originally carved from turnips -- witches, pranks, etc., arrived on our American shores. Rather than discourage these pagan beliefs and practices, when the Roman Catholic Church's emissaries arrived in Ireland, as we have seen, they did what they have always done -- and continue to do -- for the sake of power and expanding their religious and material empire. They in fact compromised our faith.

Please understand that becoming one with the people as the Apostle Paul instructs us to do in order to win souls to the Kingdom of God is one thing. Compromising, corrupting and polluting our faith with pagan beliefs and practices for obviously selfish reasons is quite another. As Paul writes:

"For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you."
1 Corinthians 9:19-23, KJV

Regarding the ancient Celtic bonfire purification ceremonies, I am reminded of the huge bonfires that our high school used to make just prior to our football games. I am not even sure if such high school bonfires are still permissible, being as they could be quite dangerous if not managed properly.

With the knowledge that I possess now, it really makes me wonder if behind all of the high school fun, there may have been a more sinister and unspoken purpose for our bonfires, such as making an offering to the false gods, in the hope that our team would win the game. As crazy as that may sound to some of you, you just never know. We all need to recognize that there is a lot of evil in the world today which has been cleverly disguised as harmless, innocent fun; just like the annual Halloween celebration. I can only wonder how much more demonic Halloween has become since I was a kid so many years ago.

Considering the dark, pagan history that is behind Samhain, or Halloween, perhaps you can now begin to understand why I -- as well as many other Bible-believing Christians -- am strongly opposed to allowing our children to participate in this annual holiday; which, by the way, has become extremely profitable for merchants. Unless I am mistaken, after the Christmas holidays -- and possibly Easter -- Halloween is the most profitable holiday for merchants. Young or old, a lot of people simply enjoy dressing up and pretending to be someone else. They also enjoy allowing the darker side of their personality to reveal itself when it is permissible to do so, such as on Halloween.

In my opinion, just because a person chooses to wear a more innocuous outfit instead of a witch's costume doesn't really change a thing. It is still participating in a worldly event which has pagan origins, which is not condoned by God, and which most certainly does not glorify Him in the least. This holiday -- Samhain or Halloween -- only glorifies the forces and works of darkness. To wear a less foreboding costume is a cheap compromise. Furthermore, as I have already pointed out, compromise and political correctness happen to be two of the primary sins of the modern Christian Church.

It seems to me that to simply wear a nicer costume instead of an evil-looking one, is akin to the Biblical practice of trying to switch light for darkness, and darkness for light. It is also being double-minded, and trying to have one foot in God's Kingdom, while the other is still set in the world and the Devil's Kingdom of Darkness. As you may know, the Prophet Isaiah wrote some very serious words regarding this issue. Jesus, as well as the Apostles John, Peter and Paul, and other Biblical figures likewise warn us of the serious nature of fellowshipping with the works of darkness, and advise us to choose our side. Consider these verses:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Isaiah 5:20, KJV

"He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."
Matthew 12:30, KJV

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."
Romans 13:12, KJV

"Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils."
1 Corinthians 10:21, KJV

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? . . . Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
2 Corinthians 6:14, 17-18, KJV

"For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light . . . And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
Ephesians 5:8, 11, KJV

"Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
Colossians 1:13, KJV

"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
1 Thessalonians 5:4-5, KJV

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways."
James 1:8, KJV

"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:"
1 Peter 2:9, KJV

"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:"
1 John 1:6, KJV

"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24:15, KJV

"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word."
1 Kings 18:21, KJV

Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.

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