by Michael Snyder, End of the American Dream:
If you are a witch, Halloween is not just another holiday. For Wiccans, the festival known as “Samhain” is the time when the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest, and so communication with the other side is the easiest. And as you will see below, it is also the time “when the god dies, to be reborn again on the Winter Solstice”. Many Americans are still very unfamiliar with Wicca, but the truth is that it is rapidly growing in popularity. In fact, it has been projected that Wicca will soon become the third largest “religion” in America after Christianity and Islam. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, the number of self-identified Wiccans in the United States grew from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001 to 342,000 in 2008. The New York Post recently ran an article which stated that some experts have estimated that the number of witches in the U.S. is doubling every 30 months, and that there may now be “8 million undeclared practitioners” of “the craft” in this country.
So needless to say, this is a group of people that is very much growing in numbers and in influence. And of course not all of them believe the exact same things. Among various Wiccan groups there is tremendous variation in doctrine and practice.
One common thread that you will find among many of them, however, is a disdain for “Halloween”. They tend to consider most Halloween traditions to be distorted Christianized versions of ancient pagan practices, and most of them are not really too thrilled with the mixing of the two.
For most Wiccans, the proper name for the day is “Samhain”, and it is a celebration that they take very seriously. The following comes from a piece that was authored by a self-described “modern-day pagan and real-life Wiccan“…
Today, the holiday is still celebrated in the non-standardized, revived witchcraft tradition known as Wicca, and in the even less standardized group known as neo-pagans. In these circles, Halloween is called Samhain (pronunciations vary; I go with Sah-wen). Its significance and celebrations are rooted in traditional, pre-Christian practice, though they are by no means exact replicas.
October 31st is the midway point between the Autumn Equinox and the Winter Solstice. As such it is considered the end of the harvest time, when everything has stopped growing and the earth goes back to sleep. On the Wiccan calendar, known as the “wheel of the year” it is also the day when the god dies, to be reborn again on the Winter Solstice. Samhain is therefore the day when the veil between the living and the dead is considered thinnest, and is a time to remember people in our lives who have passed away.
Here is more on what Wiccans believe about Samhain from wicca.com…
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