Samhain History & Practice in the Satanic,Pagan & Secular Community

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Samhain History & Practice in the Satanic,Pagan & Secular Community
Most people know it as Halloween or All Hallows Eve , a time when children and adults dress up as witches,ghosts,vampires,monsters and other creatures of the night and engage in various fun activities

such as parties, festivals and trick or treating.
Most people know ,at least a little bit of the history of Halloween but often the true history is mixed with false information and out right lies . I think it’s important to the satanic and to the pagan communities, for which Halloween ,known to us as Samhain , is one of our most important Sabbots, that the true history and practice of Samhain be made known. Given the large number slanderous books,websites and TV shows authored by Christians ,I feel one more blog about Samhain and the true beauty of this Sabbot is warranted. We must become more open and never ,ever ,allow untruths about us to go unchallenged .

All Hallows’ Eve, or All Saints’ Day – falls on October 31st or November 1st.
Originally, All Hallows’ Eve was one of the great fire festivals of Britain at the time of the
Druids. In Scotland it was associated with the time when the vail that divided the living
from the dead was at it’s thinnest. It was believed the souls of the dead could visit the living.
This was not necessarily an evil thing to the Druids and ancient Celts. Keep in mind they didn’t
have the same attitude about the occult or the spirit world as is common in todays Christian
influenced societies of the western world. It was also believed that evil, nonhuman spirits walked
the earth on Samhain and rituals were done to honor the ancestors and ask for their assistance
in the new year . Rituals were also done to ward off the evil spirits and the ancestors were asked to aid in this task as well.
Religious scholars agree that the word Samhain (pronounced “sow-en”) comes from the Gaelic “Samhuin,”
McBain’s Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language says that ‘samhuinn’ (the Scots Gaelic spelling) means ‘summer’s end’…” The Celts observed only two seasons of the year: summer and winter. So, Samhain was celebrated at one of the transitions between these seasons. Various other names for this Greater Sabbat are Third Harvest, Samana, Day of the Dead, Old Hallowmas (Scottish/Celtic), Vigil of Saman, Shadowfest (Strega), and Samhuinn. Also known as All Hallow’s Eve, (that day actually falls on November 7th), and Martinmas (that is celebrated November 11th), Samhain is now generally considered the Witch’s New Year.
Sunset on Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival and a new years celebration,simultaneously. Originally the “Feast of the Dead” was celebrated in Celtic countries by leaving food offerings on altars and doorsteps for the “wandering dead”,not to appease evil spirits.
Single candles were lit and left in a window to help guide the spirits of ancestors and loved ones home. Extra chairs were set to the table and around the hearth for the unseen guest. Apples were buried along roadsides and paths for spirits who were lost or had no descendants to provide for them.
To ward off the evil spirits,turnips were hollowed out and carved to look like protective spirits . The Wee Folke were thought to be very active on Samhain, pulling pranks on unsuspecting humans. Traveling after dark was was not advised. People dressed in white (like ghosts), wore disguises made of straw, or dressed as the opposite gender in order to fool the Nature spirits.

This was the time that the cattle and other livestock were slaughtered for eating in the ensuing winter months. Crops still in the field on Samhain were considered taboo, and left as offerings to the Nature spirits. Bonfires were built, (originally called bone-fires, for after feasting, the bones were thrown in the fire as offerings for healthy and plentiful livestock in the New Year) and stones were marked with peoples names. Then they were thrown into the fire, to be retrieved in the morning. The condition of the retrieved stone foretold of that person’s fortune in the coming year. Hearth fires were also lit from the village bonfire to ensure unity, and the ashes were spread over the harvested fields to protect and bless the land.

Samhain was not a night of evil or a time to caste evil spells ,it was more like Memorial Day and Thanksgiving Day combined. But then along came the Christians and entirely changed the meaning of this once beautiful Sabbat into a joke holiday of begging and vandalism.

Samhain became the Halloween we are familiar with when Christian missionaries attempted to change the religious practices of the Celtic people. In the early centuries of the first millennium A.D., before missionaries such as St. Patrick and St. Columcille converted /tortured them to Christianity,and brand those who refused conversion as evil devil worshipers..
As a result of their efforts to wipe out “pagan” holidays, such as Samhain, the Christians succeeded in effecting major transformations in it. In 601 A.D. Pope Gregory the First issued a now famous edict to his missionaries concerning the native beliefs and customs of the peoples he hoped to convert/exploit. Rather than try to obliterate native peoples’ customs and beliefs, the pope instructed his missionaries to use them: if a group of people worshiped a tree, rather than cut it down, he advised them to consecrate it to Christ and allow its continued worship. Church holy days were purposely set to coincide with native holy days. Christmas, for instance, was assigned the arbitrary date of December 25th because it corresponded with the Pagan mid-winter solstice . Samhain, with its emphasis on the supernatural, was decidedly Pagan. While missionaries identified their holy days with those observed by the Celts, they branded the earlier religion’s supernatural deities as evil, and associated them with the devil. As representatives of the rival religion, Druids were considered evil worshipers of devilish or demonic gods and spirits. The Celtic underworld inevitably became identified with the Christian Hell.

The effects of this policy were to diminish but not totally eradicate the beliefs in the traditional gods. Celtic belief in supernatural creatures persisted, while the church made deliberate attempts to define them as being not merely dangerous, but malicious. Followers of the old religion went into hiding and were branded as witches.
The Christian feast of All Saints was assigned to November 1st. The day honored every Christian saint, especially those that did not otherwise have a special day devoted to them. This feast day was meant to substitute for Samhain, to draw the devotion of the Celtic peoples, and, finally, to replace it forever. That did not happen, but the traditional Celtic deities diminished in status, becoming fairies ,devils,or leprechauns of more recent traditions.
The old beliefs associated with Samhain never died out entirely. The powerful symbolism of the traveling dead was too strong, and perhaps too basic to the human psyche..The church tried again to supplant it with a Christian feast day in the 9th century. This time it established November 2nd as All Souls Day–a day when the living prayed for the souls of all the dead. But, once again, the practice of retaining traditional customs while attempting to redefine them had a sustaining effect: the traditional beliefs and customs lived on, in new guises.
All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallows continued the ancient Celtic traditions. The evening prior to the day was the time of the most intense activity, both human and supernatural. People continued to celebrate All Hallows Eve as a time of the wandering dead, but the supernatural beings were now thought to be evil. Christians must have their evil ! All Hallows Eve became Hallow Evening, which became Halloween–an ancient Celtic, pre-Christian New Year’s Day in contemporary dress.
Almost all stories about the origin of Halloween incorrectly state that Samhain was named after the famous Celtic “God of the Dead.” W.J, Bethancourt III has an online essay which traces the God Samhain myth back to the year 1770 when Col. Charles Vallency wrote a 6 volume set of books which attempted to prove that the Irish people once came from Armenia. Samhain as a god was later picked up in a 1827 book by Godfrey Higgins. That book attempted to prove that the Druids originally came from India. The error might have originated in confusion over the name of Samana, an ancient Vedic/Hindu deity. Many religious conservatives who are opposed to Halloween, Druidism, Paganism and Satanism picked up this belief without checking its accuracy, and accepted it as valid. No such God ever existed to the Celts . By the late 1990′s many secular sources such as newspapers and television programs had picked up the error and propagated it widely. It is now a nearly universal belief, particularly among conservative Christians
.Virtually all present Halloween traditions can be traced to the ancient Celtic day of the dead. Halloween is a holiday of many mysterious customs, but each one has a history, or at least a story behind it. The wearing of costumes, for instance, and roaming from door to door demanding treats can be traced to the Celtic period and the first few centuries of the Christian era, when it was thought that the souls of the dead were out and around, along with fairies, witches, and demons. Offerings of food and drink were left out to placate them. As the centuries wore on, people began dressing like these dreadful creatures, performing antics in exchange for food and drink. This practice is called mumming, from which the practice of trick-or-treating evolved.

Halloween also retains some features that go back to the original harvest holiday of Samhain, such as the customs of bobbing for apples and carving vegetables, as well as the fruits, nuts, and spices cider associated with the day.
Today Halloween is becoming once again and adult holiday or masquerade. Their masked antics challenge, mock, tease, and appease the dread forces of the night, of the soul, and of the other world that becomes our world on this night of reversible possibilities, inverted roles, and transcendence. In so doing, they are reaffirming death and its place as a part of life in an exhilarating celebration of a ritualistic and symbolic evening.
For Symbolic Satanists, Samhain is when we honor our ancestors who came before us. If you’ve ever done genealogy research, or if you’ve had a loved one die in the past year, this is the perfect night to celebrate their memory. It’s also a great time for mediation on the victories and failings of the past year and accordingly planning for the future . Of course it’s also a time of fun for us,we’re all about the fun !!!

For theist or Spiritual Satanists and for Pagans/Wiccans
Samhain generally celebrated on October 31st, but some traditions prefer November 1st. It is one of the two “spirit-nights” each year, the other being Beltane.It is “End of Summer”, and is the third and final Harvest. The dark winter half of the year commences on this Sabbat. It’s the day when many Wiccans believe that their God dies, later to be reborn. Thus, Samhain is not a God of death; it is actually a yearly observance of the death of a God. Wiccans have attempted to reconstruct the ancient Celtic religion. They include this festival as one of their 8 Sabbats. They do NOT acknowledge the existence of a God of the Dead named Samhain or a similar deity by any other name. Modern-day Druids and other Neopagans also celebrate Samhain as a special day.
Communicating with ancestors and departed loved ones is believed to be easy at this time, for they journey through this world on their way to the Summerlands. It is a time to study the Dark Mysteries and honor the Dark Mother and the Dark Father, symbolized by the Crone and her aged Consort. Today a lot of practitioners still carry out that tradition.
For Spiritual and Symbolical Satanists and for Pagans and Wiccans, this is a good time for us to look at wrapping up the old and preparing for the new in our lives. Think about the things you did in the last twelve months. Have you left anything unresolved? If so, now is the time to wrap things up. Once you’ve gotten all that unfinished stuff cleared away, and out of your life, then you can begin looking towards the next year.
Happy Samhain to all ,have fun and indulge responsibly .
Hail Satan !
Hail Thy Self !
Lilith Elgan

Witches’ Sabbath

Faust's Vision by Luis Ricardo Falero

Faust’s Vision by Luis Ricardo Falero

The Witches’ Sabbath or Sabbat is a meeting of those who practice witchcraft and other rites.

European records indicate cases of persons being accused or tried for taking part in Sabbat gatherings, from the Middle Ages to the 17th century or later.
Contents

1 Etymology
2 The Sabbat in history
3 The Catholic Church’s views on the Sabbat
3.1 Ritual elements
3.2 Location
3.3 Dates
3.4 Depictions of witches’ sabbaths in various art forms
4 Disputed accuracy of the accounts
4.1 Possible connections to real groups
5 See also
6 Sources
7 References

Etymology

The English word “sabbat” is of obscure etymology and late diffusion, and local variations of the name given to witches’ gatherings were frequent.[1] “Sabbat” came indirectly from Hebrew שַׁבָּת (Shabbath, “day of rest”). In modern Judaism, Shabbat is the rest day celebrated from Friday evening to Saturday nightfall; in modern Christianity, Sabbath refers to Sunday, or to a time period similar to Shabbat in the seventh-day church minority. In connection with the medieval beliefs in the evil power of witches and in the malevolence of Jews and Judaizing heretics (both being Sabbathkeepers),[2] satanic gatherings of witches were by outsiders called “sabbats”, “synagogues”, or “convents”.[1]
The Sabbat in history

Although allusions to Sabbats were made by the Catholic Canon law since about 905, the first book that mentions the Sabbat is, theoretically, Canon Episcopi, included in Burchard of Worms’s collection in the 11th century. The Canon Episcopi alleged that “Diana’s rides,” (by the name of the Roman goddess of the hunt) were false, and that these spirit travels did not occur in reality. Errores Gazariorum later evoked the Sabbat, in 1452.

In the 13th century the accusation of participation in a Sabbat was considered very serious. Helping to publicize belief in and the threat of the Witches’ Sabbath was the extensive preaching of the popular Franciscan reformer, Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380–1444), whose widely circulating sermons contain various references to the sabbath as it was then conceived and hence represent valuable early sources into the history of this phenomenon.[3] Some allusions to meetings of witches with demons are also made in the Inquistors’ manual of witch-hunting, the Malleus Maleficarum (1486). Nevertheless, it was during the Renaissance when Sabbat folklore was most popular, more books on them were published, and more people lost their lives when accused of participating. Commentarius de Maleficius (1622), by Peter Binsfeld, cites accusation of participation in Sabbats as a proof of guiltiness in an accusation for the practice of witchcraft.

A Sabbat is also shown in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “Young Goodman Brown” where Brown finds a meeting of Devil worshipers from Salem village.

It is important to note, however, that in spite of the number of times that authorities retold stories of the sabbat, modern researchers have been unable to find any corroboration that any such event ever occurred.[4] The historian Scott E. Hendrix presents a two-fold explanation for why these stories were so commonly told in spite of the fact that sabbats likely never actually occurred in his study “The Pursuit of Witches and the Sexual Discourse of the Sabbat.” First, belief in the existence of witches was widespread in late medieval and early-modern Europe. Many religious authorities believed there was a vast underground conspiracy of witches who were responsible for the horrific famines, plague, warfare, and problems in the Catholic Church that became endemic in the fourteenth century.[5] By blaming witches, religious authorities provided a handy scapegoat for those who might otherwise question God’s goodness. Second, stories of the sabbat, with its prurient orgiastic elements, caused these stories to be told and retold. In effect, the sabbat acted as an effective ‘advertising’ gimmick, causing knowledge of what these authorities believed to be the very real threat of witchcraft to be spread more rapidly across the continent.[6] Unfortunately that also meant that stories of the sabbat promoted the hunting, prosecution, and execution of supposed witches.
The Catholic Church’s views on the Sabbat
Ritual elements

The Compendium Maleficarum (1608), by Francesco Maria Guazzo, aka Guaccio, Guaccius is a book published by an Italian priest with some illustrations of what he imagined could be a Sabbat, and gives a description of it; a brief summary can be cited as an example: “the attendants go riding flying goats, trample the cross, are made to be re-baptised in the name of the Devil, give their clothes to him, kiss the Devil’s behind, and dance back to back forming a round”.

According to Hans Baldung Grien (ca 1484-1545) and Pierre de Rostegny, aka De Lancre (1553–1631) human flesh was eaten during Sabbats, preferably children, and also human bones stewed in a special way. It was also said by some authors[by whom?] that salt, bread and oil were prohibited because the Devil hated them; while other testimonies told about delicious dishes. Other descriptions add that human fat, especially of non-baptised children, was used to make an unguent that enabled the witches to fly; such an ointment is referred to in “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne in a conversation between Goody Cloyse and the dark stranger. It was also believed[who?] that witches could fly by themselves, ride a broom, or be carried by demons to the place of the meeting.

The most common belief on which authors[who?] agreed is that Satan was present at the Sabbat, often as a goat or satyr, and many agreed that more demons were present. Another belief said that sometimes a person could offer his/her own body to be possessed by some demon serving as a medium (see demon possession). It was believed[by whom?] that the Sabbat commenced at midnight and ended at dawn, beginning with a procession, continuing with a banquet, then a Black Mass, and culminating with an orgy in which uninhibited sexual intercourse with demons in male or female form was practiced. Consumption of hallucinogens and sometimes alcohol was often reported.
Location

According to folklore, the Sabbat was most often celebrated in isolated places, preferably forests or mountains. Some famous places where these events were said to have been celebrated are Briany, Carignano, Benevento, Puy-de-Dôme (France), Blocksberg, Melibäus, the Black Forest, (Germany), the Bald Mount (Poland), Vaspaku, Zabern, Kopastatö (Hungary), San Colombano al Lambro (Italy) and more, but it was also said that Stonehenge (England) was a place for Sabbats. In the Basque country the Sabbat (there called Akelarre, or ‘field of the goat’) was said to be celebrated in isolated fields.
Dates

There is no agreement among authors concerning the dates on which the Sabbats were to be celebrated. Some hypothosized they would take place during the night of the Sunday before the time the Christian mass was celebrated, some authors disagreed telling that Satan was less powerful on holy days.

Some commonly mentioned dates were February 1 (to some February 2), May 1 (Great Sabbat, Walpurgis Night), August 1 (Lammas), November 1 (Halloween, commencing on October 30’s eve), Easter, and Christmas. Other less frequently mentioned dates were Good Friday, January 1 (day of Jesus’ Crucifixion), June 23 (St. John’s Day), December 21 (St. Thomas), and Corpus Christi. and others.

The modern Sabbats that many Wiccans and Neo-Pagans now follow are: Imbolc (February 2), Ostara (Spring Equinox), Beltane (May 1), Litha (Summer Solstice), Lammas (August 1), Mabon (Autumn Equinox), Samhain (October 31) and Yule (Winter Solstice). (See also Wheel of the Year)

According to the testimonies of benandanti and similar European groups (see below), common dates for gatherings are during the weeks of the Ember days, during the twelve days of Christmas or at Pentecost.
Depictions of witches’ sabbaths in various art forms
Faust’s Vision by Luis Ricardo Falero

As referenced earlier, Hawthorne seems to have been describing a witches’ sabbath and the surrounding activity in his short story, “Young Goodman Brown.” Musically, the supposed ritual has been used as inspiration for such works as Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky and the fifth movement of Hector Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.

Depictions in painting include the following:

Witches’ Sabbath by Francisco Goya (1798) Museum of Lázaro Galdiano
Witches’ Sabbath or The Great He-Goat by Francisco Goya (1823) Museo del Prado
Witches’ Flight by Francisco Goya (1798) Museo del Prado
Muse of the Night (Witches’ Sabbath) by Luis Ricardo Falero (1880)
Witches’ Sabbath in Roman Ruins by Jacob van Swanenburgh (1608)
The Vision of Faust by Luis Ricardo Falero (1878)
Witches’ Sabbath by Frans Francken (1606)

Disputed accuracy of the accounts

The descriptions of Sabbats were made or published by priests, jurists and judges who never took part in these gatherings, or were transcribed during the process of the witchcraft trials. That these testimonies reflect actual events is for most of the accounts considered doubtful. Norman Cohn argued that they were determined largely by the expectations of the interrogators and free association on the part of the accused, and reflect only popular imagination of the times, influenced by ignorance, fear, and religious intolerance towards minority groups.[7] Some of the existing accounts of the Sabbat were given when the person recounting them was being tortured.[8] and so motivated to agree with suggestions put to them.

Many of the diabolical elements of the Witches’ Sabbath stereotype, such as the eating of babies, poisoning of wells, desecration of hosts or kissing of the devil’s anus, were also made about heretical Christian sects, lepers, Muslims, and Jews[9] (see blood libel). The term is the same as the normal English word “Sabbath” (itself a transliteration of Hebrew “Shabbat”, the seventh day, on which the Creator rested after creation of the world), referring to the witches’ equivalent to the Christian day of rest; a more common term was “synagogue” or “synagogue of Satan”,[10] possibly reflecting anti-Jewish sentiment, although the acts attributed to witches bear little resemblance to the Sabbath in Christianity or Jewish Shabbat customs. The Errores Gazariorum (Errors of the Cathars), which mentions the Sabbat, while not discussing the actual behavior of the Cathars, is named after them, in an attempt to link these stories to a heretical Christian group.[11]

Christian missionaries’ attitude to African cults was not much different in principle to their attitude to the Witches’ Sabbath in Europe; some accounts viewed them as a kind of Witches’ Sabbath, but they are not.[12] Some African communities believe in witchcraft, but as in the European witch trials, people they believe to be “witches” are condemned rather than embraced.
Possible connections to real groups
Main article: Witch-cult hypothesis

Other historians, including Carlo Ginzburg, Éva Pócs, Bengt Ankarloo and Gustav Henningsen hold that these testimonies can give insights into the belief systems of the accused. Ginzburg famously discovered records of a group of individuals in northern Italy, calling themselves benandanti, who believed that they went out of their bodies in spirit and fought amongst the clouds against evil spirits to secure prosperity for their villages, or congregated at large feasts presided over by a goddess, where she taught them magic and performed divinations.[9] Ginzburg links these beliefs with similar testimonies recorded across Europe, from the armiers of the Pyrenees, from the followers of Signora Oriente in fourteenth century Milan and the followers of Richella and ‘the wise Sibillia’ in fifteenth century northern Italy, and much further afield, from Livonian werewolves, Dalmatian kresniki, Hungarian táltos, Romanian căluşari and Ossetian burkudzauta. In many testimonies these meetings were described as out-of-body, rather than physical, occurrences.[9]
See also
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Witches’ Sabbath

Akelarre
Sorginak
Witchcraft
Witch-hunt

Sources

Harner, Michael (1973). Hallucinogens and Shamanism. – See the chapter “The Role of Hallucinogenic Plants in European Witchcraft”
Michelet, Jules (1862). Satanism and Witchcraft: The Classic Study of Medieval Superstition. ISBN 978-0-8065-0059-1. The first modern attempt to outline the details of the medieval Witches’ Sabbath.
Summers, Montague (1926). The History of Witchcraft. Chapter IV, The Sabbat has detailed description of Witches’ Sabbath, with complete citations of sources.
Robbins, Rossell Hope, ed. (1959). “Sabbat”. The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. Crown. pp. 414–424. See also the extensive topic bibliography to the primary literature on pg. 560.