“And what concord hath Christ with Belial or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,” 2 Cor. 6:15-17).
Have you noticed how costumes and masks are getting generally more bloody, gory, devilish, fiendish, atrocious and depraved each year? Unfortunately, the gruesome and grotesque and the occult is increasingly glorified in American society, not only on Halloween, but throughout the year in horror movies and in television programs.
All Hallows’ Eve was a night when the dead stalked the countryside, offerings of food and drink were put out for the ghosts, and they passed by to the west always, the direction of the dying sun at sunset.
All Hallows’ Day Bonfires on high hills were a blatant feature of The Old Halloween rites, though in England they have been gradually transferred to November 5 to mark the arrest of Guy Fawkes. In the 1860’s a traveler in Scotland counted 30 fires on the hilltops between Dunkeld and Aberfeldy, each with a circle of people dancing round. Done to the end of the 19th century, fires blazed on the hills in Lancashire on the eve of All Hallows. In north Wales every family built a bond fire and each person threw into the ashes a white stone which he had previously marked. Prayers were said round the fire and next morning if a stone was missing, it was thought that its owner would die before he saw another Halloween. The same belief existed in the Scottish Highlands and many forms of fortune telling were a traditional feature of Halloween – probably because it was the Celtic New Year’s Day and so a suitable time for predicting the events of the coming years.
In Aberdeenshire and Buchan in the 19th century, boys collecting fuel for the bonfire would ask for ‘peat’ to burn the witches. When the fire was lit, the boys danced round it shouting “Fire! Fire! Burn the witches.” When the fire died down, the ashes were scattered and when the last spark had gone out, the cry went up into the ominous darkness. “The devil takes the hindmost” and they all ran for their lives. In Wales ‘the cropped black sow’ would take the hindmost.
The fairies could also be seen moving from one fairy hill to another with the music of bells and elf horns. They were sometimes identified with the dead. Darker and colder creatures still roamed through the night on Halloween – demons and hobgoblins, witches who straddled broomsticks or shank bones, flew in the sieve or eggshells, or rode on coal-black horses. The fires helped to keep them off and at Balmoral in Queen Victoria’s time the effigy of a hideous old witch was ceremoniously burned on a bonfire at Halloween.
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