Former Wiccan and Witch Explain Why, as Christians, They No Longer Celebrate Halloween
REPOSTED FROM October 10, 2010
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Many Christians embrace and celebrate Halloween either in ignorance of what the holiday truly means or in deliberate rebellion, ignoring Scripture that speaks on the subject or justifying their actions based on feelings. Since many Christians do not see Halloween for what it truly is, I decided to hold a simple Q&A session with two women who have a very unique perspective on this holiday. Both women are now Believers in Jesus, but these women were previously involved in the occult – either as Wiccans or as self-proclaimed witches.
Please welcome Kimberly Eddy and Jennifer Bogart!
As always, compare all human thoughts and opinions against God’s Word. However, do take into account the unique aspect that these two women bring to this discussion on whether or not Christians should celebrate Halloween.
- Lisa Metzger
Q. How did you get involved in Wicca or witchcraft? What was the attraction to it in the first place? Jennifer: After my family left the Mormon Church when I was around ten years old, I continued attending with a friend until I was twelve or so. After stopping, I quickly adopted my parents burgeoning New-Age worldview. My father was heavily involved in rune magic at the time, and it didn’t take long before I was happily dawdling down the road to paganism behind him. Kimberly: I was raised in a very nominally Catholic family (though part of the extended family was Jewish)...we went to church periodically, and I went to both Catholic school in early elementary and later Catechism when I started attending public school. Unlike my family, I have always had a strong desire and hunger for spiritual things. My parents and brother found this to be quite a joke, and they teased me over it mercilessly as I grew up. I started to also be disappointed in my faith. I didn't really understand why Jesus died at this point; I was just saying I was a Christian because I thought I was from going to church. Around this same time (mid 80s I think?) the whole televangelist scandals happened, with preachers found to have mistresses and million dollar homes, and that made me cynical. Added to this was the drive by groups to ban or censor music, and it seemed like Christians were always protesting something...and it made me think, "If Christianity is always about being uptight and grouchy about other people having fun, I want nothing to do with it". This was my 15 year old, unsaved mind's reasoning. To this day I guard my involvement in political activities carefully, as I don't want to be a stumbling block to someone else. At this same time, I had an assignment in an English class. We were reading "The Crucible", which was about the Salem Witch Trials. We were each told to pick one part of the trials, such as "Puritanism" or "Salem" or "Massachusetts colony". I drew my card out of the hat and drew out "Witchcraft". Being a thorough, studious sort of kid, I did some research. I actually went to a Wiccan bookstore that had just opened, and bought a used book on Witchcraft. I had been curious about the bookstore, especially since all of the Christians were protesting it, so this gave me an "excuse" to go there. I became friends with people there, and started to embrace Wicca. The book I bought and the people I met compared and contrasted the stuffy, boring, uptight, judgmental Christians with the loving, sweet, nature-loving, and tolerant Wiccans, and used that to really suck me in. I need to repeat that though I grew up in a church, I had never heard, understood, or received for myself the saving power of God through the Blood of Christ, and so I was still a "natural man". I was only looking on the outside. After I asked someone at our Parish why Witchcraft is wrong and all she could say was "It's Satan worship and you'll go to @#!*% for it!" or something to that effect...and I knew that the Wiccans did not (directly) worship Satan, I thought, "Ok, so Christians really are ignorant, knee jerk reactionists! Sign me up for Wicca!"
Q. How long did you practice Wicca or witchcraft? Jennifer: I was involved in pagan/magic-working practices from the time I was a young teen until I was saved. I didn’t self-identify as a witch until three to four years before my conversion. So In total I’d been involved with the occult for approximately 13 years. Kimberly: From about 1985 until I got saved in August 1990.
Q.When you were practicing pagan religions, what did you do on Halloween? What was significant or important about Halloween? Jennifer: As a young child it did seem just innocent fun until I started investigating the roots of modern witchcraft for myself as an adult. Even as an occult-involved teen I never gave much thought to the underlying meaning of Halloween and just enjoyed myself. After becoming a practicing Witch as an adult, I recognized Halloween as the high-holy day of the Witches Year. It is referred to as Samhain – Soween – within the Celtic pagan community. It is identified as the time period where the veil between the worlds is thinnest, this time of year is revered as ideal for communication with the dead, heightened ‘spiritual’ awareness, and so forth. Pagans often chortle about the secularization, and even Christianization of pagan holy-days, and Halloween is amongst the most obvious. The fascination with death and spirits that continues to surround Halloween is evidence of this connection (think of the traditional costumes: ghosts, skeletons, witches, demons, murderers, etc.) Here’s an interesting wiki-listing that points out how Halloween is directly linked to the practices of Celtic-polytheism (workshop of many gods). Kimberly: The only thing that I loved about Halloween is the costumes, because I love costumes. I worked in a theater as a costumes seamstress, so this was my "thing". Before I became a Wiccan, it was just about dressing up and getting candy. This may be hard to understand, but the way society celebrates Halloween and the way the Wiccans celebrate Halloween are two different things. You could say that it's like the way our materialistic culture has morphed Christmas into a selfish spend-fest where everyone is stressed out and excessively busy, and we as Christians bemoan the fact that the real observance --- the remembrance of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us --- has been lost to society, Wiccans feel the same way about "their" holiday, and frankly, who can blame them. Wiccans see Halloween as one of the most sacred holidays on their calendar, as it is associated with the rise of the "god", and the going down of the "goddess" (signified by it becoming colder, darker, leaves falling off the trees, shorter days, etc.). Society (originating in England) celebrates it as dressing up in ghoulish (or worse) costumes and begging for candy, with some emphasis on the evil side of it, characteristic of witches riding broomsticks with pointy hats and green skin and other "spooky stuff". Initially as a Wiccan, I practiced as a solitary Wiccan, as there was not covens open for new members at the time in my area. I did meet with a more experienced Wiccan woman often. I once went to a Halloween celebration as an observer only (they need a specific number for the magical practices inside of the circle). Later I was in a coven, but still only observed the circles. [On Halloween] I mostly prayed incantations regarding the "rising of the god" and coming of winter, and later was an observer of coven circles. The things that went on there are not printable on a family blog.
Q. When and how did you come to know the Lord? Jennifer: I have such a hard time sharing my testimony in a short form! Briefly, God began drawing my heart towards His son through nearly every circumstance in my life. He combined my burden of sin with external promptings that pointed me towards Jesus continually. This was a slow process, and after two years of this torturous drawing I told Jesus to take my life, that I didn’t want it anymore, and he could do with it whatever he wished. If you’d like the long version, you can read it here: http://quiverfullfamily.com/2008/05/03/my-testimony/
Kimberly: The primarily tenet of Wicca is "As is none harm done, do it". In other words, everything is permissible if you are not hurting anyone else. Of course, no man is an island, and we may think we don't hurt those around us but we can and do hurt them by our sin. In obeying this tenet, I started down a path that eventually lead to a cynical hedonism while in my later years of college, some of this related to a roommate I had who introduced me to some things that I took a liking too. I basically went off the rails with anything and everything. By the time I finished college, I was not even invited to the coven (and didn't care), though I still self-identified with Wicca. I was drunk and high and everything else imaginable. I will have my testimony actually published on www.Boundless.org on November 9th, but essentially, I took off for Eastern Europe, hitchhiked and traveled, chipped off pieces of the Berlin wall, and partied everywhere I went. I met a girl who was singing in a park, and though we didn't speak a common language well, she drew me pictures and witnessed to me in broken English. I left her, and later found myself stumbling into a Campus Crusade for Christ open air revival in Jan Huss square in downtown Prague, where somehow the Gospel penetrated my heart, and I got saved.
Q. Why don't you participate in Halloween any longer? Jennifer: So many of our Western ‘holidays’ are secularized/Christianized pagan holy-days. As a one-time pagan who mocked Christians who took part in these adulterated holidays, I can in no way celebrate them with my family. Halloween is only one on a list of holidays that have been co-opted from pagan belief systems: Christmas, Easter, Halloween – they may all be widely accepted, and the former two have had Jesus thrown into the mix, but their origins and symbolism remain largely pagan in nature. I believe that reading these scriptures and applying them to any area of occult influence, whether it is a pagan holiday, or reading fiction that portrays witches and wizards in a positive light – these passages are broadly applicable for Christian living and remaining separate from pagan practices. Ephesians 5:8-14 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’" Kimberly: There are several reasons. The first one, I don't see the point as to why we should. To me, it originates with a very directly pagan observance. I find the emphasis on being "afraid" and promoting fear, scary stuff, etc. to be contrary to the fact that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim 1). Why emphasize death? Christ conquered death and the grave! I also feel that this "fun" exposure to the scary, terror stuff can inoculate young children to violence and evil. It's like how violent films desensitize us to violence. Safety. It's hard enough to keep an eye on active young children, but put a costume on them, go for a walk in the dark with hundreds of other young kids in similar costumes on the street, in neighborhoods that are more often than not full of sex offenders (check your communities listing). Is it a good precedent to teach children to essentially "beg" door to door? The Bible says that God's children don't "beg" (Psalm 37:25)...we have a society that is always looking for a handout and while I don't think that this is because of Halloween and trick or treating, I don't like encouraging kids to be beggars. Essentially, I found trick or treating to be like a washed out version of what the real holiday was about for a Wiccan, so I didn't participate in that any more, and I was older anyway by that point. I've not gone trick or treating at all since that time.
Q. Are there specific experiences that you had as a Wiccan who celebrated Halloween that led to your decisions as why you don't celebrate it any longer? Jennifer: I can’t say that there is any specific experience I can point to, but rather the general understanding of Christianity and the holidays Christians celebrate that I held as a pagan.
Brothers and sisters, know that there are pagans watching you and laughing. That may seem harsh, but it is true – the adopt of pagan holidays into the life of a Christian has in no way strengthened the faith or made it more palatable in the eyes of unbelievers, it has only weakened it, and made it seem derivative. I can so clearly remember explaining to others that Jesus is just another manifestation of the sacrificial Summer-King who dies to ensure the well-being of his people – that this is evident through his portrayal in being born at Winter Solstice (as the sun-god is), dying and rising again at Easter (Eostre) as the green-god, the consort of the goddess does in the Spring as he is planted into the ground and dies only to be born again as the grain crop. I always knew that the gods I worshipped were the creations of man, false gods, and now that I belong to Him I know the deep, everlasting reality of His life, His truth, His love. It breaks my heart to know that pagans misunderstand Jesus because of tacking him onto pagan celebrations – but that is a post for another day! Even holidays that are still primarily pagan are in no ways appropriate for Christians to celebrate, as it mars their witness to partake in a pagan celebration. I have to make something clear – I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with candy, or wearing princess dress-up clothes, we do both of those things in our home. However, when we do these things within the context of a pagan celebration, we are in essence behaving like the un-Godly culture that surrounds us. Both in the Old and New Testaments God carefully shepherds His people, asking them to abstain from pagan expressions of faith and celebration. Unfortunately, Christians who partake in Halloween are partaking in a pagan celebration.
I realize that there are many sincere brothers and sisters in the faith that celebrate Halloween out of a sense of family tradition, or culturally normative – I’d like to encourage you to examine the scriptures in light of this celebration, to seek God’s face, and to pray His will be done in your life. I hope you’ll read these words in the spirit they are intended – I have no desire to condemn you and yours as you continue to grow in your walk with the Lord. Do our actions really matter in relation to Halloween or is it just innocent fun? Yes, unreservedly, yes. As parents we are responsible for planting seeds in the lives of our children. Halloween and its emphasis upon the dark spiritual world may unknowingly plant a seed that later blooms into a fascination with the occult. As previously mentioned, our Christian witness before pagans is marred due to our involvement with their ‘holy days’ Most importantly, as the above scriptures make clear, God wants us to walk in the light. As His children we should not seek to partake of the works of darkness or to commune with them. All children seek to emulate their father – having been adopted into God’s family, we are no longer children of Satan, and we should no longer walk as such. Kimberly: Not really, other than knowing where it originated. What I mean is...not directly. Because of my involvement in [things of the] occult in the past, I avoid things that just "feel" demonic to me. It's hard to say, but my spirit just cringes this time of year. It's like putting a smiling, happy face on the demonic. I think you'll find this to be true in most of us who were once Wiccans...it goes beyond Halloween, to a greater sensitivity in this realm in general. It's the whole Romans 14 argument about the weaker brother. I am a weaker brother when it comes to anything that has occult overtones because I know the draw that once had on me, and in a moment of weakness it could possibly be a stumbling block again.
Thank you to Jennifer Bogart and Kimberly Eddy for sharing your hearts on this subject of Halloween. Please take some time to read the below verses and meditate on how these verses relate to celebrating Halloween. Also, remember to be a WITNESS among the lost, but also remember that Jesus worked AMONG the heathen, but he did not take up their customs and practices, which is exactly what one is doing in celebrating Halloween. You can be AMONG the "heathen", without IMITATING them in their pagan rituals.
Romans 1:18, 21, 24, 28 "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened...Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires...Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Leviticus 20:23-24, 26 "You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them...I am the LORD your God, who has set you apart from the nations....You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own." Proverbs 4:18 "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." We are to be a shining light, a city on a hill. We are to be DIFFERENT! 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God...Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.'" Jeremiah 10:2 "Learn not the way of the heathen."