Book: Occult Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?

The general practice of the Christianized Roman Empire was to try to convert pagans as quickly as possible. However, the pagans were reluctant to give up their false gods and ancient practices, so pagan religious practices were appropriated in order to encourage the pagans’ conversion. This was accomplished by renaming pagan holidays and changing their symbolism to reflect “Christian” themes. In his catechism book, My Catholic Faith, Louis LaRavoire Morrow proudly boasts of the Roman Catholic Church’s practice of renaming pagan festivals in order to encourage conversions to the church. “In the history of the Church we find that she often christened pagan festivals, making use of dates and ceremonies, and endowing them with an entirely new and Christian significance” (p. 416). In her book Witches, Erica Jong writes, “Christian holidays were deliberately set at times that had been sacred since the earliest Pagan days. The Christians knew the power Paganism had over the people and usually renamed rather than reinvented holidays” (p. 124).

The pagan festival of the dead continued to be observed until the sixth century, when it was slowly integrated into Christian practice. Pope Gregory the Great (540-604 AD) advised the Archbishop of Canterbury to retain the Druid sacrifices and celebrate them in honor of Christian saints. The Roman Church first introduced All Saints’ Day on May 13, 609 AD, to commemorate all those saints and martyrs who had no special day of recognition. In the 8th century, the day was moved from May 13 to November 1 to counteract the pagan celebrations held on that same day. By the ninth century the Roman Church was holding a Eucharist of reconciliation for those dead who had not been named among the saints. The evening before, October 31, was called “All Hallowed Eve” (holy evening).

In the tenth century, “All Souls’ Day” was added to the Roman Catholic calendar on November 2 for the souls still suffering in purgatory. Visiting cemeteries and setting out “soul cakes” (currant buns), wine, tobacco and gifts for the dead became a popular practice. People went from house to house begging for these soul cakes; in return, the recipients would offer up prayers for the souls of the contributor’s dead relatives. This was referred to as a “souling.”

During the Reformation, Protestant authorities saw fit to remove “All Souls’ Day” from the church calendar. John King reveals, “The feast was restored only as late as 1928, when it was presumably felt that superstition or the pagan influence no longer offered any significant danger to Christian orthodoxy” (King, The Celtic Druids’ Year: Seasonal Cycles of the Ancient Celts, p. 28).

Morrow writes of the significance of the feast of “All Saints’ Day,” November 1, for the Roman Catholic Church: “On this day the Church honors the Angels and Saints in heaven. It is a holy day of obligation. This day is a great family feast. It has its origin in the year 610, when Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon of Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs. It is in special commemoration of the millions of Saints in heaven who have not been officially canonized by the Church, and thus have no special commemoration during the year” (My Catholic Faith, p. 417; bold emphasis added). Since Scripture condemns the worship of angels, men and any other “deity” besides God Himself, Morrow’s reference to honoring “Angels,” “Saints,” and the “Blessed Virgin” can only be referring to pagan deities or demons, disembodied souls, and the mother goddess.

Likewise, November 2 is the feast of “All Souls’ Day.” Morrow explains its meaning for Catholics: “This day commemorates all the souls in purgatory. It is a day for pious remembrance of the dead, and for offering of Masses and prayers for them. On this day as on Christmas, priests are allowed to say three Masses, for the souls of the departed, that they may be free from Purgatory” (Ibid., bold emphasis added). The concept of “souls in purgatory” closely resembles the wandering disembodied souls of the Druid religion who have not gained entrance into heaven.

The Roman Catholic Church’s historical practice of appropriating pagan celebrations and giving them new “Christian” names and meanings is quite universal—with far too many instances to be covered in depth in this book. However, Sir James George Frazer gives this succinct summary: “Taken altogether, the coincidences of the Christian [Catholic feasts] with the heathen festivals are too close and too numerous to be accidental. They mark the compromise which the Church in the hour of its triumph was compelled to make with its vanquished yet still dangerous rivals. The inflexible Protestantism of the primitive missionaries, with their fiery denunciation of heathendom, had been exchanged for the supple policy, the easy tolerance, the comprehensive charity of shrewd ecclesiastics, who clearly perceived that if Christianity [Catholicism] was to conquer the world it could do so only by relaxing the too rigid principles of its Founder, by widening a little the narrow gate which leads to salvation” (The Golden Bough, p. 419, bold emphasis and bracketed comments added).

Modern Celebration

“All Hallowed Eve,” or Halloween, was nearly absent in America during the first few hundred years of settlement. Adhering to the Word of God, the English Puritans in America (a strict Protestant sect) rejected Halloween as a Catholic and pagan holiday. Over two hundred years later, the Irish potato famine of the 1840s brought thousands of Irish immigrants to America, who in turn brought the Halloween custom with them. At that time Halloween was regarded as a night of fear—and wise men, respectful of hobgoblins and wandering demons, stayed indoors. Only in modern times has Halloween developed into a festive time for children.

Direct parallels can be made between pagan traditions and modern customs of Halloween. Trick or treating rehearses the ancient custom of people visiting neighborhood homes on Halloween night to represent the dead in search of food. Those who pass out candy represent the homes visited by the dead and may also represent worried individuals seeking to appease Hecate and other nighttime terrors. Many children and adults disguise themselves today with masks and costumes on Halloween. Such masks of devils and hobgoblins symbolize evil spirits seeking mischief, as well as representing an attempt to scare evil spirits away. Yet, there are even more sinister reenactments on Halloween that have been largely ignored by society.

Wicca and Satanist High Sabbat: For modern pagans, Wiccans, witches and Satanists, Halloween is the holiest day of the year—a High Sabbat—and a serious celebration. Celebrated above all other occult holidays, Halloween is a festival of the dead and represents both the end and the beginning of the occult year. It also marks the beginning of the death and destruction associated with winter. “At this time the power of the underworld is unleashed, and spirits are supposedly freed to roam about the earth; it is considered the best time to contact spirits” (Halloween and Satanism, p. 146).

As in times past, modern pagans celebrate Samhain Sabbat (Halloween) because they believe that at this time of the year the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, allowing communication with the spirit world.

Historically, real witches were known to revel on Halloween night. According to Man, Myth & Magic, the witches of Aberdeen danced “round an old grey stone at the foot of the hill at Craigleuch, the Devil himself playing music before them.” Modern Wiccans practice a similar sky-clad (nude) Halloween tradition, calling on earth spirits and goddesses to visit their knife-drawn circles of power. It is preferable to hold this skyclad circle of power in an evergreen grove, especially when Halloween falls on the night of a full moon. Halloween is strongly associated with goddess worship. “It is a time when the summer goddess (the Great Mother) relinquishes her power to the winter god (the Horned God)” (Witches, p. 122).

For Satanists, who celebrate the holiday as one of two highest holy days, Halloween is the sinister, direct celebration of Satan and death. Sacrifices are performed by a select few at the highest levels of witchcraft covens, satanic cults and various occult secret societies. “At Halloween the sacrifices of some of these satanic cults are unspeakably vicious and brutal. This includes a series of six weeks of rituals including the slaughter of a small animal like a bird or cat, progressing through each week with a larger animal such as a goat, and then the murder of a small infant or child until the final night where they ritually murder not only another child but also an adult female” (Like Lambs to the Slaughter, pp. 190, 192; bold emphasis added).

Every year there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of missing children and young adults who are never found, nor are their bodies ever recovered. Are these victims of secret occultists’ human sacrifices? Only God knows!

How ironic and tragic that on a night when paganism and occultism are at their zenith and unspeakably vile and violent acts are being played out among Wiccans and Satanists, many Christians—rather than involving themselves in prayer and repentance—are having their own Halloween celebrations!

Halloween’s Popularity. Over the past few years, Halloween’s popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. Now second only to Christmas, Halloween is the biggest shopping holiday for many retailers. In fact, more candy is sold for Halloween than is sold for Valentine’s Day, and there are more Halloween parties held than New Year’s Eve parities.

But just how popular is Halloween? Follow the money: According to National Retail Federation statistics, consumer spending on Halloween in the United States was $4.8 billion in 2009. But that figure has risen steadily: in 2010 it was $5.8 billion; in 2011 it rose to $6.9 billion; and 2012 finished at an astonishing $8 billion. Apparently, Halloween is virtually recessionproof, and 2013 sales are projected to easily exceed the 2012 figures.

Halloween, it seems, is no longer just for kids. About 170 million American’s observe Halloween, and most of those are adults (most of the money spent on Halloween is for adult costumes). According to researchers, Halloween parties and dress-up events are popular among young adults looking for ways to escape the stresses of life.

An example of Halloween’s growing popularity can be seen in San Francisco. Halloween in San Francisco is what Mardi Gras, another occult celebration, is to New Orleans—one of the biggest events of the year. No other city in America has anything to equal it. Promoted as a peaceful and happy event, it is the biggest impromptu bash of its kind, bringing out a quarter of a million revelers to the Castro and Market Street neighborhood.

The following excerpt was written by an eager traveler from the United Kingdom who celebrated Halloween in San Francisco. “Firstly, unlike in the UK, Halloween in America is a big deal. Whilst we halfheartedly celebrate it, over here it’s one of the biggest holidays of the year. So it [was] by luck that I found myself in San Francisco, which happens to host the biggest Halloween celebration in the world with 300,000 people taking to the Castro area of San Francisco [which is otherwise the epicenter of gay culture in San Francisco]. The party however soon turned to violence, and multiple arrests were made as seven people were stabbed, and police in riot gear had to step in. A friend I was with was attacked by several black men. I could only watch as they tore into him” (Brian Webb’s Travel Journal).

Halloween Is Darkness

Visions of Jack-O-Lanterns with burning candles inside to make the jeering faces look even more eerie; thoughts of skeletons and ghosts, goblins and devils; the use of black, a favorite color of Halloween; rooms made to be dark and scary—all point to the theme of Halloween, which is clearly darkness. I John 1:5 states that “God is light and there is no darkness in Him.” Jesus Christ tells us in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world; the one who follows Me shall never walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Through the prophet Isaiah, God solemnly warns, “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!” (Isa. 5:20).

Halloween is the very antithesis of true Christianity. Its images are images of death, demons, ghosts, goblins, spiritism and Satanism. All this is absolutely contrary to God’s Word. Halloween is about the dead, whereas the true God is the God of the living! Further, Halloween glorifies the spirit realm—a realm composed of fallen angels or demons and Satan, its ruler, who are opposed to God and to the truth.

The Spirit Realm

The Scriptures teach that there is an unseen world of angelic beings that make up the spirit realm. Righteous angels—“ministering spirits”—are used of God to serve those who are to inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). Gabriel, one of two archangels, appears to play a key role in bringing about the fulfillment of prophecy (Dan. 8; 9)—especially those relating to the first coming of Christ (Luke 1:11-19; 26-38). The other archangel, Michael, is particularly involved with the end-time nations of Israel (Dan. 10; 12). (Also see Jude 9; Rev. 12:17.)

Demon spirits—“fallen” angels under the sway of Satan the devil— inhabit the earth, where they seek to interact with and influence mankind in various ways. Humans can be misled and swayed by evil spirits; as numerous Scriptures show, people can also be tormented and even possessed by demons or unclean spirits (see Mark 1:32; Acts 8:7; etc.).

Jesus dealt with such evil spirits numerous times throughout His ministry. In a Capernaum synagogue, for example, He encountered a man with an “unclean spirit” who cried out, “Ah! What have we [demons] to do with You, Jesus the Nazarean? Have You come to destroy us? I know Who You are, the Holy One of God” (Luke 4:34). Jesus rebuked the spirit, commanding it to be silent and come out of the man (verse 35). Others afflicted by demons were brought to Christ later that same day: “And [following Jesus’ command] demons went out from many, crying out and saying, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of God.’ But He rebuked them and did not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ” (verse 41). Also, a person can be possessed by many demons at once (Luke 8:30).

Satan himself prowls about like a lion, seeking those he may devour (I Pet. 5:8). We learn from the story of Job that God sometimes allows Satan to test us (Job 1:6-12). As the present “god of this world” (I Cor. 4:4), Satan is the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). The apostle Paul warns us to put on the “whole armor of God” in order to resist the “wiles of the devil,” explaining that we are “not wrestling against flesh and blood, but against principalities and against powers, against the world rulers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual power of wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:11-12).

Demon Influence on Nations: In the preceding passage from Ephesians, Paul refers to “powers” and “world rulers of the darkness of this age”—wicked spirits in “high places.” The powerful spirit influence behind such leaders as Hitler, Stalin, etc. is well documented. Even today we see whole groups, tribes and even nations under the sway of Satan and his demons. In certain African and Asian nations in particular, demon influence is so pervasive that it has led to mass slaughtering and genocide.

In Jesus’ time, He chastened the Jewish leadership as a whole for being a “wicked and adulterous generation” (Matt. 12:39). He told them that they were like a man from which an unclean spirit had departed—only to return later with seven additional spirits more wicked than the first. Warning that the state of such a person would be much worse in the end, He aimed His message right at the heart of the Jewish leaders: “Likewise shall it also be with this wicked generation” (verses 43-45). The implication here is obvious: The Jewish leadership of that time was under the influence of demonic spirits—they were “of [their] father the devil” and followed after the lusts of Satan (John 8:44). Furthermore, because they refused to repent when given the opportunity, that spirit influence would only get worse.

Certain powerful demons are bound in the physical earth. Job 26:5 says, “Dead things are formed from under the waters” (KJV). A literal translation of the Hebrew would read, “The Rafa [fallen angels] are made to writhe from beneath the waters.” Additional biblical references indicate that some places on the earth are a kind of holding tank or prison, where God has bound certain fallen entities (II Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). Apparently, some of these powerful demons are to be released in order to play key roles in the fulfillment of end-time prophecy. In Revelation 9:14, John writes of “four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates”—which are released to kill a third of mankind.

The ultimate in satanic/demonic influence will take place when the coming seven-headed, ten-horned “beast system” dominates the entire world. Revelation 13 shows that the leader of this coming political and military system—which will encompass government, education, religion, economics and commerce, technology, entertainment, etc.—will derive his “power and his throne and great authority” from “the dragon” (verse two). This “dragon” is identified as the “ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). As the final accomplishment of the occult agenda, the entire world will worship Satan, the dragon: “And they worshiped the dragon, who gave his authority to the beast...” (Rev. 13:4).

Interestingly, Satan once tried to give this same authority to Christ: “After that, the devil took Him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory, and said to Him, ‘All these things will I give You, if You will fall down and worship me’ ” (Matt. 4:8-9). Of course, Jesus refused, rebuking the devil. But the coming “beast” will wholly embrace Satan and the occult. He will fully accept Satan’s offer to “rule the world” as he leads mankind in giving Satan what he desires most—to be worshipped!

Occultism is Idolatry: Participation in the occult can lead to powerful spirit influence in the lives of those involved—and often results in demonic possession. Even Christians can be affected by the spirit realm, as some in the end times will unknowingly “follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1).

The Hebrew people were warned that earth spirits pretending to be gods might seek communion with men. In I Sam. 28:13 we read that the witch of Endor summoned such a fallen spirit, which ascended from “out of the earth.” These and other scriptures reveal that the dynamic (or energy) behind the earth-goddess-spirits of Halloween is indeed real—and is the same power behind the legions of fallen spirits bound within the earth.

Sadly, as in antiquity, those who practice modern paganism are deceived into worshiping “devils” (Rev. 9:20). Dogma embraced as the wisdom of goddesses is defined in the Scriptures as “doctrines of devils.” The apostle Paul said, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons” (I Cor. 10:20). In Acts 7:41-42 we read that those who worship idols are joined to the “army of heaven” (Greek, stratos, a “fallen angel army”). Psalm 96:5 concludes that “all the gods of the nations are idols” (Hebrew elilim, meaning nothing or vanity; the LXX translates elilim as daimonia, or demons). Thus, the pagan images which represented the ancient gods and goddesses were elilim—empty, nothing, vanity. But behind such empty idols were the living dynamics of idolatry itself and the very objects of heathen adoration—demons and Satan the devil himself.

Because the Bible clearly defines earth-centered goddess worship as actually paying homage to Satan and his demons—and since demons are eternal personalities who desire the worship of humans—it is clear that Wiccan deities are, in reality, nothing more than neo-pagan titles given to demon spirits (Happy Halloween?).

Satan the Devil Is the God of This World

The New Testament reveals that Satan the devil is the god of this world, as the apostle Paul wrote: “For we [the apostles and true Christians] have personally renounced the hidden things of dishonest gain, not walking in cunning craftiness, nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth, we are commending ourselves to every man’s conscience before God. But if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are perishing; in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:2-4).

Satan is also called the prince of the power of the air. This is why he can deceive people into following him and rejecting the true God and His Son Jesus Christ. Paul reminded the Ephesians that before their conversion they were dead in their sins: “Now you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked in times past according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now working within the children of disobedience; among whom also we all once had our conduct in the lusts of our flesh, doing the things willed by the flesh and by the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest of the world” (Eph. 2:1-3).

Satan’s spiritual power even extends into high places in government and religion (Eph. 6:11-18). He uses these institutions to further deceive the whole world. Indeed, the apostle John described him as “the great dragon … the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, who is deceiving the whole world” (Rev. 12:9).

Many who profess to be Christians have been deceived into celebrating Halloween. In Revelation Two, Jesus Christ personally rebukes the church of Thyatira, saying, “I have a few things against you, because you allow the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants into committing fornication [spiritual fellowship with satanic religions] and eating things sacrificed to idols [the Catholic Eucharist is sacrificed to idols]. And I gave her time to repent of her fornication, but she did not repent. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their works. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He Who searches the reins and hearts; and I will give to each of you according to your works. But to you I say, and to the rest who are in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will not cast upon you any other burden” (Rev. 2:20-24).

The “depths of Satan” are found not only in Halloween, but also in all the other occult holidays of this world. In chapter four we will take a more in-depth look at how Satan is deceiving the world through occult saturation.