Repackaging of Old Paganism in America

Repackaging of Old Paganism in America

Repackaging of Old Paganism in America

PASADENA, CA (ANS) -- In America, commercial trends in
Halloween show a new repackaging of old paganism. The huge
display of Halloween paraphernalia in malls, offices, parks,
public schools and etc in America, and the extensive internet
activities on paganism testify to a great revival of pagan
tradition in USA. The Halloween celebration which begins on the
evening of October 31 by Neopagans has tremendous influence upon
the socio-economic and political life in America.

There are presently about 970,000 internet sites on paganism
and 50,000 on Halloween. It has been observed that the next
generation of children in America will be inclined to the occult
due to the current proselytization of children into occultism
through the internet and the Harry Potter series on witchcraft in
American schools.

These are major doorways for trapping children into Satanism.
The trend towards globalization where commercial activities lead
the way with speed through the internet indicates that the
repackaged paganism is been globalized.

Understanding Halloween

Halloween is the modern name for Samhain or Sauin, an ancient
Celtic holy day. The feast is seasonal and marks the end of
summer and the beginning of winter. It is considered "a very
magical time, when the dead walk among the living and the veils
between the past, present and future may be lifted in prophecy
and divination." (Isaac Bonewits 1997, 2002.3).

The feast of Halloween is celebrated by many Neopagans,
especially the Wiccans, Druids and Celtic Reconstructionists.
Isaac Bonewits, a leading Neopagan explained that "Halloween is a
time to deepen connection with the cycles of the seasons, to the
generation that have come before us and those that will follow,
and to the Gods and Goddesses we worship (www.neopagan.net1997,
2002.12).

The evening of October 31st marks the beginning of the
Halloween event as the veil between the material and the
spiritual world becomes lifted for mutual traffic between the
living and the dead.

Activities during the occasion include divination to gain
spiritual insight about the past and the future. Bonewits regrets
that bored kids in a violent saturated culture like America have
caused Halloween activities to degenerate from "harmless
'decoration' of houses with shaving creams and toilet paper to
serious vandalism and assaults" (2002.8).

Sacred Festival Across Culture

The "hallowed evening," as it is called, is
characterized by devotion to nature, to humanity,
(past, present and future) and to the "Gods." It has some
similarities with the ancestor veneration and devotion to deities
that were common practice in African traditional religion of the
past before the coming of Christianity and Islam. This is still
in practice in some places in Africa. Pagan festivities are
seasonal whether in Europe/America or in Africa. The occasions
are sacred and always connected with the veneration of ancestors,
spirits and worship of divinities.

There are special days to celebrate each festival. Chinua
Achebe writes about the sacred week observed before the planting
of crops in precolonial /early colonial times, among the Igbos in
Africa. It was observed as a week of peace ordained by the Igbo
forefathers in Umuofia. By rule, no one would say a harsh word to
their neighbor during the occasion in order to honor the great
goddess of the earth without whose blessing their crops would not
grow. No one was allowed to work during the "Week of Peace."

People visited their neighbors to feast and to drink palm
wine. Violation of the "Week of Peace" would lead to a heavy fine
(Chinua Achebe 1958.26).

Spirits and Mortals in Mutual Traffic

The new yam festival in Igbo land is a seasonal feast which
begins the harvest of yams, a major food crop in Africa. Just as
the festivity before the planting of crops is devoted to the
earth goddess, the harvest festival also honors the earth goddess
and the ancestral spirits of the clan (Achebe 1958.31). The
occasion is characterized by great merriment of eating and
drinking in which only the newly harvested yam is the major food
for the day.

Masquerades, who symbolize the spirit of the ancestors, appear
to grace the occasion and are treated with great respect and awe.
Women and children are forbidden from watching them and would not
dare to do so for severe consequences of whipping. Sacrifices of
animal blood are made to the gods on sacred altars in families,
clan and village. Food and oil are offered to ancestors including
kola nuts. Wine is poured out to them on the ground with
reverence, and prayers are offered in thanksgiving and for more
blessings and protection.

In some places in Igboland, appearances of masquerades during
a sacred festival may include the testing of spiritual power
among masquerades.

Knowledge of such activities and their consequences are
restricted to male adults who are initiated in the masquerade
cult as part of growing up as males. This may be similar to such
aspects of the Halloween celebration that look violent and
deplorable especially to the outsider.

The Samhain (Halloween) festival in Euro America and the New
Yam Harvest Festival among the Igbos in Nigeria are both seasonal
feasts. The dead walk among the living and such times are
magical.

Masquerades in the Igbo festival may go to people's homes
where the adult initiated males are the only ones qualified to
come out and meet them with greetings and gifts of money in
reverence. Usually they are covered with masks and mythologically
they as spirits and never related to as humans for that would be
very offensive and lead to serious fine.

The presence of ancestral spirits in form of masquerades
during an Igbo sacred festival can lead to absence of order.
Disorders caused by their activities are not questioned except
perhaps within the circle of the initiated if a case is very
serious and violates the rule of ancestral spirits. The no -order
period also characterize the Samhain festivity among the
Paleopagan and Mesopagan Druids in England. Time was said to be
abolished for the three days of the Samhain festival (Bonewits
2002.3).

People did crazy things. Men dressed as women and women as
men. Farmers' gates were pulled out and left in ditches and
people's horses were moved to different fields. Children would
knock on doors for food and treats (Bonewits2000.3).

The description here is quite characteristic of the form
similar festivals take in Africa though it may not be exact.
However, there are changes along the years due to the influence
of Christianity in both cultures.

Effect of Christianity on Samhain
Festival

A pagan critique of the Church's influence on Samhain may be
helpful in an objective assessment of how the pagan festival has
been affected by the gospel. Bonewits writes that "the Christian
Church was unable to get people to stop celebrating this holiday,
so they simply sprinkled little holy water on it and gave it new
names as they did with other Paleopagan sacred holidays and
customs which have Paleopagan elements associated with their
dating/or symbols,"suchas "Valentine's Day/ Lupercalia,
Easter/Eostre, and Christmas/Yule." (2002.4).

Samhain Day (now Halloween), which was associated originally
with the gods and goddesses of the Celts, has been co-opted by
the Church as All Saints Day (November 1) followed the next day
(November 2) by All Souls Day which was originally the day for
the worship of ancestors. Polytheism and ancestor worship were
common practice in Europe just as it was in Africa. Most of the
great cathedrals of Europe were built on top of earlier shrines
and sacred grooves (Bonewits 2002.4). Early Christian
missionaries to Africa did the same and in some places went to
the extent of clearing bad bushes which were unsacred sites and
abode of the wicked and evil spirits, to erect churches.

Are Public School in America Secular or
Pagan?

The Neopagan, Bonewits does not argue that Halloween festivity
today is not pagan. He agrees with those who accuse Halloween to
be pagan that they are right and with certainty. He does not
mince words in saying that the presence of Halloween in American
schools is paganism in operation and control. "When
Fundamentalists come to your local school board and try to get
Halloween removed because 'it's a pagan holiday,' they are
perfectly correct," says Bonewits.

The above response from a neo-paganist confirms that Halloween
is pagan and poses a challenge like, what can you do about it,
including the extremities of vandalism, blood, sorcery,
witchcraft and exploiting commercial activities that go with the
festivity? There is no time in America that I experienced
spiritual oppression as during the Halloween festivity.
Activities of demons, spirits and witches are usually intense at
that period. Some churches organize serious warfare prayers to
combat their experience of wicked forces during Halloween. This
confirms the reality of evil presence connected with the
festival.

Commercial gains from the proceeds of Halloween paraphernalia
by those malls who use their money to support educational and
political programs, and other causes which favor their
Halloween/witchcraft trade activities, have strengthened the
revival of paganism in America.

The unholy marriage of some churches with the gods and
goddesses of paganism has perpetuated paganism in such churches
clothing it, unfortunately, with the toga of Christianity whereby
the undiscerning are ensnared.

Harry Potter and the Spread of
Witchcraft

Harry Potter's series projects a worldview which
promotes witchcraft. The novel is a big sell and a great
machinery for propagating a world-view that is anti-Christ. Harry
Potter's parents were said to be killed by a witch, Voldemort, in
a Halloween night, and Harry who was with them escaped with a
lightening- bolt scar on his forehead. Horror tales, such as
this, are sometimes part of such festivals in Africa that are
connected with masquerades/ black magic and charm- testing in
order to prove spiritual power. The sources of such horrors
/deaths are usually known by the leading members of the
masquerade cult.

What way of life does the author of Harry Potter, J. K.
Rowling, intend to teach children, by creating a wizard out of
Harry Potter and making him the hero of her story through the
study of witchcraft and magic for revenge. The worldview of the
novel is diametrically opposed to the Bible both in studying to
become a witch and in seeking of revenge. The consequences of
kids reading the novel are becoming evident in the kind of
reviews they write after reading it. However, I encourage that
you read the Harry Potter series yourself rather than to base
your judgment on other people’s reviews some of which may
be exaggerated or illmotivated.

A novel that projects a worldview which encourages revenge
and, in addition, presents the art of witchcraft as a way to it,
is unacceptable to me in light of my Christian faith.

Lessons for the Church

When the church discriminates people, it may create witches
without knowing it, and those who are witches already will only
be hardened to propagate witchcraft more than ever.

Unfortunately, when they do so, their message usually gain
more attention and support from the world than what
discriminating Church folks have to say.

In the horrible circumstance that Harry Potter found himself
in the home of his close relatives, it was better news for him
that he came in company of those who loved him and cared for him
even though they were witches. Perhaps, if a church family showed
him equal or greater love than the witches did, he would not have
joined a witchcraft school. The question is how much does the
church love these readers who have gone after the witch, Harry
Potter? What excitement can we create for our youth and the world
in writing novels that will not be anti-Christ in worldview but
rather present witness wisely for the Lord?

Learning from Shakespeare

Didn't Shakespeare write wonderful series of plays and sonnets
which both Christians and the world were attracted to for
centuries? Doesn't God have people today who can paraphrase and
contextualize Shakespeare for today's readers, or write similar
series for our time. The other factor is funding.

He who pays the piper, as it is said, calls for the tune. J.K
Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, was a struggling single
mother when she began Book One of the series. It remained on
scraps of papers until she received an unprecedented award from
the Scottish Arts Council enabling her to finish the first
book.

Are you surprised that the source of Harry Potter's funding
will support publishing the novel with the growing influence of
paganism and spiritism in Europe? Whether in African, Europe or
elsewhere, paganism and witchcraft, old or repackaged, have the
same source of origin. There is no light in them says the Prophet
Isaiah, and the test for their proof is God's Word (Isaiah 8:20).

Seducing spirits in operation may appear familiar, like the
Holy Spirit, in order to sell, especially in our time. It takes
careful discernment to identify certain demonic activities.

It also takes engaging devils in constant battle with the
Scriptures, as Jesus did, to mature in discernment of their
tactics because Satan himself is said to disguise as an angel of
Light.

An Attack on Bibical Worldview

Harry Potter series have been customized and made
child-friendly so that in this new repackaging of witchcraft in a
fictitious novel, people hardly discern the error involved. The
attack is on biblical worldview and the death pill is taken by
readers unawares as they read, especially the children. The
Scripture says that we should not regard familiar spirits or seek
after wizards to be defiled by them, but to seek the Lord, our
God (Leviticus 19:31). It is also among the signs of the last days
that many will depart from the faith giving heed to seducing
spirits and doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1).

Across cultures, and at different times, Satan has remained
the source of sorcery and witchcraft whose practices take new
forms today. The heavily commercialized Halloween
festivities for reviving and spreading paganism and the stunning
popularity of the Harry Potter series with its impact,
particularly, in the American public schools are very effective
strategies of the occult in disseminating and globalizing the
newly repackaged doctrine of the old religion of the devil.

To win this current battle, the church needs to submit to God
and actively resist the devil. No effort in faith should be
under-rated or delayed. God may choose to use the sling stone of
one that is obscure or naive to eliminate this Goliath of a
monster that is challenging the people of God and threatening to
mislead an entire generation of people and kids in
particular.

The Global Effect of American Paganism

Witchcraft and occultism have gained official acceptance in
American school curriculum and public life while the Bible and
prayer to God are unacceptable. This has worldwide effect due to
the impact of the United States in world economy and politics.
The more Satanism gains strength in higher and strategic places
in America, through the new repackaging process of witchcraft and
occultism, the more the world is misled. I remember visiting a
believing family and discovered that they had dabbled into the
occult.

A lady medium was sending them literature in series with
promises of good luck and fortune.

They did not see anything wrong in it. As I showed them from
the Scriptures the error of the practice, the husband objected,
saying that it is everywhere in America and not a hidden
practice. It took time before I could convince them of the error
and got the materials destroyed after some serious praying.

As I questioned the couple mentioned above on why they could
go into such practice even as believers in Christ, I learned that
it was out of the wife's frustration for not having her prayers
answered over a school final exam. The husband concurred that he
did not blame her. The new repackaging of this occult practice
made it user friendly for them to dabble into it because, from
their African background in pagan religion, they know the
difference between Christianity and paganism.

How would any Christian leader who lives in America sit on the
fence on this subject when it affects people irrespective of race
and ethnicity?

It is unfortunate if born again believers from foreign
countries, who renounced satanism in their own lands, get to
America only to rededicate themselves to it, sometimes unwary,
because it has been repackaged and made user-friendly. If adult
believers hardly escape these pitfalls of the Enemy in America,
what hope is there for children in the public schools and by
internet sites where paganism, withcraft and other forms of
occultism hold sway?


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