The History of Halloween: Bonfires
We’re continuing with my History of Halloween Series. If you missed the former posts on jack o’ lanterns, black cats, and broomsticks, then you can click the links and read them now. (For even more on Halloween, click here.) This time, we’re focusing on the significance of bonfires *cough* “bone fires.” And I’m featuring two separate posts this time. Dig in!
Although you don't see them very often here in the Bay Area these days, the bonfire has long been associated with Halloween and continues to be a common tradition in much of the Halloween celebrating world.
The practice of lighting large fires dates back to roots of Halloween in the festival of Samhain which celebrated the summer's end and the beginning of the dark season. Samhain also marked the end of the old year and the beginning of the new. On the eve of Samhain, young people would go from house to house asking for food offerings and kindling for the Samhain fires. The following day, the traditional day of Samhain, November 1st, people would extinguish their hearth fires and gather together to light large fires on sacred hill tops in honor of and to make offerings to the gods.
Crops and the bones of animals which had been culled were burnt in the fires as offerings. Our modern word, bonfire, comes from the words bone and fire meaning "fire of bones" and refers to this practice. Personal and symbolic items were also burned as offerings for relief from sickness or bad fortune.
The Celtic peoples who celebrated Samhain believed that the time between the beginning and end of the years was when spirits could travel freely between this world and the spirit world. Some spirits were good and they would help people divine the future. Others were evil spirits and would bring misfortune on whomever they encountered.
The sacred fires were believed to have the power to scare away these evil spirits and people stayed close by them often wearing costumes of animal heads and skins as disguises to frighten those spirits and ensure their safety.
As the great fire died it was considered good luck to take an ember and carry it home to relight their hearth fire. They often carried these embers home in holders made from turnips or gourds in which they carved faces in the hope that the faces would scare away any evil spirits that may be lurking along their path. Over the years, stories were created to teach the young this practice and provide moral lessons.
On the following day, the ashes from these sacred fires would be spread over the fields as protection against spirits who would cause the next season's crops to fail. (HauntedBay.com)
Lovers of old customs lament the disappearance of the old customs associated with All Hallows' Eve, but it is forgotten that two of the chief pieces of ritual, the lighting of fires and the eating of cakes, have been transferred from October 31 to the 5th of November.
Long before the Gunpowder Plot affair, bonfires were lighted on the hilltops of Ireland and Scotland; Sir John Sinclair in his Statistical Account of Scotland, published in 1793, mentioned that in the Highlands bonfires used to be lighted and consecrated cakes baked on the 1st of November (the first day of winter), and also on the 1st of May (the first day of spring). In North Wales the autumnal fire was called Coel Coeth; it was accompanied by such ceremonies as leaping through the fire (as on St. John's Eve in Germany and other countries), throwing nuts in the fire, and biting at apples suspended from a string. One sometimes sees people leap across a half-consumed bonfire on the 5th of November, saying in excuse that it was an old custom.
Even the parkin and toffee of the 5th of November may be relics of the ceremonial cakes formerly offered - perhaps a symbol of sacrifice dating from pagan times. On All Hallows' Eve "soul-cakes," a kind of oatcake, used to be given to the poor in Catholic Lancashire, and Yorkshire parkin, a compound of oatmeal and treacle, is perhaps a development of the soul-cake. In parts of Yorkshire All Hallows' Eve is still called "cake night," and an old Halloween custom everywhere was "going a-soul-ing," or begging for soul-cakes. In remote parts of the Highlands and of Western Ireland it used to be customary to provide cakes for the souls of the departed on All Hallows' E'en, that being the only night upon which they could speak and eat. (TheGuardian.com)
This last post especially brings out the demonic nature of this Celtic festival of Samhain that we call Halloween. It proves as I’ve written on before (see "Exploring Jezebel's Family Tree: Baal & the Queen of Heaven"), that the gods of the Celts were the gods of the Canaanites.
The article states “two of the chief pieces of ritual, the lighting of fires and the eating of cakes.” These two specific rituals are indicative of the specific god and goddess worshiped by the Celts.
“The Lighting of Fires”
This us unto the “Great Horned God of the Celts” a.k.a. Baal. Baal, also called “Bel” in Akkadian and Scottish is the Lord of this feast, as he is also of Samhain’s Spring counterpart, Beltane, now foolishly and ignorantly celebrated as May Day. Baal is the false god of fire. Both history and Scripture prove this.
“And you shall not let any of your descendants passthrough the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 18:21)
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire…” (Deuteronomy 18:10)
But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel; indeed he made his son pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel. (I Kings 16:3)
And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. (II Kings 17:17)
“For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them.” (Ezekiel 23:37)
You get the idea. It was aaaaall up in the Old Testament. But what was this “passing through the fire” spoken of? The Canaanites and rebellious Israelites built large statues of the god Molech/Moloch who is a variant of Baal. The statue was a large bull with the body of a man that had an open belly into which a great fire was built and into his outstreched hands, infants and children were placed. They burned to death in the hands of the idol while ritual drums drowned out their screams of terror and pain. This was done then for many of the same reasons people sacrifices their children to the same god, but this time in the clinics of Planned Parenthood where they are burned to death with chemicals or dismembered. But that’s another post for another day. This is what gladdens the heart of Baal, among other wicked things.
Baal makes a mockery of the true and living God, Jehovah, Who is Himself the all-consuming fire (Exo. 24:17; Deut. 4:24, 9:3; Heb. 12:29). We see this better nowhere than in the Prophet Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal (and Asherah, his wife) on Mount Carmel.
So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel. And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. Then Elijah said to the people, “I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal’s prophets arefour hundred and fifty men. Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”
So all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.”
So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.
And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for heis a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, orperhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until thetime of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Israel shall be your name.” Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, “Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.” Then he said, “Do it a second time,” and they did it a second time; and he said, “Do it a third time,” and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “TheLord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!”
And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there. (I Kings 18:20-40)
Elijah told the false god’s prophets to go and get the sign of their false god--a bull--just as he would, and to invoke their god, to answer by another one of his signs: fire. They were at it all the live-long day, also giving Baal another, mor precious sacrifice--human blood, their own--but to no avail. Baal was shamed on that day before all of Israel, but the true Consuming fire, came down and received the sacrifice that should have been and was His, and made Him known again to the Children of Israel. And that day, all 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah were slain, to the great displeasure of their royal priestess, Jezebel.
“The Eating of Cakes”
As for this cake making and eating business, this is too is a ritual that can be traced back to the Canaanites. The Prophet Jeremiah sharply rebuked the brazen men and women of his nation for making cakes to the “Queen of Heaven.”
“The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for thequeen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.” (Jeremiah 7:18)
Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other gods, with all the women who stood by, a great multitude, and all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying: “As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to you! But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”
The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?”
Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people—the men, the women, and all the people who had given him that answer—saying: “The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land, did not theLord remember them, and did it not come into His mind? So the Lord could no longer bear it, because of the evil of your doings and because of the abominations which you committed. Therefore your land is a desolation, an astonishment, a curse, and without an inhabitant, as it is this day. Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the Lord, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.” (Jeremiah 44:15-23)
This two chapters are the only place the Queen of Heaven is mentioned by this title in Scripture. The Celts and pagans worship(ed) her as the Mother Goddess or Triple Goddess. Catholics pray to her as the Blessed Virgin; Mary, Mother of God. But you know her best by her biblical name: Mystery Babylon, the great Whore. She is a proud, lofty thing who has been deceiving the masses for ages.
“In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’” (Revelation 18:7)
The Celts were taken in by this principality as they were taken in by the ruler of demons, Baal. And the evidence of this (among other things) are the cakes that they baked, ate, and sacrificed unto this demonic prince. I was already on the trail of this alias when I discovered verified proof of it in How the Irish Saved Civilization (from the Hinges of History Series). In it, the author, Thomas Cahill, shares about bog people (human sacrifices) that were found, well-preserved, with the remnants of these cakes in their bowels. (I’d tell you the chapter and page numbers, but I lent it to a friend of mine.) But you can read it for yourself. (Wonderful read!) And these cakes were, presumably, some of the “treats” laid out by the believing Celts in hopes that they would not get “tricked” by the spirits released from the other-world on Samhain or the Druid priests and priestesses.
When you participate in Halloween, you share in these pagan rituals and your children with you. Is that something you truly want on your conscience when you stand before God on Judgement Day?
Also, see a segment of former solitary witch, Carol Kornacki, talk about the symbolism of "bone fires" and other items in the celebration of Halloween.