Halloween, Satanism and the Occult?

“Christians have often mistakenly thought of Halloween as the High Holy Day of Satanism and the occult, but it’s not. You’ll be surprised at what is…”

So went the teaser this morning (not an exact quote, but the best I could do) by WAYfm Nashville’s morning show just before the last break of the 8:00 a.m. hour.

After the break, the team shared their revelation: “The most important calendar day, the High Holy Day of Satanism and the occult, is YOUR birthday!” Bom, bom, bommmm… The only thing missing was creepy music, as the team tried to make the case that your birthday is the most important day of the year to a Satanist….(presumably because they are after you)! One member of the team went on to say how this revelation had changed his life. It reminded me of the backwards-masking craze of the 80s. Seems Christians are always looking for some way to sensationalize evil.

Well, from someone who grew up studying the occult (yes, I read the Satanic bible back in the day), I can tell you that this is misleading at best. I called WAYfm and tried to point out two things:

  1. Satanism and the occult are NOT the same thing philosophically, ideologically or practically. Satanism (as founded by LaVey in 1966) is in many ways just a re-make of Hedonism. The occult is a broad term used to define any number non-Christian system of beliefs and/or practices that profess to have access to “hidden” or secret truth.
  2. As such, Satanism the religion does not have a “High Holy Day” of any kind. Satanist celebrate many holidays. For a Satanist, the most important day to celebrate is his/her birthday because it represents the day his/her “god” was born. Yeah.

Of course, the jock who answered the phone wasn’t interested in my analysis because he had read it himself right on the web site for the Church of Satan . Mmm, huh.

Listen, if you really care about what they believe, Wikipedia actually has an excellent entry that gives you all you need to intelligently understand their history and beliefs. No need to do as I did (before Christ, of course) or even as the WAYfm team did. It certainly didn’t pay off for them, as they came away with misconceptions anyway.

So, is Halloween a ”High Holy Day” for any group? Certainly. Not for actual Satanists, but surely for many others, even if it is the wanna-be group of teens who like to meet at the local “haunted house” and read Harry Potter books. Halloween is traditionally a celebration of the dark and mysterious, of ghosts, witches, goblins and death. Nothing more, nothing less. Personally, I see no need to sensationalize the holiday, as it carries its own weight through commercial imagery alone.

I’m just calling it like I see it.

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About Eric Wilbanks

Brand strategist. Wordsmith. Change architect. Training specialist. DiSC Certified. Family guy (hot wife and 4 cool kids). Love my Bible, guitars, baseball, and MMA.


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