The facts about Halloween/Samhain, widely celebrated in the U.S., depend upon what you read. According to some, during the "burning times" in Europe (during the 16th - 18th centuries), perhaps 60,000 witches, many of whom were women and followers of pre-Christian religions were killed, and often tortured before being killed. These followers of older religions were often labelled "witches." Moreover, that designation has been used to refer to women who "dared" to take on the role of the "wise woman," whether that meant healer, scholar, or midwife.
The reality of witchcraft and its modern analogue, Wicca, is very far from the popular conception of the "scary Halloween witch." In Wicca and associated Neo-Pagan belief structures, Halloween/Samhain is an important and powerful day in the Wheel of the Year. Modern-day witches may incorporate ancient beliefs into their magickal practice in a variety of ways, especially because the documented history of witchcraft involves history, anthropology, folklore, and myth. However, many witches would agree with Aleister Crowley's definition of magick: "the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with will."
In this Olio, we'll gather to discuss the history of Samhain/Halloween and witchcraft. According to some belief systems, Samhain was and is the time of the year when the veil between the living world and the world of the dead is at its thinnest; hence the tradition of wearing masks to "hide" amongst any dead or roaming spirits on that night.
Jaime Weida was formally initiated as a witch some years ago and will also be available for Tarot card readings after the lecture.