Witches, Demons, and Halloween, Oh My!
It’s October and that’s means Halloween ends the month. Pumpkins have appeared in grocery stores back in September and two weeks after school started, school supplies were replaced by Halloween decorations, costumes, and bags of candy. But how did this scary tradition begin?
The beginning of Halloween goes back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. It marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter. This time of year was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead blurred and that spirits crossed over into the realm of the living. Besides causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people burned crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities. During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
When the Roman Empire conquered the majority of Celtic territory, two festivals of Roman origin forged with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain. The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second honored Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples still practiced today on Halloween.
On May 13, 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV dedicated the Pantheon in Rome in honor of all Christian martyrs, and the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Pope Gregory III (731–741) later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13 to November 1. By the 9th century the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites.
Zit was in 1000 A.D., that the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It is most likely that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils. The All Saints Day celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, became All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.
Dark heroes and heroines with bite…sink your teeth into a romance by Sapphire Phelan today.
The Witch And The Familiar Blurb:
Mortal woman Tina discovers she is part of a prophesy that says she and Charun, her demon Familiar, must make love so she can become the witch she is fated to be. If she doesn’t do it and stop the demon army bringing Armageddon to the Mortal Realm on Halloween, she won’t stand a chance in Hell.
A year later, just when Tina and Charun thought it was all over and that their life would be normal—another prophesy pops up. If Lucifer snatches Tina and mates with her before the last chime before midnight of the new year and gets her pregnant with his son, that the real Armageddon would begin, spelling the end of life as they knew it. This time they get help from an archangel, Jacokb, but with demons, Lucifer, and a cute demon bunny with fangs out of a Monty Python nightmare, out to stop them and Heaven not lending a hand, will Tina this time lose the battle and become the mother of the Antichrist and the start of a new Hell on Earth?
Excerpt from The Witch and the Familiar (adult in nature as is the book, so only 18 and older can read):
A year later, Charun stood in front of the mirror on the wall and whispered a few words. The glass warped in and out, becoming something not unlike a television monitor. In it, he saw his witch working in the Cup of Tea and a Book bookstore, handing a bag of books over to a customer.
“She’s gorgeous,” he whispered.
He ached to reach his hand through the glass and finger the long, blonde strands of hair. He itched to stroke the skin of her face and see if it felt as soft as it looked. He took a few steps back, for if he didn’t he would jam his head through the glass and kiss her on the lips. His cock expanded, growing longer and harder than ever before. Lust tore through him like a ravenous animal ready to devour its prey.
The time had come.
About time, too.
Taking spirit form and not looking back, Charun rose from the bowels of Hell to the mortal realm. He touched ground just down the street from Cup of Tea and a Book bookstore and became a handsome, naked man. His staff waved before him like a proud, hissing snake, spitting even as precum beaded at the slit. He shook his head. No, it was too soon for him to assume the man form. He frowned, thinking.
He would become a cat. That would do—for now. Just not a horny tomcat, as the pain of his arousal washed over him. He dodged into a nearby alley and worked his organ, biting his lips when he came.
Withdrawing his hand from his flaccid penis and using the other to prop himself against the building, he spoke in demon, “Denoch er nomonaty.”
A strange feeling slammed into him and he cried out as he dropped to his knees on the pavement. Thrusting out a hand against the ground so he wouldn’t topple over, he began to metamorphose, growing smaller and smaller as he did. Black fur sprouted all over his body and head. His ears sharpened into points and shot up over his head, while his hands and feet became paws edged with sharp claws. Whiskers pinged out of his cheeks, and from his buttocks snaked a long tail. He hunched over and then fell over onto his ass. Within seconds, his metamorphose completed, he was a black cat. Resisting the peculiar urge to wash his face, Charun stretched and rose onto all four paws. He padded over to a puddle of rainwater to inspect the change.
He sat down and viewed his reflection. Not bad looking as far as cats went. Lifting a paw, he splashed his image. Then he trotted to the street and paused to sniff the air. He sneezed as the full force of odors hit him. A multitude of different things, from the smell of blasted sunshine to the grime of city life. The lack of moisture in the air revealed that it would not rain for days. The last time it had stormed was last week. He had arrived a day over.
He needed heavy rain to make his first appearance to his witch, as a reason for her to feel sorry for him and take him in. From what he remembered, she would not leave any animal drowning in a torrential downpour. But, from all the viewing he did of her growing up, he knew she wasn’t an impulsive person, either. She loved animals, but felt that she couldn’t afford one right now in her life. He might end up in an animal shelter. This kind of operation needed the right things in place.
Timing was important, too, even now. His witch’s survival was the true equation here. If she died before he made her a witch, he knew the fate for Earth if the demons took over. There was the matter of his lust for her, too. Relieving it wouldn’t be bad, either.
He cocked his head and twitched his ears. He was a demon with strong magic. Closing his eyes, he let his magic surround him with a shimmering golden light.
Lano’ste. Na la por lestano.
His fur stood on end, crackling. He widened his eyes as the magic burned within and outside with a violent heat close to atomic. It clenched his insides with an excruciating pain. He fell onto his side and barely noticed when it shot away from him, heading toward the blue skies. It dusted the few white clouds drifting along and they became obsidian and pregnant with rain. Still unsteady, he rolled onto his stomach and waited until the power quieted. Charun breathed in the rain’s odor and gave a Cheshire cat grin. He rose to his paws and padded off as the sound of thunder vibrated in the air.
Fuck the weather forecasters and their predictions. With magic, he’d just turned their Doppler radar upside down.
About Sapphire Phelan:
Sapphire Phelan has published erotic and sweet paranormal/fantasy/science fiction romance along with a couple of erotic horror stories. Her erotic urban fantasy, Being Familiar With a Witch is a Prism 2010 Awards winner and a Epic Awards 2010 finalist. The sequel to it is A Familiar Tangle With Hell, released June 2011 from Phaze Books, Both eBooks were combined into one print book, The Witch and the Familiar, and released April 24, 2012.
She admits she can always be found at her desk and on her computer, writing. And yes, the house, husband, and even the cats sometimes suffer for it!
Find out more about Sapphire Phelan at http://www.SapphirePhelan.com.