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No spells, no broomsticks and no witch’s hat

By Eric Moskowitz

Dressed as Scooby Doo and Bob the Builder, brothers Sammy and Spencer Goad will get their first taste tomorrow night of a timeless ritual. The towheaded toddlers, ages 2 and 3 respectively, are only vaguely aware of Halloween, but Dad is plenty excited to take them out for their first trick-or-treating experience. Mom will stay home, tending to a Halloween ritual of her own.

“On Oct. 31, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest,” said Janet Goad, a practicing Wiccan who will light candles at an altar and set out pomegranates and apples for the visiting spirits of her ancestors.

She laughed a little at the idea of putting on a costume, saying that the whole notion descends from people’s fears of ghosts and wanting to avoid them on Halloween. But spirits are meant to be respected, not feared, she said. And besides, your ancestors will probably know how to find you even if you’re dressed like Scooby Doo.

Raised in a strong Italian Catholic family, Goad began exploring other religions as a teen, leafing through books and visiting Sunday schools in her friends’ faiths. By age 21, she had found that nothing spoke to her more clearly than Wicca, the religion of witchcraft. A faith that has developed in the last two centuries but traces its roots to ancient European pagan beliefs, Wicca has nothing to do with Satan, evil or casting spells, and everything to do with an appreciation for nature, the earth and the spirits.

Read the original article at: The Concord Monitor

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