At this time of year, as the days get darker and the nights get longer, it’s easy to be cat and candlemore aware of the mysterious side of life. Fear of the unknown is an important part of Halloween, Samhain and even Guy Fawkes Night. The ancient purpose of these rituals has always been to keep us safe from the dangers of the coming darkness.     

The word Halloween comes from the Christian festival of All Hallows Eve. However, this seasonal ritual began centuries before Christianity. Originally called Samhain (pronounced Sow’en), it marked the turning point between the end of summer and the start of winter.

Even with a good harvest stored away, people feared the deadly powers of winter on the way. So this was a time to make offerings of thanks to the sun god Baal – both for the bounty of the past summer, and for continued protection through the winter.

cauldron candlesPeople said this turning point of the year caused the veil between the worlds to become thin, bringing a time of danger, excitement and wonder. Charms and spells would be especially powerful at Samhain. Evil spirits could also come through, seeking humans to possess or destroy. Druid priests performed special rituals at this time to appease the spirits of the dead.

For additional protection, on the eve of Samhain the private home fires were put out. This made the houses look empty, so that malignant forces would pass them by. Instead, the people built a huge communal fire outside. They then feasted and danced around it, wearing fearsome masks and animal disguises of skins, horns and antlers to drive away the horrors of the dark.

The custom of trick or treat also has prehistoric roots. It began with people putting fall witchy lanefood in front of their houses to placate the demons then roaming the land looking for sustenance –preferably in human form. People later began to act out that drama themselves. They masqueraded as demons, going from house to house demanding offerings, with threats of retribution if unsatisfied – a bit like an early protection racket. The masked children who knock on doors at Halloween are performing the same ritual, still fresh from the wild side of the human psyche.

Much like our modern electoral system, in ancient times the tribe chose a leader to reign for just one year. During this year, their temporary king had every luxury available. Then they sacrificed him and chose a replacement.  

samhain-ritualThe sacrifice of the old year’s king was a central purpose of the Samhain fire. It was called the bone fire because when it was over, the shaman read the dead king’s bones in the ashes for good or bad omens. With one letter dropped, it’s now our merry bonfire. The annual burning of a man’s effigy on Guy Fawkes Night is a direct echo of this arcane ritual.     

Our early winter festivals are like a gnarled old tree. While their roots still go down to these ancient terrors, the festivals these days are more about fun than fear. It feels good to thrill to the mysteries of life when we feel perfectly safe. Or are we? Maybe the veils between the worlds really are thinner at this time of year. Wishing everyone a joyfully spooky Halloween, Samhain, and bonfire night!


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Reality is not what it seems. There is much more to life than just the physical realm. And the human mind is hard-wired with more supernormal powers than most people think are even possible.clairvoyant

These abilities are not new. Throughout history, people have found many different ways to cultivate and use these potentials. In the process, they became the path-makers and way-showers for everyone else. As we remember them now, they can still be a great source of inspiration. So here are 15 examples of those shining stars – not to put them on a pedestal, but to remind us of how much is possible for everyone.

There are no doubt countless more who will remain forever unknown. They were the alchemists, wiccans, cunning men, wise women, occultists, kabbalists, pagans and mystics who took the quieter paths of life – maybe achieving great things on the inner planes.

You might have been one of them – and perhaps still are. I hope that something here will help to confirm or remind you of your own special gifts and powers.

SETNegytsmE KHAMWAS: Egyptian magician-priest (c.1300 – 1245 BCE)
The son of Pharoah Rameses II, he became High Priest of Ptah at Memphis. One of the greatest magicians of ancient Egypt, a thousand years after he’d died people were still talking about his powers.

The most famous tale celebrates his search for an important book of magic written by the god Thoth. A dark sorcerer tried to hide it from the world by taking it with him to the grave. Setne braved the terrors of the underworld, battled the spirit of the evil magician, and brought back the book in triumph.

In the 20th century, he was a key inner plane contact in Dion Fortune’s Fraternity of the Inner Light.

APOLLONIUS OF TYANA: 1st century Greek magician & philosopher.
In his youth, he spent years learning from the sages and priests of India, Egypt and Babylon. A believer in reincarnation, one of the past lives he recalled was as a ship’s pilot in Ancient Egypt.

At the age of twenty, he observed a vow of silence for five years. Always dressed in simple clothes and homemade sandals, he was celibate for life. He became famous for his healings, exorcisms, prophecies, telepathy, shape-shifting and remote viewing.

He accurately foretold the day the Roman Emperor Domitian would die. When plague struck the city of Ephesus, he drove away the evil spirit that caused it.

When jealous priests or ignorant crowds attacked him, he used his powers to disappear before they killed him. One day in court, after legally winning his case, he suddenly vanished and re-appeared in another town many miles away.

Always traveling, he wrote letters full of enlightened advice and spiritual awareness. He became so famous for his wisdom the Emperor Vespasian adopted him as an advisor. After a long life, he mysteriously vanished altogether. The rumour said that he’d ascended bodily to heaven.

alchemistALBERTUS MAGNUS: German monk, alchemist & magician (1206–1280)
He became a Catholic Bishop, but resigned to focus on his esoteric writing and teaching. Ahead of his time, he advocated the peaceful co-existence of religion and science.

Hugely influential, he’s still respected as the greatest German philosopher of the Middle Ages. The church canonised him after his death, and esoteric Christians regard him as the patron saint of occultism.

ROGER BACON: English Franciscan Friar (c.1214–94)
A pioneer of scientific research, especially in optical lenses, he studied mathematics and medicine at Oxford and in Paris. His most famous invention was a brass head, which could answer questions truthfully and speak about the future.

He also had a crystal ball in which he could see what was happening anywhere in the world. Bacon prophesied that one day vehicles would be able to fly, and move without the help of oars, sails or horses.

People called him Doctor Mirabilis – “wonderful teacher”. The church took a dim view of all this, and at various times imprisoned him, forbade him to write, and burnt his books.

MerlinABRAMELIN THE MAGE: Medieval Jewish magician. (c 1360 – 1450)
Author of The Sacred Magic, a significant book of magical and Kabbalistic secrets. The central theme of this work was the importance of using magic in harmony with one’s Holy Guardian Angel. It later became a well-thumbed handbook for the 20th century Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

HEINRICH CORNELIUS AGRIPPA: German magician & occultist (1486–1535)
His major work was three books on occult philosophy called De Occulta Philosophia. He was warned not to publish it, so it circulated secretly in manuscript form for 23 years. It’s now viewed as major contribution to esoteric knowledge. Agrippa travelled a lot – many think working as the emissary of a secret occult movement.

GIORDANO BRUNO: Friar, magician & astronomer (1548 – 1600)

woodcut of Bruno

Bruno maintained that the sun was a star, and that the universe was full of worlds inhabited by intelligent beings. He wanted to spread a new world religion based on Hermetic magic, and worked with secret societies to promote that.

After a lifetime of conflict with the church, they eventually caught him and burned him at the stake.

EMANUEL SWEDENBORG: Swedish visionary, mystic & writer (1688–1772)
In middle age, he began to have angelic messages and visions about his life purpose. He wrote over 200 books about the spiritual realms and his mystical experiences.

He once described a fire happening in Stockholm while he was at a party over 100 miles away. He also correctly foretold the deaths of several people – including his own.

SAMUEL FALK: Polish-Jewish Rabbi, Alchemist & Kabbalist (c.1710–82)
Famous for his strange powers, both Christians and Jews went to him for magical help. Among the many tales told about him, people said he could miraculously keep candles burning and float objects from one place to another. When the Great Synagogue caught fire, he saved it from burning down by writing four Hebrew letters on the door.candle-magick

The Archbishop of Cologne condemned him to death as a sorcerer, but he escaped and moved to London. There he became the centre of a kabbalist circle, which later evolved into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

In its heyday, this Order was like an esoteric university. By this time, mystics were realizing that their powers came from within. Greater self-awareness was emerging as more important and effective than a lot of arcane, complex rituals. Self-development was becoming the real key to magic power.

HELENA BLAVATSY: Russian mystic & scholar (1831-91)
At the age of 16, she ran away from an arranged marriage and set off on an adventurous life in search of spiritual wisdom. While living in Tibet, she was initiated into the higher mysteries, and began to receive guidance from the inner planes.

Back in New York, she established the Theosophical Society, which now has branches all over the world. She published several books, including the groundbreaking Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine.

Blavatsky’s writings made a big splash in esoteric circles at the time. Her influence later spread even further. She introduced the west to eastern spirituality, such as chakras, reincarnation and karmic law. Many of her teachings are now the foundation truths of the New Age movement.

DANIEL DUNGLASS HOME: Scottish psychic & medium (1833 – 1886)Daniel-Dunglas-Home4

In August 1852, while sitting in a psychic circle, Home floated up to the ceiling. After that, he levitated so often it was almost his trademark.

He could also waft heavy articles of furniture up to the ceiling; and make himself several inches taller. On one occasion, he floated out of one third storey window and back in again at another window – which was on the other side of the room.

He performed his feats in broad daylight, in front of many witnesses. Committees of sceptics tested him dozens of times – but they could never catch him out in anything that looked like fraud.

Edgar Cayce: American trance channeler (1877 – 1945)
By accident one day, Edgar Cayce discovered that when he went into a trance, a higher consciousness began to speak through him. In this state, he found that his guide answered many questions about the deeper mysteries of life.

Edgar CayceHe also correctly diagnosed countless numbers of people’s health problems, and gave them successful healing advice. He would often describe the past life cause of the problem, and the inner work that would heal the client. Because of the enormous success rate of these diagnoses, Cayce was called ‘The Sleeping Prophet’.

Some of his predictions for the world have since come true, with many others still waiting in the wings. He prophesied that one day science and spirituality would work together, when people begin to understand the reality beyond the physical world.

MIRRA ALFASSA: French mystic (1878 – 1973)
From her early childhood, Mirra began to have mystical experiences. She would receive instructions and messages from her spirit guides in dreams. From the age of twelve, she left her body every night to help with the healing of others.

In her early twenties, while visiting the Doge’s Palace in Venice, she recalled a past life there when she had been strangled and thrown into the canal.

She studied yoga and the Bhagavad Gita, and went to India. There she met the yogi Aurobindo Ghose, who she recognised as one of her childhood dream guides. She stayed in India to work with him, devoting her life to her inner guidance and the evolution of humankind.

During the Second World War Aurobindo and Alfassa said that Nazi victory would be a major spiritual defeat for the world. They worked intensively on the inner planes to prevent that from happening.

For more on the inner work that other psychics did during the war, see my article ‘The Occult Side of War’

Paramhansa Yogananda: Indian Yogi (1893 – 1952)
The first great master of yoga to teach in the west, Yogananda taught about the unMeditator photo by Sarah Bootyity of all true religions; how to meditate; and how to achieve health and well-being for body, mind and soul.

In 1920, he founded the Self Realization Fellowship. This organisation now has branches all over the world, dedicated to his teachings.

His best-selling book “The Autobiography of a Yogi” is an inspiring account of his extraordinary life and experiences. I highly recommended it for anyone who’s interested in discovering how a spiritually centred outlook can open up a truly miraculous life path.

ROBERT MONROE: American Out of Body Pioneer (1915 – 1995)
In the 1950s, Robert Monroe began to have spontaneous, unexpected out of body experiences. Afraid and confused at first, he slowly came to terms with what was happening, and later became an expert in out of body travel.

astral travelOver time, he found that there were many souls on the astral plane who felt lost after the death of their bodies. They often didn’t understand that they’d moved on from that life. Monroe was able to help countless numbers of them to find their spiritual home.

His three groundbreaking books about his experiences are ‘Journeys Out of the Body’, ‘Far Journeys’ and ‘Ultimate Journey’.

He did extensive and in-depth research into out of body experiences and the nature of consciousness. That later led to the creation of The Monroe Institute, which is now a thriving centre teaching out of body travel and remote viewing.

There are many other worthy names that I haven’t included here – there just isn’t enough space for them all. Anyway, these may be enough for the purpose of this article – which is to serve as a reminder that supernormal powers are both possible and real. They are part of our human heritage – and they are within us all.


Do any of these people remind you of your own past lives? Discover how to find out more from my PAST LIFE BOOKS – information about them is at these links:  Amazon UK / Amazon USA

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