By John Fitts
Halloween is an important holiday for any witch but it’s especially acute to Nikki Sleath, high priestess of the Collinsville-based Society of Witchcraft and Old Magick.
For the coven, part of the American Witchcraft tradition, Halloween is one of 8 pagan sabbats, or nature festivals. It’s considered a Witch’s New Year’s Eve, a time when the “veil between mortal and spirit is at its thinnest,” Sleath said.
“The Celts viewed this night as the separation between the warm and cold parts of the year, and is symbolically representative of the line between life and death,” said Sleath, also known as Lady Nikki. “It is a very important time of ancestral honoring and communication.”
On the night of the Collinsville Halloween Parade, Sleath and a few members of the coven will set up near the junction of Main and Front Streets, hand out candy, pull some tarot cards and answer questions. Festivities begin at approximately 6 p.m., with the parade officially starting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2016.
“She’s a welcome addition – another facet of the community – room for all,” said John Squier, aka Jon Art, a parade founder who plays Boosolini, monster of ceremonies at the event.
In addition to the holiday’s importance, Sleath hopes it will be one way to debunk what she said are vast misconceptions about the practice. Although American Witchcraft is different from Wicca, Sleath said it is similar in that it is also a form of Paganism with the upmost code of ethics and positivity.
“We’re the real witches of Collinsville,” she said. “For a lot of people we’re going to be a novelty, or possibly even an oddity or a thing to be feared. And I don’t want that to be the case but I’m hoping that by the really nice example that we set that we can slowly help people to soften any negativity they might have been holding on to from prior generations of belief. That’s really my main motivation in being more public.” … Continue Reading