Witchcraft is not only being currently revived in a new fashion, it has attained a level of respectability in many civilized nations of the world. “In the past two to three decades, America and much of Western Europe have seen a resurgence of paganism and witchcraft” writes Craig Hawkins in the Christian Research Journal. “Indeed, with increasing vigor, witchcraft is ‘coming out of the broom closet.'” Since 2005, for instance, prisons in Britain now allow witches to practice their craft and celebrate their festivals behind bars. A 2011 report from the Dyfed-Powys Police in the UK revealed that over the last 5 years, there have been 26 reports of sightings of ghosts, 11 of witches and 2 of vampires and zombies in an area.
A 2012 census in England suggests that “Wales is ‘the witch capital’ of the United Kingdom, revealing it is home to 83 self-described witches and 93 Satanists.” This estimate is conservative, because Wales has been a home of witchcraft right from the pre-Roman days of the Celtic Druids. “I have been told that a coven of witches still meets in the Trelench area” says Dr Felix Aubel, a Church minister who has seen dozens of cases of witchcraft in the area. “Witchcraft has grown in a spiritual vacuum- the latest figures show the number of Christians in this country has dropped from 72 percent to 59 percent,” he added (Daily Mail, Jan 2013).
Germany reportedly now turns to witchcraft for direction in its energy policies. In Poland, a group of witches (aged between 30-80) showed up publicly to be photographed, displaying their talisman- flowers, daggers and feathers during their “Women of Power” gathering in 2013. The summit was to affirm the return to the old religion of witchcraft. More staggering examples from other western countries abound.
Any African who still thinks witchcraft is limited to Africa needs to get out of his bubble universe. A Google search on “witchcraft” will list out no less than 350,000 websites dedicated to it. A 2002 Barna Research shows that 86% of children are regularly exposed to TV shows with witchcraft or supernatural themes. And don’t tell me these TV shows are not yielding results. In the US Chaplain’s Manual, the American Council of Witches wrote:
“Witches do not proselytize, but welcome inquiries from those who hear about the craft by either word-of-mouth or the media.”
Since witchcraft is being marketed more than any other time in history, Christians need to be informed and have a basic understanding of what it is and how it operates.
A dictionary defines witchcraft as the art or exercise of magical powers, the effect or influence of magical powers, or an alluring or seductive charm. A Bible commentary defines it as the “practice of dealing with evil spirits.”
1Samuel 15:23: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.” Witchcraft is an expression of man’s corrupt rebellious nature against God. It is man’s attempt to gain what he wants without submitting to the law of God. This is why witchcraft can also be called the universal religion of fallen humanity. In Galatians 5:20 (KJV) it is listed along with idolatry among “the works of the flesh.” Rebellion as a work of the flesh opens the door to the spirit of witchcraft.
The 3 main characteristics of witchcraft are: domination, manipulation and intimidation. Jezebel exemplified these in the Bible. When Naboth refused to give up his vineyard and Ahab the king withdrew into the inner chamber like a baby, she exerted a dominion spirit: “I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth.” First, “she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal.” She pressed her buttons and set her people in place to bear false witness against Naboth and have him killed. That is manipulation. That a single woman exerted so much domination over all the men of the city, the elders, the nobles and even the throne itself evinces witchcraft (1Kings 21:2-13).
After Elijah displayed God’s supremacy and destroyed the prophets of Baal, Jezebel sent a message to him, cursing herself in the name of her gods if she didn’t kill him. Elijah had to flee in terror and even began to pray for death – intimidation (2Kin 19:1-5). This is how witchcraft operates. It oppresses, controls and inflicts terror and destruction on people.
Witchcraft and whoredom (all forms of sexual promiscuity) walk hand in hand. Jezebel for example was described as a woman full of “whoredoms” whose “witchcrafts are so many” (2Kin. 9:22). Prophet Nahum spoke of Nineveh as “the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms and families through her witchcrafts” (Nah. 3:4). Witchcraft exerts strong control over nations, cities, and families. Many Africans have had brushes with its operation.
All forms of witchcraft involves interaction and communion with demon spirits. All witches have demons that they work with through which they attain their powers. One of them wrote on a website: “In the years since then I have had time-and again had cause to call on the energy of the Dark One; She has never failed to give me strength and the will to fight. I will always praise and honor Her.”
These demons assume different forms and functions. In the case of the witch of Endor in the Bible, she was apparently expecting her demon to impersonate the dead Samuel, but when God sovereignly allowed the real Samuel to appear, she was horrified (1Samuel 28). The same method is utilized by modern spiritists. Isaiah 8:12 says: “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God?…” The statement “who whisper and mutter” highlights another feature of witchcraft – the use of spells and curses. A spell or curse is achieved by sending out evil spirits to perform a given assignment. There are different types of spells: love spells, fertility spells, blinding spell, death spells, wealth spells etc. which can be used to control people, manipulate events, terrify and afflict.
Catch Them Young!
In the last 2 decades, witchcraft has been primarily aimed at recruiting children and youths using entertainment and the printing press. This is because “the glory of the young is their strength” (Pro 20:29) and Satan wants that strength used for his own kingdom. The strategies used are:
1. Presenting “Good vs Bad” witches storylines.
This is used to brainwash viewers into thinking that witchcraft can be used for the good of mankind. This is the scenario in movies like The Craft, Practical Magic, Charmed, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the Harry Potter series, Legend of the Seeker, Merlin, Nanny McPhee, The Initiation of Sarah and many others.
As more youths and children are exposed to such movies, their perception of witchcraft begins to change. They begin to lust after the power to do what they want when they want it. They start to think and talk like witches until the door to witchcraft opens to them. Famous wizard, Oberon Zell Ravenheart, admits that his purpose for writing his book, Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard (2004) is “to catch the rising tide of youthful interest in benevolent magic… a trend reflected in the interest in Harry Potter…” (p i). An ex-witch sheds light on the strategies involved in luring youths: “Offer new realms of mystery and excitement. Make witchcraft look less sinister. Make it look like natural, innocent adventure (Everyone is attracted by adventure and mystery). Cover up evil with appealing wrappings.”
2. Presenting skewed ideas about witches
The stereotypical imagery presented about witches as ugly hags with warts on their noses, wearing a peaked hat and flying on a broomstick or boiling newts in a pot – persists in many minds, whereas, Satan has gone ahead to create upgraded versions of witchcraft for our time which are being glamourised through the media and books. For example, the cover of a book on witchcraft has an attractive female witch dressed in a fashionable, well-tailored business suit – as if she were walking down Madison Avenue in New York city. Now, when people meet a young, beautiful and intellectual witch, they realize they have been fed with lies about witches, so they let down their guards and become more susceptible to agree with the witch’s philosophy.
3. Presenting a distorted view of Christianity.
It advances itself by portraying Christianity as a boring, wicked and stupid religion. Witchcraft attracts people who have been deeply hurt, rejected or those rebelling against the existing social order and the liberal media panders to that prejudice. It portrays the God of the Bible as a cosmic killjoy; Christians as zombies or hypocrites and pastors as wild-eyed, paedophile cult leaders holding a bloody axe in one hand and a King James Bible in the other. This is a tactic of witchcraft – to seal people’s hearts to what Christians say. All forms of witchcraft are opposed to Christianity and the Bible.
Niki, a former witch, recalled her initiation, “I was required to bring a copy of the Bible which was burned as I renounced the Christian faith and baptism pledging a vow of fidelity to Satan and the coven.” After Keziah’s initiation in London, “We met regularly to praise Satan, Baal and Astarte and all other opponents of the God of the Bible” she said. “We hated Christians and tried hard of ways to destroy them for good.” [Source]
The word “witchcraft” or “witch” evokes different images to different people, depending on their culture or level of exposure. Actually, there are different forms of witchcraft but I broadly classify them into:
1. “White”/ Respectable witchcraft
This is the most visible form of witchcraft suited for the 21st century. It attracts scholars, youths, idealists and the elites. The most popular is Wicca and other Neo-Pagan movements. Wicca is a nature religion that worships the earth and sky, with an emphasis on a mother goddess and her consort, the horned god, and other deities. Wicca has a wide variety of “denominations.” There are Alexandrian wiccans, Gardnerians, Dianic, Welsh, Druidic, Georgian, Church and School of Wicca, Nordic, Algard, Covenant of the Goddess, Witches International Craft Association and many ecletic traditions. Barbara Lee, a Wiccan high priestess, gave a fairly accurate description:
“Wicca is a kind of religion, but its also a craft – it encompasses the practices and creation of magic. We practice sympathetic magic, using items like candles, crystals or herbs to create spells. We celebrate the cycle of the year [8 times in a year]… Wicca ritual is about celebrating the Earth, channeling positive energies and creating healing. There’s no dogma or written creed in Wicca: it;s very free and it allows for difference in experience, in practice and perception.” (The Irish Times, Oct 1, 2011)
The Wicca religion was started by a British anthropologist, Gerald Gardner (1884-1964), and it boomed in England when the British Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951. It is not an “old religion” as it purports to be. But today, there are different associations, centres, festivals, gatherings, media, books and shops all dedicated to disseminating and defending the ideology of “white” witchcraft. It attracts many because it adapts well to the humanistic and relativistic values of the western civilization; claims to be an “Old Path” offering ancient wisdom and denies the existence of Satan.
Wiccans and Neopagans claim to do only good magic to help people and the earth; allow a free morality (“do your own thing”); approve of different expressions of sexuality (whether gay or lesbian), wild partying and dancing; prohibit sacrifice of animals and uphold feminism and abortion. A report by the National Public Radio noted that a growing number of teens in the West are setting up witchcraft altars in their bedrooms, offering prayers to the Goddess, and invoking the aid of spirits. “Wicca is believed to be one of the fastest growing religions among high school and college students. This form of witchcraft with its reference for the earth and nature, appeals to young environmentalists” says the report (Barbara Hagerty, Teens and Wicca, 2004).
Biblically, there is no such thing as “white” witchcraft or “white” demon worship. The pagan deities being invoked in Wiccan circles are the same demons being invoked in Satanism (Dt. 32:16-17, Ps. 106:36-38, 1Cor. 10:19-21). Doreen Valiente, a Wiccan high priestess, said: “The distinction between white and black magic has no validity” (An ABC of Witchcraft, St. Martins Press, 1973, 271). Wiccans claim to worship a benign goddess, but historically, goddess worship is drenched with evil and gore. Even Anton LaVey wrote in his Satanic Bible that: “There is no difference between ‘White’ and ‘Black’ magic, except in the smug hypocrisy, guilt-ridden righteousness, and self-deceit of the ‘White’ magician himself” (p. 110).
It matters not where Wiccans claim to be deriving their powers from, it’s certainly not coming from the Lord Jesus Christ: it’s from Satan. The same self that motivates “white” magic also motivates black magic and Satan is the god of self.
2. Black / “Underground” witchcraft
This is more “underground” and secretive and not as public as “white” witchcraft. Black witchcraft can be continental i.e adapted to a continent. In the West, it is affiliated with vampire cults, hardcore or eclectic Satanism, and many underground covens of witchcraft. “The major themes of initiation into Black Witchcraft are suffering, death and rebirth” says Niki, mentioned earlier. “This being true for me, I underwent a ritual which was symbolic of physically dying, and I was then symbolically reborn as a new person possessing new knowledge.” Unlike the “white” witches, black witches readily acknowledge the existence of Satan and operate with more powerful demons. “Black witches and Satanists believe in the ultimate battle between good and evil, evil will triumph” wrote Doreen Irvine, in her autobiography, From Witchcraft to Christ. “They believe that Lucifer will one day conquer Christ and will retrieve what they call his rightful place… The more evil, the better, is the motto of the black witch and Satanist.“
Black witches perform animal and human sacrifices frequently and initiates need not be literate. This has been the real face of witchcraft in many cultures of the world, thus it adapts to geographical locations and can identify with every ethnicity or culture. In Africa, South America and the East, witchcraft operates primarily from the spirit realm and it’s a vast empire. In this case, the witches meet in their spiritual circle e.g trees, rock, rivers, houses or schools. They attend meetings in their spiritual bodies, sometimes shape-shifting into different animals. This form of witchcraft is more intricate, because it encompasses different calibres of people from all parts of the world. A person can also be a philanthropist, celebrity or clergy here on earth, and be a hideous witch in the spirit realm.
Some common themes among witches in different categories include:
a) They organize themselves into covens – derived from the word “covenant.” There is an occult covenant, “astral number” or ties (supernatural control over one another’s spirit) that binds witches together. Unless these are broken, a renegade witch can be easily summoned back to the coven.
b) They have a priesthood or a leader that acts as a mouthpiece. Many covens are led by a high priest/priestess. Some belong to an order, some don’t.
c) They go on astral journeys for various assignments or meetings, especially at nights.
d) They all have physical or spiritual working tools e.g the athame (witch’s dagger), chalice or cauldron (pot), cords (red, white and blue), wand, sword, censer and the pentacle. Some have spiritual padlocks, pins mirrors, guns, brooms etc.
e) They are all have a commission or assignment within the coven. This is like a “job description.” Some are assigned to destroy churches while some are assigned to recruit.
f) Many witches have a “working name” or a “craft name.”
g) Most are often dedicated to specific deities or demons. But they generally invoke and work with directional spirits (north, east, west and south) and elemental spirits (air, water, earth and fire).
h) Many have certain animals they form a bond with (familiars) used for assignments such as spying or serving as bodyguards.
i) They offer blood sacrifices as part of their rituals. Cannibalism and vampirism give them demonic strength.
j) Many coven meetings are regulated by the moon. They monitor the phases of the moon. When the moon is waxing (crescent moon), they start their spells for the month. When the moon is full, these spells come to pass. This is also the time demons give them maximum powers. More dangerous spells are sent out during the waning moon.
k) Their powers are very limited. Their spells do fail; their demons get paralysed, and their evil works backfire. This usually happens when they operate against a true Christian who is abiding in Christ. As Christians, we need to:
Submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. To put the enemy under our authority, we must first submit to Christ’s authority. Accept His Lordship over your life and walk according to His Word. We can’t win against witchcraft while we walk in rebellion against God (2Cor. 10:6).
Obey the Word of God which forbids any involvement with witchcraft and other forms of the occult (Lev. 19:31, Deut. 18:1-3). These are not suggestions or opinions that are left up to compromise, they are commands that must be obeyed. We are not to be entertained by games, books, or movies that glorify witchcraft. We are to hate them as God hates them.
Walk in discernment. Witchcraft has infiltrated many sectors of the society and the church, and its goal is to control and destroy people. Beware of false churches, consulting false prophets and ‘societies’ you are invited to join. Learn to pray and walk in the Spirit and test what people teach with the Bible (Is. 8:20). The answer to witchcraft and all other forms of the occult, is the Gospel and the Power of Jesus Christ.