“White” Witchcraft or Repackaged Demonism?

wicca

Pls help me to [join] white witchcraft

This was the message I recently received from a fellow Nigerian on this blog’s Facebook page. Interestingly, I was just reading an article which a friend tagged me in about the revival of “white” witchcraft in the U.S. when the message came in. I then felt it was timely I revisited this topic.

In my reply to the above request to join witchcraft (from what I observed, he already subscribes to several pages dedicated to ceremonial magick), I explained that white witchcraft is simply a disguise for evil, one that Satan came up with in the 20th century in order to trap more souls.

White witchcraft is being widely promoted in movies, books and social media. It is often depicted as a benign “Old Path” that involves doing positive magick for the benefit of the earth and humanity. Wicca is the most visible face of modern witchcraft.

Although pronounced differently, the modern English term “Wicca” is derived from the old English word wicca and wicce, the masculine and feminine terms for witch used in Anglo-Saxon England. Wicca is basically a form of Western occultism. Hence, Wiccans are occultists with a religious bent.

Many white witches are pantheists who worship the earth mother and the sky father; or some form of nature worship. They gather in congregations called covens – usually Matriarchal —with memberships no larger than thirteen, and they have an initiatic degree system somewhat like the Masons.

History

Some late 19th century works by Charles Leland (1824-1903), Robert Graves (1895-1985) and Margaret Murray (1863-1963) laid the background for white witchcraft by promoting the theory of the existence of a pre-Christian religion of Western Europe which was driven underground by Christianity.

In actuality, there is no link between ancient (or medieval) witchcraft and Wicca which was “made up” in the 20th century – except that they are both facets of the occult. It was this idea of surviving ancient covens in Britain that influenced Gerald Gardner (1884-1964), a British anthropologist, to revive and popularize witchcraft for the modern world.

Gardner was a Freemason, Rosicrucian, an initiate of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O), and affiliate of the notorious Satanist, Aleister Crowley. Though some modern Wiccans have tried in vain to distance Wicca from Crowley or sanitise his occultism, evidence shows that much of their rituals came from him.

For one, much of the Great Rite ceremony practiced in Wicca came from Crowley’s obscene revelation, Liber Al Vel Legis (Book of the Law) and his Gnostic Mass, both published years before Gardner’s material saw daylight

Occult historian, Francis King, recorded that Gardner hired Crowley “at a generous fee, to write elaborate rituals for the new ‘Gardenerian’ witch-cult, and at about the same time, either forged or procured to be forged, the so-called Book of Shadows, allegedly a sixteenth century witches book, but betraying its modern origins in every line of its unsatisfactory pastiche of Elizabethan English.” [1]

Gardner spent much time in Ceylon where he was initiated into Masonry and became a nudist. He gravitated towards paganism in indigenous societies and even participated in the archaeological excavation of a pagan worship centre of the goddess Ashtaroth in Palestine. [2]

He was finally initiated into witchcraft in New Forest, England. He asserted that there were covens of witches in Britain practicing not an anti-Christian religion, but a ‘pre-Christian’ religion involving worship of a supreme Mother Goddess (whose secret name is Arayda) and a Horned God. This he called Wicca. He revealed these in his novel entitled High Magic’s Aid published in 1949 under his witchcraft name, “Scire.”

Gardner later published other books drawing on his occult experiences, travels, Margaret Murray and Aleister Crowley’s writings, knowledge of Masonry, Western ceremonial magick and Eastern religions. From these and other sources, he synthesised his brand of modern witchcraft.

Gardner’s early disciples were Alex Sanders, Sybil Leek, and Raymond Buckland who spread and mutated his version of witchcraft, with some of it shipped over to the U.S. in the late 1960s.

Structure

Wicca is a highly eclectic, creative, decentralized, “make-it-up-as-you-go” movement. Therefore, it consists of many covens and groups having a wide variety of rites, beliefs, styles of worship and traditions.

From the early 1970s, dozens of traditions have splintered off Gardnerian and Alexandrian covens (about the two oldest Wiccan traditions). Now, some of them are:

British Traditional Wicca, Georgian, Algard, Norse, Celtic, Thessalonian, Seax-Wica, Order of the Brotherhood of the Wicca, Blue Star, Central Valley, Faery, Dianic, Cymry Wicca, Covenant of the Goddess, Sicilian, Tameran, Odyssean, Erisian, Discordian Wicca, Panthean Temple, Witta, Reclaiming, Universal Eclectic Wicca and many others.

There are also Neo-Pagan traditions which are revivals of older heathen religions or new creations of the same, such as Church of the Worlds, Asatru, Odinism etc. Not all neo-pagans practice Wicca, however, but they are strongly related.

There are many associations, centres, festivals and gatherings, newsletters, books, websites, media and shops all dedicated to teaching and networking the ideology of Wicca and Neo-Paganism.

As shown in the article linked to at the beginning of this post, in 1990, there were an estimated 8,000 Wiccans in the U.S. In 2014, Pew Research Centre estimated approximately 1 to 1.5 million people identifying as Wiccan or Pagan in the States. Indeed, they have experienced much significant growth. This shouldn’t be surprising, if seen through a logical and biblical lens.

In the last days “evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13). There will be people who “will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).

There is a “mystery of lawlessness” that is already at work in the world which is ushering the way for the Man of Sin (2 Thess. 2:7).

Beliefs

There are certain features that are common to all Wiccan beliefs:

  • Experience

Wicca is an experiential religion. Like a Wiccan author said: “What really defines a witch is a type of experience people go through. These experiences depend on altered state of consciousness. The Craft is really the Yoga of the West.” [3]

They lay much emphasis on feeling energies – energies flowing through their hands, flowing up from inside them or swirling around them. If they are in nature (walking in a garden, the woods or close to a water body) they are programmed to feel spiritually “connected” to it.

They also observe various rituals one of which is called “Drawing down the Moon.” During this ritual, a coven’s High Priestess enters a trance and requests that the Goddess enters her body and speaks through her to “her children,” the Wicca. The High Priestess may be aided by the High Priest who invokes the spirit of the Goddess into her (or from within her).

Others describe feeling a surge of electrical impulses in their bodies or a warm, orgasmic sensation when they are in touch with their deities.

The validity of their beliefs is hinged on these experiences. As Christians, however, we identify these as demonic manifestations.

  • View of Man

Like New Agers, most Wiccans have an “Aquarian” view of human destiny – the notion that persons can evolve spiritually through their own efforts and ultimately attain enlightenment or godhood. While many New Agers tend to be futuristic and mentally turned to the East, many Wiccans look to the “romantic” past of European lore and myths.

Wiccans believe that all that exists are manifestations of the Divine, which includes human beings. Thus, they reject the Christian doctrines of the fall and sinfulness of man and reject the need for Saviour. A Wiccan rather dryly stated:

“We are aware of our own goodness and strength, and we are not afraid to admit it. We are not sinners and we know it. We don’t have a Devil to blame our mistakes on and we need no Saviour to save us from a non-existing hell.” [4]

Now, this Wiccan may not realize it, but she is mouthing the creed of Satanists. Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan wrote in his Satanic Bible:

“Here and now is our day of joy! Here and now is our opportunity! Choose ye this day, this hour, for no redeemer liveth. Say unto thine own heart, ‘I am mine own redeemer.’”

To reject the Saviour, Jesus Christ is to be eternally damned. Denying the reality of sin, Satan and hell does not make them non-existent.

  • Animism and Pantheism

They believe the “life force” is immanent within all creation: rocks, trees, deserts, streams, mountains, oceans, forest and animals. This is animism. It’s one of the glues connecting Wiccans with New Agers, thus leading them to venerate the earth and commune with spirits.

Most Pagan ceremonies usually begin with the marking out of a ritual circle (“sacred space”) at the quarter of which points ‘the four guardians’ are invoked: Earth, Air, Fire and Water elements.

They also believe that divinity is inseparable from, and immanent in nature and humanity. This is why some neo-pagan groups greet its members thus: “Thou art Goddess,” “Thou art God.”

  • Magick

This involves the manipulation of spirits or forces to accomplish personal objectives. Raymond Buckland used Crowley’s definition of magick: “the art or science of causing change to occur in conformity with Will.” [5]

In white witchcraft, there is an 8-fold path witches are taught to utilize in raising spiritual powers for magick and personal growth: music, trance, dance, drugs/wine, rites/spells/incantations, meditation, cords (ceremonial binding), scourging and the Great Rite (ritual sex).

The working of magick is the key that opens many Wiccans and Pagans up to demonic possession, because this involves making pacts with evil spirits and invoking the so-called good spirits to protect the witch from the harmful ones.

They are told that there is “white magick” (involving permission of the recipient) which is for good and black magick (no permission involved) for evil. There are three facts to note here, however:

(a) Contrary to what many “white” witches say, magick is not a science, though it’s an art of sorts. Science is a system of knowledge that is based on unbiased, testable explanations and systematic experimentation of the physical world. It implies empirically established repeat-ability.

In other words, because of science, when we turn on a light switch, a light turns on. Even if you try this using a closed circuit connected to a light bulb, you can be secure in the fact that the light bulb will light every time you turn on the switch. And this has a logical, scientific explanation. That’s why if the bulb doesn’t light up, you know exactly where you’ve flouted the rule. That’s science.

But witchcraft is not like that! Casting of spells for instance is quite complex; witches have to cast their circles correctly, call their (fallen) archangels correctly, visualize an image to accompany it and observe several other procedures, yet they don’t have even a 50% confidence that their spells will work.

There is no guarantee for any magick they do and none of its mechanisms have been empirically tested; neither can its efficacy (or lack of it) be reasonably explained. So, it’s not science. Not by any means.

(b) There’s no distinction between white and black magick. Respected Wiccan High Priestess, Doreen Valiente admitted that, “The distinction between black and white magic has no validity.” [6]

Another Wiccan leader wrote: “This might actually offend some, but it hides one of the great truths of witchcraft, that there is not white or black magick, there is only magick…” [7] This is actually in line with what the Word of God says all such magick emanates from Satan (1 Jn. 5:19; Rev. 12:9).

(c ) Both white and black witches invoke the same spirit entities/deities for magick. Since Wiccans are drawing their powers from the same “old ones” as Satanists and black witches, whether they admit it or not, they are utilizing demonic powers.

Much of Wiccan teachings, ceremonial magick and philosophy came from the teachings of Aleister Crowley, a Satanist who admitted he received his knowledge from a demon guide named Aiwass (another name for Set, the Egyptian god of evil); therefore, “white” witchcraft is more or less a sanitised version of demonism.

  • The Wiccan ethic

Many Wiccans abide by the Wiccan Rede which says “An it harm none, do what ye will.” They also abide by the “Rule of Three” (which is the Wiccan version of karma). Plainly stated, it is the belief that everything one does, whether physically or by magick will come back threefold, whether good or bad.

Many Wiccans use these rules as “proofs” that white witches never harm anyone, but this moral umbrella fails to cover them. Since in magick, there’s no valid distinction between white and black or good and evil, who legitimately determines what is benign or harmful or good and evil for them?

Let’s remember that Wiccans are relativists; they believe whatever is right for you is right, but some things can be good for one person and bad for somebody else. If a Wiccan has a relative who has cancer of the pancreas, would it be alright to put a spell on him to kill him to “put him out of his misery”? Why is it right or wrong? Who decides on these issues for them?

Many Wiccans will say they rely on the “Universal Law,” but we must ask, who made this “Universal law” and where does it come from? And what is good about a law that comes from nowhere? Why does this abstract law allow for moral relativism? Because if something is called a universal law, it should have a definitive, consistent and universal stance concerning morality.

In the High Priesthood initiation into Alexandrian/Gardnerian tradition, the speech read says:

“For learn that in the Wicca thou mayest ever give as you receive it, but ever triple. So where I gave thee three (scourging), return nine. Where I gave thee seven, return twenty-one…” [8]

This three-fold law is a moral sword that cut both ways. It applies to both good and evil. For instance, if a witch perceives that someone has attacked him/her (whether real or imagined), by this 3-fold witch law, he/she has a right to attack that attacker three times worse!

If someone slaps them once, by that law, they have the right to slap him back three times. This is a twisted wisdom of the jungle.

The Bible’s verdict is: all men have sinned. Wiccans are sinners like other people, so the “we do not harm others” rhetoric rings hollow.

  • The Wiccan God and Goddess

Among theistic Wiccans, there are pantheists, duotheists, monotheists and polytheists. Many Wiccan groups, however, adhere to the duotheistic worship of an eternal Mother Goddess and her consort, a Byronic Horned god who dies and is reborn yearly.

Their deities are believed to be archetypes of universal symbols of processes and events of nature, hence, their Goddess has three forms: maiden, mother and crone – symbolizing a stage in the female life cycle. There are goddesses identified with each stage e.g. Artemis as maiden, Selene as mother and Hecate as crone.

The Horned god is associated with nature, hunting, sexuality and the wilderness. In some traditions, he has dual aspects: the Holly king and the Oak king – bright and dark. In some traditions, he has a triple aspect: youth, father and sage.

The Wiccan god and goddess take different names in different covens. The horned god is invoked as Pan, Cernunnos, Apollo, Dionysus, Eros, Odin, Hades, Thor and Lucifer while the goddess is variously invoked as Luna, Venus, Dione, Lilith, Athena, Isis, Astarte and so on.

The history of these deities reveals the trail of death, bloodshed, destruction and sexual depravity that have followed those who worshipped them and the same are being done today.

The representation of male fertility deities as goats – such as “the goat of Baphomet” in Eliphas Levi’s occult work – has been known from even ancient Egypt (Mendes). As a source pointed out:

“In medieval times the Devil was sometimes called the Goat of Mendes because at this temple in ancient Egypt bizarre rituals were performed involving naked priestesses performing the sex act with goats” [9]

The inverted pentagram represents the goat of Mendes, a celebrated image of Satan in Satanism. In the higher degrees of Wicca, initiates are taught that the horned god of the inverted pentagram represents Lucifer.

Of course, when one compares the Wiccan horned god with the Satan of the Bible, several striking similarities are seen:

  1. Both are lords and the source of death.
  2. Both rule in an underworld kingdom of some sort.
  3. Both represent bestiality and excessive sexual lust.
  4. Both are known as Lucifer in some circles.
  5. Both are believed to be the source of “light.”
  6. Both demand commitment by oaths and covenants.
  7. Both are opposed to the God of the Bible and seek to draw their worshippers away from Him. [10]

Notes

[1] The Rites of Modern Occult Magic, NY: Macmillan, 1970, 176.

[2] Gordon Melton, Encyclopedia of American Religions, 3rd edition, 1989, 144.

[3] Aidan Kelly in Margot Adler, Drawing Down the Moon, Beacon Press, 1986, 106

[4] Valerie Voigt, “Being a Pagan in a 9-to-5 world” in Witchcraft Today, ed. Charles Clifton, MN: Llewellyn Pub.1992, 173.

[5] Complete Book of Witchcraft, MN: Llewellyn, 2005, 222-223.

[6] An ABC of Witchcraft, St. Martins’ Press, 1973, 271.

[7] Starling, message #1420, November 22, 2001, posted at Pagan Perspective.

[8] The Grimoire of Lady Sheba, MN: Llewellyn, 1974, 135.

[9] Michael Howard, The Occult Conspiracy, 1989, 13.

[10] William Schnoebelen, WICCA: Satan Little White Lie, Chick Pub., 1990, 59.

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