Musings Of A Spiritual Atheist

There is a great deal of confusion about modern witchcraft. To many religious peoples, particularly in some Christian groups, it is synonymous with Satanism or devil worship and is seen as a rejection of the bible god in favour of his antithesis. Due to this, it is viewed as inherently evil and must be avoided at all costs in order to ensure there is no possibility of putting one’s immortal soul in peril.

There is a lot of nonsense written about witchcraft, and most of those who profess it do not actually meet the requirements to be a biblical witch. There are only a few references to witches in the bible. One condemns them to death. One forbids Israelites from being witches, linking it with the worship of the god Moloch (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:10). The linking with worship of a common Canaanite god shows that biblical witches were those who voluntarily and knowingly opposed the worship of Yahweh. It is worth noting that neither of the two references above actually say that witches worshipped Satan. To arrive at that, Christianity has asserted that all worship of gods other than Yahweh-Jesus is worship of Satan who misleads people away from Yahweh-Jesus. Much of this is seen as being covert, such as with other world religions, but those in the Christian world who voluntarily choose to do the same are labelled as “witches”.

Christians often get upset and argumentative if it is pointed out that Satan is a bible god, and only appears in religions derived from that book. They insist that he is not a god but is a devil or a demon instead. This is despite the fact that the Apostle Paul referred to Satan as “the god of this world” (2 Co 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not”).

It is so deeply ingrained in their minds that “god” (i.e. Yahweh-Jesus) is the only god that they automatically presume that every other spiritual viewpoint understands and accepts that “god” and his opponent, Satan, exist. Yet many religions do not accept the existence of either one. These two spirit entities, these gods, are found only in those religions deriving from the Hebrew Bible, i.e. Judaism, Christianity, Islam and perhaps a few others which have developed from them or from which they developed.

Wiccans sometimes refer to themselves as “pagan”. This word comes from the Roman world where it was originally used to describe those who worked the land. Today it refers to members of non-Christian religions. The point is that the original pagans were Romans who were not Christians. Christians lived in that pagan world for centuries before they came to dominate it, but the pagans were not considered to be witches as they are in today’s society, just Romans who had a different religion and worshipped gods other than Yahweh-Jesus, gods like Jupiter, Mars and Minerva, or gods of other nations whose citizens lived in Rome.

For a large part of that time Christians were seen as just another religion, worshipping a Jewish god. They, in turn, did not consider non-Christian Romans to be witches in the biblical sense, but merely people who were misled into worshipping gods other than Yahweh whom the Christians considered to be the one, true god. Christians may well have thought of them as being deceived but did not think them evil. There is no indication in the New Testament that the earliest Christians thought that people of other religions were practicing witchcraft. The attitude displayed was that these pagans should be taught about Yahweh and Jesus and convinced to become Christians. Paul said that he “became” all kinds of people in order to save them, indicating that he associated with pagans and behaved like them in order to convince them to join the Christian community. He would not have done this if he had believed they were Satan worshipping witches.

This is altogether different from the practitioners of Wicca or modern witchcraft, who do not believe that Yahweh or Satan exist. Wiccans do not believe in a spiritual division between a “good” entity and an “evil” entity with an eternal war between them for human souls. Modern Wicca is a naturist religion which emphasises the relationships between the repeating, yearly cycles of the natural order of animals and plants with those of a spiritual order, rather than emphasising the relationships between humans and ethereal spirits. This spiritual order may be interpreted quite loosely, focusing more on principles of nature than on specific named entities, which often appear to be called on as convenient points of focus rather than as actual, living personalities.

One point that I have always found unfortunate is that Wiccans chose to associate themselves with the concept of witchcraft. Many do this completely and believe themselves to be the spiritual progeny of those women convicted by Christian churches of witchcraft and burned alive. I believe it is unfortunate for two reasons. One is that modern Wicca, being a naturist approach to spirituality, has absolutely nothing to do with the type of witchcraft those women were condemned for. Voluntarily associating oneself with the victims of a church whose condemnation was based on a belief that witches worshipped an evil god named “Satan” contradicts the basic tenets found in modern Wicca. Secondly, the condemned women were, by and large, falsely accused and convicted because of mass hysteria whipped up by the churches. There is also evidence that some in America, particularly in Salem, were condemned based on hallucinations produced from eating grain contaminated with ergot, a hallucinogenic fungus. In most cases the women condemned were Christian women. They were certainly the victims of lies and hysteria, but would have been appalled at being associated against their will with a religion which rejects the fundamental beliefs of Christianity. They were falsely condemned in the past by churches who accused them of being Satanists and of worshipping the devil, now they are being claimed as members of a religion which rejects the basic beliefs of the religion they practiced and very likely believed strongly.

Wicca is just another religion and is quite peaceful. It wishes a beneficial and productive life for its members and its goals are not much different from those often claimed for Christianity: goals such as peace, love, kindness, and similar virtues. Its three blessing are, “May you never hunger”, “May you never thirst”, and “Blessed be.” All are to be understood in physical, metaphorical and spiritual senses. It does not seek detriment to others. Its magic is metaphorical rather than actual, and is more like the blessings given in the bible by the patriarchs and in churches at the present time than any attempt to cause harm by invoking supernatural powers, which, I might add, do not exist.

A typical example of Wiccan magic would be during a wedding, what Wiccans call a handfasting because the hands are fastened together by draping a cord over them to symbolise joining two lives together. One of the options in a Wiccan wedding is to tie the hands of the couple together by knotting the ends of the cord together to symbolise a permanent joining, then removing the tied cord without untying the knot. This is “tying the knot” and represents a promise of no divorce, a permanent marriage. The couple may also tie locks of their hair together as part of this symbology and cast a spell over it saying that as long as the combined lock of hair exists their love will endure. It may then be kept along with the tied cord so that it will last longer than they will live, thus ensuring, in their eyes, that their love will be undiminished for the rest of their lives. The magic does not cause their continued love, that comes from their commitment to each other for a lifetime, but the magic states it openly and represents it, symbolically and metaphorically and is a spiritual representation of the couple’s wishes. It would most likely be accompanied by a spell which would express the couple’s wishes for their future more explicitly, such as:—

While these locks from both be bound
Let their love be solid found.

This would be a typical example of Wiccan magic. In itself it can accomplish nothing, having no force other than that which those casting the spell, in this case the couple, want it to accomplish. They want their love to last, and so it does because it is within their control for it to do so. All Wiccan spells are founded fundamentally on the same principle. It is sympathetic magic, that is, the spell reiterates what the spellcaster wants and brings it about when it is within the spellcaster’s ability to do so. It resonates the spellcaster’s desire. It does not direct it.

Modern witchcraft is not Satanic nor demonic in any way, shape or form. It is simply a rejection of the highly convoluted, ritualistic and dogmatic expressions of conformatist religions, and their replacement with personal beliefs and rituals which meet the emotional needs of its practitioners.

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