I would like to start out this second post on my series about Wicca by expressing my appreciation for the overwhelming response to the first post in this series, Wicca: Part 1 – Rise of the Witches. To God be the glory. I also want to take the time to acknowledge the audience of witches who are following and reading these articles by praying for you.
“Heavenly Father…I lift up to you those Wiccans who have been led to read this post. My heartfelt cry for them is that You, the Almighty LORD of creation, would allow that the eyes of their heart to be enlightened so that they may know the hope of Your calling, the riches of the glory of Your inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of Your power toward those who believe in the One who has the name above all names, Jesus Christ. Amen.”
In our first post, I explained how the religion of Wicca is on the rise. In fact, some would even say that it is the fastest growing religion in America and has achieved number three status as the largest belief system after Christianity and Islam. This would seem to be accurate as we catch glimpses of its pervasive presence in our government, the military, and even our small town communities. Although witches seem to be rising in popularity and numbers, for most of us, we know very little about their Craft. This post will attempt to change our disposition of ignorance so we may have a working knowledge as we move forward to make a defense of the Christian faith in light of Wicca.
First, let’s start out with some terms and definitions that we may not be familiar with.
- Wicca – a modern form of witchcraft also referred to as the Craft
- Its focus is on the worship of the Lord and Lady as well as other gods and goddesses including Diana
- Witch – a person, male or female, who practices Wicca
- Coven – a gathering of witches
- High Priestess – the female leader of a coven who is also a witch
- Magick – the science and art of causing change to occur in conformity to the will
- Spelled with a “k” on the end to differentiate witch magic from the type of magic that is used for entertainment (pulling rabbits from hats, card tricks, etc.)
- Reincarnation – belief that a soul experiences rebirth into a new body after death
- Wiccans believe in the option of reincarnation after spending a season of reflection in the afterlife called Summerland
- If a witch chooses to opt out of reincarnation then they may become either spirit-guides or be reunited with the Goddess
- Sabbats – eight holidays revolving around the position of the sun celebrated by witches
- Samhain or Halloween is one example
- Paganism – a broad group of false religions claiming numerous gods
- Neopaganism – new paganism
- A modern day revival of ancient pagan beliefs and practices
- Examples – occultism, druidry, Wicca
- New Age – a spiritual movement characterized by alternative methods of spirituality that are non-Christian
- Satanism – the worship of Satan
- Usually involves distorting Christian practices and symbols
- Examples – sacrificing animals, upside down crosses
- Wiccans deny that they are Satanists
- Usually involves distorting Christian practices and symbols
- Pantheism – all is God
- The belief that all is God and God is all
- Pantheists believe God and the universe are one therefore nature is to be honored and worshiped
- Wicca is a form of nature worship
- Polytheism – multiple gods
- The belief that many gods exist in the world
- Christianity teaches monotheism, there is One God who transcends this world
- Wicca teaches polytheism
This should suffice for now by giving us some structure to work with. We will define other terms as we come across them.
So what is it that witches teach and believe in? There seem to be three main qualities emphasized by Wiccans.
First, most groups of Wiccans hold to at least two gods. These are represented by a male god (Lord) and a female goddess (Lady). These two gods are said to join which represents the rebirth of nature every year. Some witches engage in ceremonial sex as a symbol of this union.
Emphasis is often placed on the goddess as creator who has three facets symbolized by the different phases of the moon. Since goddess worship is highlighted, witchcraft places equal and sometimes superior status upon women. This has the ability to appeal to women seeking equality and provides an environment of acceptance for lesbians.
Second, Wicca promotes an ethical and moral code of beliefs. This code is summed up in the statement, “An ye harm none, do as ye will.” This basically states that as long as you aren’t hurting anyone, a witch is free to do whatever they want to. While this sounds noble, it is very vague and relative to the individual perspective. Since it isn’t clear what is meant by “harm,” it is left up to the individual to decide whether harm is being done or not. In contrast, Christianity paints a very clear, detailed picture of how we are to treat others with love and charity.
Another aspect of their moral code is the threefold law. This states that whatever a person does, it will return to them threefold, whether good or bad. This is similar to karma taught by Hindus.
Thirdly, and probably the practice that witches are best know for, is the use of magick. Witches believe that the gods and goddesses of their belief system have supernatural powers and abilities that can be manipulated through spells, incantations, and potions (think herbal remedies and essential oils). Furthermore, because they hold to the belief of pantheism, they believe that humans carry within them divine energy that can be used to produce changes in the world around them. Witches hold to both good (white) magick and bad (dark) magick.
While witches claim that bad magick exists, they are reluctant to use it because of the karmic effect of the threefold law which states that whatever is sent out by a person through their actions (magick) will come back to them three times as strong.
Ok, so are you with me so far? After all of this, you may be wondering, where did this all come from?
The modern day practice of Wicca claims to have its roots in pre-Christian paganism. Therefore, it is often argued as being a more accurate and purer form of religion than Christianity because supposedly it existed before the time of Christ. Unfortunately, what witches often don’t understand is that before Jesus’ ministry on this earth and the birth of the church, the Son of God had already existed. In fact, we are told in scripture that,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” John 1:1-2 (NASB95)
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17 (NASB95)
Therefore, since Jesus is God, not only was He there at the time of creation, but there has never been a time when Jesus did not exist. So even though the Craft may claim to have established its roots before Christianity, it did not exist before it’s author, Jesus Christ who is the eternal God.
Witches claim much of what is known about this ancient pre-Christian religion was lost during the middle ages as the church persecuted it and attempted to wipe it out. During the 1800’s though, it was said to be rediscovered and revived in Europe by witches and occultists such as Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) and his apprentice, Gerald Gardner (1888-1964). Two of Gardners disciples, Raymond and Rosemary Buckland, are given credit for bringing witchcraft to the States.
It was further popularized in America by Alexander Sanders (1926-1988), who referred to himself as the “King of the Witches,” and also by Margot Adler. Adler wrote a book called Drawing Down the Moon in 1992 that has been popular and somewhat successful in unifying witches.
As Wicca practice became more widespread, other attempts have been made to unify Wicca through the development of councils. One such council was created in 1974 and was disbanded that same year. It was known as the Council of American Witches. In their principles of Wiccan belief, they included a statement rejecting Jesus as the only way of salvation. They further went on to acknowledge the inspiration of this statement as part of “our animosity toward Christianity.”
The Burning Times
So why would these so-called nature worshiping, peace loving, harm ye none, pagans have animosity toward Christianity? Well, there are probably many reasons for this friction, not the least of which is the unseen spiritual battle of light and darkness between God of truth and the fallen, defeated father of lies, Lucifer. But as we explore the history of witches, there is one more piece of history that should be noted which holds the key to this question.
Possibly the main reason that Wiccans would cite for their enmity towards followers of Christ, is a time period in history where they were deeply persecuted and often executed by the church. Witches refer to this time period of three centuries as the Burning Times. We may know this time period better as the Salem Witch Trials made famous by the Puritans.
In their zeal for the scriptures, the Puritans along with the Catholic church took a very strict, literal interpretation of the Old Testament commands, including the one in Exodus, which states,
“You shall not allow a sorceress to live.” Exodus 22:18 (NASB95)
While God’s word clearly condemns sorcery, magic, and witchcraft as forms of idolatry, unfortunately, in their devotion and eagerness to obey God’s word, they seem to have misplaced the New Testament concept of grace through evangelism. History records that over a time period of three centuries as many as 40,000 people were condemned as witches and executed for their sin. This is a shame, to say the least. We as followers of Christ should know best of anyone how to give grace to those who are separated from God. There was a time when each of us were in the same boat drifting in our sin toward the waterfall of destruction. We must always remember that if not for God’s grace, there go I.
Brothers and sisters, as we interact with our Wiccan neighbors, we must remember that these are real flesh and blood people with real souls and a real need to know the truth about Jesus Christ and His offer of eternal life that He alone can provide.
If you are a Wiccan, please understand that we do not intend any harm towards you but that we are concerned for your eternal salvation. As I have personally experienced the forgiveness and saving grace of Christ and His fellowship through the Holy Spirit, it is my desire that you too would come to know Him and the depth of His love for you.
As I conclude, hopefully, this hasn’t come across as too academic, but my desire is to represent the key tenants and beliefs of Wiccans as accurately as possible in this post. I have relied on the expertise of the following resources:
Holy Bible, (NASB95)
Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics – Norman L Geisler
The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics – Hindson and Caner
The Kingdom of the Cults – Walter Martin
The Kingdom of the Occult – Walter Martin