The Apple Of God's Eye

March 8, 2010

Witchcraft And Magic: Dangerous Paranormal Psychic Powers

Filed under: Occult Practices,Pagan Customs,Pagan Symbols — melchia @ 2:20 am

Interest in witchcraft is a popular focus of current occult attention. Those involved in witchcraft today look upon it as a religion of magical techniques — intended to produce paranormal psychic powers resident in the human mind.

“Witch” comes from the Anglo-Saxon wicce. Wicce comes from the German root wic, “to turn or bend.” The original connotation of wicce is possibly “someone with the power to turn [change] things.”

Some say that Wicca [witchcraft] is really a method of enlarging your mind to develop ESP awareness. They state it doesn’t deny God and is meant to be used for helping others.

Such an alleged difference between so-called white versus black magic is one major distinction discussed in much of occult literature. White magic is supposed to be the use of magic for socially beneficent ends. Black magic is supposed to be the use of magic for malevolent ends. Most magicians basically view magic as a value-free “technology-of-the-supernatural” (or “supernormal”). They believe that their own motive really determines whether their use of magic is for good (white) or evil (black). Most contemporary witches stress that they perform only white magic.

What is the difference between white and black witchcraft?

Witchcraft focuses a great deal on ritualism — involving candles, magic circles and such like. But few witchcraft advocates today believe there is magic force in the ritual itself. Rather, they use props and a ritual as a means to focus what they feel are natural powers of the human mind.

The success of a spell is said to depend on the emotion one puts into it, as a way of getting at  the deep mind, contacting entities that are really forces dependent on the attentions.

Most witches perceive witchcraft as a folk tradition of magical beliefs. Many, if not most of them, further perceive it as an ancient, pre-Christian pagan religion of nature worship that the Christian churches in Europe sought to suppress in earlier centuries. They hold this concept because British anthropologist Margaret Murray proposed it in her 1921 book, The Witch Cult in Western Europe, which led directly to the modern witchcraft revival. This theory of a pan-European nature religion, however, cannot be supported by available evidence, and has been rejected by historians.

It should be noted that for witches, the word “pagan” does not suggest — as it does for others — images of unbridled orgies and grotesque idols reeking with the blood of sacrifice. Rather, it suggests the religion of a romantic, living and changing world which is continuous with human fancy and feeling and is oriented toward nature.

On the other hand, many popular, and false, ideas about “witchcraft” stem from the excesses of the sordid era of witch hunts (from the 12th century to the early part of the 18th) in religious history.

Renaissance Witchcraft

“Witchcraft” has meant different things to different people. In the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, the word took on a new and precise meaning. A representative definition was that of Martin Del Rio in 1599: Witchcraft is “an art which, by the power of a contract entered into with the Devil, some wonders are wrought which pass the common understanding of man.” People today often think of historical witchcraft (indeed, of the whole field of occultism) similarly as performed expressly in opposition to Christianity and in service to the devil.

This type of “witchcraft” was partly, though not entirely, a creation of the Church. For anyone opposing the established religion was most easily persecuted for demonism. The Church spawned the concept of witchcraft as a competing religion to “Christianity” and burned “witches” from about the 12th century on.

And rather than ending with the Protestant Reformation, some of the severest persecutions of “witches” occurred in England — strangely enough — under the Commonwealth, which in other ways represented the most advanced political, economic and philosophical thought of the seventeenth century.

Both to the people and the judicial authorities, spiritual and secular, for over two centuries, the concurrence of a disliked neighbor and a dead cow or sick child often looked like simple cause and effect. It was a superstitious age. And so a “witch” was burned, because it was believed that power to cause such harm could only have been acquired through a pact with the devil.

During this time “witchcraft” was defined as the performance of evil acts with the help of “the devil.” This inspired religious and civil authorities to do acts even more evil in the name of “God” — burning, hanging, beheading, disemboweling, breaking with the wheel, trussing, gouging out the eyes, cutting off the hand, flogging — all of which were many times inflicted on innocent people.

It is thought that between 1575 and 1700 about a million people were killed as witches, most of them women.

In the June 1970 American Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. Robert Anderson calls these witch hunts an “epidemic of mass psychopathology” stemming from the social breakdowns in the last period of European feudalism. Inquisitors were caught up in a caldron of complaints, lies, local quarrels, personal interests, and even self-accusations.

There was something pathological in the mentality of men like Heinrich Institoris and Jakob Sprenger who, in their book Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer Against Witches, 1489), laid down grisly methods for hunting out people and torturing them to death. They wrote, “All witchcraft comes from carnal lust which is in women insatiable … wherefore for the sake of fulfilling their lusts they consort even with the Devil.” (Malleus Maleficarum was the standard textbook of inquisitors for two hundred years.)

Armed with such beliefs, authorities were able to confirm their suspicions time and time again through confessions obtained under torture. “The curiosity of the judges [at witch trials],” wrote Henry C. Lea, “was insatiable to learn all the possible details as to sexual intercourse, and their industry in pushing the examinations was rewarded by an abundance of foul imaginations.” A combination of prurient inquisitors and hysterical young women — who had already sustained considerable abuse and who were about to be burned — produced an abundance of myth which purported to be documented accounts of witchcraft, but which was completely the product of erotic and neurotic imaginations.

How Many Witches?

The vast majority of witches today belong to no organized group and have obtained their knowledge from their readings and conversations with others initiated into covens and their secrets. The typical person of this class is a young high-school or college-age girl who, for a variety of reasons, self-designates herself as a “witch” to her peers. This status supposedly makes her attractive to her friends, but elicits fear in her enemies.

The organized cultists represent a rather small part of the mass market currently devouring the many marketable witchcraft items and books. Coupling the number of coven members with that of the solitary witches (many of whom are not really very serious about witchcraft) still leaves us with a relatively small number of witches in the United States … the popular interest of the general public toward this form of occultism is very superficial” (Marcello Truzzi, cited previously).

Biblical Revelation and Witchcraft

To evaluate the subject of witchcraft and magic properly, we should read the primary dictionary definitions of the following words carefully. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines them with meanings reasonably close to their biblical usage.

Witch — “a. wizard, sorcerer b. a woman practicing the black arts: sorceress c. one supposed to possess supernatural powers esp. by compact with the devil or familiar [spirits].”

Witchcraft — “a. an act or instance of employing sorcery esp. with malevolent intent: a magical rite or technique b. the exercise of supernatural powers: alleged intercourse with the devil or familiar [spirits].”

Magic — “a. the use of means (as ceremonies, charms, spells) that are believed to have supernatural power to cause a supernatural being to produce or prevent a particular result (as rain, death, healing) considered not obtainable by natural means and that also includes the arts of divination, incantation, sympathetic magic, and thaumaturgy: control of natural forces by the typically direct action of rites, objects, materials, or words considered supernaturally potent.”

Sorcery — “the use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits esp. for divining: divination of black magic: necromancy, witchcraft.”

One can easily perceive by reading these definitions that these terms are all closely related. While it plainly must be doubted that very many of the thousands burned or harmed in previous centuries for alleged practice of witchcraft, magic or sorcery were actually guilty, and while it may be similarly doubted that very many of today’s self-identified witches are in, or even mean to classify themselves in, that category, it is necessary to sternly warn those who are — and to warn other people against them. For the Bible frankly and firmly condemns these things en toto.

There is a blanket biblical condemnation in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 which gives us the wisdom of God to keep us truly worshipping Him and to protect us from possible harm from evil spirits. What God instructed ancient Israel is still applicable today:

When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits [demons], or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened [listened] unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered [allowed] thee so to do (Deut. 18:9-14).

The Bible specifically mentions that some of these practices carried the death penalty in ancient Israel. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live,” wrote Moses (Ex. 22:18).

Leviticus adds: “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death …” (20:27).

The Prophet Samuel indicted King Saul of Israel for his direct disobedience to God’s specific charges. Samuel said Saul’s rebellion was “as the SIN of witchcraft” (I Sam. 15:23).

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians at Galatia: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft [magic, Moffatt version; sorcery, Amplified Bible], hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21).

Practicing witchcraft and related “arts” ultimately denies its participants the Kingdom of God. God simply has not changed His standard today.

Why does God so condemn the occult and its practices? Simply because it hurts individuals and damages society in the most destructive possible manner — by turning human beings away from their Creator and His laws.

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