Welcome back to our series, Behind the Art. In this series, we take a novel, song, album, painting, play, comedy routine, poem, or other art work and explore the process and/or research that went into creating it.
My first novel, Lifting the Shadows, details a woman’s involvement in Wicca or modern witchcraft. Writing about the process or discussing it typically brings up a few questions…
Why are you speaking out against a religion? I thought you were liberal.
I’m a Democratic Socialist. I believe in ending abortion through increasing social programs that improve the lives of those most likely to get an abortion and funding adoption programs, not by outlawing it. I’m for gun control, protecting the rights of gay and transgender people, and universal healthcare. I side with the conservatives on Israel, and I reluctantly accept that the death penalty is all we can do in some cases, but on most issues I am indeed pretty far to the left.
Legally, I am still liberal when it comes to religion. I do not advocate making the practice of Wicca or any other religion illegal, and I don’t think it’s okay to withhold work promotions or raises or harass or bully anyone because of the religion they practice.
I just know from both personal experience and research that Wicca and other occult practices are dangerous.
Isn’t being against a religion like being racist or homophobic or transphobic?
Your race, orientation, and true gender are parts of you from the time you are created. God made you that way. The things you decide to study, the practices you decide to adopt, and who you choose to associate with and follow are choices you make out of your own free will.
My fellow liberals often like to claim they embrace and accept all religious paths. No, you don’t. You embrace and accept all religious paths that sound pleasant to you on the surface. White nationalists have their own religion. People who shoot abortion providers have their own religion. The Westboro Baptist Church, famous for claiming God hates gay people, is a religion. Would you embrace and accept those?
But transphobia, homophobia, and violence in the name of religion are clearly hateful and against the will of a loving God. What’s so awful about lighting candles and making up your own rituals?
It isn’t the candles and the rituals that are the problem. Everybody who participates in any form of organized worship, even if you simply attend a non-denominational church, listen to the sermon, and leave, participates in some form of man made ritual. There’s nothing in the Bible that says you have to stand up to eat the bread and drink from the cup in memory of Jesus. The Bible never says that you have to sing first, then pray, then listen to a sermon.
The main problem with Wicca is that it places the individual practitioner at the center of the universe. When you practice Wicca, you decide that it is your will that is to be done, not the will of God.
That said, I strongly warn against adopting any Wiccan practices for prayer. The candles and the glitter and the scented oils are all very pretty, and the self-designed rituals might indeed make prayer time fun, but it tends to become a bit of a slippery slope. This month you just liked their idea of blue glittered candles meaning sleep, so you burned one while you prayed for sleep. A few weeks from now, maybe their full ritual isn’t so bad as long as you talk to God. But you did put a lot of effort into that ritual….so you really should get what you want…..
I have practiced Wicca, and I never had any problems. I cast a spell for learning, and I did great in school. I cast a spell for love, and met my spouse. Nothing bad ever happened to me. Why do you behave as though it doesn’t work, when I know for a fact it does?
The amount of narcissism it takes to declare your own will the force that should guide the universe cannot fail to attract the enemy. There are “problems.” You just haven’t noticed them yet. Look back over your Wiccan books and materials. Notice that there are a lot of rituals designed to fight off “negative energy” and other euphemisms for the devil Wiccans pretend does not exist. These rituals are presented as though they might be needed on a regular basis. If what you do draws nothing “negative” as people like to say, then why do you feel the need to prepare to fight it?
Even if your spells seem to be “working,” that doesn’t mean it’s safe to do them, or that they draw nothing evil to you. Getting involved with drug dealers “works” to bring you money. Joining a gang “works” to gain a sense of family. Starting a fight and injuring someone on their way to interview for the job you want “works” to eliminate the competition. That doesn’t mean any of those things are in any way safe or right to do.
You just don’t know what Wicca is. Why don’t you spend some time learning about it?
Is twenty years enough time? I picked up my first Wicca book in college in 1996 and cast my first spell a few weeks later. I told Jesus I didn’t want to do this anymore, that I felt like a slave to it, and wanted to serve Him and accept Him as my Lord and Savior in late September of 2016.
Is “Brenda” in Lifting the Shadows you? Is this what happened to you?
None of my characters in any of my novels are supposed to be anybody real, with the exception of the pets, a few people who are unnamed and encountered casually by the main characters, and the character of Jennie in Mostly on the Internet (a tribute to my sister, of blessed memory: 1975-1995). Brenda is not me.
I create my characters, themes, and plots by blending bits of things that happen to me or that I observe happening to others, pieces of things I read, chunks of things I think of when I free write or take notes, and other random observations. Brenda did indeed get involved in Wicca and then get saved just like me. She looks like somebody I saw on a BBW fashion page. Her ex husband emerged from some free writing I did.
Keep reading this page for future articles about Wicca and other new age practices, scattered among the many other topics covered. . To purchase a copy of Lifting the Shadows, or any of my novels, visit “Buy a Novel” above. Today and tomorrow, help yourself to a free e-book copy.