Don Lewis participates in a Wiccan ritual in the temple at the Witch School Oct. 25, 2006, in Hoopeston, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
“Evil is not concerned about your freedom. It wants control.”
Through celebrity glitz and shouts of female empowerment, witchcraft has become chic. According to Pew Research, witches now outnumber Presbyterians. The brand image these days is “cool,” so no one with stringy hair or nose warts need apply.
Faithful Catholics would choose words other than “cool” to describe Wicca. “Demonic” would be more accurate. We understand that evil lies beneath the veneer of female empowerment and chumminess with the universe.
The Los Angeles Times recently did a big feature on the “Working Witches of LA,” giving it over 2,200 words. That’s first-class treatment in our short-attention-span-world. A local TV talk show host followed up on the article and gushed on air with a Southern California witch, “This is my favorite story of the week!”
“I feel like the world needs witches right now at a time when people are losing faith in our institutions,” said the show’s guest. “People are looking for something to believe in.” Sadly, the host did not mention Jesus Christ as something — or someone — to believe in.
There are apparently thriving covens in Los Angeles where working witches earn a comfortable living. They work as counselors, spiritual life coaches, astrologists, herbalists, tarot card readers, Reiki masters and oracles, often casting spells (love spells are popular) and communing with spirit guides.
The witch-guest claimed they create sacred spaces. And all for $150 to $200 an hour. (My sacred space is in a Catholic Church before the Blessed Sacrament or in a quiet place praying to God. It’s free.)
One woman, who calls herself “The Oracle,” has been a professional witch for eight years. She performs “energetic healings” and “intuitive empowerment sessions” and writes books and newsletters on topics such as how to break a curse using the ”disruptive energy of a lunar eclipse.”
Today’s working witches primarily see themselves as healers. We see things quite differently. Jesus Christ is the true healer and his sacraments bring real healing. Witchcraft taps into the power of the devil, who will not leave of his own accord once he is invited in. Those “healers” are now the ones in need of healing.
Becoming More Visible
The recent rise of witchcraft seems to have coincided with an increase of angry, anti-institutional sentiment in the culture. There are even some people claiming to be Christian witches despite the fact that they cannot be both. More than a dozen Bible passages warn against it.
Witches have taken to social media where some on Instagram have collected hundreds of thousands of followers. They used social media to widely publicize their attempt to bind President Trump and to get people to cast spells on Supreme Court Nominee Bret Kavanaugh.
In a previous interview, exorcist Father Vincent Lampert explained, “Anyone who would dare say they want to challenge that God is in charge is using the power of evil as their own. They should realize that we can’t use the devil; the devil uses us. People can’t control it and the devil ends up using them for his own purposes.”
Spells, according to Father Lampert, have an effect only on people who are spiritually weak. If we are anchored in God, he said, Scripture tells us we have nothing to fear: “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Throughout history, the malevolence of witchcraft has been condemned in Scripture, hunted in Europe and unwelcome in the New World. And yet, it has crept into the culture. Some witches actually identify as Catholics despite the Church’s dire warnings against it.
In UnGodly Rage: The Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism Donna Steichen reported that Wicca has even sneaked into some Catholic universities and convents disguised as “women’s spirituality. ”She provided extensive documentation, including names and eyewitness accounts of events and rituals clearly employing witchcraft.
According to her, most current practitioners insist that Wicca is a benign cult based on nature, yet it calls on nature and goddesses as real powers. The Catholic Church has always condemned occultism as dangerous and warned of the spiritual and psychological risks in seeking mystical experience apart from God.
An Exorcist’s Warning
“You are becoming indebted by calling on power not from God and establishing a relationship with that power,” according to another exorcist I spoke with previously. “If you ask a favor, these spirits don’t want to help you in the long run. If you think they do, you are fooling yourself.”
According to him, the idea that we can cast spells is the devil’s way of being seductive and drawing people into relationships with him. “Once these demonic powers are in a relationship with you, you have to go through a great level of spiritual battle to be free. They are not going to let you go,” he said.
Like a stalker, the devil doesn’t want people to walk away from him. “Evil is not concerned about your freedom. It wants control,” he said. “It is God who wants you to have true freedom.”