Back in 2000, maybe early 2001, there was a big prayer warrior event aimed at Ephesus. They were praying against the Queen of Heaven, which to them represented Ashtoreth, the Whore of Babylon. As a young virginal devotee of Artemis, I saw it as a direct attack on Artemis of Ephesus. It wrenched my heart then, and makes me tear up remembering it.
This isn’t a new phenomenon but an organized and concerted effort:
Queen of Heaven: Perhaps the most recent development has been Wagner’s emphasis on confronting the Queen of Heaven. Originally manifesting and receiving worship as Diana (or Artemis) or Ephesus, he advocates that the Queen of Heaven has taken on many forms in history around the world: she is known in Japan as the Sun Goddess, in Mexico as the Virgin of Guadalupe, in Nepal as Sagarmatha and in Calcutta as Cali. One of her current disguises is that of the Virgin Mary as venerated by Roman Cathoics.
I don’t like to think about it. I have no interest in spiritual warfare and wouldn’t bother expending such energy against Gods I dislike. I’m not terribly fond of Yahweh but I kinda like Jesus. He’s an interesting hippie rabbi who said laudable things such as:
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” — Luke 6:45
I try to forget that such hateful Christians exist. I am proud to count kind, honorable and quite Christ-like Christians among my friends. Yet when religion is twisted by hate and married to politics, we all have to pay attention. Over at The Wild Hunt, Jason brings these maleficent doings to light:
I’ve written at some length about the upcoming prayer rally “The Response” and its problematic organizers and endorsers, and I have also devoted quite a bit of time to the New Apostolic Reformation, a neo-Pentecostal Christian movement that regularly engages in spiritual warfare tactics, displays a disturbing anti-Pagan emphasis, and has intertwined itself with Perry and his prayer event. While I use the terminology “spiritual warfare” quite often, I think that it’s hard to envision what this practice is like among the Christians who engage in it. I’ve mentioned that it is, in essence, malefic magic, but that’s often a difficult picture to square with the usual harmless image of devout Christians with heads bowed and hands clasped. But an upcoming New Apostolic Reformation-led event, brought to my attention by fellow Pagan blogger Hecate, does an very good job of illustrating how “spiritual warfare” works in their context.
It’s easy when you read spiritual warrior literature to see exactly how prayer is like magic. Both involve working with energy. The primary difference is that magicians work with a code of ethics (even when it’s a code we don’t agree with) and prayer warriors don’t. There is no prohibition against “praying against” and maleficent prayers directed at people, organizations, cities and Gods are kosher. It’s the old trick of shoving the blame onto Yahweh and calling it his will, for if he is a just, merciful and true God then he surely filters the prayers. I think anyone who has given the Old Testament even a cursory glance is aware that Yahweh is not a God of peace, cooperation or encouraging of diversity.
Spiritual warfare is a moral and ethical cop-out. It’s the spiritual equivalent of the Fair Game doctrine. Dividing the world into black and white, and then declaring the wrong side of that divide open to an organized, ongoing negative energetic assault is not what I think Jesus meant when he said:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” — John 13:34-35
As a Wiccan I am willingly bound against willfully harming another. For me to pray against someone is inherently against my religious beliefs. At best, I can send negative energy sent my way back to the person who sent it, but to work against someone is unacceptable and will have real and serious repercussions for me. Hatred does it’s best work on those who hate, not those that are hated.
Hatred joined to prayer is just as dangerous and contemptible as “dark magic” because in it’s essence it’s the same thing. Giving your malefic intent a thin veneer of religion and the name of a God you perceive as just and merciful does not excuse your actions.
“There is no essential difference between sticking pins into a wax image of an enemy and burning candles in front of a wax image of the Virgin. You may think that both these practices are gross superstition, but you can hardly think that one is real and potent and deny reality and potency to the other.” — Dion Fortune
Labels do not define our morality. They do not evaluate our character. It is not calling yourself a Pagan, Christian, Witch, Evangelical, Thelemite, Catholic or Wiccan that identifies you as a good person, it’s what you do. If what you do is declare spiritual warfare against others, if you devote your time and energy to harm, destroy and confound others, then you are not a good person. You soul is blackened and corrupt.
I invite Pagans to join me in a day of joy, and to join me in expressing solidarity with people across the country who believe in religious freedom. I will be creating an altar to Columbia, that bright muse of our Founding Fathers, and give her offerings and prayers for the protection of unity and liberty in this great country.
I invite Christians to stand up against spiritual warfare. Publicly state that you worship a Prince of Peace who commands us to love one another, and that hate and malefic intent in your God’s name is immoral.
Such a dark website for 40 Days of Light Over DC. I’ll be spending some time this week working with other Pagans to create an interfaith project devoted to more positive ends. Stay tuned for further information.