Just up the road in Asheville it seems the Episcopalians are welcoming witches onto their property to celebrate the Spring equinox together. The original news story is here and Midwest Conservative Journal waxes eloquent here.
As it happens Asheville witch Byron Ballard is cousin to a very good friend of ours who lives here in Greenville. What a small world it is! I hasten to add that our friend is a very good Catholic. No bedknobs and broomsticks or wicked old Wicca here, I can assure you.
Of course it is rather easy to poke fun at aging ladies in flowing robes and dangly earrings lighting candles and dancing around in a circle to celebrate the flowering of mother earth, and the Episcopal Church is an easy target for such ridicule, but we ought to stop chortling for a moment and realize that the witchy folks are very serious about their witchcraft, and while ridicule is one response we should remember that any sort of dabbling in the occult opens one to demonic infestation. All the literature on the deliverance ministry affirms that the easiest way to pick up a nasty spirit is through intentional occult activity.
This being the case, what can we say about the fact that a once Christian denomination–the Episcopal Church–and an Episcopal cathedral no less– is welcoming a pagan group of witches onto their property? We might be dismayed, but why should we be surprised?
When I was an Anglican priest fifteen years ago the feminists were already inserting prayers and canticles and other ‘alternative worship material’ which addressed God as ‘Mother’ and offered alternative liturgies to ‘Mother Wisdom–She by whom all things were created” etc. etc. Even then the feminists in the Church of England were saying, “Christianity is irreformably patriarchal. Nothing but a complete overhaul of the Judeo Christian religion from within will cleanse the patriarchal stain.” Fifteen years ago in the seemingly staid Church of England they were pushing to rid the liturgy of any reference to God the Father and change the language to affirm the Mother Goddess. The Cathedral in Asheville and the goings on there are, after all, not much different than what we get from lesbian Bishop-to-be Mary Glasspool and presiding bishop Schori in any case.
Does my link of witchcraft to Anglicanism displease conventional Anglicans? Can they deny that feminism and mother goddess worship is absent from their new liturgies and prayerbooks? No, because it is there. They can’t deny it, but will simply say, “But it’s not witchcraft! and besides, it’s only an alternative. You don’t have to use it!” It may not be witchcraft as such, but it is the same theology as the pagans–it’s just been slipped into a Christian setting using Christian sounding language. Or they may say, “They’re only meeting in the church hall. It’s not like they’re meeting in the cathedral proper!” Ever heard of the thin edge of the wedge?
So why be surprised when the same ladies take the short hop to fully fledged pagan Goddess worship? Fifteen years ago those of us who were opposed to women’s ordination said, “This is pagan and will lead to witchcraft in the church.” Hate to say I told you so…