Many of us in the magickal community have been exposed to a whole mess of New Age ideas, practices, and products. To take that a step further, many of us have also shared space with those folks. My earliest “Pagan events” were Psychic Fairs that catered to New Agers, along with Witches and Pagans. Heck, I remember back in the day when the Wicca books were housed in the “New Age” section at most bookstores. The New Age Community has never quite embraced Modern Paganism, and we’ve never quite embraced them, but we have shared some ideas, books, and techniques.
If you’ve ever been to a New Age gathering or even a store that is more “Metaphysical Emporium” than “Witch Shop” you’ve probably come across oracle decks and books written and/or created by Doreen Virtue. Back in August of 2017 Virtue very publicly renounced her previous “New Age” teachings and announced her conversion to a rather loud and intolerant strain of Christianity. I personally don’t give a shit what Doreen Virtue believes, and her ideas have no influence on how I practice Witchcraft. To be honest, I’ve always sneered at her products due to the aggressive level of marketing that has come with them, along with the price tag.
But when Virtue published a list of “An A-Z List of New Age Practices to Avoid, and Why” I couldn’t help but take the bait. I don’t care what anyone believes as long as they aren’t violating personal boundaries and bank accounts, but when they come after my beliefs and those of my friends . . . . well that’s a completely different story.
Virtue’s list of New Age practices that open up a doorway for “demons and the devil” is rather standard fare, but worth sharing because it’s ridiculously funny and reflects a world-view in which a Supreme Omnipotent Deity (the “God” of Virtue’s Christian faith) is seemingly powerless in the face of how furniture is arranged (feng shui), unicorns, and certain geo-metric shapes. I’ve never claimed that my gods are all powerful, but they don’t seem to care how I place the couch in my living room. (Virtue’s complete list is below, ones in bold are some of my favorites.)
Affirmations without God
Deities and Divinities
Flower of Life
Law of Attraction
Meditating Without God
You were expecting Wicca and Witchcraft to be on the list, right? Since those practices work, they need to vilified, and since they are growing in popularity, it’s even more necessary to bad-mouth them. How can Virtue or Evangelical Christians make money if people aren’t converting to their belief system? Some of the other things on Virtue’s list are just hilarious and I can’t resist the opportunity to poke a little fun at them.
Harry Potter – These seemingly innocent novels introduce children and adults to witchcraft, and make it sound harmless and inviting. Whether the author intended it or not, reading or watching Harry Potter is advocating of a practice that the Bible says is detestable to God (Deuteronomy 18:10).
There is no better advertisement for Witchcraft than the Harry Potter novels, and today our Craft looks a lot like what Harry practices. In my own house the cry of “Expelliarmus” can be heard every time our coven meets and someone goes for the last cupcake or sip of cider during cakes and ale and I want it. I just point my wand and knock the cupcake right out of their hand, and swoop in to grab it for myself. A god whose followers are fearful of people using their imagination is weak indeed.
Peace Signs – A peace sign is an upside-down and broken cross, symbolizing the rebellion against Christianity. Yet, without Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross for us, we can never find true peace. The underlying meaning of the circle with the downward pointing fork, “the total death of man,” certainly is contrary to what the peace movement wanted.
A peace sign is actually just the letters N and D as they appear in semaphore, a form of flag communication. The sign was created in the 1950’s as a symbol for Nuclear Disarmament (hence the N and the D). You think it would be something the Prince of Peace would be interested in! The symbol was later adopted by peace protesters and those fighting apartheid in South Africa. Yeesh.
Sage – Sagebrush dried and gathered into bundles, which are lit on fire for the purpose of “smudging” or covering places, people, and items with sage smoke as an act of exorcism and “space clearing.” Instead of turning to plants, we should go directly to Jesus of Nazareth as the only authority for casting away demons and unclean spirits.
Meditating without God – The Bible is filled with verses that command us to meditate upon God’s scripture in the Bible. Usually that means that you read a passage from the Bible, and then close your eyes and contemplate what you just read. In contrast, New Age meditation involves the attempt to “empty“ your mind. An empty mind is a dangerous place that demons attempt to infiltrate. This leaves you vulnerable to demons giving you false messages. With Christian meditation, you focus on scripture and/or Jesus.
How empty must one’s mind be before demons can infiltrate it? How weak willed are the people who believe this type of nonsense? Though, I’ll admit, the election of Donald Trump makes a bit more sense to me if this is what actually happened.
Paganism – In spite of common assumptions, most pagan worshippers claim they don’t believe in Satan. However, there’s no question that Satan is their chief source of influence and control. Though they will deny it, they deify him in their worldly and sensual practices. That Satan is alive and well is powerfully evidenced in these pagan practices. This was not only clear in the times of the first-century church, but also in today’s postmodern world. To the faithful believers who know the Lord, pagan worship is what it appears to be—the power and deceit of the prince of this world, Satan (1 John 5:19), who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). As such, paganism should be avoided.
I’ll admit that this is low hanging fruit, but I can’t help it. I want one example in the Modern era of self-identifying Pagans systematically abusing rescue animals or bilking hard working people out of thousands of dollars. Whoops, in that last part I might just be describing Virtue herself, at least according to some of her former followers.
Today’s Pagans are generally nice folks, and I’ll never understand why Satan would waste so much time and energy dressing up as Pan just to visit my circle. You’d think he have something better to do, right? And Paganism is impossible to avoid, it’s sewn into the very fabric of the modern world. It’s in our holidays (Christmas!), sciences, and philosophy. The Western World barely functions without Paganism, see “the Middle Ages.”
Drumming Circles – New age borrows from many cultures, without understanding the underlying meanings and implications. A drumming circle ceremony involving several people beating drums, usually outside during a new moon or full moon. The rhythmic drum beats result in a trance state, usually accompanied by prayers said to the moon. Worshiping the moon or other creations is forbidden and spiritually dangerous. We should direct all of our prayers to God, and avoid going into trances which could make us susceptible to demonic intrusion.
Few activities are more harmful and dangerous than drum circles. From the smell of patchouli to the swirling rhythms, it’s obvious that Satan is on the prowl in such settings. As dancers move around the fire their dancing manifests bodily odors, perspiration, and periodically joyful cries, all of which act like a beacon to the Prince of Darkness!
Channeled Books – When an author claims to receive profound new truths from a spirit, beware! This is a sign of demonically transmitted lies. Some authors claim to be channeling Jesus, and they may sprinkle Bible verses in their channeling and label it Christian. But any message that tries to add to the Bible, or change the gospel, is demonic and should be avoided.
I have to assume that this would also include much of the Bible because that was obviously channeled right? How else does Genesis or the Book of Revelation get written if “God” isn’t channeling that information to whoever wrote it down? The mind boggles.
Aliens – The fascination with other lifeforms can open you to demons pretending to be aliens, and can also distract you from your godly purpose.
I always wondered just why my brother used to act weird after watching the X-Files. For several years I suffered under the delusion that it was probably from smoking weed, but now I know the truth, ALIENS! Damn you Fox Mulder!
Statues – God forbids the use of images for worship (Exodus 20:4–5). Worshipping, venerating, lighting candles to, or praying to a statue is sinful. The original Ten Commandments expressly commands us to not have any graven images. God is transcendent; that is, He is “other than” His Creation. This means any image we might make would be an inadequate portrayal. The divine cannot be properly represented with the human imagination.
Since every church I’ve ever been in has at least a giant cross in it somewhere, and often a few candles lit somewhere, I’m starting to wonder where Christians like Virtue go to worship. Using an ocean or a tree as a focus for prayer comes dangerously close to pantheism, which we also know is another gateway for bringing demons into one’s life. Perhaps the best place to worship is an empty room?
Instead of vilifying the beliefs of others, I wish people like Virtue spent a little more time trying to do good in the world instead of casting judgements. There is nothing to be gained from claiming that working with crystals will lead to one being possessed by demons, unless of course one is looking to pad their own bank account. I find these type of lists insulting and a complete lack of respect for the beliefs and choices of others. People like Virtue most certainly know better.