This week I’ve found myself riding the wild and irrational conversation-coaster with Evangelicals. The Youtube video with EC Street Preacher outside of my witchcraft shop created quite the stir, and these “Christians” are now binding my demons for me. How very benevolent of them!
Thanks, Mary. Binding demons is a very witchy thing to do. You know that, right?
These on-line comments sparked many conversations with my pagan customers around the shop, too. How was I able to stay so patient with them? Why was I so nice? Several folks said they were “taking notes” on how to respond when this situation inevitably creeps up for them. I’m sorry to say I’ve had lots of experience in this area.
In my article, Broom Closets and Bible Belts: 10 tips for Your Coming Out Party, I offered these thoughts about approaching these wounded folks with compassion:
5. Change your perspective from combatant to healer
One of the jobs of the Witch is be a healer, yes? Well, we need to become “field medics” for our evangelical neighbors. We understand that the Abrahamic paradigm is a battlefield where a war is raging between their God and his adversary they’ve named Satan. Its a good vs. evil paradigm, and in their mythology its a nightmare trying to decide which character is good and which one is evil. The Bible is basically a horror story from beginning to end. The whole system is driven by the fear of being cast out from the supposed love and mercy of their “angry and jealous” god.
This god would damn his own creations because of their inherent depravity through original sin, the weakness of the flesh that they are supposed to deny, and then torture them for eternity in the fires of hell unless they jump the hoops, fit the mold, and toe the line, just so. But they can’t even decide among themselves how to do that. So instead, they spend centuries trying to kill each other. Terrifying!
Fear of a lack of god’s love binds them like slaves. I have nothing but compassion for anyone still suffering on this battlefield, and they are bleeding out all over America. Bless their hearts. MEDIC!
To quote my favorite Christian Minister: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mental Health Professionals are now recognizing a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder called Religious Trauma Syndrome, that is caused by the abuses of these fear-bound cults. Of course these wounded folks are acting badly towards us! If they love you, of course they are concerned for your eternal soul, but it does no more good to harbor anger towards them than it does good to blame a veteran with PTSD.
Hold the space with that thought for a moment. Then, send the power of truly unconditional Divine Love into their wounds, offer them healing, compassion and support, just as much as you would a soldier returning from war.
Mind you, this is just my perspective, but I see this particular variety of evangelical Christian as having been wounded deeply…with a subversive form of brain-washing. Those wounds fester under this repressive, unnatural way to live. THIS is the root of “evil.” They don’t know any other way. But you do…and isn’t that a blessing you should share?
My paganism is a honeymoon paradigm. It is a love story, of Goddess loving God, and through their union the Universe is born. We know that all of us, including our most meddlesome of proselytizing family members, are sacred beings worthy of dignity and respect. We know that all of humanity are inherently Divine and blessed in our natures, just like Jesus was trying to tell them so very long ago…
Conversations with Evangelicals
So, this eventful week, I was reminded of this comment thread I had last year on my article about the funniest conversation I ever had with my Evangelical Mother. In The “Rapture” Clause, I tell the story of how she designated me–her black-sheep, heretical, prodigal daughter–to be the executrix of her Last Will and Testament should Jesus return and all the Christians vanish, because everyone else she knows would be gone. It was a pivotal and hilarious moment between us.
But not everyone who read that story thought it was funny. Thus, this conversation with an Evangelical reader, which I’ve clarified a bit for this posting. Hopefully, it will come in handy some dark day when the fundies come to call on you.
Witch, You aren’t on fire yet, But you will be… XXOO, Jerri
Jerri the Evangelical: Forget religion and accept that you’re a sinner who needs redemption from a forgiving Father who sent his only begotten Son to pay that price for you. Witch, you aren’t on fire yet, but you will be for eternity if you don’t get on your knees and thank God for his pre determined plan of redemption for the whole world whether they choose to believe or not. Yehsua finished it at the cross. It is through his death burial and resurrection plus NOTHING that you are able to spend eternity with our Creator, God Almighty. If Mom is wrong you have nothing to lose… but what if she is right? Then you have everything to lose forever! Your Mom can’t come back for you, but you still have a chance to just BELIEVE with your heart and mind and you can go to her. Whether via the undertaker or the uppertaker, it doesn’t really matter because as a believer once your soul is absent from the body you are present with the Lord. Throw out religion people but don’t throw out The Creator God, the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Heron Michelle: It is clear that you are very passionate about your beliefs, as was my mother. You might be better served by the posts on the Patheos Evangelical Channel, as they pertain to the “The Creator God, the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” I serve different gods, with different thealogies. Though I do wish for you the peace spoken of by Yeshua that is possible right here on Earth. Happy Halloween.Jerri: Thanks for the info but no one in this world “might be better served”. Satan has corrupted the entire universe blinding beautiful people like yourself. Obviously you don’t have to answer but I would like to know what gods do you serve that they are so “cool” with you serving so many other gods? And, how do you chose which God to serve when their theologies don’t line up? Thanks for your time.
Heron Michelle: You are welcome, Jerri. To answer your question: Modern Witchcraft, which is the tradition of neo-paganism that I practice, is an orthopraxy, meaning “right action,” as opposed to the orthodoxy, meaning “right belief,” that you are used to. So we have a set of techniques we employ that help open us to our Divinity, with the hope that personal understanding will develop privately. No one dictates our beliefs, nor would we attempt to dictate the beliefs of others. Our experiences with Spirit are a direct connection.
Witchcraft can also be polytheistic–meaning the worship of many gods–or pantheist, panentheist or dualist, animist, or even humanist, depending on the way in which Spirit expresses itself to the individual; all viewpoints are equally valid to me. For those who are polytheistic, those gods may be related through a cultural pantheon, so would naturally have consistent thealogy/theology and be “cool” with each other, as they are part of the same families. Though, it is by no means a requirement that one’s Gods be from the same pantheon, they are individuals with whom we communicate and get to know – If you aren’t sure what they like, just ask and they’ll let you know. More importantly, we value personal sovereignty above all else, so we can choose NOT to associate with jerks who make jealous or vengeful demands.
All of this is entirely unrelated to the Abrahamic, monotheistic paradigm you are referencing. While I accept that your worship of Yahweh/Satan/Yeshua is the valid cultural heritage of the descendants of Abraham, most folks on this Earth are NOT descendants of Abraham. The rest of us have that option among many. Christianity is a wholly separate religion from paganism, so your rules have no bearing on us. Your problems are not our problems. Your fear-based system, your “Satan,” is your creation and now your business. I give that fear no place in my life; I serve the powers of Divine Love. That is a choice that you can make, too.
Since you asked so nicely, I will answer that I am a priestess dedicated to the Goddesses of Love, Grace and Beauty, known by many cultural faces, but the Greek Aphrodite and Roman Venus are how I know Her. I also serve the God Hermes/Mercury. However, I see that all possibilities within Divinity are equally possible, and should others show up and have need of my service, I’d consider it.
The only taboo, the only “sin” I recognize, is the sin of trying to proselytize your own religion as an imposition on other people. I view any attempt to convert others, and subvert their spiritual expression with fear-tactics and condemnation, as a form of spiritual violence. Please do not bring further violence onto my blog. My site is here for the benefit of other witches and pagans. That is why I direct you to your own, evangelical channel, where I do hope that those writers can serve your specific needs. I promise I will never interfere with my own opinions on their posts.
However, should you genuinely be curious about what brought me from a Southern Baptist childhood raised by a parent with very similar opinions as your own, to serve Aphrodite as a witch, this link tells that story. Salvation of a Southern Witch.
Blessings of Divine Love to you. ~Heron
(Jerri never responded further.)
For all my recovering witches out there still unpacking the baggage from these fear-mongering cults, I know it isn’t easy. I took me the better part of ten years after leaving all that behind to come to terms with my spiritual wounds, and forgive this character they call Jesus for the damage inflicted upon the world in his name. Then it took another fifteen years of active witchcraft to get to this confident place within myself. I am proud to say that I’m only mildly amused that these misguided fools now accuse me of being possessed by demons (1).
That’s right, Dennis. Not much repenting going on here. Too busy building up the Sovereignty of the Goddess for any of that nonsense.
The Hardest Part…
The hardest part of embracing my Witchery long ago, was first getting right with Jesus. Another tip from Broom Closets and Bible Belts:
9. Get right with Jesus
Finally, I would offer this piece of advice from the other side of the trenches. Until you come to terms with the religion of your childhood, you can’t fully evolve into your next big adventure. Those shadows will always be nipping at your heels. I’m sure you have wounds, attend to their healing. Release all that does not serve your highest good, including any resentment towards the system or people that created them. You know what they say?
“Hatred is like poisoning yourself and waiting for your enemy to die?”
Don’t be that guy; Don’t poison the Witch, either.
Get to know the Jesus mythology from an academic bible, like the Oxford Annotated Bible. Learn the history of how the Christian church began, and changed over time.
Jesus is fabled to have been a healer, a seer, a walker between the worlds, clergy, wise one and a co-creator of reality on speaking terms with a Deity.
He was a necromancer, raising Lazarus from the dead. He spent long periods of time alone in nature, where he heard the voice of god. He was a feisty revolutionary who respected women, challenged the status quo, and cracked a few heads when necessary.
He was awakened to his inherent divinity and his message was that we were all “children of god” who should love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
All the same things can be said for the Witches I know. Once you can forgive this mythological character, and understand the stories in an objective way, common ground is not too hard to find, if you try.
Fun Fact: “Demons” get really cranky when you speak to them about the love of Jesus, or Divine Love of any source. That is how you know they are a baneful spirit; you send them Divine Love, and if they freak out, its a bad sign. IT BURNS THEM, MY PRECIOUS!
Good luck out there on the Abrahamic Battlefields. Its a shit show out there and we need all the witches we can get!
(1) For what its worth, I’m 99% positive I am not, in fact, possessed by Demons. However, should any of my priest/ess friends who know about such things start to think so, by all means, bring on the exorcism. I’ll thank you later.