Gallery D

Stoning The Magic

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Contemporary Persecution Of Witches

By James Donahue

Witches exist. They live among us and they are an interesting if not vital part of our society. But there is a religious element that does not believe this and is driven to seek out witches and, if necessary, murder them.

Columnist Mitch Horowitz, in a recent article in the New York Times, noted that the old hunt for witches of the 1690s has returned with an even more violent flare. It now has gone global and it has gotten deadly. Witch hunts are common now in Africa and the Middle East, where people are driven more by religious ferver than a rounded education. Women who heal, or who practice any kind of enchantment in their community, are the usual targets for being stoned or burned alive because they are accused of being witches.

As education levels drop in the United States, and as radical religious sects spring up around us, there is a fear that witch hunts may soon return to our own land.

The attack against people that possess these special talents is ancient. The Bible is filled with words of condemnation, supposedly delivered by God to the "holy" men who penned the books, especially found in the Old Testament.

Among the most damning are the verses in Deuteronomy 18 that demand: "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch."

Deuteronomy also marks as evil: "a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord."

The most dangerous verse in the Bible is perhaps Exodus 22:18 that reads: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."

And Leviticus 20:27 commands: "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them."

Christian apologists argue that all of the magical things we do, including horoscopes, Ouija boards, tarot readings and speaking to the dead are all forms of witchcraft. And when we do these things, they argue, we are in rebellion against God, which is a sin in the eyes of a Christian.

But how solid is this argument?

It is interesting to note that Old Testament scholars believe those ancients Books of the Law were probably written by Moses, who claimed that they were given to him on a mountain by God. Yet it was Moses who performed some pretty amazing acts of magic. Among his marvelous acts: he parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could escape from Egypt, struck a rock with his staff and produced water in the desert, and posted a bronze image of a serpent on a pole so the people, who were being attacked by poisonous snakes only needed to look upon it to live.

The Bible story give all the credit for performing these magical acts to God. Yet to the observer in the crowd, unable to see, hear or physically connect with that invisible grandfather character in the sky, Moses was obviously performing some amazing acts of wizardry and divination.

The Old Testament stories about Moses are probably more mythological than they are historical record. Yet the books of law that emerged from that ancient text have affected the way we live for thousands of years. And they have suppressed many people born with natural gifts that have existed among us.

Every person willing to open their mind to the wonders of the amazing existence we share may have the ability to "sense" when things are awry. We have all heard the stories about people who gave up their seats on a doomed aircraft before it crashed, or refused to sail on the Titanic because of a "bad feeling."

My late wife, who could amazingly communicate with the dead and who received warnings about the future from entities like The Abba Father, also could divine for water with amazing accuracy. Was she a witch? Did she deserve a public stoning in the town square because of her abilities?

How many other people live among us with similar abilities? We never hear about them because of the constant Christian/Jewish generated belief that all people with such gifts are an abomination to God and should be put to death.

If this is so, then few among us deserve to live. For we all have had that strange sense of forboding just moments before some terrible event befalls our lives. Many of us can successfully divine water under our feet using willow sticks or even coat hangers. And we have had dreams that seemed like warnings and caused us to turn our lives in a different direction.

Contemporary Jewish families tend to not only be believers in magic and spells, but they conduct rituals designed to cleanse their homes of bad spirits and demonic powers. Is this not a form of witchcraft?

Some Christian sects practice instant healing, snake handling and speaking in tongues. Are these not magical acts?

Then there was the military's own experiments in remote viewing some years ago that made it possible for some people to accurately "see" things beyond their scope of vision, "see" past events and even predict future events. Were the remote viewers practicing evil acts of magic?

Does this "sixth sense" make evil necromancers of us or is it a natural ability . . . an animal instinct . . . that gives us an edge on our very survival?