POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Neo Paganism and Witchcraft

Secret Spells Barbie

In researching some things for an upcoming two part series I am teaching on the Da Vinci Code franchise, I have been reading and listening a bit on about the status of paganism, goddess worship and witchcraft in America today.  

Many have noticed the witch offerings on the rise in pop culture.  From shows like Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sabrina the Teenage witch - the message is that it is hip and cool to be young and casting spells. There are web sites for witches, conferences for witches, and sacred gatherings abounding in America.  The Da Vinci Code goes to great lengths to redeem witchcraft and make it something that is wonderful...just misunderstood because of Christian propaganda.

Today, I listened to a report from NPR's radio program All Things Considered. Very interesting to listen to young teenage girls chanting to call forth spirits, worshipping the goddess, and making up religion like a choose your own adventure book.  Even Barbie, in a "secret spells" flavor, makes a cameo in the audio piece.  Link - NPR : New Religion in America

A few thoughts as to why Paganism/Witchcraft is on the rise here and in Europe.  

  1. Autonomy: For autonomous western people, it offers a way to be spiritual without having god around.  Pagan deities are at your beck and call and can be aligned to do your will.  Many just don't want a sovereign God who requires something of us.
  2. Nature: Environmental fears and nature worship.  To love the mother earth is a virture today (heck, I even think Christians ought to care a whole lot more for the world of which God has made us stewards) and to be one with the earth and nature is a big deal.  Folks who are bent towards environmental activism love the earth - so it is not too far of a move to worshipping it.
  3. Sexuality: We live in a sex crazed society and any way to mix sex and spirituality is going to find traction.  Paganism certainly offers this - a perversion of God's gift of sex.  Many make sex an object of worship or a ritual to be one with the divine, rather than seeing sex as a transcendent pointer to the God who made us and gives loving boundaries for our sexual passions.
  4. Stupid: We are just stupid today.  People believe in nebulous, undefined concepts like "energy" (not in an Einstenian sense, but in a transfer to me that groovy positive vibe kind of sense) that can be cast and moved around to folk through spells and incantations.    And in this view it is not that God acts upon and changes people by his Spirit - but someone's hex on you can do the work no problem.  Many actually believe this sort of thing.
  5. Deification: It makes people the source of power and control of the world.  As people, we just want to be our own god.  Did someone not once say "You shall be as Gods" - yes, this is the ancient lie to which we return like dogs to our own vomit. 

The problem with human beings becoming their own gods is that we are terrible gods.  We are fragile, fallible, and evil and will let ourselves down daily...only searching for the next spell to cast upon our days.  The great truth of the gospel is that God is god, and in his mercy he tells us to quit trying to be the master of our own vessel.  To allow him to forgive us and lead us towards a life that is free.

Paganism was tried and found wanting - long ago.  But as as the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us: There is nothing new under the sun.

It all comes back around again.