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How a ‘teen witch’ found the Church

In her teens Elizabeth Dodd delved into the world of Wicca, casting spells and conjuring ‘spirits’. Then one day she went to Mass in secret

By on Wednesday, 16 February 2011

A witch performs a ‘cleansing ceremony’ in Catemaco, Mexico   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A witch performs a ‘cleansing ceremony’ in Catemaco, Mexico (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

My parents bought me a cauldron for my 16th birthday. Providing no explanation, I had asked for that and a chalice. At a loss, mum suggested it would look nice outside with the geraniums.

My interest in Wicca began as I entered my teens. Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Danger, the booklet I wrote recently as part of the Catholic Truth Society’s Explanations series, condenses – after some factual basics about the philosophy and practice of “white” witchcraft – the conversations I had with a Catholic friend and her family that eventually led to my conversion to the Catholic faith. The booklet has caused controversy on the blogosphere: it sold out on Amazon.com and cropped up on the websites of the Telegraph and Daily Mail. What began as a small document to inform Catholics about the realities of Wicca – eg that it isn’t Satanism – appears to have re-ignited the persecution complex among Wiccans that I was hoping to diffuse.

I am concerned that as a culture, perhaps as a Church, we can too easily dismiss the spiritual needs of young people. In my family, religion was something to explore and debate. Both my parents are Oxford graduates and historians, my father a Doctor of Maths and Philosophy. His atheism prevailed over my mother’s Anglicanism, and neither I nor my sister were baptised.

One day I came across the Teen Witch Kit by Wiccan author Silver Ravenwolf. It comprised a thin introduction to witchcraft, a pop-up cardboard altar, charms (from a small bell to a pentacle necklace, the five-pointed emblem for Wicca). The book laid out the basic tenets of witchcraft and, crucially, the practice of “magick”. Wiccan spell casting is governed by two ethics: karma (that what you send out will return threefold) and “an’ it harm none, do what you will”. I cast my first spell, for protection, when my mother travelled abroad for a work trip: it was the first time she’d been in an aeroplane. As a teenager, with only a limited amount of say in what I’d have for dinner, for example, the idea of unmitigated supernatural power, coupled with such a self-governed morality, was very appealing.

My interest in Wicca increased, even in the face of frequent magickal failure. In the booklet I suggest that Wicca can be an important stage in spiritual growth for a young person. Like many of my generation, I was looking for a religious home. Wicca is far removed from mainstream western religion; it has no hierarchy or clergy, no central texts or commandments. It is a framework upon which young, spiritually hungry people can construct a religious identity independent of their parents. Wicca suited me because it was, quite literally, an unorthodox religious choice. I embraced the Wiccan “holy days” and the duotheism – belief in a goddess and god – that underpinned them. I lobbied my school to include “Wicca” as an option on their registration database; I gave presentations in Religious Studies classes about the heroines of modern witchcraft.

But within a year I had exhausted the canon of literature marketed to teenage Wiccans. An innate respect for history, if not tradition, led to an uncomfortable awareness that the religion as I knew it had existed for little over 20 years, and had manifestly been created by people. I began to study Wicca’s older literature: books written by Gerald Gardner, the witch who ostensibly re-introduced Britain to witchcraft and others of his circle (literally and figuratively), including the notorious Victorian occultist Aleister Crowley. I learned about ceremonial magic, branched out into the Jewish Kabbalah and familiarised myself with H P Blavatsky’s works on Theosophy. I bought a book about self-initiation into the Golden Dawn tradition – a quasi-Masonic occult order – and began to follow the steps toward its first grade. But my interest in politics, environmentalism and feminism had expanded beyond the questions Wicca could address. If the earth was a deity, did earthquakes suggest she was malicious? Worse, despite some feminist trappings, the occult witchcraft I was studying was at core misogynistic. Crowley wrote some unpleasant things about women; in the works of Anton LaVey, the self-appointed Satanist and a friend of Crowley’s, I encountered rants about women’s intellectual inferiority.

Finally, inevitably, about three years into my study of witchcraft – like any teenager who has ever played with a Ouija board – I became convinced I had communicated with a “spirit” whom I had failed to banish. The accompanying sense of dread lasted for weeks. A Catholic schoolfriend wrote out the Hail Mary for me – I’d never heard it before – and suggested I say it when I felt spiritually threatened. I stopped practising witchcraft soon afterwards.

My subsequent conversion to Catholicism was gradual. I had been exposed for years to the best means of evangelisation in the Church: the example of a generous, loving Catholic family (the parents and siblings of my schoolfriend) who were ready to argue philosophy over the dinner table. I had always known my friend was a better Catholic than I was a Wiccan. She took my foray into witchcraft with a seriousness that I didn’t, challenging me intellectually and morally. She lent me books to explain her Christianity; out of loyalty, I fought her side in the RS lessons in which she was the only vocal Christian. I went to Mass with her family on the eve of a school trip we were taking together. Finally, I sent her a faltering, confused email about where I was, spiritually. Her discretion and her patience were inspiring: it took another three years until I was received into the Catholic Church.

By then I was a fiercely Left-wing, politically active Buddhist vegan: rumours of my conversion would have startled most of my schoolmates. Recognising this, we kept the process low-key. I would accompany her family to the Easter Vigil, amazed by the beauty of the liturgy. I began attending Mass after school, in secret. My life was turbulent. I’d sit in the peace of the Church until the last person was leaving. I realised that the spiritual core of the Buddhism I was trying to practise was Catholicism. I believed in God. From the example of the Catholic family I had grown up around, I believed that Catholicism made you a better person, that it increased your capacity to love.

Soon after leaving school, in my gap year before university, my schoolfriend put me in touch with a wonderful priest. We met almost every week; I studied the Catechism and he, somehow, managed to handle the demands of an intellectually stubborn teenager about to leave to study Theology at Cambridge. After a year’s catechesis I realised that nothing intellectual or spiritual separated me from a faith to which I had never imagined I would subscribe. I was baptised and received into the Church at the Easter Vigil – my schoolfriend was my sponsor and “fairy godmother”.

My experience of neo-pagans had in fact been largely positive: many Wiccans are intelligent, kind, sincere people. Wicca attempts to meet the needs of a generation terrified of hypocrisy: if even our coffee is Fairtrade, a faith needs to be outstanding to convince us. I was now surrounded by outstanding Catholics; as a Catholic, I know the example I should be setting.

Wicca was an important step in a spiritual journey that led me to Catholicism, but when I was asked to write about it in a booklet, written by a Catholic for Catholics, I felt it would be irresponsible not to mention its inherent dangers – not least the lack of a real support structure. Wicca may be adaptable and relevant; but ultimately I found it intellectually and spiritually unfulfilling.

I still struggle with and face challenges in my faith; I know there are areas I need to better understand. But you can love a work of art without translating every reference. If it is beautiful enough, you can accept that there are elements you won’t understand until you meet the artist. The values that brought me into Wicca – ecological, feminist, pacifist – are addressed more deeply by the Catholic Church. It is our responsibility as Catholics to let young people know that these are issues we care about, questions which are posed and answered throughout salvation history.

I passed the cauldron on to my sister: she stores magazines in it.

Wicca and Witchcraft: Understanding the Danger by Elizabeth Dodd is available from the CTS, priced £1.95

  • Highlander

    There is no such thing as (White Magic) there is only (Black Magic) which is satanic in influence and leaves the gate open to eventual demonic infestation. Take it from a man who know best, Fr.Gabriele Amorth, read (An Exorcist Tells His Story) Or, if you are still not convinced, Fr. Malachi Martin (Hostage To The Devil) every Christian should have a copy, know your spiritual enemy.

  • Caedmon

    The Catholic Church has used Pagan Holidays as their own. Christmas is Yule a Pagan Holiday. It is documented that Christ was born in late spring. Easter is Ostara another Pagan Holiday. The early Catholic Church used sacred Pagan sites to build Churches on since Pagans gathered at these sites and to bring familiarity to the people. St. Bridget is the Pagan Goddess Bridget another connection to Paganism. So as you can see, the Catholic Church is ecclectic in nature & has embraced Paganism when forming itself. Wicca is a nature based Religion in which we embrace all that the Gods have to offer us. We do not worship the devil nor do we embrace Satin. Wicca is based on Love and balance in Nature with Wiccans embracing the God & the Goddess. The female aspect of Diety has been surpressed by the male dominated religions. Many Wiccans that I know are ex Catholics who have found true inner peace such as myself.

  • Anonymous

    Asking an exorcist about Black Magic is like asking a Spurs fan what he thinks of Arsenal. Of course he will say it is satanic because he is biased! For a balanced view of the subject you should try asking a magic practitioner as well!

  • https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawlPP82eHnw6C2D0bwKE05Lz6N5qlpizL10 Jacob

    So you and the other 3 million Wicca worldwide are free to go tell everyone that…and we and the other 2.5-3 billion Christians will keep telling everyone about Our Lord and Saviour!

    That’s what’s fair..America is already there. We already let 2-5% of our society constantly say and do perverted and disgusting things towards that which is most important to 80-90% of the rest of society.
    Do you really think that 220 million Christians couldn’t force their religion on 40 million secularists if they really wanted to?

  • maryclare

    Here here. Couldn’t have said it better myself. I most certainly was not being disrespectful, but genuinely worried for their souls – as you say their eternal destiny is at stake.

  • maryclare

    Yes but they are both football teams and they both play football. In the same way here we are dealing with magic. See harrybendelows comment earlier, and highlanders comment.

  • maryclare

    “I am the way the Truth and the Life. No-one can come to the Father except through Me”.
    St Johns Gospel Chapter 14 Verse 6. Emphasis on except through me. So I am not sure what spirit/god/godess you worship, or the ways you seek that spirit, but I fear that it is not God the Father and sadly that it will not lead to eternal salvation.

  • Highlander

    We worship the mother of Christ, she is revered within the Catholic faith worldwide, woman are not discriminated against at all.

  • maryclare

    The Church did take over pagan sites to restore them to the worship of the one true God and as you say because the people were drawn there.
    Yule is indeed the pagan winter festival,celebrated at the winter soltice December 21st. You confuse it in the same way that All Hallows (i.e. the eve before All Saints day, November 1st) is confused with Samhaim. Christmas is not Yule. Easter is better known in the Church as Paschaltide – Ostara is indeed the Pagan spring festival and has nothing todo with Paschaltide. All the Easter Bunnies and Chicks eggs chocolate or otherwise etc, are indeed the pagan symbols not to be confused with the Cross.
    I don’t know about the various St Bidgets, there are several in Ireland so I cannot comment.
    Please see highlanders comment and and harrybendelows comment to baldpagan

  • Betoquintas

    This is not quite true. First, Jesus Christ – his existence is scarcely prooved. Second, Christianism – wasn’t started by Jesus Christ – he was a Jew, after all. Third, what you call Christianism was really imposed, by Church and the Roman Empire, by sword and dogmas. This are the facts, these are the truths.

  • Betoquintas

    Chase:
    “Christianity offers peace, love and moral guidance”.
    Sure. History tells how much peace, love and moral guidance the ocidental world has had after the Christianity takes over the world. Cruzades. Collonization. Inquisition. Genocide. War. And several priests envolved in child sexual abuse.

  • Souris

    So when you post pictures of Catholic priests, do you write that they are performing “mass?”
    I didn’t think so.

  • Souris

    I would take it from him, but I have this odd tendency to not believe people who tell blatant lies. Once you catch them out on a few, how can you believe anything else they have to say?

  • Souris

    “We already let 2-5% of our society constantly say and do perverted and disgusting things towards that which is most important to 80-90% of the rest of society.”

    I’m American and I can’t figure out what the heck you are on about.

    “Do you really think that 220 million Christians couldn’t force their religion on 40 million secularists if they really wanted to?”

    Is that supposed to be a threat? Do you really think threatening people is a good way to make them like your religion more?

  • Souris

    I was always taught as a Catholic that we do not in any way *worship* the mother of Christ, that worship was reserved for God alone. When did Catholic teaching change on this point?

  • Souris

    Does Christianity now support spreading lies about others?

  • Souris

    Maryclare, if I called you a liar about your own religion which I demonstrably knew nothing about, and told you that you couldn’t possibly have the life experiences you say you have had and that I know far better than you the workings of your soul and your religion, would you believe me? Would you follow me?

  • Souris

    Satan works for God. Have you never actually *READ* the Bible?!

  • Souris

    No, insisting over and over against all evidence that people who don’t even believe in Christianity in fact worship an entity from Christianity is nothing like respect.

  • Souris

    If you are not out to offend, then why do you persist in lying about other religions to their adherents, who *know* you are lying?

  • Amanda Farley

    My sister in law is Pagan and a wonderful person who is kind, sincere and caring about her fellow man and the Earth. She tries to live “lightly” upon the Earth conserving resources and caring for the threats to the Earth such as war, global warming and other threats.
    I have dabbled in Paganism myself to a certain extent and understand completely what you mean with regard to it not fulfilling the spiritual need you seek. We each come to God (or Goddess) in our own way and my Sister in law has found peace and acceptance within her Pagan community. I on the other hand feel the need to worship weekly with others and sometimes midweek meet with others. My sister in law has this where she lives – I do not where I live.
    For me Catholicism meets that need and more, I have met wonderful people within the church, the sister attached is very pro-women and not backwards about saying where she thinks the church is wrong, the priest who was so kind when a relative died, friends from my son’s school and a structured approach to worship which I just did not find in the Pagan community. Not everyone wants or needs this structured approach but I do. I live my life happily and am approaching my son’s baptism and my own first communion. In doing so though I judge nobody else for finding God (or whatever they call the higher being there for us all) in another way. My sister in law may look with bafflement at me when we meet but – she follows her faith and I follow mine. Vive le difference. We do not have a monopoly on God.

  • Anonymous

    You are right (and it didn’t!).

    We venerate Holy Mary as Advocate, as Mediatrix, as intercessor for us in our prayers, the efficacy of which is always ‘through Jesus Christ Our Lord’. Similarly, we venerate the Saints and believe that they also intercede on our behalf through Christ. Even more than devotion to the Holy Saints, devotion to Mary (who by faithfully submitting herself to be Theotokos – God Bearer – is the supreme example for us of Faith in the Divine plan for our salvation) brings us closer to the One God.

    It is through Christ alone (whom we worship as God Incarnate by the power of the Holy Spirit) that we are redeemed. Though pre-eminently worthy of our devotion, the Blessed Virgin does not share a position in the One Godhead of the Holy Trinity.

    God bless.

  • Anonymous

    1.Professor Dawkins is also fond of using the fallacious argument of there being no reliable evidence for the life of Jesus. Are you, unlike him, familiar with the discipline of textual criticism?

    If so, you will be aware that the gospels are overwhelmingly better attested than any other ancient manuscripts, be they historical, philosophical or literary. For example, Aristotle’s works are found in only five extant manuscripts (the earliest of which dates from over 4000 years after his death, and yet nobody seriously doubts its veracity or reliability).

    By comparison, over 5,000 Greek, 9,000 Syriac and 10,000 Latin manuscripts contain some or all of the New Testament. Not only that, but they are far nearer in time to their events and sources than any other manuscript of antiquity is to its origins.

    2. What you call ‘Christianism’ is that same old tired children of the ‘enlightenment’ revolution-brand, cliched Knights Templar/’Da Vinci’ hoax-myth of pseudo-academic pulp faction and its lucrative pot-boiler pure fiction correlatives.

    3.Christian dogmas define statements of belief universally agreed by the Church (i.e. the universal body of believers) after long (even centuries long) reflection, drawing upon the fundamental experiences and resources of the lived and living Christian fellowship.

    It’s a no-brainer, really. If they needed to be ‘imposed’ by the ‘Roman Empire’ you refer to but, in all charity, must know very little about that is of any depth, they would certainly not have survived. Even less so if they depended for their enforcement on the point of a sword. They survive for reasons of faithful adherence, and because they are carefully framed expressions of things that are fundamentally more important.

    An illustration suggests itself to me, prompted by a treatise of Ronald Knox in consideration of martyrdom for refusing to abjure faith in Christ: now a psychologist, he says (and I might add anthropologist or atheist, or an atheist-geneticist, for that matter), might be minded to refer to this as being in reality little more than something to do with a ‘martyr-complex’; if so, writes Knox:

    “I should very much like to have the persecuting of these modern psychologists. Either they would recant, or I would send them off to be psychoanalyzed until they could get rid of their martyr-complex.”

    In other words, we could soon cure them of dogmatic false-belief in such a conviction by (ironic!) recourse to persecution (or psychoanalysis).

    Still convinced by your assertion (“This are the facts, these are the truths”)?

    Which reminds me: I have never (hyperbolically speaking) understood why some unbelievers are determined to prove that Jesus Christ/God did not/does not exist, as though to do so would prove anything at all. God does not exist: God Is. You and I exist. Things exist. And things, like you and I, die. God is not a thing.

    On the other hand, the incarnate body of Jesus was crucified (oh, and if you really refuse to believe this, read Tacitus while you’re brushing up on Roman history, and Josephus for starters on the Jewish perspective).

    Nunc scripsi totum pro Christo da mihi potum.

  • maryclare

    You can do that if you want. However I chose my words carefully. I wrote about what I have seen happen to some of the adherrants of your religion. You were not present in the situations I referred to so you cannot tell me that I was not telling the truth about them specifically.

  • Highlander

    leave them to their fate, free will, at work here…

  • Adian Caine

    ” I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” I interpret this as through my actions, through your faith. Jesus Christ was very accepting of all walks of life. He brought his message to people that were considered social outcasts, beggars, prostitutes, and tax collectors.He accepted them and did not judge them. He exemplified his message by embodying and living his truth. He shows “the Way” by how he lived. Love one another, love your enemies… all of this is a message of tolerance here on earth. It’s the spiritual body that interacts with humanity that will become judged, not your knowledge of the scripture, or the most popular denomination of christianity. Wicca is congruent in basic tenet to the actions of Christ as it applies to the kinship of the world.

  • Betoquintas

    Anthony:
    “Are you, unlike him, familiar with the discipline of textual criticism?”

    I guess more than you.

    “If so, you will be aware that the gospels are overwhelmingly better attested than any other ancient manuscripts, be they historical, philosophical or literary.”

    Not quite. other ancient manuscripts has crossed proves, what gospel doesn’t have.

    “Christian dogmas define statements of belief universally agreed by the Church (i.e. the universal body of believers) after long (even centuries long) reflection, drawing upon the fundamental experiences and resources of the lived and living Christian fellowship.”

    Not even close. Thaking the works of the Fathers of Church, even they don’t agree with each other. The Christianity is a pure result from the Concils, or in other term, man-made.

    “They survive for reasons of faithful adherence”

    Not quite, also. It’s a produt of forced conversion, competent advertise and profound process of catechism – in other terms, by doctrination.

    “On the other hand, the incarnate body of Jesus was crucified (oh, and if you really refuse to believe this, read Tacitus while you’re brushing up on Roman history, and Josephus for starters on the Jewish perspective).”

    Tacitus told about a Christ, not about Jesus. And Christ is a title, not a person. The quote about Jesus on Josephus was a pios fraud.
    Try again.

  • http://www.hackcraft.net/ Jon Hanna

    It’s all very nice, but what does any of this have to do with Wicca?

    (And as for the meandering into talking about LaVey for some bizarre reason, how was he friends with Crowley when his first contact with Thelemites – who he complained where too mystically inclined – came three years after Crowley’s death?)

  • Dorothy Dark

    Yes the obsession with ‘teen witches’ or ‘young wiccans’ is very misleading. When I was a child I went to Catholic Sunday school should I conclude from my experience that all Catholics are children, early teens and slightly dodgy old men?
    As I got older I grew out of Catholicism but feel no need to insult, deride or ridicule Catholics or their faith, I’m glad you worship your god with faith and honour and think you should be equally glad others worship their gods faith and honour.

  • maryclare

    “It’s the spiritual body that interacts with humanity that will become judged, not your knowledge of the scripture, or the most popular denomination of christianity. Wicca is congruent in basic tenet to the actions of Christ as it applies to the kinship of the world.”
    Please could you explain this in plain english as this really does not make any sense.
    Wicca has nothing whatever to do with Jesus Christ or Christianity. As I said to mama gaea that idea is sycretism and that is anathema and heresy.God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omnicient, but your comment has more to do with the one world religion that has been foretold will appear before Our Lords return.

    I do not rely on my interpretations of the Gospel but on that held by the Church – you indeed may interpret it how you will but I rely on the Church.

  • H Bancroft

    Very sadly I do think I will have to. I have tried – and will continue to pray for them in the hope that if even one comes to the real Jesus Christ that it will have been worth it. Thanks for your comments too.

  • Betoquintas

    In what basis you claim that God condemn witchcraft? In bible? Surprise! How God can condemn witchcraft if He used it?
    And I see many more christians into mental institution.

  • Yoshi

    The Church does not like Witchcraft, or Witches, because it is a direct path – without the need for an intermediary (priests) and because it gives equal spiritual power to both men and women, with the Divine Feminine worshiped as Goddess – this threatens the patriarchal hold the Church (and other patriarchal traditions) has over female sexuality. When will we ever see women as priests, or the Pope, in the Catholic tradition?How can her ‘feminist values’ be better addressed by the Church?
    Witches are not evil, power-seeking Satanists, and Witchcraft predates Christianity; it is not New Age.I am sorry that this ‘wiccan teen’s” experience was so shallow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shawn-Ruse/100001265795576 Shawn Ruse

    How about the psychological damage that comes from trying to please a god that can never be pleased. The damage that comes from feeling guilty for just being born and inherited ugliness that comes from this sin thing everyone keeps talking about. Or the damage that comes from being sexually abused by members of a religion that were supposed to be trusted. How about a loving god that wants to send those who do not agree with him to a place of eternal torture that I would not even wish on Hitler and I am not a fan of Hitler or genocide.

    There is no psychological damage from Wicca as long as the person understands what the religion is all about and what kind of magick is acceptable and what is not. And not just to do magick just to get what you want when you want it. That is what capitalism is for. :)

  • Cavelizard

    We agree on morals. The problem I have is not with those who follow or accept Christ it is with following men who claim to speak for Him and the Church they use to weild power. I can only judge them not by what they say but by what they do.

  • maryclare

    Yoshi perhaps if you read all the comments below you would come to understand why the Church is opposed to witchcraft/wicca. It is expressed in many of the comments.

  • Yoshi

    I have read every comment, and that is why I felt compelled to respond.
    The Church is full of fear-mongering, and has confused Satan with Witchcraft – demonized it – and this is its intent – to ensure that female spiritual power and the Goddess are not recognized, and that women have no power in the structure of the Church.
    Satan is a Christian concept, and has nothing to do with Witchcraft.
    Comments like ” they have no idea of the dark forces they are stirring up” or ” there is only black magic which is a satanic influence” are examples of this fearful, biased and narrow-minded view.

  • maryclare

    Dear Yoshi, satan is anything but a concept – I know as I have seen him together with another with whom I was praying. If the devil exists then so does Almighty God. Even Islam believes in shaitan which is their name for him so it isn’t a christian concept or invention as you seem to think.
    The power satan has is also anything but a concept. There are many who have had death or near death experiences who also attest to the existance of satan and hell and to the torments foretold in the scripture. It is right and proper to be afraid of ending up in that eternal torment, forever separated from God. Eternity is just that forever – no escape. Period.
    Regarding your claim that it is the intent of the Church ‘to ensure that female spiritual power and the godess are not recognised’ I refer you to my comment ” I think it was St Catherine of Sienna who said ‘If you truly are what you should be (i.e.as God intended and created you to be (mywords) then you will set the world on fire.’ She advised and admonished Popes and clerics. I don’t believe that she felt in any way inferior. To be a woman is to be very different from man – whilst a woman may have many skills and indeed may be very capable of being a priest, it has nothing to do with capability, it is simply not our calling/vocation.”
    When I look at Our Lady and all the female saints and Doctors of the Church such as St Therese of Lisieux and St Teresa of Avila, St teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein) I wonder where you have derived this notion that the feminine is suppressed and that to be a woman in the Church is to have no power. If you mean not part of the Presbyterate i.e. ordained to the Priesthood I have already answered that point.
    There is no godess only the one Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit and there is truly no liberty like that of being a child of God, having surrendered your life to Him. To be united with Him is to be truly alive and free, to feel the power of the Holy Spirit within – as a woman I do not feel inferior or suppressed in any way shape or form.
    It is this idea of giving your life to Jesus Christ that I beleive is a stumbling block to many who think that the only freedom is in self-will, self- determination and that somehow the strength of the self will save you. When we come to Jesus we acknowlegde that we cannot be changed except though Him. We are indeed weak but He is strong. We cannot save ourselves which you infer we can through inner strength. This is really is a myth.
    Like I say, I too grew up in the 60′s and 70′s when it was all the rage to be self determining, self fulfilled, lets celebrate our humanity and society, mother earth ecology,lesbian and feminist separatist hippy yada yada etc etc. I too bought the cino (catholic in name only) lie that it was possible to be sexually free and expect God to rubberstamp what we wanted as being OK, the cafeteria catholicism, the ‘have your cake and eat it’ philosophy. I found that this was not the gospel but a lie that led into the wilderness – it was very very far away from God and from the relationship I wanted (not just wanted but absolutely needed) with Him. It was utter emptiness and total darkness, there was no inner peace to be had, and it really was a way that literally led to perdition. I returned to Him and to true practice of my faith because my heart and my soul longed for God.
    I really do speak from experience.

  • Highlander

    Hi,

    Some great answers for these folks, I hope that it provides insight for them. Question, are you clergy, or just a concerned practicing Catholic. You answers are very well structured, keep up the good work.

  • Dave

    This teen witch uses Wicca as a way to rebel, doesn’t make it past Wicca 101-and then thinks she knows enough to denounce it as ‘dangerous’- let us allow those with different beliefs their credibility and respect, instead of making inflammatory remarks that only serve to fuel further discord.

  • Yoshi

    How can she be clergy if she is Catholic?

  • Yoshi

    I appreciate your answer – in any case, Satan has nothing to do with Witches.
    we can agree to disagree about there being a Goddess – I did not say the feminine is suppressed, but that Divine Feminine is not acknowledged – there may be female Saints, and there is Mother Mary – originally they may have been Goddess – but they are not worshipped as diety- they are secondary. This is inequality. The fact that should a woman wish to be ordained as a priest, and she cannot, is inequality. It doesn’t matter that ‘it is not their calling’ – they are denied this opportunity. I am glad that you have a found a path that is right for you- many Witches feel their path is right for them, too- and appreciate not being seen as evil shallow, or at best, deluded- which is what the teen witch booklet states.
    I merely wish to make the point in this forum that saying what Witches do is evil and dangerous, is incorrect, disrespectful to a different belief system than yours, and basically ignorant.

  • Restumad

    Grow up, Ms Dodd.

  • Cheryl

    Give me a reference please

  • Harrybendelow

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I was very alarmed and concerned for you when I read your comments. God will not help you cast spells Elizabeth! I hope you come to realize that El Elohim (God Most High) or the Almighty, as we Christians think of Him, absolutely detests and despises magic, spell casting, geomancy, spiritism, necromancy and everything associated with their practise. If you do not understand this please, please give it some thought. I hope that, although you reject it now, you will at some point in your life take it on board.
    Magic is the only sin that has the power to utterly separate you from God. Christians say that we must hate the sin and love the sinner; however, when it comes to magic, if someone persists, they have the fearful prospect of becoming an abomination in the eyes of God. The Lord Himself states this in a forceful way in scripture. The reason why you become separated is because you look outside of God when you call upon the ‘powers that be’. Evil exists outside of God. Wicca might seem pleasant to you but this is because the devil saves the bad stuff for later.
    Incidentally, when you say you accept people ‘as they are’ you are claiming that your sins and their sins do not matter. Believe me Elizabeth they do matter.
    The name Elizabeth means the daughter of the seven or (as it is usually translated) the ‘daughter of God’s promise’. God’s promise to you is that He will forgive you, redeem you from hands ‘too strong for you’ and love you for eternity. He really will.
    Michael Arch.

  • maryclare

    Oh just a concerned layperson – a woman so not clergy.

  • Anonymous

    Job 1:6 – 12; ibid 2:1 – 7

  • maryclare

    Dear Yoshi,
    Nothing in what I have said has suggested that you are not intelligent or those who follow Wicca as a belief system – in fact it signifies a depth of thought and intelligence to try to engage in a spiritual quest. Many people are content merely to live in the ‘trivial’ without any thought whatever of their salvation or any idea of life after death.
    I cannot speak for what Liz has said in the leaflet, but she I presume spoke/wrote as she experienced it.

    As to the divine feminine not being expressed -another name for the holy spirit is holy wisdom or ‘sophia’. There are those who say that in this the ‘feminine’ in God is expressed.
    Our Lady is Queen of Heaven but she is not a godess, nor has she ever been, nor (because she is entirely Christo-centric) would she want to be. Our Lady and the saints are not God and therefore may be venerated but not worshiped, which honour and praise is to be ascribed and given to God alone.

    Your comment about the inequality regarding women wanting to be priests – The Church and indeed the kingdom of Heaven is not a democracy, it is a theocracy and as such there are various levels to which God calls us both in this world and the next. The equality is the Salvation to which we are all called, and have equal opportunity to avail ourselves of , if we come to Our Lord Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as Our Lord and Saviour. Secondly, the Church has no authority to ordain women even if it wanted to as Jesus did not call women to the Presbyterate. I’m afraid it matters a great deal whether someone is called to a ministry or not, the Church is not there merely to rubberstamp our desires, or to pander to our desires. You may say that it is a good thing to desire to be a priest and serve mankind, however “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it will have toiled in vain: unless the Lord keeps watch over the city, the watchman stands on guard in vain.” Ps 127 In other words even that which on the face of it seems a good thing is perverted because it is not the will of God.
    In the same way with Wicca – whilst many who are involved may indeed start with the thought of being altruistic, because it is not what God calls us to, it too is a perversion. Further it can and does lead to the darker arts – I am afraid you and I will have to agree to differ on that. It is not ignorance to say so – I have seen the effects for myself. There are those much wiser, holier and indeed also clergy, agree –
    and indeed it is forbidden in Holy Scriture (the Bible or Word of God) for us to indulge in spells, divinations incantations etc etc whatever the motivation might be. It is the ulitmate sin of pride to believe that as a mere mortal you can remain in control what you delve into. Only God is all Powerful and has oovercome evil and death – It would be entirly disrepectful of me not to honour you by telling you the truth about this.
    You may wonder at the beauty of Gods Creation, and praise and indeed thank Him for it, but to ascribe to it Divinity i.e. to worship it or parts of it, is to deny the worship that is to be ascribed to God alone.

  • Vaari Avellana

    Wow, I guess everyone here is pretty stubborn. Ive never met anyone from any religion except Catholicism who so doggedly believe their own righteousness

    . I agree with so many other statements posted on here, surely if a Wiccan’s aim in life is to be a good person, help others and love the earth, then, in the end, wouldnt your God accept them anyway if he is really the one true God? He should know we are nice people who found him through our actions instead of forced worship. The Wiccan rede is ‘An’ it harm none, do what you will, for Goddess’ sake!

    No matter what somebody believes, it should be the good in their hearts which deterines the state of their soul, and to me, totally slamming someone else’s religion doesnt make you a nice person, and neither does ostrasizing somebody else just because they’re different from you.

    Why, if Wiccans are inherently evil, are not Hindu’s, Muslims, Sikh’s, Rastafarians, Buddhists and even Jedi? You may say Jedi was made up, but the Bible itself was put together by man, not God, and chapters – (dont even bother whinging, you think Im going to know the correct name?!) – were selectively left out so that it gave the correct impression. Is that not in some way forced?

    I believe everyone has the right to choose their own spiritual path, and if in the end, we’ve been good, worthy people on this earth, whatever deity thats real will know about it and be magnanimous.

  • Marie

    Paganism was the largest religion in Jesus’ time (far bigger than it is today) and yet He came to establish the Church and fulfil the Law. If pagans are worshipping the same God as Christians, why on earth would God himself in the Person of Jesus Christ criticise it, reject it completely, urge the conversion of pagans to Christianity and on top of that descend from Heaven to sacrifice His own self so that “ALL people” can be saved through Him alone and worship God in the right way under the influence of His Holy Spirit?? What other “evidence” is needed except God’s own testimony? I do not have the authority to insist on anything but it is God Himself who insists.
    I honestly do not understand on what grounds somebody can claim that paganism is an ‘alternative’ way to God when God Himself throughout the Old and into the New Testament constantly forbids it. Paganism is often juxtaposed with Judaism and after Christ and shown to be the complete opposite of the Law. I solemnly urge you to re-read the Bible, especially Paul’s letters. Please do not allow yourself to be deceived. God loves you without measure so seek the truth with a open heart and you will find it.
    I wish to hear your position, why is it that you do not believe that Christianity is the true way to God?

    May God bless you.