Witchcraft Goes Mainstream Part 2by Steve Wohlberg
“It’s hard to know the exact numbers, but Wicca is believed to be one of the fastest growing religions among high school and college students. This form of witchcraft, with its reverence for the earth and nature, appeals to young environmentalists, and Wicca’s emphasis on a goddess, as well as a god, draws young girls.” So reported National Public Radio in a May 2004 story entitled, “New Religion in America: Teens and Wicca.” (1)
In Part 1 of this special series, we described the fact of Wicca’s explosive growth among American youth. In Part 2, we shall ponder: Why is Wicca growing so rapidly? There are many reasons – such as Wicca’s appreciation for nature, support of women’s rights, ‘non-judgmental’ attitude, and its enticing offer of spiritual growth and self-empowerment through magick (‘magick’ with a ‘k’ refers to real occult magic instead of mere ‘sleight of hand’). But the biggest reason is the positive portrayal of Witchcraft in the media.
From the 1950s through the 1980s, Witchcraft was practiced in North America and around the world, but the number of adherents was relatively small. When the ‘90s’ hit, everything changed, believe it or not, largely because of Hollywood. Those ‘in the know’ recognize that the following shows have had their impact:
- The Craft (Movie, 1996): Enticingly depicts the adventures of “a coven of witches who are still in high school.” (2)
- Practical Magic (Movie, 1998): Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman star as two witches. “Raised by their aunts after their parents’ death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical. The little girls ate chocolate cake for breakfast, stayed up late and studied spell books, practicing the ancient arts of white magic that had been handed down through their family from generation to generation.”(3)
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (TV series): About a “girl with supernatural powers” who learns “to use her witchcraft wisely.” (4)
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV series): Starring a blonde teenager who battles vampires and other creatures of the night. Buffy’s friend Willow, nicknamed “The Willow Witch,” reveals positive “interest and involvement in Wicca and Witchcraft.” (5)
- Charmed (TV series): Features three sexy sorceress sisters who “use their individual powers as good witches to battle the forces of evil.” (6)
This writer has a reputable Christian friend who used to be High Priest of the Circle of the Mystic Moon witchcraft coven in Australia. He is now a believer in Jesus Christ. This man recently shared with me some inside information not readily known. He said that from the 1950s through the 1980s, all the High Priests and Priestesses of the major witchcraft covens in the British Isles, North America, and Australia knew each other. It was a tight network. When the ‘90s’ came, they began to discuss the ‘flood of inquiries’ they were all receiving from young people, especially young girls, who wanted to learn how to ‘be like Sabrina’ or the ‘Charmed’ sisters. This showed these occult leaders that Hollywood productions, while not entirely accurate in their portrayals of what real witches do, were definitely creating an interest in magick among young people.
Most of those kids in the 1990s were turned away. Then something significant happened. Take note: Major occult publishers (like Llewellyn Publications in St. Paul Minnesota) awoke and realized, “Hey, there’s a growing market out there filled with young people who want to learn about Witchcraft! Let’s target them and teach them the real thing.” Soon Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch: Wicca For a New Generation (Llewellyn, 1998) hit the streets and quickly became a bestseller. This was just the beginning of scores of books that would soon flood the market written by real Witches designed to teach real Witchcraft to real kids.
The Bible reveals the deep truth that by “beholding” we become “changed” (2 Corinthians 3:18). In other words, what we watch affects us. In the last ten years, Hollywood has produced a sizable array of Witchcraft shows that often portray Witches as cool, savvy, sexy, adventurous and exciting. Skeptics counter, “So what? It’s just Hollywood fun and fiction. It’s not real.” While it is true that most of what is portrayed isn’t true to life, the fact is, this doesn’t make any difference. Impressions are being made on young minds, the idea of becoming a ‘witch’ or ‘wizard’ has entered many hearts, the thought of having ‘magickal powers’ has become inviting to millions of young people, and real Witchcraft is growing rapidly around the world. Don’t be fooled. Hollywood is fueling Wiccan growth today, whether we believe it or not.
The last book of the Bible warns, “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8, italics added)
Notice the word “sorcerers.” According to Scripture, real sorcerers will exist at the end of time whose dismal fate will be the lake of fire. Solemn thought.
July 16, 2005, was the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, book six in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series about the adventures of a teenager sorcerer. 10.8 million copies were printed, which was the largest initial print run for any hardcover book in U.S. history. Harry Potter books have sold over 270 million copies, have been translated in 62 languages, and are being read (‘devoured’ fits better) by kids all over Planet Earth. Maybe even yours.
Is Harry Potter contributing to the growth of Witchcraft today? Most parents think not.
In my next article, I will provide more inside information proving that it is.
To be continued….
- National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, report by Barbara Bradley Hagerty: “Part 4: Teens and Wicca.” May 13, 2004. See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1895496
- See http://www.witchcraft.org/video/craft.htm.
- See http://www.witchcraft.org/video/practical.htm.
- Described on Yahoo TV: See http://tv.yahoo.com/tvpdb?id=1807777356&d=tvi&cf=0.
- See http://www.witchcraft.org/video/buffy.htm.
- See http://www.witchcraft.org/video/charmed.htm and http://www.tvtome.com/Charmed/ (official web site).