Saul and the Witch of Endor (1st Samuel 28: 1-19)
Father Paul Desmarais, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Pawtucket, R.I., who has worked with teens and the occult for the last 10 years, recognizes the attractiveness of Wicca to adolescents in search of spiritual meaning.
“Our world has become so consumer-oriented, so goal- and appearance-driven, kids feel a real sense of powerlessness in their life,” he says. “I think kids do spell casting or try to learn it [spell casting] for love because they just feel this real deep hunger for something.”
Although Wiccans’ beliefs vary widely, when teens look for Wiccan spirituality, they’ll probably discover the following common notions:
Most Wiccans worship a dual deity, the Horned God and the Lady. Many believe that all gods and goddesses are aspects of these two gods.
Wiccans usually believe that the goal of human life is to live in harmony with nature, that all of reality is divine, that the spiritual and material world are one reality, that there is no one true right or only way, that there is a plurality within the divine oneness, and that ritual practice is the witch’s path to harmony. Practitioners live by one moral law called the “rede,” which says, “As long as it harms no one, do what thou wilt.”
Wicca, a neo-pagan form of witchcraft, isn’t Satanism. Followers don’t offer animal sacrifices or believe in the devil. For the most part, Wiccans don’t actively recruit teens, and most practice it on their own.
“They [Wiccans] aren’t out to get kids in a vengeful way,” says Carolyn May. “They honestly believe they are offering something good.”
But at least one online posting reveals a disturbing message. A writer who identifies herself as Britt says: “I was talking to my friend Dave… and he is quite a devout Christian. … I just found out … that he used to be Wiccan. He said that he got so deeply into it, that he was nearly demonically possessed.”
Although Wicca and Satanism aren’t the same, most teens don’t know the difference, and this confusion can lead them into other occult practices.
“Dabbling leads to more dabbling,” says Father Desmarais. “One of the things parents don’t realize is that the spirit world is real, and any kind of dabbling in the spirit world opens you up to it. Kids run the risk of actually having manifestations of evil spirits, being harassed or bothered by evil spirits. Sometimes you say that to parents, and they look at you like you’re crazy. But then they hear the stories about what’s going on, and they go, ‘Oh, wow.'”
John Gibson adds that the more deeply involved someone gets in the occult, the more enticing it appears to that person.
“The inherent danger of ‘magickal’ [sic] addiction is :hat the more power you raise, the more intoxicated you get,” he says. “You start gathering more and more power for yourself, and it takes over your life.”
Indeed, The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service and have a supernatural power over others — even if this were for the sake of restoring their health — are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion” (No. 2117).
Gibson, along with May and others who work with teens, know firsthand the dangers of dabbling in occult practices.
“The biggest danger I see is the loss of our eternal soul,” May says.
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