Studying Wicca:Part One

By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist) 

One of the fastest growing religions in America is Wicca.  

Sadly, however, there is a general lack of knowledge among many Christians regarding this religion, and as a direct result, many disciples of Christ are ill-equipped to reach out to their Wiccan friends.  

Many people in the area where I live and minister practice various forms of this craft. I have been blessed to teach the Gospel to a few practitioners of Wicca, and it has been my joy to baptize them into Christ.  

In these articles, we will examine some of the basic teachings and practices of Wicca, coupled with some suggestions for Christian workers to reach out to their Wiccan friends.  

The God And The Goddess Of Wicca

Wiccans typically believe in the ancient forms of paganism which existed before the Flood, including the concept that the universe itself was brought forth by two co-eternal forces, known to us today as “the god” and the “goddess.”  

Being a mix of pantheism and panentheism, Wicca envisions that the original eternal Forces emptied themselves into the creation, and that therefore, the creation itself has become part of “God.” Describing this teaching as being prevalent in ancient Kabbalah (i.e., Jewish occultism), Ken Johnson points out the possible connection between this idea and the “great delusion” of Satan in rebelling against God:

“One might understand if Lucifer was angry with God, he might convince one third of the angels of heaven to leave heaven to be alone, away from God. But look at the verses given about Lucifer’s fall. He wanted to be worshiped as God and actually tried to take God’s throne. How could any rational being think for one second that he might have power enough to force the only creator God out of H is throne? No rational being would. Nor would Lucifer; unless, he believed his own lie. What was Lucifer’s lie? Lucifer’s lie was this: God is not separate from His creation. When God puts His spirit into a newly create d be ing, H e looses part of Himself. In the Jewish Kabala this concept is called the Doctrine of Emanations. In other words , if God created 100 billion people and put H is spirit into each one of them, at that point the Bible would say God is still 100% God and Man is 0% God. Lucifer, on the other hand , would say at that point God might be , say , 47% God and all humans collectively would equate to 53% God. Lucifer might have actually believed that if there were enough angels they could overcome God and absorb the rest of what God once was. That, in effect, would kill off God. He probably believed this was the way it had been done for generations of gods /angels and universes. The Doctrine of Emanations would become the basis of all future pagan religions on earth, and the primary cause of the earth’s destruction by a world wide flood.” (Ken Johnson, Th.D. Ancient Paganism: The Sorcery Of The Fallen Angels, 19 (Kindle Edition))

Wicca teaches that the original energy that formed the God and the Goddess has descended into the universe itself, and that this energy can be harnessed through the practice of ritualistic magic.  

Furthermore, through reincarnation (i.e., through the continual birth and rebirth of individuals over the vast eons of time) a person can ascend to higher levels of consciousness and become “gods” or “goddesses” as a result of their various incarnations. This is very similar to Hindu teaching regarding karma and reincarnation.  

In describing the Wiccan concept of the God and the Goddess, one Wiccan explains:

“ALL RELIGIONS ARE structures built upon reverence of deity. Wicca is no exception. The Wicca acknowledge a supreme divine power, unknowable, ultimate, from which the entire universe sprang. The concept of this power, far beyond our comprehension, has nearly been lost in Wicca because of our difficulty in relating to it. Wiccans, however, link with this force through their deities. In accordance with the principles of nature, the supreme power was personified into two basic beings: the Goddess and the God….Because the Wicca see deity inherent in nature, many of us are involved in ecology—saving the earth from utter destruction by our own hands. The Goddess and God still exist, as they have always existed, and to honor them we honor and preserve our precious planet. In Wiccan thought, the deities didn’t exist before our spiritual ancestor’s acknowledgement of them. However, the energies behind them did; they created us. Early worshippers recognized these forces as the Goddess and God, personifying them in an attempt to understand them. The Old Ones didn’t die when the ancient pagan religions fell to Christianity in Europe.Most of the rites vanished, but they weren’t the only effective ones. Wicca is alive and well and the deities respond to our calls and invocations. When envisioning the Goddess and God, many of the Wicca see them as well-known deities from ancient religions. Diana, Pan, Isis, Hermes, Hina, Tammuz, Hecate, Ishtar, Cerridwen, Thoth, Tara, Aradia, Artemis, Pélé, Apollo, Kanaloa, Bridget, Helios, Bran, Lugh, Hera, Cybele, Inanna, Maui, Ea, Athena, Lono, Marduk—the list is virtually endless. Many of these deities, with their corresponding histories, rites, and mythic information, furnish the concept of deity for Wiccans….The Goddess and God are equal; neither is higher or more deserving of respect. Though some Wiccans focus their rituals toward the Goddess and seem to forget the God entirely, this is a reaction to centuries of stifling patriarchal religion, and the loss of acknowledgement of the feminine aspect of divinity. Religion based entirely on feminine energy, however, is as unbalanced and unnatural as one totally masculine in focus. The ideal is a perfect balance of the two. The Goddess and God are equal, complementary….Since the Goddess is nature, all nature, she is both the temptress and the crone; the tornado and the fresh spring rain; the cradle and the grave….The Goddess has been known as the Queen of Heaven, Mother of the Gods that Made the Gods, the Divine Source, the Universal Matrix, the Great Mother, and by countless other titles….The God has been revered for eons.He is neither the stern, all-powerful deity of Christianity and Judaism, nor is he simply the consort of the Goddess. God or Goddess, they are equal, one….With the Goddess, he also celebrates and rules sex. The Wicca don’t avoid sex or speak of it in hushed words. It’s a part of nature and is accepted as such. Since it brings pleasure, shifts our awareness away from the everyday world, and perpetuates our species, it is thought to be sacred. The God lustily imbues us with the urge that ensures our species’ biological future….Of old, the God was the Sky Father, and the Goddess, the Earth Mother. The God of the sky, of rain and lightning, descended upon and united with the Goddess, spreading seed upon the land, celebrating her fertility. Today the deities of Wicca are still firmly associated with fertility, but every aspect of human existence can be linked with the Goddess and God. They can be called upon to help us sort through the vicissitudes of our existences and bring joy into our often spiritually bereft lives….Beyond this, the Goddess and God can help us change our lives. Because the deities are the creative forces of the universe (not just symbols), we can call upon them to empower our rites and to bless our magic. Again, this is in direct opposition to most religions. The power is in the hands of every practitioner, not specialized priests or priestesses who perform these feats for the masses. This is what makes Wicca a truly satisfying way of life. We have direct links with the deities. No intermediaries are needed; no priests or confessors or shamans. We are the shamans.” (Scott Cunningham, Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner, 226-320 (Kindle Edition); Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications)

The Wiccan will usually therefore acknowledge belief in “God” or “Goddess,” and will also acknowledge that the existence of all the gods and goddesses of the religions around the world is possible and (in some cases), probable. 

Origins Of Wicca 

One of the interesting things that stood out in Cunninham’s description of the Goddess was her designation as the “Queen Of Heaven.”  

What is interesting to me about this is the fact that some elements of ancient Canaanite religion referred to their goddesses with this same terminology, as shown through the Prophet Jeremiah: 

Jeremiah 7:18-The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.

Jeremiah 44:17-19-17 But we will certainly do whatever has gone out of our own mouth, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings and our princes, in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. For then we had plenty of food, were well-off, and saw no trouble.

18 But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine.”

19 The women also said, “And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes for her, to worship her, and pour out drink offerings to her without our husbands’ permission?”

Jeremiah 44;25-Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!’

It should be pointed out that some researchers believe that there may be a connection between the origins of Wicca and the wicked sorcerer referred to in the Bible as “Simon,” and is typically known as “Simon Magus.”  

We are first introduced to Simon in the Book of Acts:

Acts 8:9-13-9 But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

10 to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the great power of God.”

11 And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

12 But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

13 Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.

Simon, unfortunately, soon apostatized from the Christian faith and was soundly rebuked by the Apostle Peter, even as he was exhorted to repent and pray to the Lord for forgiveness (Acts 8:14-22). Church history, however, reports that Simon continued in his wickedness, incorporating various forms of paganism with the teaching of the Apostles.  

In essence, Simon Magus became one of the first Gnsotics.  

In describing the possible connections between the origin of Wicca and Simon Magus, we read:

“Wicca is a modern derivative of ancient Witchcraft that willingly claims the actual label of “religion.” It can be traced directly to the influence of famous occultist Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) and one of his followers, Gerald Gardner (1884–1964), and is centered around the worship of the Lord and Lady, although it includes many other goddesses and gods. 15 It is here, interestingly enough, that the influence of Simon Magus—the sorcerer rebuked by the apostle Peter in Acts 8: 9—can be found, indicating a possible ancient source for the roots of Wicca. The Roman historian and bishop Hippolytus (c. 170 AD) described the doctrine of Magus in detail in his Philosophumena: The disciples, then, of this (Magus), celebrate magical rites, and resort to incantations. And (they profess to) transmit both love-spells and charms, and the demons said to be senders of dreams, for the purpose of distracting whomsoever they please. . . . “And they have an image of Simon (fashioned) into the figure of Jupiter, and (an image) of Helen [Simon’s paramour] in the form of Minerva; and they pay adoration to these.” But they call the one Lord and the other Lady. And if any one amongst them, on seeing the images of either Simon or Helen, would call them by name, he is cast off, as being ignorant of the mysteries. 16 Wiccans usually practice herbal magic and abide by the Rede doctrine, “An it harm none, do what ye will,” and the Threefold Law, which dictates that whatever Wiccans do (whether good or “evil”) will return to them at three times the force. 17 This is the Wiccan version of Hindu karma. All Wiccans do not claim to be Witches, and all Witches do not claim to be Wiccan. This is the elusive nature of Neopaganism. Some Wiccans maintain that they do not practice any magick, stating that their focus is only on the Wheel of the Year (observing the eight holidays or sabbats), and personal spirituality. Witches who are not Wiccan abide by the basic creed “Do what you will,” minus the “harm none” clause.” (Walter Martin, Jill Martin, Rische Kurt Van Gorden, The Kingdom Of The Occult, 9103-9108 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers) 

The “Goddess” 

A study of the “goddess” throughout the Old Testament history is both illuminating and terrifying. One former Wiccan, in describing the history of the goddess in ancient society, paints a vivid image:

““The Charge” does not tell us what the “due sacrifice” was that the Goddess received in Sparta, but the late Wiccan leader from Great Britain, Alex Sanders, has revealed the nature of the sacrifice. The “youths” were candidates for becoming priests of the Goddess. To prove their worthiness, they were castrated and required to run up to the top of the temple hill carrying their recently severed organs in their hand as an offering to the Goddess. If they made it to the top without fainting or bleeding to death, their wound was cauterized with boiling pitch and they were made priests of the Great Mother. 15 (ouch!) Obviously today, there would be few men wishing to become witches if this practice were being carried on. However, in traditional covens, it is still common for a ceremonial scar to be cut on the perineum of a male initiate. 16 This castration or scarring (called cicatrization) was fairly common in goddess cults of antiquity, as it symbolized a sort of artificial vagina which made the men (who lacked that particular organ) worthy to serve the Goddess. Obviously, this is pretty grisly stuff, especially in light of some of the historical practices we have mentioned. Can we really believe that a Goddess who demanded “due sacrifice” in the past is not doing so today? With all the whipping and “suffering in order to learn” going on in the covens, I would say that the statement that the Goddess demands no sacrifice rings a bit hollow. All we are doing here is presenting the fact that the sweet “Gentle Goddess” image that most witches are fed by their teachers is not borne out by history. This Goddess has a bloody, savage and vindictive side which cannot be ignored, especially in the light of what the Bible has to say about her….The Goddess first appears in the Bible by name in the days of King Solomon. Although he was noted for his piety and his wisdom, Solomon seems to have started to hang around with the wrong kind of women in his later years (around 984 B.C.). He married pagan women (1 Kings 11: 1), which was forbidden by God, and they dragged their pagan gods and goddesses into the family with them….Although most witches know this, I should point out that Ashtoreth is an older form of the name Asherah or Astarte, 17 one of the names found in the beginning invocation of the Drawing Down the Moon ceremony. So again, we are discussing an important and significant “version” or archetype of the “gentle” goddess of Wicca. We need to understand three things about these verses.

First, almost all of what is contained in them describes modern goddess-worship: the rituals on high hills and under “every green tree;” the talk of worshiping the host of heaven; and of course, divination and enchantments, which are all part and parcel of modern Wicca. Divination is anything like astrology or tarot cards; and enchantment is magic spells. Secondly, although some Pagan groups call themselves “groves,” 18 the term refers to an “Asherah pole” or an idol to Ashtoreth or Asherah, the goddess! Thus, we are hearing a report of the worship of one of the oldest forms of the goddess and her consort (in this case, Molech or Ba’al).
Thirdly, this “passing their sons and daughters through the fire” referred to a gruesome method of infant sacrifice done to the goddess and god. The idol representing the god had flames within it, which were stoked up and heated the idol’s form to a scorching surface temperature. The child being sacrificed was placed in the blistering arms of the idol and burned alive! Is it any wonder that God forbade the Israelites from worshiping the goddess?…Although “white” witches and other goddess worshipers today will loudly deny that they practice infant sacrifice; all they have done is institutionalize and legalize the practice. You will find that Wiccans are at the forefront of the movement to preserve the right of a woman to kill her baby through abortion. We ask ourselves, “What kind of parent would take their baby and fry it alive in the lap of an idol?” Yet our culture has accepted quite complacently the burning (with saline solution) or dismemberment (with suction) of babies in abortion clinics by the tens of millions! As a witch, I was militantly “Pro-choice….I now find it difficult to understand the moral differences between the goddess worshipers of the past who offered their babies on the altars of Ashtoreth or Ba’al and the Wiccan goddess worshipers today who work vigorously for the maintenance of their right to offer their babies on the altars of the abortionist….We should not be surprised to see Wiccans at the vanguard of the pro-abortion picket lines. After all, the first abortionists in history were probably witches. As a witch myself, I knew of half a dozen herbal “potions” which could induce spontaneous abortions.” (William Schnoebelen, Wicca: Satan’s Little White Lie, 1103-1158 (Kindle Edition); Ontario, CA; Chick Publications) 

When we consider the history of blood and human sacrifice tied in with the “older” forms of Wicca, it should certainly cause us to take pause and consider the “newer” form to determine if there really is as much difference between the two as we are often told that there is by Wiccan today.  

“Elementals” 

Another important part of Wiccan belief deals with “elementals.”  

Wiccans generally believe that everything in nature is able to be broken down into the basic “elemental” forces of earth, air, water, fire (and the fifth element of “spirit,” or Akashi, from which the other four elements were formed).  

It is further believed by some Wiccans that ancestral spirits can merge with these elementals after successive stages of death and reincarnation, and that these basic “elemental” powers may be harnessed through the use of magic (which involves incantations, use of hallucinogenic drugs, coven meetings, and ritualistic sex).  

This, of course, raises the interesting parallel of the “elementals” that the New Testament speaks of. Several passages of the New Testament hint of these “elemental spirits” in various forms (see Colossians 2:8, 20; Galatians 4:3, 9).  

Of particular interest is the Greek word, stoicheia. In some translations of the Bible, we read this word being translated as “basic principles of the world” (NKJV, NASB). However, other translations render the word as “elemental spirits of the universe” (RSV, NEB) and “the ruling spirits of the universe” (TEV).

Scholar Clinton Arnold, in discussing the linguistic and etymological nuances of the word, has written:

“The interpretation of stoicheia as personal spiritual entities is the most compelling view. Consequently this interpretation has commanded the consent of the majority of commentators in the history of the interpretation of the passages.12 This view is based partly on the widespread usage of stoicheia for astral spirits in the second and third centuries A.D. (and probably before)….It is important to realize that not only pagans used this word to refer to spirits, but Jews also used this word in that sense. The Jewish Testament of Solomon, written during the Roman Imperial period, includes five references to stoicheia as spirit beings….These terms further reflect the wide array of vocabulary in reference to spirit beings, shared by Jews and Gentiles alike. Paul drew from this reservoir of terminology with which his readers would be readily familiar. He showed no interest, however, in discussing what he believed to be true about the starry host. Rather, he lumped all manner of spirits together, affirmed Christ’s superiority, and encouraged believers to be prepared for their hostile intentions and attacks by reminding minding his readers of their past ability to enslave.” (Clinton E. Arnold, Powers Of Darkness: Principalities & Powers In Paul’s Letters, 53-54 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; InterVarsity Press)

Quite often in the pre-Flood religions, these spiritual powers were accessed through objects known as teraphim. There were two basic types of teraphim.  

The first type of teraphim utilized the skull of the firstborn male of a family. Believing that the spirit would stay connected to the skull, the ancients would attempt to harness the power of the spirit for knowledge and personal gain or retribution.  

The second type of teraphim was the creation of a doll which resembled a deceased human. These idols needed to be used at precise times (and hence, astrology played a major part in the ceremonies). It was also important to have candles, ritualistic knives and occult based objects in the ceremony to harness these elemental powers.  

We read of some of these things in the ancient book of Jasher (a book which is not inspired, but which is “recommended reading” by the Bible-see Joshua 10:13): 

Jasher 31:41-43-“And this is the manner of the images; in taking a man who is the first born and slaying him and taking the hair off his head, and taking salt and salting the head and anointing it in oil, then taking a small tablet of copper or a tablet of gold and writing the name upon it, and placing the tablet under his tongue, and taking the head with the tablet under the tongue and putting it in the house, and lighting up lights before it and bowing down to it. And at the time when they bow down to it, it speaketh to them in all matters that they ask of it, through the power of the name which is written in it. And some make them in the figures of men, of gold and silver, and go to them in times known to them, and the figures receive the influence of the stars, and tell them future things, and in this manner were the images which Rachel stole from her father, Laban.”

The spiritual forces that are harnessed in Wicca are very real, and the Word of God identifies these powers as wicked spirits that are opposed to God and His Word.  
Conclusion 

Wicca is an ancient religion that is based on various forms of paganism, which were introduced to mankind before the Global Flood, and which have continued throughout every time and culture in various religions and traditions.  

In our next article, we will study specifically about how Christians may minister to Wiccans and help them to see the truthfulness of the Gospel and the power of Jesus Christ over all demonic power and sin (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; Mark 16:15-16: John 8:31-34).  

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. amen.  

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