Should We Be Concerned about Witchcraft?
In my research on Wicca among today’s teenagers, I (Dillon) came across the following article from FamilyEducation.com that reveals the attitude of a teenager involved in Wicca:
“I’m very proud of what I am,” says 21-year-old Angelique T. She identifies herself as a witch and practices Wicca, a naturalistic pagan religion that dates back to the time of the Druids in ancient Europe. “If I have a problem at work, which I do right now, my favorite thing to do is to burn a white candle and ask the goddess for whatever it is that I need.”
Angelique’s mother, an author who goes by the pen name Silver RavenWolf, has written Teen Witch: Wicca for a New Generation (Llewellyn Publications). RavenWolf’s publishers say the book is one of their fastest sellers, testament to Wicca’s growing appeal to teenagers.
“Most of the letters I get are from kids who want to be more spiritual,” RavenWolf offers. “In a world where (teens) are perceived to have little control, I would think Wicca would be self-empowering. You don’t have to rely on others to tell you what God said. You can speak to God in your own way.”[i]
The book Teen Witch has sold at least 150,000 copies according to reports from its publisher, creating a new niche market of books on witchcraft targeted toward a teen audience. But who is reading these books? Catherine Edwards Sanders, in her excellent book Wicca’s Charm, shares the following challenge:
Conduct the following survey and consider the results; they might surprise you. Five years ago they surprised me. Find a group of seventeen-year-old girls in private and public schools, in red states or blue, and ask if any of them have Wiccan friends or know people interested in Wicca. When I asked a group of teenagers at my church this question, all the girls raised their hands.[ii]
In my informal discussions, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. When I ask teenagers if they know anyone who is into Wicca or witchcraft, the answer is nearly always a unanimous “yes.” But when I ask youth pastors, church leaders, or parents if they know anyone involved in Wicca or witchcraft, most give me a blank stare. Clearly, there’s a disconnect between what is happening with teenagers’ involvement in Wicca and what church leaders and parents think is happening.
Teenage Involvement in Wicca
One Wiccan practitioner named Michael, a high school senior from Missouri, told me his story about his involvement with the craft. In addition to serving as a practitioner, he has formed an online discussion group for what he calls “Christian Wicca,” a blending of faiths he believes provides a more accurate picture of both Wicca and Christianity. His story highlights the attempts by a growing number of people to integrate Wiccan beliefs with their Christian perspective:
My story is one that is short lived at this time, as I am a practitioner of only a few months. I was born into a practically atheist home and found Christianity at the age of 14. I began to question my faith and denounced Christianity and started studying some other religions. I have not been able to go too far at this time due to a lack of funds and a good library. But I started studying the book Earth Power (Scott Cunningham), and started to dabble in some of its practices and a few others. I purchased The Craft (Dorothy Morrison) and Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (Cunningham) and found myself in a faith I could truly hold dear to my heart.
I did, however, feel somewhat empty still. Jesus has been a part of my life for almost three years, and has helped me become who I am today. I started looking into Christian Wicca then.
I follow the Wiccan Rede, but also take the Ten Commandments to heart greatly. “You shall not hold any Gods before me.” This is one that people really don’t get when it comes to my beliefs. I believe that there is only One true God, and that all other gods are part of the One. The Christian Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is also somewhat of a reflection of this. I view it as God, Goddess (the feminine quality of God), and Jesus, all still being part of One being.
Though Michael’s beliefs are distinctly different from my own, I appreciated his honesty and openness. But his story is not as uncommon as we might think.
Unfortunately, some Christians and non-Christians have responded in ways that have made the situation worse. One former Wiccan I interviewed told me that during high school a guy came up to her on the street, shook her, and yelled at her that she was going to hell. Clearly, inside today’s schools and classrooms, some teenagers have experienced serious mistreatment for their affiliation with Wicca. As believers, we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. How else can we help those involved in today’s witchcraft?
Talking to Teenagers about Involvement in Witchcraft
As a parent, youth worker, or other person involved in the life of a teenager who practices Wicca, what can you do? How can you help? Should you intervene? Here are three tips to help in addressing those involved in witchcraft, Wicca, or similar practices.
Hear Them Out
If you’re a parent who has recently discovered that your teen is involved in Wicca, you may want to yell, scream, or cry, but that’s not likely to help. If your kid thinks you don’t care enough to listen to him or her, why would he or she be interested in the alternatives you suggest? As hard as it may be to listen, respect your teenager enough to at least their side of the story.
Take Appropriate Action
As a parent, you have the authority to tell your teenager that you will not allow him or her to practice witchcraft in any form in your home. Again, the way you say this is as important as what you say, but you can lovingly require that all items involved with witchcraft be removed from your home and practices ended.
While some will be upset at this response, you as a parent are the primary spiritual influence on your teenager. The convicting part of this scenario is that your teenager may have chosen Wicca because he or she was not finding spiritual fulfillment elsewhere. As your teen’s spiritual leader, you are now being challenged to offer something that is better than what he or she is experiencing in witchcraft. Biblical Christianity does offer a better and more powerful alternative, but you must live it out with integrity for your teenager to see it.
Keep a Long-Term Perspective
When I say long-term, I mean really long—an eternal perspective. Your goal as a parent or youth worker is not just to win an argument. Your role is to point the way to the true and living God. Your teenager may become angry at any requirements for change you make, but don’t let this discourage you. Your goal is to make the best long-term decisions possible to help your teenager follow Jesus Christ.
Witchcraft should be a concern for those who are believers. It is a system that follows different gods, opposing beliefs to biblical Christianity, and ultimately leaves people open to the powers of spiritual darkness. We don’t need to fear or flee addressing witchcraft, but rather need an informed, compassionate response that guides others towards God’s love and God’s Word through our words and actions.
[Some material adapted from chapter 10 of Generation Hex by Dillon Burroughs and Marla Alupoaicei, Harvest House, 2008.]
[i] Katy Abel, “Wicca: Many Girls Find It Spellbinding,” Family Education.com. Accessed at http://life.familyeducation.com/occult/religion/36520.html.
[ii] Catherine Edwards Sanders, Wicca’s Charm (Colorado Springs: Shaw Books, 2005), 97.