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It's a Halloween question: is there Christian witchcraft?

Answer: ask Kristine McGuire, author of Escaping the Caldron.

She attended a Christian (non-Catholic) church -- even sat up front with the worship team -- at the same time that she was immersed in the religion of witches, wicca.

"As a Christian I incorporated my faith and church symbolism I liked into the Craft," she says (in a second book, Dancing With the Devil, which features a number of accounts from former occultists). "I worshipped Father, Son, and Holy (Mother/Sophia) Spirit. When I cast a sacred circle for ritual or spellcraft, I invited angels to join me as guardians of north, south, east, and west. Christian witchcraft is not only possible, but it is also a growing phenomenon. More people are practicing spirituality without restrictions, so they glean whatever beliefs appeal to them and mash them together."

This derives, in part, from all the occult we feed our kids; it derives from wizard stories, and glorification of witches, plus vampires. It comes from the obsession with ghost hunters.

But it also comes from what McGuire calls the new mantra: "I'm spiritual but not religious."

"Witchcraft is not a religion," she explains. "It is spiritual."

When you do that, when you eliminate religion, you can take things out of Scripture (and out of context) and use them as you will.

"For instance, Exodus 22:18 says, 'You must not allow a sorceress to live,''" notes McGuire. "The original Hebrew word translated 'sorceress' is m'khashepah. The root word, kashaph, is translated 'to whisper' (as in a spell, sorcery, or enchantment to harm others). As a witch I believed magick was neutral, with the intention of the practitioner being the key. I chose to practice magick that benefited my life and family. Therefore judgment against a sorceress (or witch) did not apply to me. There was a time in my life when I was a witch, medium, and lead investigator for a ghost-hunting group."

She was to find out -- the hard way -- that the "spirits" were actually demons, from which she eventually had to be delivered. She says the same is true with UFO "aliens." It is interesting that in Hebrew "serpent" (as in the Garden) is linked to the word hiss, and "to whisper a magic spell," Genesis 3. (Was this the very beginning of witchcraft?)

The former occultist warns that young people begin witchcraft at an early age through "innocent" games like "light as a feather, stiff as a board" (in which youngsters gather in a circle touching a person in the middle to in effect cause levitation) and adults by use of things such as astrology and the pendulum. Let us add: Ouija board.

In Dancing With the Devil, others warn of practices such as yoga. "Within yoga even the trained yogis admit the basics of the first stage in yoga are designed to attain mystical union with the Universal Spirit," notes a former spiriutalist. "Yogis warn that yoga, transcendental meditation, and opening the chakras can arouse dangerous supernatural forces, especially the kundalini (which means "coiled one") serpent spirit of the spinal base chakra. Yogis admit that the main aim for practicing yoga is not merely to relax or enjoy gentle exercise but to gain occultic powers."

Adds McGuire, "While there are those who specifically claim Christian witchcraft as their spiritual path (as I did) and call themselves witches, there are plenty of people who are in fact practicing the 'Craft.' They are not necessarily using those terms, but they are incorporating such things as candle meditation, chakras, or divination into their religious practice. They may call themselves 'mystical Christians,' or describe their beliefs in some other way, but they are practicing a form of witchcraft all the same."

[resources: Dancing with the Devil

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