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Spiritual Practices: Witchcraft | Runes | Magic

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Question from a "post-Christian" (ex-fundamentalist):  Are there really witches, or only New Agers and others thinking they are? If they exist now, why did we stop burning them in the 18th Century? (Do you suspect, as I do, that some of those witches may have been innocent unfortunates?  Should we re-instate the process?

Yes, there are really witches. Some call themselves Wiccan, other are proud to be called pagans. 

Yes, many of the so-called "witches" who were burned during the middle ages or later were simply women who looked or acted differently, who didn't pass a certain "weight" test, or who were victims of false accusation and public distrust. See Biblical versus Cultural Christianity.

No, of course the burning of witches should not be re-instated. Jesus taught us to love and forgive as we live and walk among the people of the world. We are called to be "in the world" but not "of the world." That implies that we demonstrate His love to those caught up in witchcraft but abstain from their practices. In America and elsewhere, witches have as much right to express their beliefs as do Christians.

Runes & Witchcraft:

Question: One of the speakers on the [televised National Geographics] show (I don't know if he was a witch or not) said PRECISELY what Voldemort says at the end of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: basically that there is no good or evil, only power. The Cornish witch was using quotes from the Bible (!) to cast a blood spell just before he slices his hand open. He drips the blood onto a printout of Bible verses.

I am not slamming this poor deceived man because I did the same thing  nine years ago by carving runes into a stick and pricking my finger to bleed onto them. When I lived in the Bay Area, I went to the spring equinox celebrations of an Asatru group called Freya's Folk. Most of them were very kind and polite and I'm sure none of them realized what they were doing was evil. I knew it. and I still participated in it 'till God revealed to me through nightmares and hallucinations exactly what kind of horrors I was fooling around with. I'm glad He did!

Oh yeah, the Cornish witch used a spell when he was a kid to get revenge on a thug at school, like Harry Potter.

One question I have about runes: are they evil in and of themselves? I like writing in runes, specifically the Elder Futhark, but I don't ascribe any supernatural power to them. I don't think I ever really did. I knew all along that I was doing evil, that nature and inanimate objects had no power of their own, and that the spirits were demons. But I was still dumb enough to try to convince myself that dabbling in Paganism was safe.

I was an ulfhedhinn or werewolf, i.e., I had a dog/wolf familiar that I hope I've gotten rid of. I think it was a demon that took the form of a dog because it knew I liked animals in the dog family. I even tried to do shape-shifting even though I knew I couldn't really change into an animal.

I don't practice Paganism any more, so I would like to know if it's safe to write in runes just as a form of alphabet and not as a religious practice. If I draw a picture with a Viking/Norse theme I like to sign my last name in runes. If runes are always connected with demons I'll get rid of the Futhark font on my Mac. (I'm gladI
found a Scandinavian Christian to ask about this.) Fortunately I now have a real, God-created flesh-and-blood pet dog, not a demonic-familiar cheap imitation.

Answer: Originally, the Norse runes were primarily a way of writing messages -- like hiroglypics or (as you said) our modern alphabet. But they were also used in occult rituals to transmit energies or invoke occult forces. In our times, thanks in part to Tolkien, the latter use is gaining popularity. Any ritual object showing runes can continue to cause spiritual trouble through demonic attachments. Since you were involved in the occult, it's all the more important for you to eliminate all traces of the old symbols and links to those dark forces.

Yes, please get rid of the Futhark font right away. By earnest prayer -- affirming the freeing victory that Christ won for us at cross and the power of His blood to cleanse you from all occult entanglements -- "clean" your home of all the old stuff associated with paganism.


Question: When is majic okay? This has become an issue in our house. Is the use of majic in Thomas Tank Engine movie okay or what about the Hobbit. We do not wish to be legalistic in our household but are looking for some standards that are clear cut. I know the bible speaks against wizards, sorcery and divination but how is this applied to the world we know. Are fairy tales acceptable? Just trying to stay ahead of my young children.

Answer: (This is only the beginning of an answer.) You ask good questions. First let's see what God tells us:

"And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed." Acts 19:18-20 [These verses have become offensive to many, especially those who consider burning a book more offensive than swearing or dishonoring God.]


"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you.You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you." Deuteronomy 18:9-12


"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,

And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

He also has rejected you from being king." 1 Samuel 15:23


"They shall come upon you in their fullness

Because of the multitude of your sorceries,

For the great abundance of your enchantments.

For you have trusted in your wickedness;

You have said, ‘No one sees me’;

Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you....

Stand now with your enchantments

And the multitude of your sorceries,

In which you have labored from your youth....

Let now the astrologers, the stargazers and the monthly prognosticators

Stand up and save you from what shall come upon you."  Isaiah 47:9-12

Next, consider the wisdom of godly Christians whose biblical understanding was not compromised by today's emphasis on personal pleasure, good feelings, multicultural "tolerance" and a "creative imagination.". 

Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Magic ...  All magical arts were distinctly prohibited under penalty of death in the Mosaic law. The Jews were commanded not to learn the “abomination” of the people of the Promised Land (Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9–14). The history of Saul’s consulting the witch of Endor (1 Sam. 28:3–20) gives no warrant for attributing supernatural power to magicians. From the first the witch is here only a bystander. The practice of magic lingered among the people till after the Captivity, when they gradually abandoned it.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible  Acts 8:4-9?

"2. They said of [Simon], This man is the great power of God—the power of God, that great power (so it might be read), that power which made the world. See how ignorant inconsiderate people mistake that which is done by the power of Satan, as if it were done by the power of God. Thus, in the Gentile world, devils pass for deities; and in the antichristian kingdom all the world wonders after a beast, to whom the dragon gives his power, and who opens his mouth in blasphemy against God, Rev. 13:2-5. 3. They were brought to it by his sorceries: He bewitched the people of Samaria (v. 9), bewitched them with sorceries (v. 11), that is, either, (1.) By his magic arts he bewitched the minds of the people, at least some of them, who drew in others. Satan, by God’s permission, filled their hearts to follow Simon. O foolish Galatians, saith Paul, who hath bewitched you? Gal. 3:1. These people are said to be bewitched by Simon, because they were so strangely infatuated to believe a lie. Or, (2.) By his magic arts he did many signs and lying wonders, which seemed to be miracles, but really were not so: like those of the magicians of Egypt, and those of the man of sin, 2 Th. 2:9. When they knew no better, they were influenced by his sorceries...."

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible - Acts 19:13-20

1. Those that had been guilty of wicked practices confessed them, v. 18. Many that had believed and were baptized, but had not then been so particular as they might have been in the confession of their sins, were so terrified with these instances of the magnifying of the name of Jesus Christ that they came to Paul, or some of the other ministers that were with him, and confessed....

2. Those that had conversed with wicked books burnt them (v. 19): Many also of those who used curious arts, ta periergaimpertinent things; multa nihil ad se pertinentia satagentes—busy bodies (so the word is used, 2 Th. 3:11; 1 Tim. 5:13), that traded in the study of magic and divination, in books of judicial astrology, casting nativities, telling fortunes, raising and laying spirits, interpreting dreams, predicting future events, and the like, to which some think are to be added plays, romances, love-books, and unchaste and immodest poems—histrionica, amatoria, saltatoria.—Stres. These, having their consciences more awakened than ever to see the evil of those practices in which these books instructed them, brought their books together, and burnt them before all men. Ephesus was notorious for the use of these curious arts; hence spells and charms were called Literae Ephesiae. Here people furnished themselves with all those sorts of books, and, probably, had tutors to instruct them in those black arts. It was therefore much for the honour of Christ and his gospel to have such a noble testimony borne against those curious arts, in a place where they were so much in vogue. It is taken for granted that they were convinced of the evil of these curious arts, and resolved to deal in them no longer; but they did not think this enough unless they burnt their books. (

1.) Thus they showed a holy indignation at the sins they had been guilty of; as the idolaters, when they were brought to repentance, said to their idols, Get you hence (Isa. 30:22), and cast even those of silver and gold to the moles and to the bats, Isa. 2:20.... 

(2.) Thus they showed their resolution never to return to the use of those arts, and the books which related to them, again. They were so fully convinced of the evil and danger of them that they would not throw the books by, within reach of a recall, upon supposition that it was possible they might change their mind; but, being stedfastly resolved never to make use of them, they burnt them. 

(3.) Thus they put away a temptation to return to them again. Had they kept the books by them, there was danger lest, when the heat of the present conviction was over, they should have the curiosity to look into them, and so be in danger of liking them and loving them again, and therefore they burnt them. Note, Those that truly repent of sin will keep themselves as far as possible from the occasions of it. 

(4.) Thus they prevented their doing mischief to others. If Judas had been by he would have said, "Sell them, and give the money to the poor;’’ or, "Buy Bibles and good books with it.’’ But then who could tell into whose hands these dangerous books might fall, and what mischief might be done by them? it was therefore the safest course to commit them all to the flames. Those that are recovered from sin themselves will do all they can to keep others from falling into it, and will be much more afraid of laying an occasion of sin in the way of others. 

(5.) Thus they showed a contempt of the wealth of this world; for the price of the books was cast up, probably by those that persuaded them not to burn them, and it was found to be fifty thousand pieces of silver, which some compute to be fifteen hundred pounds of our money. It is probable that the books were scarce, perhaps prohibited, and therefore dear. Probably they had cost them so much; yet, being the devil’s books, though they had been so foolish as to buy them, they did not think this would justify them in being so wicked as to sell them again. 

(6.) Thus they publicly testified their joy for their conversion from these wicked practices, as Matthew did by the great feast he made when Christ had called him from the receipt of cu[2]

[1]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[2]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.


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