Author Topic: Witchcraft  (Read 254 times)

Offline jbseth

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Hi All,

Every year, at about this time of year; “Halloween”, I seem to be attracted to the psychic, intuitive, and earth nature side of things. While I think some of this may be cultural for me (I was born in October and I really like Halloween) I also suspect that some of it may be natural for man (man’s direct relation to nature and the changing of the seasons).

Last year, at about this time, I started to wonder about “witchcraft”.  Specifically, I was wondering whether any of the various stories that we typically hear about this topic really are valid.  As a result of this, I decided to check out the libraries, bookstores and the internet, just to see what I could find about this topic.

As this was quite interesting to me, and I suspect may be it would be interesting to some of you, so I thought I’d share with you what I learned about witchcraft.



During my investigation, I started by reading several books on Wicca. Wicca is a form of witchcraft which seems to be natural and earth based and which consists of practices and spells that are used to create certain desired effects.  Wicca, has a moral code that says, “harm none”, and this moral code, appears to keep it mostly positive.

Then, I read the book, “Witches of America”, by Alex Mar. This book contains a wealth of information about the various forms and varieties of witchcraft practiced today. These forms include Wicca, the “Feri” who are followers of a movement by Victor Anderson, another group, the OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis) who are followers of a movement by Aleister Crowley, and a lot of other similar and mixed variations on all of these.

Based upon what I’ve read in this book and others, I’d say that some practitioners of witchcraft, don’t hold themselves to the Wiccan moral code.

In this book, I discovered that some practitioners of the various forms of witchcraft appear to believe in the spirits of various Gods and Goddesses. These include Roman, Greek, Celtic, Nordic, and Hindu gods and goddesses to name a few. Some also believe in the various gods and goddesses of other religions like those of the Voodoo and Santeria religions for example. In many of these practices, practitioners purposely put themselves into a trance like state so that they can be “possessed” by the spirit of some specific god and goddess. This is done so that these gods and goddesses can come into these people and through them, tell the local witchcraft community, what they, the god or goddess, wish to have done.


This possession idea surprised me a little because I was wondering how you’d ever get rid of a god, if he didn’t want to leave?   Then after thinking about this for a while, I realized that in some cases, it isn’t that much different than what some mediums or channellers do.

Some people have claimed that while the god / goddess is in possession of a person’s body, that person’s body can do things like walk through fire, without being burned.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t find anything that specifically indicates that there are any witchcraft groups who actually worship the Devil. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any, but if there are, then they are definitely underground.

There are some groups who worship “Lucifer”, the angel of light, but this is not the Christian idea of the Devil. Along with this, there are some who worship the Pagan god, Pan, which physically looks like Christian image of the Devil, but again this is not the Christian concept of the Devil.

Then again there is a group who calls themselves, “The Church of Satan” and this group uses what is called, “The Satanic Bible”, as their text. Apparently this group is largely a group of people who don’t believe in God, and are atheists.  They believe that man created God himself, and that includes the Devil.




Next, I read the book, “The Serpent and the Rainbow” by Wade Davis. This book is about zombies and the voodoo practice in Haiti.  This is not about the zombie stuff we see on TV today, instead, this is about actual people in Haiti, who came to believe that they were, in fact, zombies, the walking dead.

Apparently what happened was this. A voodoo practitioner would brew a special “concoction” partially made from the poison of the deadly puffer fish. Then this concoction was somehow placed on one of these people. As a result of this, after a short while, the person would appear to die and his life signs would no longer appear to exist. Oddly enough, during this apparent death experience, the person would still be both very much alive and very much conscious of what was going on.

Next, the person was buried (alive) typically in shallow grave so that they wouldn’t actually die and then a short time later, they’d be dug back up, and transported across the country to a location where nobody knew him. Then, he was given to a local farmer (who had previously paid for him) and was put to work by this farmer as a slave.  The farmer, would then continue to regularly administer a mild form of this concoction to this person’s food, so as to keep him in a stupor and believing that he was a zombie.

Wade Davis, the author of this book, was a biochemical researcher, who investigated this subject by talking to one of the people who came to believe that he was a zombie but somehow managed to escape.  With much risk to his life, Wade was able to determine the substances used in this concoction and then isolate the active chemical, which turned out to be tetrodotoxin; from comes from the puffer fish.

In this book I learned a lot about the voodoo practices in Haiti and how they seem to be similar to many forms of witchcraft.





Next, I read the book, “The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss” by Dennis McKenna.

This book is about 2 brothers who travel to South America, in search of “ayahuasca”, a psychedelic concoction made by the native peoples of South America from 2 separate plants.  This concoction is used by these people in their various native religious practices.

Here I learned about some of the various native groups of South America.  I also learned that some of these groups have sorcerers or witches who cast spells on people, some of which are deadly.  These sorcerers and witches, also could be said to be practicing a form of witchcraft.  In this book I learned about some of the native South American religious practices and how they also seem to be similar to many forms of witchcraft.



Finally, I looked on the internet and discovered that in some countries like Italy and Romania, there are still some people today, who practice some “old ways”, which seem to be some form of witchcraft.




What is witchcraft? I’d say that like Christianity, there are very many forms of witchcraft and no one form describes it all.  In addition to this, I’d say that the practices of many native cultures could be considered as some form of witchcraft, as well.

Does anyone practice Devil Worship? I don’t know. Maybe, but not that I could find. This doesn’t mean that Devil Worship doesn’t exist. It could just be well hidden underground.

I think that Devil Worship might strictly be a Judeo-Christian based concept. What I mean by this is that the Devil does appear to be a “Judeo-Christian” concept and similarly, the concept that Jesus was God is also a Christian based concept.

That is, I’m not aware of any Hindu or Buddhist, for example, who believes that Jesus was God or believes in the Devil. 

Likewise, I’m not aware of any witchcraft group that believes that Jesus was God and I’m not aware of any witchcraft group who believes in the Devil. Thus, I think that it’s entirely plausible that no witchcraft group actually practices Devil worship and that this is only a Judeo-Christian based concept.

jbseth



Offline Sena

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Re: Witchcraft
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2018, 08:45:31 PM »
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  • Quote from: jbseth
    That is, I’m not aware of any Hindu or Buddhist, for example, who believes that Jesus was God or believes in the Devil. 
    jbseth,
    Interesting topic. There is a fairly common belief in "devils" among Sri Lankan Buddhists, referred to as "yakshas". This is not really a part of the Buddhist teachings. In contrast to the Christian belief that Satan is very powerful and can only be defeated by Christ, the yakshas in Sri Lanka are not that powerful and can be defeated by human beings. There is a devil dancing ceremony, something of a social occasion, in which the yaksha is chased away. The yaksha is thought to have been causing some illness, often a mental illness, and devil dancing is the remedy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dances_of_Sri_Lanka#Devil_Dances

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yaksha_Kingdom

    In contrast to the folk beliefs in non-European countries, the idea of witchcraft was used by the Catholic Church as a pretext to persecute and kill women. The women accused of witchcraft were often spiritual healers who provided a useful service at a time when medical interventions may have done more harm than good. The Church wanted to deny any spiritual role to independent women.

    In the eyes of fundamentalist Christians, Jane Roberts was a witch, and Seth a demon:

    ""Recently he (Richard Bach) discovered Jane Roberts, a poet and a writer who, since 1963, has been a conduit for the spoken words of another demon called Seth." This demon has a name Seth. "It's all done in daylight," says Bach. "There's just this one small middle-aged woman in a rocking chair, Jane Roberts. When Seth speaks, her voice deepens and even the lines of her face seem to change. I've seen her face in a trance, some pictures of it, and, indeed, it is, if ever there was a demonic trance, just that. And as she goes into this trance, this demon dictates through her."

    https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/1218/demons-and-magic
    « Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 09:19:32 PM by Sena »

    Offline jbseth

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #2 on: October 17, 2018, 10:53:10 AM »
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  • Hi Sena,

    Thanks for your reply. I didn’t know about the yaksha’s, this is the first times I’ve heard about them.

    From what I understand, the Christian Church began using “heresy” from its very earliest days in order to set the “official” or “orthodox” beliefs apart from others. For example, Irenaeus   

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irenaeus   

    used it to set the “official” Church doctrine apart from the beliefs of those people who were Gnostics.

    Once Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire, sometime after Emperor Constantine’s rule, people started using “heresy” as a tool to persecute those people they didn’t like, such as the people who still practiced the Pagan Roman religious beliefs. Then, later on, it was used it to persecute the Cathars, the Moslems, and people of Jewish faith. Then afterwards, it was used to persecute witches and the Protestants as well.

    In “Seth Speaks”, Chapter 21, Session 586, Seth talks about how "spiritual ignorance" is the basis for many of our problems.  I suspect that the real issue here has to do with “spiritual ignorance” and not with Christianity. I don’t believe that a spiritually enlightened person would ever do these things, while a “spiritually ignorance” person might. I also think that this fundamental Christian, who calls Jane Roberts a witch and Seth a demon, is spiritually unenlightened.

    jbseth

    Offline Deb

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #3 on: October 17, 2018, 03:11:09 PM »
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  • Great and timely topic! First off, Happy Birthday!

    From an early age I'd always been fascinated with stories about witchcraft, zombies, the supernatural, anything outside what I considered normal and "boring" reality.

    The first thing that came to mind with your post is what Seth said about witch doctors:

    "(10:10.) Even in primitive societies, witch doctors and other natural therapists have understood that the point of power is in the present, and they have utilized natural hypnosis as a method of helping other individuals to concentrate their own energy. All of the gestures, dances, and other procedures are shock treatments, startling the subject out of habitual reactions so that he or she is forced to focus upon the present moment. The resulting disorientation simply shakes current beliefs and dislodges set frameworks. The hypnotist, or witch doctor, or therapist, then immediately inserts the beliefs he thinks the subject needs."

    "Quite without the context of formal hypnosis, however, the same issues apply. With the greatest understanding and compassion, let me mention that Western medicine is in its way one of the most uncivilized hypnotic devices. The most educated Western doctors will look with utter dismay and horror at the thought of a chicken being sacrificed in a primitive witch doctor’s hut, and yet will consider it quite scientific and inevitable that a woman sacrifice two breasts to cancer. The doctors will simply see no other way out, and unfortunately neither will the patient."

    "In your time, medical men, again with great superiority, look at primitive cultures and harshly judge the villagers they think are held in the sway of witch doctors or voodooism; and yet through advertisement and organization, your doctors impress upon each individual in your culture that you must have a physical examination every six months or you will get cancer; that you must have medical insurance because you will become ill."

    —NoPR Chapter 16: Session 659, April 25, 1973

    A few years ago I was reading a book about beliefs and healing, Joe Dispenza's book on the placebo effect. A doctor was trying to heal a person who believed in vodoo and he was dying because he felt someone had put a curse on him. The doctor convinced the patient that he had confronted the cursor and came up with a drama to make the patient think he had removed the curse. There was a miraculous healing.

    As much as I love all the creativity and imagination of the supernatural, I feel it on a practical level it all still comes down to what (and who) we believe. We are the creators. There are devil worshippers/Satanists, witches/wicca (or in the old days perhaps, healers), nature worshippers, pagans, sun or moon worshippers, believers in traditional religion, angels, gods, ghosts, demons, possession, vampires, zombies, witchdoctors, golems, chupacabras, curses, the evil eye, doctors, pills, lawyers… wow, it seems like people have always really needed to believe in a higher power, good or bad. There seems to be a general belief in the weakness of man. And yes, they seem based in religion or culture.

    That demons and magic link is very interesting, I will read that in its entirety soon. I just took a quick look and while I read the Time Magazine a few years ago, I honestly don't remember Richard Back saying Jane was speaking for a demon. He visited her, asking for advice essentially because he felt Seagull was channelled. The article is available in this post: https://speakingofseth.com/index.php?msg=3291. I'll update here if my memory is faulty.


    Offline jbseth

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #4 on: October 17, 2018, 10:48:11 PM »
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  • Hi Deb,

    Hey, thanks for the Happy Birthday.  :)


    In regards to your “Joe Dispenza” story where doctors healed a person who believed he was dying because someone put a voodoo hex on him, I seem to recall coming across a similar but different story, which may have come from the “Serpent and the Rainbow” book where a person “died” because he believed that he was hexed. This had to do with a voodoo “bone” hex, as I recall. The medical doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him, but he died anyway.


    I really think that this says a lot about the power of belief. I also agree with you, I too believe that belief plays a significant part in all of this. 

     
    Oh, also I took a look at that link posted by Sena.  While it at first appears that Richard Bach said that Jane was a witch and Seth was a demon, for example, I don’t think that Richard Bach ever said these things. Upon closer inspection of the article in this like, it appears that Richard Bach was talking about Jane and Seth and the fundamentalist Christian author of this article was actually saying these things about Jane and Seth.


    jbseth

    Offline Sena

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #5 on: October 18, 2018, 06:44:53 AM »
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  • Quote from: jbseth
    Oh, also I took a look at that link posted by Sena.  While it at first appears that Richard Bach said that Jane was a witch and Seth was a demon, for example, I don’t think that Richard Bach ever said these things. Upon closer inspection of the article in this like, it appears that Richard Bach was talking about Jane and Seth and the fundamentalist Christian author of this article was actually saying these things about Jane and Seth.
    Deb, thanks for the correction.

    Offline LarryH

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #6 on: October 18, 2018, 07:58:23 AM »
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  • I looked at that link from Sena mentioning Richard Bach. The writer of that article got a lot wrong, both opinion and misrepresentation. Opinions like Jonathon Livingston Seagull was written by a demon. Allegations like Jane wrote down what Seth was dictating (actually it was Rob) and that Rob started channeling Seth (a claim nowhere to be found in the Seth materials), etc.

    Offline jbseth

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #7 on: October 18, 2018, 09:43:45 PM »
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  • Hi Deb,

    In your post above you said the following:

    "As much as I love all the creativity and imagination of the supernatural, I feel it on a practical level it all still comes down to what (and who) we believe. We are the creators."


    Today will looking through, "The Early Sessions", Book 4, Session 157, I found the following Seth quote:

    "Enough cannot be said along these lines regarding the nature of your expectations, for according to the manner in which you expect your reality to behave, in that manner shall it be."


    jbseth


    Offline Deb

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #8 on: October 19, 2018, 10:39:58 AM »
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  • Quote from: jbseth
    I seem to recall coming across a similar but different story, which may have come from the “Serpent and the Rainbow” book where a person “died” because he believed that he was hexed. This had to do with a voodoo “bone” hex, as I recall. The medical doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with him, but he died anyway.

    Yep, Joe Dispenza also talks about the nocebo effect which is "when negative expectations of the patient regarding a treatment cause the treatment to have a more negative effect than it otherwise would have." So I suppose these curses would fall into that category. Joe gives cases to support this where people are told by their drs that they have a certain illness and have only so much time to live. Sure enough, they die, and then it's found later they were not ill. Belief or expectation, it's hard for me to differentiate these much in my mind.

    Quote from: LarryH
    I looked at that link from Sena mentioning Richard Bach. The writer of that article got a lot wrong, both opinion and misrepresentation.

    Quote from: Sena
    Deb, thanks for the correction.

    I don't think there's a correction issue, I think the author of the article on demons was very misleading, and sees demons everywhere. I hate to think he's giving sermons and has faithful followers. I hope it was due to an inability to write and not a deliberate attempt to mislead. It's hard to tell whether he was relaying opinions from the "outstanding theologian" Kurt Koch, or the books he read… or himself. I've never heard of him (John MacArthur), the article was written in 1973. He's written a lot of books since then. I am also fact-checking the Blatty quote, I have a client who has an Ouija board museum and is an expert (but non-believer that the board is supernatural in any way). He probably even has the board from the Exorcist movie.

    I thought this quote from the Time article was great (end of page 65): "[Seth] also told Bach that every individual consciousness has many aspects that move freely through time and space. Jonathan was not alien but came from one of Bach's aspects. 'Information, then, becomes new and is reborn as it is interpreted through a new consciousness.' " And further on "Whoever he is or is not, Seth speaks with more cogency than most of the troubled spirits that find their way into print.;D

    Update on the Exorcist quote:

    Hi Deb,

    That’s a quote that comes up occasionally on Christian right channels that warn against the Ouija board. It actually seems to be a quote of a quote: https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/1218/demons-and-magic

    Whether he actually said that is debatable and it seems that if he did it was probably a little movie hype and a good way to advertise "The Exorcist." As to whether “mental institutions are loaded with people who got hooked on the occult via the Ouija board" we always thought that was ridiculous but since that was our gut and not something we actually researched, we decided to call a bunch of hospital psych wards to see if it were true. We also checked with some mental health professionals that we knew. Answers ranged from long pauses to stifled laughter. We thought we would get at least one Ouija board admission but no – not even one. This isn’t to say that unhinged people never blame the occult for their mental disorders – they do occasionally, especially if they come from a culture that strongly discourages it, but mostly it seems, and history bears this out, that it is Christian propaganda.

    Best,

    Gene

    « Last Edit: October 19, 2018, 01:45:38 PM by Deb »

    Offline jbseth

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #9 on: October 19, 2018, 06:05:09 PM »
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  • Hi Deb,

    Thanks for sharing, that's some interesting information.

    I've also heard of the "nocebo" effect as well.  Michael Talbot talks about the "placebo" effect in his book "The Holographic Universe" and he also talks about an interesting story having to do with a man who had lymph node cancer and who ultimately ended up dying as a result of a "nocebo" type of scenario.

    I like that term, "Christian propaganda".   :)

    jbseth





    Offline jbseth

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #10 on: October 23, 2018, 04:31:49 PM »
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  • Hi All,

    Here's an interesting 5 minute video I found on black magic from the National Geographic.

    I tend to agree with the last words of this video. "For those who believe, it is all too real."



    jbseth


    Offline Deb

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    Re: Witchcraft
    « Reply #11 on: October 24, 2018, 12:52:00 AM »
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  • Good video, thanks, a great demonstration on the power of belief. Poor animals. The guy sees all this "black magic" and he's suddenly ill. He apparently believes the healer can release him and now he's better. I'm glad he recognized that a physical "effect, whether real or imagined, is still valid and real." Good on him!

    I came from very Catholic roots and at one point realized how superstition and religion go hand in hand. I grew up with a lot of superstitions, the typical ones and then a few more obscure that could have just been invented for manipulation purposes. It took a while for me to realize what was going on and even now I have to stop and recognize some "truths" I was raised with as only being engrained superstitions. But if you believe that having a black cat cross your path means bad luck, you're going to make that come true in some way. Kind of like walking across a log in a stream — "I'm going to fall, I'm going to fall" — splash. Or if someone puts a curse on you: considering we have constant telepathic communication, that means we are going to "know" about the curse whether we are outwardly conscious of their intentions or not. And if we believe in curses, black magic or evil, then we're going to be affected. Unless we make the sign of the cross.  ???

    To me religion is the ultimate superstition, superstition being defined as "a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief." Even Seth agreed that "superstition breeds superstition." With that in mind, would I be off base in thinking that religious people tend to be more superstitious outside of religious beliefs, and that atheists would NOT be superstitious?


     

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