- WND - http://www.wnd.com -

Season of the witch: Media cheer growth in occultism

Witchcraft is becoming mainstream in America.

“Wiccan witchcraft is now one of the fastest growing religions in the Hudson Valley,” reported News 12 Westchester in New York.

A “third-degree Wiccan high priestess” was quoted as saying the religion is a “mysterious, feminist and nature-focused religion that rewards faith and patience with magic … capable of things like curing illnesses, getting a raise at work and helping people find love.”

Throughout the country, there are increasing reports of covens of witches organizing and receiving mainstream acceptance and attention. Salem, Massachusetts, home of the infamous “witch trials” in colonial times, is now a mecca for the occult and a center of an emerging “witchcraft tourism industry.”

The women’s fashion magazine Vogue recently promoted a “witchy week” with features on “enchanting altars on Instagram” and “how to have a moon ceremony.”

Heather Dockray, “Web Trends” reporter at Mashable, says witchcraft is moving into the mainstream, even if many of the supposed practitioners of the “The Craft” seem to approach Wicca as more of an aesthetic and a form of consumerism than as a religion. Self-described witches have a large presence on social networks, and websites explaining the practice are growing rapidly.

What do YOU think? Has America gone pagan? Sound off in today’s WND poll!

Pastor Carl Gallups, author of the end times examination “When The Lion Roars,” says a combination of anti-Christian media bias and modern technology is helping to drive the growth of occultism.

“With the advent of worldwide instantaneous communication and information systems, the entire globe can connect into each of these events as the godless media gladly gives them a platform,” he said. “At the same time, most of the mainstream is frantically looking for as many ways as possible to malign, marginalize and lampoon Christianity – almost exclusively. When was the last time you saw any of the American mainstream media lampoon Islam, or Satan worship, for example?”

Gallups also faulted pop culture for creating an “innocent” version of the demonic.

“The pop culture of America has certainly paved the way for the general acceptance of witchcraft and all other forms of outright occult practices,” the pastor said. “Of course, the Bible speaks harshly about all these activities and even prophesied that in the days before the return of Jesus Christ, these activities would only grow darker and more prevalent.

“Sadly, those who think that somehow these are ‘harmless’ or ‘innocent’ practices are playing right into the hands of the prince of darkness. It is extremely interesting that every one of the occult movements are centered on an outright denial of the authority of the Bible and salvation being found only in Jesus Christ. In other words, they are each driven by the spirit of Antichrist.”

However, as Dockray notes, temporal politics is also driving much of the movement, as it is seen as a form of feminist opposition to President Trump and conservatives.

“[I]t’s President Trump and the Republican Party, who spent the past decade calling Hillary Clinton a witch, who’ve probably done more than anyone else to contribute to the growth of modern witchcraft,” she writes. “Women, including different witch-identified activists, showed up in full force at women’s marches all across the country in January, and cast spells against the candidate during the election.”

A number of self-described witches have been prominently involved in the so-called “resistance” to Trump. Witches have been targeting the president with mass occult rituals for months, even before Trump was elected. A group of witches even joined the violent left-wing group known as Antifa during its counter-protest against a recent free-speech rally in Boston.

Witches also were active during the recent solar eclipse.

Vox’s Tara Burton spent the eclipse with witches who were using the “energy” of the event to cast malevolent spells not on Trump but “against everyone who thinks like him.”

Extraordinary events predicted centuries in advance are unfolding now. Here is your guide to the incredible prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. Don’t miss the bestselling sensation from one of America’s most prolific and beloved pastors. “When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies for Our Time” by Carl Gallups, available now in the WND Superstore.

Pastor Karl Payne, author of “Spiritual Warfare: Christians, Demonization and Deliverance,” calls it “oddly hypocritical and tragically predictable” that mainstream-media stories about witchcraft portray it as interesting and generally positive while casting conservative Christians as hateful and a dangerous threat.

Payne argues pop culture is inflicting spiritual harm on Americans by celebrating violent, Satanic and anti-Christian imagery.

“Turn on your television any night of the week or catch a few movies on the weekend, and you will see how those behind these productions believe the more blood, murder and mayhem the better,” he said. “As has been stated many times, ideas have consequences. The promotion of Satanism, demonism and Spiritism in the name of pluralism or personal harmless choice has consequences, too. Unfortunately, the collateral destruction caused by these choices left in the wake of their trail are often not harmless. This damage can be devastating. It’s something you will not hear on television specials, but it’s something some people understand all too well.”

As someone who has personally worked with the possessed and exorcised demons, Payne worries about both the temporal lives and eternal souls of those dabbling in witchcraft. He denies “magic” can ever be practiced innocently, even if practitioners claim they are simply using “white magic” or not harming anyone.

“To the best of my biblical understanding of Scripture, God does not recognize the difference between white magic and black magic,” he said. “They are simply different entrances and enticements to the same reality, and that reality will ultimately become exposed as destructive over time and deadly for eternity. Therefore, the notion that one is evil and the other benevolent is a marketer’s manipulation and a participant’s bondage.

“One danger of practicing witchcraft is eternal separation from God for each person rejecting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Indeed, impressionable and naïve children and young people are going to step into this destructive worldview that lies underneath the promotional posturing, and they are going to discover too late that at least parts of this curiosity are real and not a game. People can and do get hurt through their involvement with demons and the worship of Satan.”

Payne argues Christians need to awaken to the realities of the supernatural and the high stakes of real spiritual warfare.

“Christians should learn how to resist the devil and his minions rather than try to explain their existence away or run from them,” the pastor urged. “In the face of real demonic opposition, clichés and self-imposed ignorance do not substitute for a shield of faith and the delegated authority given to all genuine Christians over all the powers of the enemy, as stated in Luke 10:18-20. Furthermore, I would urge Christians not to dabble or allow themselves to be titillated by the occult. Seeing how close you can get to a fire without smelling like smoke or getting burned represents both immaturity and stupidity.”

Ultimately, Payne says the growth of witchcraft and anti-Christian movements is inevitable, at least for a time.

“The Bible is clear Satan is the god of this age for a period of time,” he intoned. “Why should it come as any surprise that he and his followers get top billing temporarily on planet Earth, and the Lord God Almighty, Yahweh and His followers are demeaned? This should not come as a surprise, should it?

“Our mission during this time is not to be popular or acquiesce to a crooked and perverted generation. We are called to walk with God and live our lives for what comes next, not for what the media say is popular.”

Arm yourself for the most crucial battle of all. “Spiritual Warfare,” available now in the WND Superstore.