Compares the Witchcraft with the witchcraft presented in the HP Books
Announcer: Today on The John Ankerberg Show—“What Should Parents Know About Harry Potter?” Over 100 million books have been sold in over 200 countries, and Harry Potter has been translated into more than 40 languages. Now the first Harry Potter movie is opening in theaters all around the world.
[From Film Trailer for Warner Bros. Movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (excerpted from “Witchcraft Repackaged” (Jeremiah Films).]
“There’s no such thing as magic!”
“Dear Mr. Potter: You have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
Announcer: One survey reports that over half of all children in America between the ages of six and 17 have read at least one of the Harry Potter books. Are these books harmless fantasy stories or, through fantasy, introducing real principles of witchcraft and sorcery to our children? Today John’s guests are filmmaker, author and occult expert Caryl Matrisciana; author and founder of Rapha Counseling Centers Robert McGee; and author and columnist Berit Kjos. We invite you to join us.
Ankerberg: Welcome. “Do you think the Harry Potter books are just good fantasy, or are they fantasy stories that introduce our children to the principles of witchcraft, occultism, and sorcery? Filmmaker, author and occult expert Caryl Matrisciana, along with her husband, have filmed and documented the rituals and practices of witchcraft around the world. I asked her to compare the witchcraft she has filmed with the witchcraft presented in the Harry Potter books.
Matrisciana: Book #1 actually is much more, if you will, a basic 101 in witchcraft; a basic 101 of where J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is going to take us. Book #1 establishes occult language, establishes occult tools, tools of the trade of witchcraft that are going to be used in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the thousand-year-old most famous school in Europe of occultism. The teachers are going to be established in Book #1. Each of the classes is defined; what transfiguration means, what divination means, what the purpose of astrology, numerology, arithmancy, whatever the subjects are–potion mixing, herbology. All these things, which, by the way, are practiced today in the craft of occultism, paganism, neo-paganism, and specifically, in witchcraft.
Now, not all the things that J. K. Rowling talks about are practiced by all witches. Today’s witchcraft is much more serendipitous. Today’s witches can “pick and choose.” Today, neo-paganism is a potpourri. It’s no longer the disciplined Black Arts which, perhaps it was ten, twenty, thirty, forty years ago. Fifty years ago certainly the seers of old took their Dark Arts very seriously, and the study of Dark Arts involved the disciple, the devotee, in strong discipline. Today, with the modern concept of instant enlightenment, being able to pick and choose, going into the Internet, having the vast array of books around, today’s witches actually can be a solitary witch, just somebody that does it all on their own, going through the Internet, going through witchcraft, or they can be involved in covens of 13 or less, or in actual schools of magick or witchcraft like the Alexandrian or the Gardnerian Schools.
Ankerberg: If we claim that the Harry Potter books are presenting the principles of witchcraft, we need to define what witchcraft is. The Encyclopedia of Witches &Witchcraft states: “Witchcraft is not united or cohesive by any means. There’s no central authority or liturgy. Various traditions have their own rituals, philosophy, and belief.... It has become increasingly acceptable to initiate oneself into the Craft and practice alone rather than as part of a coven....” So, how can we get a handle on what witchcraft is?
Matrisciana: C. S. Lewis said that there are two worldviews: the biblical one and the world of paganism. And that basically is the bottom line. Now, within those two worldviews, there are many, many, many denominations, because human beings are who humans are and they always want to reform, correct, be more strict, be more disciplined and pursue a certain teacher, leader; and there are breakaway groups. And we see it within the biblical worldview, within orthodox Jews, within the Christians, the many, many, many denominations supposedly being led the God of the Bible.
The same thing happens on the other side. The worldview of paganism can have many, many, many different denominations and ethnic groups, whether they come from Africa, India, Haiti, South America—wherever it is. Their blend of cultural civilization with their history whether they come from American Indians or whatever their background of history is—all of that can be potpourried into various different mixtures, if you will.
So today, more than ever, paganism is eclectic, and especially now that the modern child can just pick this... “No, I don’t want to suck any human beings....this...I don’t want that....I don’t want to kill an animal....I don’t want to do such grotesque things as this or this or this. I just want to be light and just be able to do good spells and good magic.” And so they will draw from these certain things. That’s why there can be witches that just are solitary witches, because they just want to draw from what they perceive to be good. So what one witch would say is good, perhaps another one wouldn’t. What one witch says is loathsome, another won’t think so.
Ankerberg: Well, then, is there anything about which witches do agree? Yes! In the books, Harry Potter manipulates forces, casts spells, makes potions, talks to spirits. He does this to bring about what he wants. Contemporary witches manipulate forces just like Harry does, although they may call it something different. For example, The Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft tells us: “For Pagans and Witches, magic is a part of everyday life. The world itself is magical…. Not all Pagans and Witches practice the same types of magic. Some may prefer ceremonial magic, while others prefer folk magic, and still others prefer ‘eco-magic’ based on natural earth energies and the resident ‘spirits of the land’…” (p. 217). But notice, all witches do use the power of magick.
Matrisciana: The whole reason that they get involved in witchcraft is to gain power, is to gain control. That’s the whole purpose of witchcraft—to be able to take control of your life, to change circumstances, to bring about what you want, and the only way you can do that is through power. Now, it’s a question of what you call that power. Do you call it Mind Science? Do you call it mental gymnastics? Do you call it your inner potential? Do you call it tapping into outside forces? Do you call it opening yourself up to demon possession and spirit beings, spirit guides? Whatever the terminology is, that’s human rationalization.
Ankerberg: Another way of understanding witchcraft is to look at some of the practices in contemporary witchcraft. Then we can ask, are these practices similar to what Harry Potter and his friends do in the books? The Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft tells us, “Today the arts of witchcraft include herbalism, divination, magic, ceremonial ritual, healing, potions, and spirit-world contact with familiars [that is, animal spirits], or elementals [spirits of earth, air, fire or water].”
Matrisciana: Within the magical world it is understood that you can manipulate forces to bring about an artificial end, to bring about signs and wonders and miracles; or, you can use demonic powers to do it. What witchcraft claims is that they’re only using natural forces. They’re using the spiritual laws to bring about what they want. But God tells us not to be involved in any of those outside of His spiritual leading because He gives us spiritual ends within the balance of love and faithfulness and mercy that comes from His good character. The other side is able to give the destructive, horrible aspects by luring young children into the hopes that they can have what they want, but the results can be totally devastating.
Ankerberg: Harry Potter and his friends are constantly learning new spells, charms, and curses to direct energy for their own purposes. The Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft informs witches they will discover “a knowledge of various herbs, enchantments, charms and spells help to fine-tune one’s ability to direct energy.... Like anything else in life, practice is required in order to become skillful.”
Now, isn’t this the very reason Harry is going to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—to practice his magick skills? The Encyclopedia of Wicca & Witchcraft also informs us: “Psychic development is a very useful tool. It helps one to discern things of a non-physical nature. This is important because if a person practices magic, he or she is eventually going to encounter non-physical entities. Psychic senses can help to perceive both the presence and the actions of various spirits and elemental creatures.”
Again, this is exactly what happens to Harry in the books. He develops his psychic senses a little more each year and it helps him as he encounters various spirits and elemental creatures—like the giant snake guarding the Chamber of Secrets. Why do you think J. K. Rowling accurately portrays in her stories concepts and practices taught in real books about witchcraft?
Matrisciana: I think the principle in Rowling’s books is that spells work; curses work; there is power behind certain rituals; there is power behind certain potions. There is a power that children can call on. Throughout Harry’s books, his magic works; his curses work. The teachers are there to constantly be training the children, showing the children that plugging into certain energies and powers, with certain ceremony, works. Predictions work. Fortune-telling works. Palm reading works. Potion mixing works. Harry waves his wand, it works. Voldemort waves his wand, it works. Curses work. Dementors are feared because they can suck your souls out. These are all principles of occultism—that there are more evil spirits around that can do evil, evil things. That’s why witches cast circles. That’s why they put a protection there, hoping that they can protect themselves against what they don’t know, but being able to draw from the power that they think that they can control. Of course the Harry Potter books teach children a pagan worldview and the concepts, the principles, the elements of magick with a “k,” the art of changing what you want changed through mental thinking.
Ankerberg: Now, there is one thing on which all Wiccans agree, and that is, they have nothing to do with Satanism. From their point of view, that’s true. But from a biblical point of view, their spells, charms, symbols, spirit contacts and psychic abilities have ultimately come about because they have believed information that originated with a powerful, evil angel called “Satan” and other evil angels that follow him.
Matrisciana: There are those that argue that Harry Potter doesn’t point to Satanism because he doesn’t mention Satan. But remember, the Bible tells us that Satan comes as a deceiver and Satan’s titles are “father of lies,” “author of confusion,” and “angel of light.” The sources behind witchcraft are what we have to look to. The source, the power source of witchcraft comes from the side that God tells us clearly to stay away from, which is the Satanic/demonic realm.
So, to say that it’s not Satanism and “What’s the problem? It doesn’t mention Satan and there aren’t inverted crosses,” the rituals of Satanism that many Satanists are involved in it. But it doesn’t matter. The rituals that are practiced in Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry are told to us—God warns us not to be involved in divination, walking through fire, sorcery, drawing circles—the Hebrew word of drawing lines and circles in order to have wondrous miracles, in order to work wonders—all these things are being taught in Harry Potter. And the source that Harry and all his peers are directed toward is a source that we in Scriptures are told not to be involved in because God knows that they are dangerously rooted in opposition to Him.
Ankerberg: What else do today’s witches believe, and what impact is witchcraft having on our children? And finally, will the Harry Potter books add to that impact?
[Excerpt from “Witchcraft Repackaged”]
“O guardians of the watchtower of the east, I, Ishtar, high priestess and witch, do summon and serve thee, I command thy presence at this our meeting to guard over our circle and to witness our rites.”
Narrator: Witchcraft is the fastest growing offshoot of paganism and neo-paganism today. Hundreds of thousands of children and teenagers are joining its ranks according to reports from an ever-increasing number of pagan web sites. The Pagan Federation of England claims their mailbags swell by the thousands from charmed teenagers every time a particularly exciting episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer airs on TV, or an enticing article on witchcraft appears in a popular teen magazine. Witchcraft, or Wicca, as it is known, believes in revering the mother goddess, the global environment, feminist practices, and nature.
Matrisciana: One of the important things to remember about the thinking of witchcraft is that the feminine aspect, the female, is more important than the male. The feminine side of the human being, of mankind, is of more magical power. And we see this in the fertility cults and in fact, we see it in all pagan religions where it goes back to the female who is the one who is being revered–she is the goddess. And in Harry’s books, we see the female aspect of Harry’s mother, the goddess, coming in. She supposedly protected Harry before Harry was to be killed by Lord Voldemort. And by putting her incredible love towards Harry, this action deflected the male power of Voldemort and the male magick of Voldemort backfired on him.
Narrator: The Holy Rede, or Rule, “Do what you want, as long as it harms no one,” is Wicca’s most appealing draw, encouraging its adherents to indulge in self-gratification and self-centeredness, while allowing morals to shift at will.
Wicca teaches there is no absolute truth or sin, and replaces the patriarchal male Creator God of the Bible with the belief in both male and female gods.
Matrisciana: Harry’s skin, his flesh, is also given magical powers through the sacrificial love of his mother so that when Quirrell, the dark Lord Voldemort’s servant, tries to touch Harry and attack him, the sensation that comes into this demon-possessed person burns him. (Book 1, pp. 294-95)
I think the thing that bothers me is the symbology in Harry Potter. Having come from an occult background and understanding occult symbology, what’s happening is the young reader is being introduced to pagan symbols, demented symbology, and with it, it brings the distortion of what the true symbol is in the Bible.
We also are told in the Bible that the blood sacrifice is very, very, very important. Christ died in order to save us from our sins through the shedding of His own blood—which was pure. This is taken in a satanic form and here we have Harry’s mother, through her act of giving her life sacrificially for Harry, this incredible act of love—again, an upside down, inversion of the love of God who died for us to give us eternal life—Harry’s mother, through her love, gives Harry flesh that can powerfully hurt a demonic being, somebody possessed. His blood can make spirits come to life. So we see children learning horrible inversions of very profound, wonderful, holy truths that come from the Bible.
Narrator: Most pagans and witches believe they must communicate with supernatural spirits, which they refer to as “forces of nature,” in order to receive wisdom and power from magical skills. They also embrace the concept of self-empowerment by awakening internal spirituality through meditation, visualization and other mind-altering techniques of self-hypnosis. Dimly lit parlors or New Age fairs are no longer the only places to practice secret magic, fortune-telling, spell-casting, or potion mixing. As a result of aggressive marketing campaigns, a wide variety of witchcraft techniques offering powers of control for personal achievements, can now be found at bookstores, on the Internet, in public schools and libraries, and throughout the media.
Hollywood’s presentation of witchcraft as exciting and glamorous has further increased its appeal to young audiences. Enhanced by digital technology and revolutionary special effects, occultic spells and rituals are given visually stunning portrayals, as are the depictions of supernatural beings, ghosts, demons, vampires, mythological characters, and even Satan.
A growing number of cartoons and television dramas aimed at increasingly younger audiences further seduce children with the allure of sorcery and divination. Occultic themes are frequently woven into the story lines of prime-time series, which has undoubtedly contributed to the practice of magic as being the fastest growing mystical attraction among teenagers.
Ankerberg: Robert McGee is an author and founder of the Rapha Counseling Centers. What effect does he believe the Harry Potter books will have on children?
[Excerpt from “Witchcraft Repackaged”]
McGee: One of the most disturbing things about the Harry Potter books is that it teaches children that witchcraft is for children. It does this by allowing children to read about other children, in a school setting, and watching these children learn how to use spells and all the other elements of witchcraft. It teaches these children that witchcraft is just not for adults, but that children can access this power and use this power also.
If you say, “There’s no real power in witchcraft,” then you should have no problem with the Harry Potter books. But there are two problems with your line of reasoning: First, you’re denying the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people who have practiced witchcraft through the ages; plus, you’re saying that God’s warning in the Bible about divination, sorcery, and all the elements of witchcraft is actually worthless.
Narrator: Each year, thousands of teens are turning their backs on Christianity and joining witches’ covens in order to learn spells so as to pass school exams, attract boyfriends or girlfriends, and get rich. The secretary of the Magic Circle’s Young Magicians Club credits the Harry Potter books as the latest rage, which he says has “rekindled the child-like approach to the fact that the impossible may be possible.” He gives thanks to “Harry,” who he says has sparked an interest in pure magic, real magic, strong magic.
Ankerberg: If you are a parent, I think you know that you are responsible before God for protecting your children from the deceptive allurements of witchcraft. If you are a pastor, you also know that you are responsible to God for teaching and warning your congregation about witchcraft, sorcery and the occult. At this moment in history, I believe that means you need to speak out about the Harry Potter books.