Witchcraft: Fairy Tales: some convey good messages some harmful
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. Would you agree that some fairy-tales convey good messages and others harmful messages? Let me give you an example of both. First, Aesop’s fable of The Hare and the Tortoise conveys a good message of steady plodding and consistent work, even though we know the race between the turtle and the rabbit never took place. But fairy-tales can also deliver a wrong or harmful message. Remember Camel Cigarettes’ cartoon figure of Joe Cool, the camel? So many adults objected to what was being conveyed to children by Joe Cool standing smoking a cigarette, that his cartoon figure was banned from magazine ads and from billboards. Author, filmmaker and occult expert Caryl Matrisciana likens the cartoon figure of Joe Cool to the Harry Potter fairy-tales in being harmful.
Matrisciana: See, the danger of the Harry Potter series in the context of, let’s say, cigarette smoking, if an advertisement is enticing somebody to smoke, but its target is children, using the format of, let’s say, cartoons or caricature drawing which is what a child relates to, a child will be enticed to the advertisement because the advertisement is communicating to the child through what the child understands. Therefore, if we get an animal in a cartoon, Mr. Joe Cool smoking a Camel cigarette targeting to your teenage child, even if the tobacconeers say, “No, no. We’re targeting adults,” they’re using the communication that a child understands, thereby saying to the child, “It’s okay to smoke a cigarette.” Now, when that happened, adults went up in arms saying, “We need to protect our children.”
That is exactly what we are saying about the Harry Potter books. Occultism is being communicated through children’s eyes in a classroom situation, through the Hogwarts boarding school, in a format that children understand, because they are raised in classrooms with teachers. The authority figures are teachers. So here we have adults endorsing, that is, the teachers within Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, encouraging and endorsing the children to be involved in something that is, first of all, what God says not to be involved in. And, secondly, it is targeting and teasing and luring a child to open up doorways to an area that is dangerous.
Ankerberg: Again, there can be good fantasy stories and bad fantasy stories. Just because a book is fantasy doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. We still need to judge the message the fantasy is conveying. Robert McGee, a best-selling author himself and founder of the Rapha Psychiatric Counseling Clinics, gives a good example why we shouldn’t accept a book like Harry Potter just because it’s fantasy.
McGee: First of all, that it’s just fantasy is a mindless answer. We need to think about that, because obviously we judge fantasy. We wouldn’t give our children some Playboy magazines that have some kind of story in it of a very sexual nature that was fanciful. Obviously we wouldn’t do that. We wouldn’t give them a book that had to do with tremendous violence. We wouldn’t do that either. So what we really are saying is we do not believe there’s anything to witchcraft. Now this is really news to God. Because God, in His word, says it’s an abomination. And I’m not sure what part of that word abomination we haven’t got yet.
Ankerberg: Berit Kjos is an author who has written many articles and books about contemporary witchcraft. She talks about how educators are using fairy-tales as tools to emotionally move children toward accepting certain values and ideas.
Kjos: Fairy-tales and storytelling are powerful vehicles for changing values. Many educators have said that. That’s why there is stressed: use the right kind of stories in the classroom to begin to shift the values of children from the old biblical worldview to the new universal values.
Ankerberg: Berit quotes Mark Filiatreau of Regent College in Canada who wrote about the Harry Potter books.
Kjos: “The story can deliver and plant truths or lies within us more deeply and effectively than can any other mode of expression. Over time, they can change our affections and so form our character.”
Matrisciana: Wiccans are out recruiting today. They are doing it through Harry Potter books. Hundreds of thousands of kids are being recruited every day through reading Potter. Now, they may not become members of covens; some of them may become solitary witches. But what’s happening is their worldview is being changed. They are accepting Wicca as an alternative.
So, children’s minds are being changed to accept witchcraft as normal. It’s being normalized. It’s being accepted into society. Children are losing their fear of it because it is being packaged in a delightful way, in a humorous way through children’s books, through a classroom situation. So the presentation and the packaging is alluring. Now, a child may reject wanting to be involved in that, but a child is open now—their mind has been opened to something that God says protect our children from.
Ankerberg: But maybe you say, “John, the Harry Potter books aren’t about real witchcraft.” Well, just for argument’s sake, how much witchcraft would you allow to be in the books before you would object to them? Caryl Matrisciana, who has filmed the rituals and ceremonies of witches all over the world, compares what she has filmed with what J. K. Rowling has put in the Harry Potter books.
Matrisciana: Now, remember, in witchcraft, this School of Witchcraft that J. K. Rowling is introducing, that is being introduced to the teenagers, is not necessarily the darkest side of drinking blood and killing animals. But it’s being able to tap into herbs—Mother Nature—mix potions, have what you desire, concentrate, relax, meditate. All these concepts are being taught so that you can become psychically imbued with powers that they believe are inside all of them because every student at Hogwarts has these powers. And, of course, the reader is also introduced to the concept that the reader too has these powers if only they could tap into them.
Ankerberg: Today, some modern Wiccans believe that you can tap into powers that are within yourself; others, that you can tap into powers that are in the forces of nature; others, that you can tap into powers that are given by spirits or by the Goddess. Today, witchcraft is very eclectic. But aspects of all of these views can be seen in the Harry Potter books.
Now, compare these views with what is stated in Deuteronomy 18. In this chapter we find a list of occultic practices about which God says, “Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations.” The Hebrew word for learn means “to study, to become accustomed to, to instruct or train to practice.” I believe children who read the Harry Potter books are becoming accustomed to, or better yet, conditioned by what they read in the books to accept witchcraft.
God says, “Do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations,” and then He lists nine practices. They are: “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination, or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist, or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is an abomination to the Lord.” [Deut. 18:10-12]
Now, why does God give us this instruction? It’s because He loves us and wants us to come to Him, to trust Him to give us guidance and to protect us. He doesn’t want us going anyplace else. Now, of the nine practices God prohibits, I think a case can be made that eight of them, if not all nine, are described in the Harry Potter books.
Why are we reading about practices God says are an abomination to Him? Let’s look at the first one. God says, “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire.” [Deut 18:10] This refers to the hideous practice of child sacrifice to appease some pagan god to gain secret power or knowledge of the future. In InterVarsity Press’s The Bible Background Commentary of the Old Testament we are told, “The polytheistic religions of the ancient Near East believed in an impersonal, primordial realm that was the source of knowledge and power. They attempted to tap into that realm for the purpose of gaining knowledge and power.” In other words, pagans in the Near East believed they would be able to tap into the secret powers of the universe by offering the life of a human being, either a child or an adult.
Some believe this is what J. K. Rowling has described in the shocking scene in the fourth Harry Potter book. In this scene, Harry’s friend, Cedric, is killed so an evil ceremony can take place in which part of Voldemort’s father’s bone is taken right out of the grave, a servant’s arm is cut off, and Harry’s blood is taken from him so that evil Lord Voldemort will be able to get the magic power to form a new resurrected body.
Matrisciana: And here we have Harry taken with a friend, astrally projected in a magic flight to a graveyard and he’s tied to a tombstone. And as he’s tied to a tombstone, his friend is killed in a satanic human sacrifice because Voldemort says, “Kill him! Kill him!” He’s an innocent victim used for this powerful ceremony where Voldemort is going to actually play out ultimately getting a body for himself.
But the thing is, what it’s done is it’s teaching the child symbols that are biblical symbols turned upside down and completely reversed and made into a horrible, horrible satanic ritual. The first thing that happens is that the grave is desecrated, broken open, and it’s Voldemort’s father’s bone which is taken out—bone of his father is put into a cauldron. Also, the servant’s flesh is cut off and the servant is willingly cutting, mutilating his own arm to put his fresh flesh into the cauldron. Again, it’s the concept of Jesus, the willing Servant, giving His life for us. The “bone of my bone” is a symbol of way, way back in the creation scene where Adam said with elation when Eve is created out of his bone: “Bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” [Gen. 2:23] This is an act of creation. Here it’s taken into the satanic ritual.
And then, Harry’s blood, which of course is called “precious” because his mother converted it into “precious blood” with life-giving power, which is actually something that only Jesus has, in Jesus’s blood. Here, Harry’s “precious blood” is taken in a vial, put in a cauldron. Already in the cauldron is this horrible snake-like creature that does not have form, or shadow, or is just merely vapor. Of course, it’s a sort of skeleton, this human skeleton put into the cauldron, and then out of this concoction of human bone, human blood, and human flesh, out comes the supposedly resurrected body of this disembodied spirit, Voldemort. This evil lord that was killed in the beginning of the first book is now resurrected with supposedly a human body.
Ankerberg: The second practice prohibited by God in Deuteronomy 18 is divination. [Deut 18:10] Divination is where people look into such objects as crystal balls, mirrors, tea leaves and animal entrails to try to determine future events. Harry tries divination, including looking into crystal balls and using a magic mirror. But there is a whole lot more he tries.
Matrisciana: Book #1 basically shows the reader where Harry is not only going to go to school but where he buys all his occult paraphernalia to go to school. He is introduced to the main characters, a big, hairy giant—enormous, enormous giant, who befriends him for the rest of the series. He is introduced to his teachers, and we, the readers, are also vicariously introduced to the teachers of divination, spell-casting, herbology, potions, astrology, divination, sorcery—all sorts of aspects of witchcraft and occultism that are classes that actually an occult student does get involved in learning. Not all aspects of it, but the whole gamut is taught at the school of Hogwarts.
Ankerberg: Divination can also be practiced by contacting the spirit world in order to gain knowledge about the future. This is something that happens in the fourth Harry Potter book when Madam Trelawney is possessed by a spirit which speaks through her to predict something that comes true in Harry’s future.
Matrisciana: We have Madam Trelawney, who is the divination teacher, who gets possessed. She actually has an encounter where she goes into a trance state; her eyes fly open; her mouth gapes open; her neck falls down. This thing comes into her. A voice speaks out of her that the children don’t recognize. She is in full mediumship. She is channeling; she is possessed. She is speaking out a fortune-telling divination—prophesying something that does take place. So here is a contact with spirit demons.
Ankerberg: The third practice that God prohibits in Deuteronomy 18 is sorcery. [Deut 18:10] A sorcerer was thought to be able to conjure up spirits or apparitions. Sorcerers could also mix potions, use figurines, or place curses on people that would supposedly bring death, disease or bad luck. Do we see curses being used throughout the Harry Potter books? The answer is “Yes.” Here is just one scene from Book 4.
Matrisciana: In an earlier book, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher gave this Cruciatus Curse to a spider that screamed and rolled in pain and just pulled its legs up. We know it’s an excruciating curse. Here is Voldemort giving it to Harry. Harry’s screaming in agony; rolled up; feeling tortured. And this horrible evil Lord Voldemort, before he just is about to kill him, puts him through this and then decides he’s going to kill him. Avada Kedavra comes out the wand. But Harry, at that point, decides he’s going to die a death like his father, brave, courageous, puts out his wand. The two wands—brothers of the same energy from the phoenix tail—mix into this extraordinary extra-magic power that neither of them anticipated. And now we’re drawn into an even darker anticipation of what on earth is going to happen!?
Ankerberg: The interpretation of omens is the fourth occult practice condemned in Deuteronomy 18 by God. [Deut. 18:10] This is an offshoot of divination where a person tries to discover hidden knowledge through reading tea leaves or the entrails of an animal or something else. Sometimes this is used by those who practice witchcraft, which is the fifth practice condemned in Deuteronomy 18. [Deut. 18:10] Witchcraft has to do with magic or the casting of spells in order to manipulate the powers of nature or of different gods or spirits. The Hebrew word literally means someone who binds someone else by the use of magical words or a spell. Do we see Harry Potter using spells and looking at omens? The answer is, “Yes.” He and his friends learn about them and use them in all four books.
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: The next three practices that God forbids in Deuteronomy 18 are these: do not be a medium or a spiritist, and do not be one who consults the dead. [Deut 18:11] A medium seeks power or information from spirits; a spiritist talks with or consults spirit beings; and one who consults the dead is trying to gain contact with, and information from, those who have died. All three of these practices are prohibited by God, yet we find all of them described in the Harry Potter books.
Matrisciana: Another conditioning process is the concept of the spirit world out there, the ghosts, the poltergeists, the dead, the living dead. What happens to somebody after they die? The Bible says we die once, and then the judgment. [Heb. 9:27] The philosophy in Rowling’s books says you die, you live, and you have a body, and you can come back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and you can live in pictures that wave at you as you go by. Harry’s parents wave at Harry from the photographs, bringing a warm feeling to Harry. A 500-year-old ghost is the head of one of the houses, of one of the fraternities, and he got butchered on Halloween night in a horrible execution that misfired and his head was cut off I don’t know how many dozens and dozens of times, and it’s hanging on one inch of flesh. And in a grotesque scene, this ghost can just hinge his head over and a child thinks that’s funny.
So what we’re getting is that the spirit world sort of has bodies, sort of appears as mythological creatures, can appear as crisscrosses of animals when the Bible clearly says that each animal was created after its own kind. And we’re told that even if one comes back, as Voldemort was killed and yet he comes back as shadow and vapor, has no form, can’t be killed—but can have a resurrected body through a sacrifice of flesh and blood and bone.
The thing to understand in all of this, and what I think is so much more dangerous, is the child sees symbology that is upside down to the Bible. And then when you try and come to the child and say, “Well, Jesus Christ sacrificed His flesh and blood so that we can have resurrected bodies and live for eternity,” they have already been conditioned to the occult interpretation of all this.
Ankerberg: Now, the only question is, “Will we, as Christians, obey God and not give our children books that will help them learn about, or condition them to imitate, the occult practices of the nations?” If we are to protect our children, we must take a stand on these issues. Now, next week, I want to talk about why some Christian leaders are saying that the Harry Potter books are okay. I disagree with their conclusions and I’ll explain to you the reasons why next week.