Wimmin, Wiccans, And Goddess Worship
by Allan Turner
In her book Changing of the Gods: Feminism And The End of Traditional Religions, feminist theologian Naomi R. Goldenberg wrote:
God is going to change...We women are going to bring an end to God. As we take positions in government, in medicine, in law, in business, in the arts and, finally, in religion, we will be the end of Him. We will change the world so much that He won't fit in anymore.
She went on to write:
Every woman working to improve her own position in society or that of women in general is bringing about the end of God. All feminists are making the world less and less like the one described in the Bible and are thus helping to lessen the influence of Christ and [Jehovah] on humanity.
She concluded with these insightful, but sobering, thoughts:
Can we predict anything about the new gods of the new age, except to say there will be many of them?
When we study the religious thought of those who have already outgrown the father-god—the witches, the radical feminists, the modern psychologists—we see a direction inward. All of these people tend to place their gods within themselves, to focus on spiritual processes whose values they experience internally. Judging from these harbingers of our new religious culture, the psycho-religious age will be a mystical one. It seems highly likely that the West is on the brink of developing a new mysticism—post-Christian, post-Judaic.
The inward journey Ms. Goldenberg wrote about back in 1979 is nothing but paganism. The purpose of this rather lengthy study is to effectively document the dark nature of radical feminism in our society today.
Back in April of 1978, an accredited study program entitled “The Great Goddess Re-emerges” was held at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Women had to be turned away from the course, which could only accommodate 450 students. The following excerpts from a Los Angeles Times article inform us as to what took place during the study program.
...eerie monotones...reverberated on the UC Santa Cruz campus. Cheers and whoops went up for the goddesses of yore—Isis, Astara, Demeter, Artemis, etc....the event was indicative of a burgeoning spiritual dimension to the women's liberation movement in America....Christine Downing, head of San Diego State University's religious studies department, estimates that many—if not most—spiritually sensitive women in the women's movement are willing to replace the Biblical God with a frankly pagan and polytheistic approach.Witchcraft is aiding the women in their search for roots and rituals—without the connotations of evil usually associated with witchcraft.A Santa Cruz woman...said, “Some of the women think of themselves as witches, but not all.”A brief, unscheduled appearance—met with enthusiastic applause—was made by Z. Budapest. A self-described witch...the goddess movement knows her more as a leader of the Susan B. Anthony Coven No. 1 in Los Angeles and a charismatic spokeswoman for a feminist brand of Wicca, an ancient women's religion [witchcraft].The goddess movement, also called the women-spirit movement, apparently considers its first major gathering to have been a conference attended by about 1,200 women at the University of Massachusetts in late 1975...The ancient Mediterranean world, pagan Europe, Native America and Hindu traditions are all sources for goddess imagery, Dr. Christ (rhymes with “grist”) said. (Dr. Christ is head of San Jose State University's women's studies program.)A religious phenomenon virtually unknown outside feminist circles, “goddess consciousness” will be widely known in three to five years, predicted Dr. Christ.1
In a MS. magazine article, Karen Linsey, who rejects the God revealed in the Bible and who has, herself, dabbled in witchcraft, wrote:
The Feminist spirituality movement began to emerge in the mid-1970s and has become one of the largest submovements within feminism. It's amorphous, blending radical feminism, pacifism, witchcraft, Eastern mysticism, goddess worship, animism, psychic healing and a variety of practices normally associated with the occult.2
In my library, I have an audio cassette entitled “Rebirth of the Goddess,” which consists of a talk by the prominent witch Starhawk (born Mariam Simos in Duluth, Minnesota) given on June 22, 1981 at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Starhawk teaches that the Goddess is a “life force that's immanent” (i.e., that dwells in all living creatures—male and female, human, animal, and plant). According to Starhawk, witchcraft is important to feminists because it represents the rejection of the authority that comes from a patriarchal God. Witchcraft, according to Starhawk, teaches women to listen to the goddess (life force) within. The God of the Bible, according to Starhawk, is an invention of chauvinistic males who sought to destroy the position, influence, and power of women in society. Starhawk's talk was followed by a question and answer session after which most of those present joined in a “spiral dance” and “chanting circle” to celebrate “the Goddess within.”
On October 25, 1985, 500 women gathered for the fourth annual conference on Women and Spirituality at Mankato State University in Mankato, Minnesota. The conference was an official activity of MSU , offered for optional academic credit. The weekend event was co-sponsored by MSU's Women's Studies and Religious Studies departments, and by the United Christian Campus Center (American Baptist, Disciples of Christ, United Church of Christ, United Methodist, Presbyterian and Moravian Churches). According to Donna Steichen, a Catholic journalist who resides in St. Cloud, Minnesota, the theme of the conference was “Language and Imagery,” a theme interpreted in speeches and workshops as calling for the use of feminine pronouns for God, maternal images for God, and a vehement rejection of all “patriarchy.”3 According to Steichen, speakers varied in their rejection of Revelation. Some claimed only that, as Spirit, God can neither be male or female, or must be both. Some rejected any God “out there” in favor of a “Goddess within,” whom some identified as the “Divinity in each of us,” others as the Goddess of “the ancient matriarchal religion.”4
On Sunday morning, in the tax-supported student union building, three worship services were conducted: an ecumenical communion service conducted by a woman minister, a feminist communion service, and a Wiccan (witchcraft) ritual conducted by two witches. What all the participants of these services seemed to have had in common was their determination to worship a female deity.
Between workshops, those in attendance could browse at a variety of booths and displays. There were tee shirts and bumper stickers bearing the slogans “I [love] the Goddess” and “Ankh If You Love Isis.” There were sample copies of Of A Like Mind, a newspaper published by a Wiccan network headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. Prominent among the books it recommended as “must” reading were Starhawk's Dreaming The Dark and The Spiral Dance. There was also Circle Network News, an occult/Wiccan publication from Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and an accompanying Circle Catalogue advertising buttons with such messages as “NOT saved,” and “Nothing Says Lovin' Like Somethin' From the Coven.”
According to Elinor Lenz and Barbara Myerhoff, co-authors of an interesting and informative book entitled The Feminization of America:
The cult of the Goddess is a dominant motif in the recovery of women's religious roots. The Great Mother Goddess was for many centuries the chief deity of the ancient world throughout western Asia and Asia Minor. She was worshipped by many different peoples and by many different names: Ishtar by the Babylonians; Asherah and Astarte by the Canaanites, Hebrews, and Phoenicians; Isis by the Egyptians; Cybele by the Phrygians; Anahita by the Persians... As the goddess of fertility she held in her possession the potent, creative power of the universe. As the embodiment of the archetypal Feminine, she combined within her being both positive and negative aspects.
...the ancient female religions present a striking contrast to established Christianity: in the female theology, nature is sacred; time is circular; body and spirit are one; original sin is absent; THE INDIVIDUAL'S WILL IS EQUAL TO THE GOD'S; play, humor, and sexuality have an important place in rituals; and pleasure is a positive force, not a sin (emphasis mine, AT).5
One would certainly be hard-pressed not to see the connection between Satan's Edenic lie (i.e., “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil”) and the modern-day Feminist Spirituality movement. As a matter of fact, the Genesis account of Eve's seduction remains the best explicator of Feminism. As one anti-feminist female points out, “We may not see a snake wound around a tree and a mesmerized young woman, but Satan speaks as of old to plant his anti-Word values in us...”6
Many modern feminists are dedicated to destroying patriarchy along with all its perceived “injustices” and “inequalities.” According to feminists, patriarchy is an interloper in the so-called Golden Age of Feminism: an age in which feminine qualities were predominant and the Mother Goddess was worshipped. This period, according to these radical feminists, was a wonderfully “egalitarian, decentralized, inventive and peaceful [one], without evidence of human or animal sacrifice or weapons of war.”7 In connection with such grandiose claims, it is only correct to note that these modern-day witches talk a lot about “being free to create [their] own myths.” Consequently, it should not surprise us to learn that this so-called Golden Age of Feminism never really existed. In fact, anthropologist Margaret Murray, who, in 1921, was the first to set forth the idea that witchcraft was the remnant of an old and extensive pagan fertility religion of Western Europe, has been accused by men like E.O. James and Geoffrey Parrinder of overstating her case.8 There is not enough evidence, they suggest, to state that a clearly defined witch sect existed in Europe, in a continuous form, in the early centuries of the Christian era.9
Furthermore, the patriarchy modern feminists are attempting to destroy is not the social by-product of an evil society of men who sought to subjugate women. To the contrary, patriarchy, despite all its undeniable abuses by imperfect and sinful human beings, is a part of the ordering of God and is designed for the nurturing and protection of feminine attributes and qualities. In a true, God-ordained patriarchy the woman is loved, honored, and respected. In such an environment, truly feminine qualities flourish.
According to initiates, Wicca, another word for Witchcraft, is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “to bend or shape.” Witchcraft, according to the witch, is a way of bending or shaping reality, by means of “magick,” which is defined by Starhawk as “the art of changing consciousness at will.” In turn, a changed consciousness creates a changed reality. This explains why, when Susan Saxe, a former member of the Weather Underground and a self-proclaimed feminist, was arrested and sent to Boston for trial, the feminist community there rallied to her support by forming “'energy circles'—sitting in a circle, holding hands, projecting empowering thoughts her way.”
The fact that spiritual feminists (i.e., witches) were attempting to work their “magick” for a former member of the U.S. Weathermen, one of the most vicious terrorist organizations in the history of America, is quite consistent with the string of violence that runs through those who worship the mother goddess. But before we discuss the nature of this violence, it ought to be pointed out that the worship of a great mother goddess was very much a part of many pagan religions. And although these mother goddesses had different names and were independent personalities, they had similar functions and were essentially the same goddess. Thus, feminists are correct when they say, “[The mother goddess] was worshipped by many different peoples and by many different names: Ishtar by the Babylonians; Asherah and Astarte by the Canaanites, Hebrews, and Phoenicians; Isis by the Egyptians; Cybele by the Phrygians; Anahita by the Persians.”10
Of course, these “Goddess-centered cultures,” as they are called by the radical feminists, far from being the “egalitarian, decentralized, inventive and peaceful cultures, without evidence of human or animal sacrifice or weapons of war” that Starhawk and her fellow witches claim they were, were, in fact, exactly the opposite.
For example, Kali (the Hindu counterpart of Ishtar, Astarte, and Asheroth), a fearsome goddess personifying the dark and terrifying forces of Nature, is the most revered deity in Hinduism. She is the consort or wife of Shiva the Destroyer. The goddess is depicted with dark skin, bulging bloodshot eyes, and protruding fangs. She wears a string of human skulls around her neck and is often depicted mutilating her victims and chewing on their raw flesh. Even today, blood sacrifices are still being made to her in order to appease her wrath.
In his informative book Unmasking The New Age, Douglas R. Groothuis notes that the word thug originally referred to a class of Kali worshippers in northern India who terrorized the country for several hundred years before British pressure helped end their exploits. In their dedication to Kali, the thugs would go to great lengths of deception to ambush and strangle their victims. As masters of their craft, they ritually sacrificed untold scores of people. It has been reported that before the British crackdown in the 1830s, approximately ten thousand of these religious assassins were at work. They were in the business of destroying life for their destroyer goddess.11
To the Kali worshippers, the goddess represents both good and bad characteristics. This is why the Mankato State University conference on Women and Spirituality that we mentioned at the beginning of this article had a Hindu speaker who lectured on the “benevolent and malevolent” faces of the goddess Kali. According to the Hindu:
Man does not have to try to be good, but is perfectly free to copy either side of God's nature. The Hindu ascetic may aim at passive withdrawal from the world; but the Christian ideal of following in Jesus' footsteps of actively loving one's neighbor as oneself loses its point. In anything, the cruel side of the gods was easier to copy and the results more spectacular. Why should anyone have qualms about killing a fellow human being in a colorful ceremony, when the great Shiva himself and his wife Kali delighted in destruction, bore in their hands the instruments of death, and fed on human flesh?12
This is hard for Christians to appreciate because the God we worship is not “beyond good and evil” nor “both good and evil,” instead, He is good and not evil.
Although few neo-pagans and witches would publicly praise the violent heritage of the Kali thugs, they would, nevertheless, agree with their world view. This, we think, is made clear by examining the works of Starhawk, who wrote, “The view of the All as an energy field polarized by two great forces, Female and Male, Goddess and God, which in their ultimate being are aspects of each other, is common to almost all traditions of the craft.”13
She goes on to say:
The importance of the Goddess symbol for women cannot be overstressed. The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our AGGRESSION as healthy, our ANGER as purifying, and our power to nurture and create, but also to limit and DESTROY when necessary, as the very force that sustains all life.14 (Emphasis mine, AT.)
Although political and spiritual feminists officially eschew violence, their real capacity for violence and destruction may be understood by the enormous number of unborn children aborted in America during the past 14 years—estimated to be somewhere in the vicinity of 20 million. To get some idea just how large a number this really is, this is the number of people who make up the nation of Canada. The wake of feminism has wreaked tremendous destruction. In view of this unprecedented carnage, anyone ought to be able to understand the true violent legacy of the feminist movement.
But, of course, the feminists have put up an ideological smoke-screen. For instance, political feminists say that the abortion issue is not a right-to-life issue at all. Instead, the real issue concerning abortion, according to them, has to do with the “right” of the woman to exercise control over her own body. Taking this a step further, Starhawk, who teaches, ironically, that worship of the “Goddess...fosters respect for the sacredness of all living things,”15 says that the abortion question is really an issue of “the right to the freedom of sexuality and sexual expression.”16 Therefore, when she writes, “Love for life in all its forms is the basic ethic of Witchcraft” and “Witches are bound to honor and respect all living things,”17 she is engaging in not just propaganda, but disinformation. This should not be surprising to Bible believers who know that sorcery (witchcraft) and deception (lying) are portrayed as an ungodly pair in God's Word (e.g., Jeremiah 9:27-28).
As was pointed out previously, although adherents of the mother goddess vehemently deny it, human sacrifice and violence have historically been an intricate part of goddess worship. The definitive book on this subject, The Golden Bough, was written by Sir James Frazer and was published in 1900. Even Robert Graves, who has probably been the greatest force for the revival of interest in goddess worship, wrote in his book, The Masks of God, that “human sacrifice...is everywhere characteristic of the worship of the Goddess.”18
Another manifestation of the goddess Kali is Shakti, who is supposed to be the personification of cosmic energy, the impersonal “Force” that occultism teaches runs the universe. It is this Force, called “Mother Goddess,” “Mother Nature,” and “Mother Earth,” that witches attempt to harness in order to work their “magick.” In his book The Cult Explosion, Dave Hunt elaborated on this point when he wrote:
Witches worship the Force, which they believe permeates all of nature, and they use it in their spells. The connection between the environmental (back-to-nature) movement, the women's movement (the matriarchal cult), and witchcraft is undeniable, though many persons involved may be unaware of this.19
Hunt's insight is substantiated by Starhawk, who wrote:
[Witchcraft] is not based on dogma or a set of beliefs, nor on scriptures or a sacred book revealed by a great man. Witchcraft takes its teachings from nature, and reads inspiration in the movements of the sun, moon, and stars, the flight of birds, the slow growth of trees, and the cycles of the seasons.20
“Ecofeminism,” according to historian George Nash, is the syncretism or fusion of the two dominant ideologies of the 70s: the women's movement and environmentalism.21 This is best seen in the die Grunen or “The Greens” of West Germany. (In America, this movement is represented by Greenpeace USA.) Petra Kelly, a Green activist, expressed the prevailing ideology of the Greens when she said, “To me feminism is ecology and ecology is feminism.”22 The Green movement stresses “the embeddedness of individuals and societies in the cyclical process of nature” and the need to restructure society in a “holistic” manner that recognizes this “interconnectedness” of things and brings people back into harmony with the “biosphere.”23 It is exactly at this point that one sees the “interconnectedness” of witchcraft, feminism, and ecology. Consider again the writings of Starhawk:
The primary symbol for “That-Which-Cannot-Be-Told” is the Goddess. The Goddess has infinite aspects and thousands of names—She is the reality behind the metaphors. She is reality, the manifest deity, omnipresent in all of life, in each of us. The Goddess is not separate from the world—She is the world, and all things in it: moon, earth, star, stone, seed, flowing river, wind, wave, leaf and branch, bud and blossom, fang and claw, woman and man.
...The model of the Goddess, who is immanent in nature, fosters respect for the sacredness of all living things. Witchcraft can be seen as a religion of ecology. Its goal is harmony with nature, so that life may not just survive, but thrive.
...Our growing awareness of ecology, the impending environmental apocalypse, has forced on us a realization of our interconnectedness with all forms of life which is the basis of Goddess religion.224
Furthermore, the “paradigm,” model or vision shared by ecofeminism and witchcraft represents a common goal. “The task,” according to Allan Carlson, “is to suppress the masculine, paternalistic 'world view' that, for over two centuries, has shaped Western society: the Newtonian conception of the universe as an understandable mechanical system; the belief in unlimited material progress to be achieved through economic and technological growth; and a social vision focused on family life and predicated on differentiated sex roles and 'male oppression.'”25
That this is consistent with modern witchcraft is understood, once again, by the words of Starhawk, who wrote: “Women are...actively reawakening the Goddess, the image of 'the legitimacy and beneficence of female power.'”26
She went on to say:
Since the decline of the Goddess religions, women have lacked religious models and spiritual systems that speak to female needs and experience. Male images of divinity characterize both western and eastern Religions. Regardless of how abstract the underlying concepts of God may be, the symbols ...are overwhelmingly male. Women are not encouraged to explore their own strengths and realizations; they are taught to submit to male authority, to identify masculine perceptions as their spiritual ideals,...to fit their insights into a male mold.27
One would have to blind oneself to reality not to see the syncretism between ecofeminism and witchcraft. Clearly, the destruction of patriarchy seems to be common to the various “networks,” “circles,” and “covens” involved in this movement. As a matter of fact, one of the manifestations of the mother goddess is the “Green One” or vegetation god—the corn spirit, the grain that is recut and planted; the seed that dies with every harvest and is reborn each spring (i.e., the ecological order). When one sees the connection, die Grunen is not such a strange name after all.
Modern-day witches refer to Witchcraft or Wicca as the “Old Religion.” Now, it is true that witchcraft is an old religion; old enough, in fact, that its major tenets were the first rivals of true religion. As we said previously, the Genesis account of Eve's seduction remains, in our opinion, the best explicator of Feminism. Although we may not see a snake wound around a tree and a mesmerized young woman, nevertheless, in Feminism, we hear Satan speaking as of old to plant his anti-Word values. Not only was Eve seduced into thinking she could be her own god, but she also took the lead by introducing her husband to that which would “make one wise” (Genesis 3:1-6). This is said not to excuse Adam (there was no excuse for what he did), but to demonstrate the “topsy-turviness” of Satan's religion.
In paganism, the goddesses were always more powerful than the gods.28 This reflects, we think, the leading role Eve played in opening human consciousness to the Serpent's universal religion. This ancient, universal religion, whether it be called Humanism, Paganism, Witchcraft, or Idolatry, has always demeaned the only True God, while promising power and wisdom to its worshippers (cf. Genesis 3:5-6). According to Dave Hunt, the Serpent's universal religion consists of the four lies he told Eve:
1. With the words “You will be like god” (Genesis 3:5), Satan held out the hope to Eve that godhood was possible for her and that there was something she could do to achieve it. This thesis has since that time been elaborated into numerous schemes and philosophies about godhood and “self-realization,” but every one of them can be traced back to this same root.
2. In his contradiction of what Eve thought God had said, Satan rejected the concept of moral absolutes and a personal God. He implied that the universe was not made by a Creator, but is a self-existent Unity. How could any tree in the Garden of Eden cause death if it grew out of the same ground as other trees that sustained life? All is One by virtue of the Force that is in all and is All.3. Satan's statement “You shall not surely die” was a denial of the reality of death. It also implied that all life is the same, though manifest in varying forms. If humans are really Gods, an integral part of the one great Unity which is ALL, then they could not cease to exist unless the universe itself ceased to exist. There is no death. Life is an endless cycle of reincarnation, shedding one outward form (body) to take on another....4. In persuading Eve to eat of the forbidden tree of knowledge, Satan implied that knowledge (enlightenment) was the key to godhood and immortality. There was nothing wrong with her, he said, but she was failing to realize her full potential by the negative way she was thinking. It's all a mind trip. Eve needed to expand her awareness, to achieve higher states of consciousness. Because consciousness is the ultimate expression of the Force, the human mind can create its own universe (illusions of forms) by thought alone.
There is an undeniable point-by-point correlation between these four premises of the Serpent's philosophy and the basic ideas underlying not only paganism-occultism but also modern science, psychology, sociology, and every human religion. The odds against this happening by chance are too astronomical to calculate. The Genesis story is by no means a myth. Its accuracy is fully demonstrated by the worldwide persistence in our day of the very same lies that Adam and Eve embraced, which can only be explained as resulting from the continuing influence of Satan upon their descendants. No further proof is needed of the very real existence of “that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan, who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9).29
Quite frankly, at first reading, I had problems with the validity of Hunt's inferences; but after doing my own extensive reading on paganism-occultism, I am convinced he is essentially correct in his inferences and has done no violence to the Scriptures. Satan's universal religion is the complete antithesis of true religion. Consequently, it is also contrary to divine order (i.e., “nature”). The Bible teaches us that the “headship” of man is part of that divine order (Ephesians 5:22-24). In emphasizing this point, the apostle Paul, in I Timothy 2:13, appeals to the “Beginning” just as Jesus had also emphasized the divinely ordained nature of the marriage relationship by an appeal to the “Beginning” (cf. Matthew 19:4-5). Paul's argument for women being “under obedience” (I Corinthians 14:34b) and not “teach[ing], nor...usurp[ing] authority over the man” (I Timothy 2:12) is based on two equally fundamental truths: “For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (I Timothy 2:13-14).
Adam was created “first” and existed for some time before Eve was formed; therefore, one must conclude that Eve was not to be Adam's leader. Recalling God's declaration before His forming of Eve makes this clear: “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). The Lord then presented her to him. It was then that Adam declared her to be “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:22-24). Then Adam, the “Man” (Ish), called her “Woman” (Isha) because she was taken “out of Man.” Paul, in arguing that “the head of the woman is the man” in I Corinthians 11:3, stated it thusly: “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man” (I Corinthians 11:8-9. In other words, both her origin and name “are derived [from man] and thus second and secondary and not first and primary.”30 This is why the terms “womin” and “wimmin” are preferred by today's Jehovah-hating, radical feminists.
Who will undo and re-do God's creative work? Satan, that's who, and all that are “deceived” by him. In taking the leadership role, Paul says “the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (I Timothy 2:14b). This second fact is not complimentary to Eve; but neither is it complimentary to Adam. Satan's ultimate goal in seducing Eve was to get at Adam. We know this is true because our race had not been totally corrupted when Eve sinned, and Satan knew this. It was not until Adam followed the leadership of his wife that the whole human race was corrupted (cf. Romans 5:12). In order for the human race to be corrupted, not only did Eve and Adam have to violate the direct commandment of God, but they also had to completely reverse their God-ordained positions toward each other: Eve her position of subordination, Adam his leadership; she gave him to eat, and he did eat (Genesis 3:6,12).
Based on what we have already learned, it does not surprise us that Jezebel, a witch and worshipper of the mother goddess (cf. II Kings 9:22), and Ahab, the most wicked king who ever ruled over Israel, are notorious examples of the topsy-turviness of Satan's universal religion: “There was none like unto Ahab, who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, who Jezebel his wife stirred up” (I Kings 21:25). Rebellion and witchcraft are clearly linked in God's Word (cf. I Samuel 15:23). In practicing witchcraft, Jezebel was in direct rebellion against God and His natural order. Ahab was king of Israel, but in effect, Jezebel was his lord.
Such rebellion is further seen in Ahab's and Jezebel's daughter, Athaliah, who was the wife of Jehoram, the fifth king of Judah. After the death of her son, Amaziah, she usurped the throne and reigned six years over the kingdom of Judah. In seizing the throne, she attempted to kill all the male members of the royal family. She succeeded in destroying all the royal seed except the infant Joash, who was hidden by the wife of the high priest (II Chronicles 22:11). Athaliah, the daughter of a witch and herself a worshipper of the fertility gods and goddesses, represents the only interruption of the dynasty of David in the Southern Kingdom. Furthermore, as a follower of that crafty, old Serpent, the Devil, she came within one infant of destroying the lineage of Messiah. Surely, in such activity one cannot miss seeing the footprints of the Serpent.
The God of The Witches
In her book The Spiral Dance, Starhawk identifies the male aspect of the goddess as the “Horned God” who “remains in relationship to the prime nurturing force” (i.e., the “Goddess”). “His power,” she says, “is drawn directly from the Goddess: He participates in Her.”31 Starhawk associates this horned god with the “Great Rebel” who is “untamed” and “seeks to please no masters.”32 According to Starhawk, “The God of the Witches is the God of love.”33 But one must not misunderstand the nature of this “God of love.” He is not to be associated in any way with Christian love (i.e., agape). He is, in fact, “The God of Eros.”34. This is elaborated on by Starhawk, who wrote:
And so the God is the proud stag who haunts the heart of the deepest forest, that of the Self. He is the stallion, swift as thought, whose crescent hooves leave lunar marks even as they strike sparks of solar fire. He is the goat-Pan, lust and fear, the animal emotions that are also the fostering powers of human life....
Yet He is untamed. He is all that within us...will never be domesticated, that refuses to be compromised, diluted, made safe, molded, or tampered with. He is free.35
In Greek mythology, Pan was depicted as half-man, half-goat, and was considered the god of Nature. Ever-lecherous, this god, whose name means “All,” was involved in numerous love affairs with the “nymphs,” especially Echo, Syrinx, and Pithys. As the “Horned God” of witchcraft, he is sometimes called Cernunnos and is depicted as having the head of a bull, a man's torso, the legs of serpents, and the tail of a fish. Unmistakably, the popular depictions of Satan are derived, however incorrectly, from these mythological sources. Although the modern witch will deny she worships Satan, who, she says, is a “Christian invention,” she does worship the “Horned God” who seems to manifest many of the characteristics of the “Great Rebel,” better known to Christians as the “old Serpent.”
It must be understood that although neo-pagans are trying to paint the worship of the fertility gods and goddesses with broad strokes of peace, harmony, and love, paganism must be seen for what it really is: REBELLION AGAINST GOD (I Samuel 15:23). Far from characterizing peace and harmony, murders and violence of the most hideous sort were always manifested by this religion. Correspondingly, the “Love” that was an integral part of paganism, and continues to be touted in neo-paganism, is Eros (i.e., lustful, sensuous passion). Consequently, the worship of the fertility gods and goddesses is always associated with immorality of the grossest kind—so gross that even the Greek historian Herodotus termed it totally disgraceful. Although he wrote that “it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done...in secret” by those who manifest the “unfruitful works of darkness” (Ephesians 5:12-13), the apostle Paul mentioned both the female lesbianism and male homosexuality that is the end result of “vile affections” or uncontrolled passions (cf. Romans 1:26-27).
Furthermore, the old Serpent's connection with the “vile affections” of goddess worship is depicted in a limestone image of Ashtoreth (Baal's consort or wife) discovered at Kiriath-sepher in the Canaanite stratum of pre-Israelite times. A large snake is shown coming out of the ground between the goddess' feet, coiling about her legs, its head entering her sex organ.36 Not coincidently, the Starhawk tape we mentioned earlier has a picture on its cover of the bare-chested mother goddess with serpents wound around each of her out-stretched arms. In addition, Shiva, the Hindu counterpart of Pan, the “Horned God” of witchcraft, is identified as “the master of all the forces of destruction” and wears as a garland around his neck the “Serpent King,” who, in turn, is identified as the “personification of death.” But have no fear, the witches whisper, “Death is not an end; it is a stage in the cycle that leads on to rebirth.”37 This is but a variation of the lie told by the Devil in the very beginning: “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4).
Clearly, then, it is impossible to consider modern witchcraft and its ancient roots without seeing the footprints of the Serpent. Furthermore, witchcraft, goddess worship, neo-paganism, or whatever it is called, is on the rise in America and around the world. Its initiates consider themselves a part of the New Age movement. A mixture of elements of Eastern mysticism, Western occult traditions, and a Norman Vincent Peale style of “the power of positive thinking” is very much a part of modern witchcraft. Furthermore, it is the extreme example of the popular self-esteem, self-love gospel of the New Age. “Love of self for self,” according to Starhawk, “is the creative force of the universe.”38
The horror of great darkness is sweeping over the West today. Christians must be aware that when the moon is full, writers, teachers, nurses, computer programmers, artists, lawyers, poets, plumbers, and auto mechanics—women and men from varied backgrounds—gather on hilltops, beaches, in open fields, and in ordinary houses to invoke the mother goddess and her consort, the “Horned One,” by their varied names. The women involved in these rituals have made a pact in the presence of the “Mighty Ones,” and, by kneeling and placing one hand on the top of their heads and the other hand beneath their heel, have said, “All between my two hands belongs to the Goddess.”39 (If not these exact words, then something similar.) As such, they have become the enemy of the one true God who has revealed Himself both in “Nature” and the Bible. As Christians, we, too, are their enemies. Everything God has ordained, they are determined to overthrow and destroy: monotheism with polytheism; patriarchy with matriarchy; the nuclear family with the coven community.
1. Los Angeles Times, April 10, 1978.
2. Karen Lindsey, “The New Feminist Spirituality,” MS. Magazine, December 1985.
3. Donna Steichen, “From Convent to Coven: Catholic Neo-Pagans at the Witches' Sabbath,” Fidelity Magazine, December 1985, pages 27-37.
5. Elinor Lenz and Barbara Myerhoff, The Feminization of America: How Women's Values Are Changing Our Public And Private Lives, 1985, pages 146-147.
6. Nancy M. Cross, “What's Christian About Christian Feminism?” Fidelity Magazine, December 1985, pages 9-11.
7. Starhawk, “Witchcraft Yesterday And Today,” Yoga Journal, May/June 1986.
8. John P. Newhouse, Demons, Demons, Demons, 1972, page 52.
9. Geoffrey Parrinder, Avatar and Incarnation, 1970, page 111.
10. Lenz, op. cit., pages 146-147.
11. Douglas R. Groothuis, Unmasking The New Age, 1986, page 154.
12. Nigel Davies, Human Sacrifice in History and Today, 1981, page 96.
13. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, 1979, page 26.
14. Starhawk, op. cit., page 9.
15. Starhawk, op. cit., page 10.
16. Starhawk, “Rebirth of the Goddess,” an audio cassette of a talk on witchcraft, feminism and social change at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, June 1981.
17. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, page 11.
18. Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology, 1976, page 160.
19. Dave Hunt, The Cult Explosion, 1978, page 123.
20. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, pages 2-3.
21. George H. Nash, “The Historical Roots of Contemporary American Conservatism,” Modern Age, Summer/Fall 1982, page 303.
22. Quoted in Allan C. Carlson, “The 'Green' Alternative and the Deathwatch for Industrial Society: A Potent Brew of 'Ecofeminism' Moves into the Spiritual Vacuum of the West,” Persuasion at Work, a publication of the Rockford Institute, September 1984.
24. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, pages 8-10, 195.
25. Allan C. Carlson, op. cit.
26. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, page 8, quoting Carol P. Christ, “Why Women Need The Goddess,” Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion, 1979, page 278.
28. Hunt, op. cit., page 122.
29. Hunt, op. cit., pages 109-110.
30. R.C.H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistle to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon, 1946, pages 565-566.
31. Starhawk, The Spiral Dance, page 97.
35. Starhawk, op. cit., page 100.
36. Hunt, op. cit., page 121.
37. Starhawk, op. cit., page 27.
38. Starhawk, op. cit., page 25.
39. Starhawk, op. cit., page 196.