Saturday, May 27, 2006

An exWitch's Thoughts on Harry Potter... (Updated)

Seems everyone has passionately held views about young Harry...

OK seems like time to jump in with my 2c worth...

I certainly wouldn't try to 'prevent' anyone from reading HP books or watching the flicks... I think it would be just plain stupid and an infringement of another's right to choose their own entertainment (so long as it is not harming another)...

However... That said...

While I don't think that anyone and everyone who watches a HP flick is going to run off and become a demon worshipping psychopath - which *rolls eyes* I've heard some (who should know better) claim - I do see the potential that a small number of the total number of viewers/readers will be influenced into thinking that magick is all fluffy, harmless bumpf... any serious practitioner of Magick will tell you that there ARE dangers... *shrugs* Hey! I was a Pagan (on the Left Hand Path) myself... (you can read a bit more about that at the main exWitch Australia site)

Now that I am a Christian I feel that it is only right (and a responsibility to - for want of a better term) to warn people of the dangers in Magick (both those acknowledged by practitioners) and those defined in Scripture... the old analogy of "If someone was in a burning house would you warn them to get out?" comes in here... yeah I know it's not a 'perfect fit' but few analogies are but I think you see what I'm getting at...

It is quite true that Harry Potter makes no mention of the Wiccan Rede, the Sabbats etc etc... but Wicca is not the only form of Witchcraft nor is it even the only form of Neo-Pagan Witchcraft... My old Coven did not practice the Wiccan Rede and in fact 'The Rite of Vengence' was officially accepted into the Coven's 'Book of Shadows'. This was even reflected in the Coven's Motto: "Sic Gorgiamus Alius Subjectatus Nunc" ("We Gladly Devour All those Who Would Subdue Us")...

I personally think much more is made of Harry Potter than is neccessary - others will disagree - but as I said that's my personal view...

But as I said above and I say it again so there is no ambiguity here - and I say this as one who was the High Priest of a Neo-Pagan Coven before coming to Christ... Harry Potter is NOT a 'training manual' designed to intruduce kids to Witchcraft!!!! AND... Reading the books or watching the filns does NOT mean that your child will become a demon worshipping, blood drinking maniac (as I have herad some claim)...

That said...

It does have SOME impact however... in much the same way as TV shows and movies like Charmed, The Craft et al...

When I was High Priest of a Coven here in Western Australia out of every 100 enquiries re Coven membership only a handful were NOT from teenaged girls who wanted to be like Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Shannon Doherty from Charmed... Yes it is a false view of Wicca and Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and certainly not what my Coven was about... but that's what they were after and to a large extent the likes of $ilver Ravenwolf and Fiona Horne catered for them and lined their pockets with the proceeds...

So when Oberon Zell (founder of the Neo-Pagan 'Chucrch of All Worlds') is putting out stuff like this...

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1564147118/qid=1114144249/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-8310467-2099831?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
http://www.greyschool.com/main.asp

To say Harry Potter has NO effect ... well... it kinda rings hollow now-a-days...

Especially when one read the following excerpts from the foreward of Oberon Zell's "Grimoire for the Apprentice Wizard"...

'Foreword: The Grimoire and the Grey Council'
(full text at: http://www.witchvox.com/books/dt_bk.html?id=614 )

"A great number of us have been wanting - longing - to board the Hogwarts Express and to travel to an academy that teaches the really exciting things in life. Things such as magick, herbal lore, divination, conjuring, and so on. In a word, we have been wanting to learn WIZARDRY. It’s one thing to read about the experiences of someone else - even such a fascinating person as Harry Potter - but it’s quite another thing to be able to go through the whole magickal educational process yourself. To enter such a school and know that your teachers are the very finest Wizards and Witches in the world would be awe-inspiring. So, how to do this? How to find and attend such a Wizard’s academy?"

"You’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to wait for a special invitation to be delivered, be it by owl mail or otherwise. You don’t even have to be the child of a Wizard or Witch. In fact you can even be a regular Muggle child and still get into this school. (It has been rumored that even some grown-up Muggles have been so attracted to it that they, too, have slipped in!) Where is this school? It’s right here in your hands. The Course in Wizardry - at least the Apprentice Level of the course - is contained in this book. That’s like suddenly discovering that there’s a home study branch of Hogwarts Academy! Here may be found seven major courses, plus an appendix and bibliography, put together by the Grey Council of Wizards for you to study and learn."

"Members of the Grey Council are living, breathing, famous Wizards and Witches of the present day. They are not “made up, ” or in any way invented by an author. They are alive and real and have been practicing their various crafts for up to forty or fifty years. When Harry Potter was first taking the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts Academy, he was shown the trading cards of Witches and Wizards that came in the Chocolate Frogs packs. Ron Weasley introduced him to these, showing such famous personalities as Merlin, Paracelsus, Morgana, Circe, Cliodna, Ptolemy, Dumbledore, and Hengist. These were actually a mixture of real Witches and Wizards and those of fiction and legend. But in this book there are only real ones...."

"Let this book take you on a journey. It opens on Wizardry - concerning Wizards, becoming a Wizard, foundations of magick, magickal skills, etc. It introduces you to ideas and concepts, then leads you along the secret path that wends its way through the sometimes fearsome appearing trees of the forest of ancient knowledge. Along the way you learn that all is not as it seems. What many people take as frightening, or scary, you will learn to be safe, inspiring, and power-enabling. The path through the woods goes on and on, but the deeper it goes, the more interesting you will find it. This is a little like venturing into the Forbidden Forest near Hogwarts. That is a place where “secrets are kept and mysteries can be unraveled.” There will be temptations along the way, yes. There will appear to be some short-cuts. But where do they really lead? The safest route is with your guides; with the Grey Council. You will not be led astray. Stay on the path and do what they suggest. Remember, Hagrid was not afraid of the forest, because he knew it and knew of its inhabitants. So with the Grey Council. We know the safest routes and will guide you safely."

...and by the author Oberon Zell himeslf...(full text at: http://www.witchvox.com/books/dt_bk.html?id=614 )

"Combining the concept of the original Boy Scout Handbook with a seven-year junior high- through high school curriculum such as “Hogwarts” would provide, I wrote, wove, and edited all this material into a single 384-page volume of courses, classes, lessons, and exercises. It is profusely illustrated with my own drawings and those of others both ancient and contemporary. Charts, tables, diagrams, glossaries, and appendices make it an essential reference for a lifetime of magickal work and studies.

"In short, this is the book I wish I’d gotten hold of when I began my journey as a youth, and had available all these years; and it’s the book I most want to have on my shelf right now. In my next incarnation, I expect to be given a copy upon my first Rite of Passage!

"This is the first true Grimoire of the 3rd Millennium, and, like its Medieval predecessors, it is itself an act of magick. We are tailoring it specifically for the “Harry Potter generation, ” where the soil has already been richly cultivated for the planting of these seeds. Through it, I (and the Grey Council) intend to release an entire new generation of Wizards into the world - not just a few, as in times past, but millions. And their impact on the world will be incalculable…"


Whether or not Harry Potter was intended as such (I personally think it was not) it is recognized by some at least in the Wiccan and Neo-Pagan communities as a powerful 'recruitment tool'... and dare I say it - is obviously and quite openly being "ca$hed in on" - quite literally by the looks of Oberon Zell's books and "School of Wizardry" website...

When I was High Priest of a Coven here in Western Australia out of every 100 enquiries re Coven membership only a handful were NOT from teenaged girls who wanted to be like Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Shannon Doherty from Charmed... Yes it is a false view of Wicca and Neo-Pagan Witchcraft and certainly not what my Coven was about... but that's what they were after and to a large extent the likes of $ilver Ravenwolf and Fiona Horne catered for them and lined their pockets with the proceeds...

I must admit that with Hogwart's being such an AGGRESSIVELY protected trademark (Harry Potter fan-sites are always being shut down for copyright breaches) old Oberon has been quite clever in his presentation of his Hogwarts 'clone' "School of Wizardry" and - dare I say specific - in his 'target audience'...

I dunno about anyone else, but it sure as eggs looks to me that Oberon Zell and the 'Church of All Worlds' (CAW) must be really miffed about all that lost income from potential CAW memberships that $ilver Ravenwolf and Fiona Horne nabbed by NOT larfing at those teen girls that liked The Craft and Charmed et al and wanted to be "just like Shannon Doherty"...

So when respected and recognized 'figureheads' within the Wiccan and Neo-Pagan community so openly recognize Harry Potter's influence I am left somewhat gob smacked when I find Christians who attempt to deny it...

Harry Potter books and films are full of stereotypical magic. Witchcraft and wizardry are central themes, and the lead roles are played by wizards, witches, and other magical creatures. Although the characters practice casting spells, reading crystal balls, etc., they do not communicate with spiritual (supernatural) forces. While this may be considered a positive by some, one definite negative in my opinion is that there is no higher power to answer to at all...

Unlike other fantasy children's stories that contain witches and the like, such as C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter does not have a positive biblical worldview...

The distinction between good and bad can become blurred as both the "good" and "evil" characters participate in different types witchcraft and magic. The Bible clearly condemns all kinds of witchcraft, sorcery and spiritism (Deuteronomy 18:10-11) Philippians 4:8 tells us to "fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable."

So does this mean that all Christians should avoid Harry Potter altogether?

For some families, the answer to this is yes.

In my view the Harry Potter series is not for young or spiritually immature children, as they may not have the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, right and wrong, or good and evil...

At best, they may be left confused about God's views about the occult, and at worst, they may become enchanted by the magical existence of Harry and his friends, becoming desensitized to occultic lifestyles...

In addition, there are issues such as violence and mildly foul language that each Christian family will be sensitive to at different levels...

Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians chapter 8 on a grey area of his time: whether or not Christians should eat meat that was sacrificed to idols.

He explained that some Christians have "knowledge" about the fact that there is only one God, and meat sacrificed to idols was not really sacrificed to anything. However, other Christians did not have this same "knowledge", and if they saw another Christian eating meat that was sacrificed to an idol, their conscience might be "...emboldened to eat those things offered to idols..."

To these, this would be a sin in their own minds because of their weaker understanding. Paul warns us of letting our liberty become a "stumbling block" to those who are weaker, or have less understanding.

He says in verses 11 and 12, "And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, YOU sin against Christ." (emphasis mine)

At the end of the chapter, Paul offers his solution to this problem. He says in verse 13, "Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble."

Same could be said of young Harry VERY easily... ;)

For my part... I personally don't think young Harry is half as bad as some make him out to be... but I won't 'partake' myself for the reasons given above...

Just a thought...

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