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Sarah Palin and The Real Witches of Wasilla

There’s an angle on the Sarah Palin Thomas Muthee witch hunting scandal that I haven’t yet written about, although it’s been on my mind for many days. It has to do with the real witches that are vulnerable to the likes of Palin and Muthee.

irregular times writerWhen I say “real witches”, it’s a bit tricky, because while I do believe that there are real witches, I don’t believe that there is any real witchcraft. I’m not talking about the pointy-hatted witches of old European folklore, either.

I’m talking about Wiccans, who are among those in the larger neo-Pagan community who refer to themselves as witches. The Wiccans claim to be in touch with natural powers of the Earth, sacred powers of pre-Christian traditions. I’m not sure I buy that – Wicca seems to be a thoroughly modern reinterpretation of Pagan traditions to me, and the witches I’ve known live more like June Cleaver than priestesses of ancient times. For all their talk about the Craft, I don’t believe that Wiccans have anything more than symbolic, metaphorical powers either.

One other thing these witches are not is evil. They’re not worse than any other people, in my experience of them, although they do have an annoying habit of conspicuously saying “blessed be” or “so mete it” or “an ye harm none”.

From what I’ve seen of Wiccans, they’re really trying to make a statement of stepping away from the Christian approach of hierarchical, judgmental, authoritarian spirituality. They’re making a quest toward personal freedom, and trying to get apart from the restrictions of industrial civilization, at least symbolically (ever met a witch without a microwave).

These Wiccans are real witches in the sense that they are real people who call themselves witches. However, they are not at all real witches in the sense of the way that most people think about witches. Wiccans pose witchcraft – they don’t really cast magic.

The trouble is that people in the Assembly of God tradition that people like Sarah Palin have grown up in tend not to understand the distinction. They believe that Wiccans are agents of Satan who commune with demons. Of course, these same people believe that Harry Potter is a tool of Satan, even though it is clearly labelled as a work of fiction. Evangelicals tend to take things very literally, and so when Wiccans say that they’re witches, most evangelicals plug Wiccans into the concept of witchcraft that they’ve already got in their heads. That is, they think of Wiccans as like the fairy-tale witches of Halloween, with warts and green skin and broomsticks.

When a church like the Wasilla Assembly of God church brings in a witch hunter like Thomas Muthee, it tends to encourage weird superstitious fears and hatred against Wiccans. If I were a Wiccan in Wasilla, I’d feel very uncomfortable with having someone like Thomas Muthee, who has sent angry mobs against women he accuses of witchcraft, coming to town. Let’s not forget that Muthee has advocated violence in the name of God.

You may scoff, and say that there aren’t any Wiccans in a town like Wasilla. You would be wrong to do so. I’ve been able to find several Wiccans and neopagans living in and around Wasilla. Looking at the pagan and witches brings up a handful right there – easy as pie.

Sarah Palin doesn’t seem to even want to acknowledge the problem she has created by saying that a witch hunter of Thomas Muthee has anointed her to the position of Governor of Alaska. I don’t expect that Palin will repudiate Muthee. Given the existence of Wiccans and neopagans in her own home community of Wasilla, however, I would think that Sarah Palin might get it through her head that she needs to address the issue of religious diversity in the United States, and make a clear statement that she does not support discrimination against non-judeo-christian religious minorities.

After all, if Sarah Palin thinks that she’s an expert on Russia because Russia is 750 miles away from Wasilla, then you’d think Palin might be inclined to say something on the role of new spiritual alternatives like Wicca, given that Wiccans are living and working right in her home town.

8 comments to Sarah Palin and The Real Witches of Wasilla

  • DARK ENERGY

    I’m not worried about Wiccans in Wasilla. Law and order will protect them. I worry about Barack Obama’s family in Kenya. Obama’s brother, for instance, lives not far from Word of Faith Church. What is to stop Bishop Muthee from accusing him of practicing witchcraft and organizing a mob to harass him?

    DE

  • kevin

    “though it is clearly labelled as a work of fiction.”

    Oh well then, that makes it all right…SATAN wouldn’t LIE or anythign like that…. not at all he would “clearly” label himself as the prince of darkness waiting to feast on the souls of the unwary..

    and of course the McCain camp have clearly labelled themselvs the “Change” party or the “real change” party .. or was it the “loose change” party?

  • Sam

    They took the change montra from Obama because McCain has a record of change…Obama has nothing but a record of changed underwear….

  • Sweet Voice Woman

    Not only has she insulted Native American’s such as my self, whom honor wolves, by hunting them to exhaustion from the air then shooting them, she now is moving forward into the dark ages by supporting a preacher who is on a witch hunt. I pray to all the powers that be that McCain/ Palin do not win, and then something happens to McCain! I have to close now, mt helicopter is warming up, my sot gun is loading–were was thta church steeple in Wassilla—

  • Sam

    Sweet Voice Woman…bring it on honey….preditor control is part of animal management when civiliztion is concerned….and buy some carbon credits for that chopper flight!

  • Blake

    Being a practice Wiccan praying every day that MCcain and Plain don’t win the white house. Something happen to Mccain she will drive everything into the ground. Calling upon powers of lord of Lady better words God and goddess make sure that everything that Palin more things in her past when she was mayor of small town Alaska in the news. Prayer circle might be starting more energy from different religion

  • C. Copeland

    “in my experience of them, although they do have an annoying habit of conspicuously saying “blessed be” or “so mete it” or “an ye harm none”.”

    As someone who’s been in the craft for nearly nine years, I’ve never heard “an ye harm none” (which is an incomplete statement- the full she-bang being “an ye harm none do what thou wilt”) used conversationally by other Wiccans.
    Nor have I heard “so mete it” which I think is your (also incomplete) understanding of “so MOTE it be” which is a term of ceremony that basically means “so be it done” etc. etc. (the Freemasons also use this term). “Blessed be” is common, however, but is simply our equivalent of “God bless”.

    Otherwise good article, just thought I’d point out some glaring mistakes/mishandlings.

  • Elle

    Well, among witches, you have witches, wiccans (which is actually celtic for witch) and then the fluffy bunnies.

    Fluffy bunnies are sort of like the universalists are to christians. They are the new age, crystal buying and wearing types, who do walk around and say such things like Blessed be and so mote it be, and love to quote the law in as many different ways as they can. maybe I should call them “witch lite”. they are about as serious about witchcraft as McCain/Palin is about helping “joe sixpack’.

    When the theocracy comes they will be the first to suddenly find christ.

    Many of the threads of modern paganism and wicca come from very ancient traditions dating back to the neolithic and the “venus” figures that are found at many sites. A lot of the “western” traditions, come from pre-christian Europa and the worship of the agrarian spirits and cycles of nature. It is not just a worship of the Godess, but of the God as well, The Lord and Lady. It is the realization that They have had many names, and many aspects throughout history that have been worshiped by humankind during past ages. Innana, Isis, Hera, Hecate, Dianah, the list goes on.
    Catholics actually worship an aspect, the Maddona, the Mother of God, Mary.

    Christians pray, Witches and other pagans cast spells, both are in their way, an appeal to the Powers that be, a petition to the gods so to speak. They attempt to use the latent power of life and the Divine to affect reality. Whenever a mother prays for the safety of her son, she is casting a type of spell, seeking to manipulate reality for the purpose of helping her child.

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