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For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch
Trey Capnerhurst, a traditional witch, performs a naming ceremony by the altar in her backyard in Alberta.
October 30th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

For some Wiccans, Halloween can be a real witch

By Daniel Burke, Belief Blog Co-editor

(CNN) -  Like lots of people, when October 31 rolls around, Trey Capnerhurst dons a pointy hat and doles out candy to children who darken the door of her cottage in Alberta.

But she’s not celebrating Halloween. In fact, she kind of hates it.

Capnerhurst says she’s a real, flesh-and-blood witch, and Halloween stereotypes of witches as broom-riding hags drive her a bit batty.

“Witches are not fictional creatures,” the 45-year-old wrote in a recent article on WitchVox.com.

“We are not werewolves or Frankenstein monsters. We do not have green skin, and only some of us have warts.”

Warts or not, many witches say they have mixed feelings about Halloween.

Some look forward to the day when witchcraft is front and center and no one looks askance at big black hats. Others complain that the holiday reinforces negative stereotypes of witches as evil outliers who boil children in black cauldrons.

Capnerhurst falls into the latter camp.

Hanging up witch decorations at Halloween is no better than wearing blackface costumes or taking a slur, like “Redskins,” as the name of your football team, she says.

“Unless one actually is a witch, dressing up as stereotypical witches is bigotry,” Capnerhurst said.

In June, the wife and mother of two started her own church for “traditional” witches called Disir, an old Norse word meaning “matron deities,” she says.

(Capnerhurst draws a distinction between “traditional” witches, like her, who were born into the religion, and Wiccans, most of whom are converts.)

Most Wiccans identify as witches, and they form the largest branch of the burgeoning neo-pagan movement, said Helen A. Berger, a sociologist who specializes in the study of contemporary Paganism and witchcraft at Brandeis University.

A 2008 survey counted about 342,000 Wiccans in the United States and nearly as many who identify simply as “pagans,” a significant increase from the last American Religious Identification Survey, taken in 2001.

Three-quarters of American Wiccans are women, according to Berger.

“It’s harder to train male Wiccans,” Capnerhurst said with a cheery sigh. “Most men just aren’t going to sweep the kitchen and think about sweeping out the bad energy.”

The faith is fiercely individualistic. Although there are umbrella groups like Wisconsin-based Circle Sanctuary, most Wiccans practice their own blends of witchcraft.

After centuries of persecution in Europe and colonial America, modern witches still bear a sharp suspicion of authority. The rede, or ethical statement at the core of Wicca, is: Harm none and do as you will.

Despite the rising popularity of their faith, many Wiccans remain “in the broom closet,” fearful of losing their jobs, their families or their reputations, said Berger and other experts.

Trey Capnerhurst in her traditional witch garb.

Capnerhurst said she was “outed” in 2005 while running as the Green Party’s candidate for local office. A reporter noted the pentacle - a five-pointed star often mistaken as a satanic symbol - hanging around her neck.

“I kind of became the poster girl for paganism,” Capnerhurst said.

But the notoriety came at a cost.

Neighbors have threatened to burn down the house she shares with her family, Capnerhurst says. She’s lost jobs. And people keep asking her whether the “Blair Witch Project,” the 1999 horror movie, is real.

“I’m like, What the frick! No!”

Raising her 12-year-old daughter, Maenwen, as a witch is not easy either, Capnerhurst says, especially around this time of year, when just about every classroom turns into a coven of construction-paper crones and black cats.

In the United States, Circle Sanctuary has founded the Lady Liberty League to advocate for Wiccans' religious freedom and to fight discrimination.

Unlike Capnerhurst, however, some witches see Halloween as a treat, not a trick.

“Considering that I usually slap on a pointy hat at this time of year (and I have a black cat too), I’m fine with the image of the Halloween witch,” wrote Jen McConnel, a poet, novelist and Wiccan from North Carolina, in an e-mail.

“Even though the word ‘witch ‘ is loaded, I have embraced it,” McConnel said, “but it is only one of many hats I wear (pun intended).”

McConnel says she enjoys the yearly confluence of Halloween with Samhain, an ancient Celtic festival that marks the end of the harvest and winter’s coming darkness.

It’s a time when the veil between the living and the dead grows thin, according to Wiccan theology, and spirits can easily cross the divide.

Many Wiccans hold “dumb suppers,” to which they invite deceased ancestors, making sure to prepare their favorite foods, said Jeanet Lewis, a witch who lives in Northern Virginia.

“It’s a meditative, silent meal,” Lewis said.

Other witches light memorial candles and cast spells for the new year.

What do witches wish for? The same things as everyone else, apparently.

“Health, wealth and love,” Capnerhurst said with a laugh. “Every single spell falls into one of those three categories.”

Even though she dislikes Halloween, Capnerhurst has found a way to blend it with her own sacred days, Samhain.

According to some historians, at this time of year, as the days grow darker, ancient Celts would don costumes as stand-ins for deceased spirits, going door-to-door and performing tricks in exchange for treats.

Capnerhurst prefers to see the children who come to her door on October 31 as a re-enactment of that ritual.

“I’m doing my ritual and they get candy,” she said. “Everybody wins!”

And even though she bristles at the thought that some neighbors might abhor her religion, Capnerhurst tries to take it all in good cheer.

As October 31 approaches each year, she places a sign on her lawn that reads, "This House Practices Safe Hex."

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Discrimination • Halloween • Holidays • Neopaganism • Paganism • Persecution • Prejudice

soundoff (2,335 Responses)
  1. jack

    What's next, Tekkies offended by people wearing Star Trek costumes on Halloween? Clowns offended by clown suits? What a joke.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  2. Iliveforyoulord

    Believing in The Lord Jesus Christ is not a religion. It's a spiritual revelation from the God Almighty himself. Not every person that calls himself Christian has been honored to See The Truth. You can know it but it doesn't mean you truly believe it. It is by grace it is revealed. It is by choice you receive it. The gospel does not make sense. If you choose a "religion" based on what makes sense then you are doing your free will. Which was God-given. Choose. Know that a relationship with The True God is not a religion but the reality for many of us. The problem with most of us is that we shop for religion. The bible says...let no mam deceive himself. If any man among you seem erg to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.

    Regardless of your intellect, knowledge, experiences and personal opinions you must become a fool to understand the gospel because it's the only way it will be revealed onto you. Shopping for religion is completely different and in such contrast to believing in The true and only Almighty I Am.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Max

      I'll give u a 67. Try again. Dodo, when u try to immitate a believer by posting what u think will fool others, u may have some success. Buy, u never fool me and that's what u really hope to do.

      I admire your persistence but u utterly fail

      October 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Blue Light Special

      "The bible says.."

      Kaching! You have 'shopped' and 'bought' the legends, supersti-tions and fantasies of ancient Israelites... and your own fantasies are after-market add-ons.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
      • Max

        Same old same old

        October 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • Nada

      What would be impressive is if a god out there could actually write.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Madtown

      Not every person that calls himself Christian has been honored to See The Truth
      ------
      Yep, it's only the extra special people like you that God shares the truth with.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • USAPeasant

      Just reading over some funny comments. Your comment stood out though. You are correct. Though I would add people can see if they want to see. Jesus said to knock on many doors and you will get an answer. The Bible says that everything that is in the dark will be brought to the light. Its not that one should shop for religion, but should understand the true concept of God and look and test all religions to see if they really are worshipping the real God or if they are worshipping an idol. Even the concept of the "church" has become wildly different that the apostle Paul's idea of the Church. Don't be too harsh though, because even if the church is wicked that blame lies mostly upon that church's leadership. A good person is a good person nonetheless.

      October 31, 2013 at 8:35 pm |
    • USAPeasant

      Just reading over some funny comments. Your comment stood out though. You are correct. Though I would add people can see if they want to see. Jesus said to knock on many doors and you will get an answer. The Bible says that everything that is in the dark will be brought to the light. Its not that one should shop for religion, but should understand the true concept of God and look and test all religions to see if they really are worshipping the real God or if they are worshipping an idol. Even the concept of the "church" has become wildly different than the apostle Paul's idea of the Church. Don't be too harsh though, because even if the church is wicked that blame lies mostly upon that church's leadership. A good person is a good person nonetheless.

      October 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
  3. Another Opinion.

    We all find deep feeling and meaning in what we CHOOSE to believe, that said respect each other and their ideas.
    I'm not Wiccan, Christian, Buddhist, follow Islam or any organize religion/faith.
    I have read many of the popular religious books along as the so called holy ones. Take the positive of each and move on. If not nobody really cares what you think of their religion. Just don't persecute those who's ideas are different.
    Respect is the key to our well being. Dont you have enough problems on your own where you can occupy some of your time to have a positive outcome.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
    • Max

      52. Please

      October 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Joe

      This is the give-everybody-a-trophy mentality. Pointing out that wiccan makes no sense and isn't based on anything doesn't mean you're bad person. People are way too sensitive. It's okay to use your brain to make judgments. You don't have to just let anybody say any crazy thing without response.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Yes, give every religions God a trophy for they all equally win and equally lose and the trophy and accolades are just there to make the followers feel like they were doing something worthwhile. It won't be until years later when they are cleaning out their garage that they will look at it and say "Well that was a waste of time. What did I get for my trouble? A dusty trophy of a bygone era.

        October 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  4. lunchbreaker

    My questions to any Wiccan:
    Are there consequences to believing Wicca is real or not?
    And if not, why does it matter?
    Are you right and everyone else wrong?
    Do you live a better life than non-wiccans?

    October 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Heather

      I will answer your questions. I have been a Wiccan for 18 years and have found great fulfillment through practicing Wicca.
      As for consequences of believing it is real or not-no, there are no consequences if you don't believe in Wicca. In the Wiccan belief system, the only consequences that any individual suffers are the consequences of their own actions and choices. We do not believe that our gods and goddesses are up there on a cloud watching and waiting for us mere mortals to screw up and then hit us with a lightenng bolt. We do not believe in the concept of heaven and hell. Most of us believe in some variation of reincarnation, or that our spirits continue to live on and move and grow through this plane and others until we have reached the ultimate incarnation and have become one with the forces of the universe. To some, this concept may sound crazy but is it any more crazy that the concept of heaven or hell? I think not. As to why it matters whether Wicca is real or not-well, it only matters to the ones that practice it. Our belief that it is real makes it real to us, sortof like any other religion. To Christians, Jesus is real and the Bible is the living word of God. To the Muslims, Allah and the Koran. To the Buddhists, well I'm not really sure what they believe but you get my point. As to your question of whether Wiccans are right and everyone else wrong-that answer is a resounding NO!! Within the Wiccan practice, there are so many variations of so many traditions and it incorporates so many religous pantheons that for us to point the finger and say than any other belief system is wrong, would be rather hypocritical of us, don't you think? The only solid, steadfast rule in Wicca is "Do what ye will be it harm none." What that means is that everyone is free to practice how they choose as long they do not bring harm to anyone or to themselves. Do I live a better life than a non-Wiccan? I can only say that I am more content and fulfilled as a Wiccan than I ever was as a Catholic or evangelical Christian. Am i rich and famous? No. Do i drive around in $200k dollar sports car? No. I am your average middle class working wife and mother of two. I struggle to pay the bills just like everyone else. I have good days, I have bad days, days when I am happy and days when I am not. But that is not because of my religous beliefs. My lot in life is solely based on the choices I have made in my life. It is the direct "consequence" of my actions and my choices. I have no one to blame (or thank) but myself. My religious practices feed and nourish my soul and that part of me that seeks to understand where and how I fit into this game we call life.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Thanks for taking the time to write your answers.

      October 31, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  5. lunchbreaker

    I like how the author uses the word "some". That could be anywhere between 2 people interviewed for the article to a considerable percent of the Wiccan population.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
  6. HotCarl72

    I haven't laughed so hard in all of my life. Thanks for this article. I can't believe people are actually stupid enough to believe in this stuff.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  7. Michael

    Just like many Evangelical Christians, the witch in this article is DESPERATE for a reason to claim she's persecuted. The religion was started in the 50's, long after the "stereotypical" witch meme had taken hold, long after the Wicked Witch made her debut in the Wizard of Oz. I'm sure there are ways in which Wiccans are being unfairly treated, but comparing cartoon witches to blackface is about as hyperbolic as it gets.

    By the way, she wasn't "outed" by anyone but herself when she wore that pentacle to such a public setting. She WANTED that part of her life to be public knowledge or else she wouldn't have openly worn it. Does that mean that the backlash she got was deserved? No, but the blame also shouldn't be placed on someone else for merely pointing out a statement that she herself was making.

    I support her religious freedom 100%, but not the ludicrous claims being made here, or CNN's publishing of them.

    October 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • Max

      50. U should b ashamed!

      October 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Joe

      Great post! You are dead on.

      CNN should have pointed out the things you said in the article.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      If kids were dressing up as little comedy versions of Hasidic Jews to go trick or treating, I think people would be far more upset. Dress your young boys up in dark blue slacks and a white shirt and tie and have them go as Mormons or maybe a Pope costume would be fun. I have seen priests and nuns, so that should be no problem. We don't need to stop dressing up as witches, we just need to make fun of everyone, though dressing up as Osama Bin Laden or Muhammad may not be the best ideas...

      October 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  8. Robert Brown

    I was reading the other night about the differences between humans and animals. According to scientists in several disciplines the differences are really just a matter of degree. There are some really smart animals, humans are just exponentially smarter, as far as they can tell. A couple of thoughts came to mind after reading several studies. Humans reason with one another, argue, and debate to get what they want or convince others at times, while animals always resort to force, threat, deceit, or begging. I realize that this is the result of the degree to which we can communicate. Things that human society has demonstrated that animals have yet to demonstrate include religion, science, and politics, again the degree of communication allows a very effective way to share ideas.

    Do animals contemplate their own death?

    Do animals think ahead and plan?

    October 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      The same 2 questions can be asked of very young children.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        I think I read somewhere that an adult chimp is about as intelligent as a 2 or 3 year old human child.

        October 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
      • lunchbreaker

        Maybe I was mistaken, but are you trying to say that fact implies a creator?

        October 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          I believe so.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
        • lunchbreaker

          Mr Brown, I could recommend a good book to explain that from an evolutionary standpoint ("Se x, Time and Power" by Leonard Shlain), but I don't suppose that you would put much stock in it, considering your view on evolution.

          October 31, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll have to admit that I understand very little about evolution. I’ve read enough to understand that living things change over time and adaptation can be demonstrated, but that whole evolutionary tree of life still seems a little far fetched to me.

          October 31, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Perhaps the distinction isn't just intelligence, but the ability to execute. As in, it is pretty hard to create something such as a tool if you have no or limited ability to grasp or manufacture physical items.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        The mighty opposable thumb?

        October 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I think that is one example. But there's likely more to it than just that as merely having an opposable thumb has not allowed chimpanzees to construct aircraft, for example.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          There was an ivy league scientist who suggested 4 differences of human thought, although I stopped reading about it when I saw where he was later fired for falsifying experiments, or some such.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Colin

      Sagan did a great analysis of this in one of his books (I forget the name). His thesis was that the difference between humans and other mammals is simply one of degree in every respect (language, tool use, emotion, familial bonding, even art). An interesting question sky-fairy believers have to wrestle with is, at what point did the DNA of H.omo Erectus become human enough (in the terms of H.omo Sapien) to warrant a soul and eternal life.

      We atheists, of course, dismiss such questions as utter rubbish – which is what they are.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        So, do you think our reasoning and thought are also just degrees ahead of animals, allowing us to contemplate death and plan ahead?

        October 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          So. Dodo don't no what to do when she's not reading from her script

          October 31, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  9. bananas

    glory!!!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Iliveforyoulord

      Blessed are those who hear and believe.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
      • Boz

        A new heaven and a new earth. Can't wait. Yet, there is so much work to be done. I'm like Paul torn between two worlds

        October 31, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
      • Nada

        Mental patients hear and believe

        October 31, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  10. bananas

    glory!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  11. bananas

    glory

    October 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
  12. bananas

    weeping gnashing of teeth!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  13. bananas

    weeping gnashing of teeth

    October 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  14. bananas

    well done

    October 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  15. Joe

    The wiccan religion was created in the 1950's. It was derived from Halloweenish type stuff. You can't complain that people are disrespecting your religion when you copy it from something else. It'd be like if I started a religion based on werewolves, and then complained about how society treated werewolves. What's strange is how these people will join something like this and never even research how it started.

    October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Colt

      You do realize that pretty much all religions are derivative of another idea or another religion, right? They largely stem from the original human beliefs of animism, and further, all human concepts have to derive from SOMETHING. People can believe whatever the hell they want to believe and people can make fun of those beliefs irrelevant of how derivative or old or new they are; finally, who the are you to say what these people have and have not researched or do and do not believe? Wicca and pagan belief systems are incredibly diverse because they're largely individually constructed or based on a wide array of folklore and myth from differing cultures. If you want to make fun of Wiccans and witches, go for it, but don't talk like you know the lives and thoughts of a generalized people.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
      • Don

        IIt is kinda silly...just saying

        October 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Colt

          It really is, but then a hell of a lot of myths and religious practices are :p

          October 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Joe

        It would only take reading a few sentences to know that wiccan is false. So, no, they have not done the research. If you try hard enough, you can spin anything the way you want it. It doesn't make it true.

        October 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
        • Colt

          I'm not saying it's true, I'm saying you're arrogant.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Joe, which religions are true and how did you determine that?

          October 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Lucifer's evil twin

        Agreed. So, r u seriously suggesting you do realize

        October 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm |
        • Lucifer's evil twin

          Yes hot air, how exactly did u come to believe what u do.

          Just kidding. Hang loose dodo.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • Heather

      Joe, you are not entirely correct in your statement that Wicca was created in 1950. 1950 marks the year that Gerald Gardener coined the term "Wicca". The religious beliefs and practices go back for centuries. And we are not copying Halloweenish type stuff and turning it into a religion. The origins of Halloween and most other holidays, stem back to the time when the Holy Roman Empire was expanding throughout Europe. In order to draw people to the church, the church designated the Catholic religious holidays around the already existing pagan holidays-i.e. Samhain/All Hallows Eve-All Saints Day, Yule/Christmas ( Jesus was actually born sometime in the spring, closer to when we celebrate Easter) Ostara/Easter, etc. The thinking of the Church at that time was that rather than try to entirely stamp out the pagan holiday celebrations, they would offer the people an alternative, keeping the time of the celebrations the same as well as similar rituals and practices. Did you ever wonder why the priests use incense in a catholic mass? Because thats what the pagans/witches did in their ceremonies. Did you ever wonder how the Easter Egg and the Easter bunny came to be equated with the Catholic/Christian celebration of Easter? What do they have to do with Jesus rising from the dead? NOTHING. They are ancient pagan symbols of fertiflity associated with the pagan holiday of Ostara. So ya see, Joe, just because it was NAMED in 1950, doesn't mean that it started in 1950. Just sayin.

      October 31, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
      • Joe

        I am correct. The wiccan religion was created in the 1950's. You can't just pick out bunch of creepy sounding, old-timey sounding stuff and mishmash it all together and claim it's an old religion. Those thing were never practiced together as a religion. Christmas was started by the Catholic church to compete with other holidays celebrated at the solstice after Christianity was in place. Do you see the difference?

        October 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm |
  16. Aaron

    Wicca is no less crazy then christianity. Funny how christians love to claim bigotry against themselves and then turn right around and do the same thing to others. What a bunch of nutters!

    October 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Joe

      What could possibly make you join the wiccan religion? Are you not smart enough to do a little research? Don't you think others realize the reason you joined, just because you though goth imagery was cool? Isn't that a strange reason to join a religion?

      October 31, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
      • Aaron

        Nice assumption, but I'm not a wiccan. Wiccans are crazy. Just not anymore crazy then christians. I'm an atheist who doesn't believe in any of this nonsense.

        October 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
        • Joe

          Believing in something you know is made up is not as crazy as believing in something that has a chance of being made up.

          October 31, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • Joe

          Believing in something you know is made up is crazier than believing in something that has a chance of being made up.

          October 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I think your first assertion was closer to the truth Joe...

          October 31, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
        • Susan StoHelit

          Joe – all of them are made up – wiccan religion is nothing more than taking a bunch of older religions as the truth – no different from what Christianity did when they made their hybrid of Jewish and Roman myths.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          "Believing in something you know is made up " I do not believe this is possible. If you know it is a fiction, than you cannot "believe" in it. On top of that, I think a vast majority of people who are affiliated with religion believe it is made up and thus are not actually believers but in fact are people unwilling to rock the boat aka social groups they grew up in and communities they are familiar with.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
      • Don

        You Burned them.... no pun intended

        October 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  17. bananas

    and he shall separate the wheat from the chaff

    and the wicked shall be cast into hell, 4ever

    and we, the righteous, will rule with him

    October 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • bananas

      4 ever and ever

      amen

      even so lord, come quickly

      October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      and he shall separate the people i don't like from the people i do like

      and the wicked shall be cast into hell, 4ever, especially that guy I hate so much at work

      and me, the righteous, will rule with him, because that's how I see myself, a King with my booted heel on your neck you sniveling little peasants...

      Why not just come right out and say what you feel?

      October 31, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  18. bananas

    and he lives

    October 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • bananas

      and reigns

      October 31, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Elvis?

        October 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
        • yup

          And you shall know his name as the KING; when he lays his PB & Banana on you.

          October 31, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
      • ohsnap

        Yeah, Satan is mighty busy.

        October 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
      • bananas

        and he is god, lord of heaven and earth. every knee shall bow b 4 him and acknowledge him

        October 31, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
        • bananas

          2 c him in all his blazing glory, no longer thru a glass darkly. the lamb of god. the lion of judah. the alpha/omega. my friend

          October 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
        • bananas

          and he shall separate the wheat from the chaff

          and the wicked shall be cast into hell, 4ever

          and we, the righteous, will rule with him!

          October 31, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
      • Charm Quark

        And he misses you and wants you by his side in heaven, go now to his glory.

        October 31, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
        • Charm Quark

          Sh!t, I try to make it a point that I do not respond to the obvious idiot trolls, in this case I was duped and failed, mea maxima culpa.

          October 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  19. BOBO

    If I am correct Wicca is one of the oldest if not THE oldest religion around and it's all earth based. Society has made it seem like it is bad

    October 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The ancient religion of Wicca and its illustrious beginnings are shrouded in the impenetrable mists of history.
      The docu.mentation we have from that era is spotty at best, but we do know something of those long forgotten days of the 1950's.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Ajax

      Wicca (English pronunciation: /ˈwɪkə/) is a modern pagan, witchcraft religion. It was developed in England during the first half of the 20th century and it was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner, a retired British civil servant.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Ajax

      "Bobo" is an excellent choice for you.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • ripleymm

      ok, here's where the confusion lies. paganism has been around forever.spacificly celtic paganism since roughly between 500 BC and 500 AD. polytheism, panthiesm, shamanism,and ainimism are all part of that ilk. wicca was started in the mid 1950s by a british civil servant and incorperates several different pagen cultures (mostly british) and modern christian practices.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • Joe

        Wiccan has nothing to do with paganism. If you were really a pagan, you wouldn't refer to yourself as a pagan. Pagan was derogatory term used by Christians for non-Christians of any religion. So it's not a single religion. It be like if I wasn't a Muslim and decided to refer to my religion as infidelism. People who are pagans are ignorant about the basic history of what they're trying to emulate.

        October 31, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
        • S

          Wicca is basically a sect of Paganism – just like being Christian is not only a single religion. There are people who are Catholic, Lutheren, etc... but are still Christians. Wicca was formed off of certain Pagan beliefs but practice it in their own way...

          October 31, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
        • Susan StoHelit

          Pagan is a derogatory term – but it's also a term many use, for the religions that are not Abrahamic, and thus it does do a decent job of describing the origins of modern wicca – a hybrid of a bunch of older religions. Nothing wrong with that at all. Christianity was a hybrid of Jewish and assorted Roman religious beliefs.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Anonymous

      Actually Wicca is one of the newest religions on Earth. A lot of the wiccan practices, sayings, symbols, and beliefs originate further back to the ancient druids and celts from around the early AD (maybe late BC dpending what druid sect.) However magic as a system by itself has been practiced as far back as the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Egyptians. The whole premise of magic is to summon or manipulate spirits to do your bidding (some wiccans refer to the spirits as "familiars", "elementals", etc.) Wicca also has its darkside that they obviously aren't going to tell you in this article. A good hint of that is the satanic commandment of "do what thou willt." This is because a lot of wicca is influenced by Aleister Crowley (whom fashioned himself something of a wizard) and modern satanism despite what the wicca PR face might say.

      Please understand most people in wicca are not evil, or do not start out as evil. Most don't even know what they're doing. The vast majority of wiccans will never cast a successful spell and the ones that do quickly become puppets for the spirits and will find themselves in some of the more elite esoteric societies, or they leave the practice from terror of the experience.

      October 31, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
      • Joe

        This is why we should think twice about making weed llegal.

        October 31, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        Joe, weed already is (i)llegal, at least in most countries and US states. :^)) but what does weed have to do with Wicca?

        That being said, I'm still looking for definitive proof that prayers or spells work, even just once. There're millions to be made if anyone can backup their bullsh!t with demonstrable and consistent results. Well OK, charlatans are already making millions with their bullsh!t, no proof or actual gods required.

        October 31, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
        • Joe

          Weed causes brain damage. It's funny that we are legalizing weed when we for the first time we have scientific proof it reduces your IQ. It changes the way your brain is wired so you come to strange conclusions the way the guy above does. I would recommend you not use weed. Research it before you do and don't just do it because your parents or whoever don't want you to, or because it's legal now.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
        • Anonymous

          Good comment. Also weed can be involved in wicca as per herb lore and potion-making. Though that's probably a moot point as just about any plant could be used in those two fields. Also just to clarify, I'm not a wiccan, just a fan of studying religions/mythologies/the supernatural. I believe there's at least the possibility of a supernatural, though I don't think humans can force an interaction with it. As for prayer, prayer is just talking to your deity, there's no gurantee as far as I am aware of that your prayers will be answered even if we go the distance and assume there to be a deity/deities.

          Maybe the supernatural is invisible, maybe it is visible and we just overlook it, it's also possible the supernatural has been catalogued and recorded thousands of times over and simply some people are too ignorant to realize that the UFOs, possessions, cryptids, etc. may have a spiritual dimension to them. Perhaps one of my favorite theories to explainign the supernatural is the "collective unconscious" theory put forth by the famous psychologist Carl Jung.

          It's all right to not beleive in anything religious/spiritual. I personally don't believe in the majority of it. However the downfall of atheism is overlooking the spiritual. The spiritual, even if it is not real it is a major factor in the human condition, politics, history, and global affairs. In a way spirituality manifested itself into our reality just by holding so much influence over people even if some of the more exotic aspects like souls and deities are not real. Just about all the greatest thinkers and philosophers in history have been perplexed, entertained, and highly interested in spirituality/religion, even some of the most hardline atheists. So it is of my opinion that it is certainly a good topic for research at the least.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Joe, is weed better, worse or the same as alcohol?

          Anonymous, I agree. I have not ruled out the possibility of the supernatural or of there being more intelligent beings out there somewhere, but I consider the probability to be so low (given zero actual evidence over thousands of years) that it is silliness (or mental illness) to behave as if they are real and present or engaged in our lives on a daily basis.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Shmoe

          Holding your breath causes brain damage, and it looks like Joe has held his breath a lot in the past. I wonder if Joe could finish a tic tac toe board let alone some sudoku.

          October 31, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
        • laststonecarver

          She gave me a smile with a future in it –
          It was magic to me –

          October 31, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        "The vast majority of wiccans will never cast a successful spell and the ones that do quickly become puppets for the spirits"

        I'm thinking there is just something not right about that line, now what is it, hmmm, let me see, AH HA! There is the error! You claim the vast majority never cast successful spells when in fact the turh is none have ever cast a succesful spell! Not a single shed of evidence for any spells or supernatural spirits has ever been empirically proven, EVER, which pretty much means we can throw your hypothesis in the sewer. Try sticking to facts, it's easier on the brain.

        October 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
        • Anonymous

          Well I don't entirely diagree with you.

          On one hand it is an easy theory to jsut say all magic is fake bullcrap that has never ever worked. I could believe that if it weren't for a few rare cases, demonstrations, and accounts that prove you otherwise. Check out some cultural antrhopology. I guess the better question would be, since we know there are some rare cases of "magic" working; Is this really "magic" or is there a more realistic alternative?

          Some examples for you could be anything from the ancient egyptian curses on tombs which have an uncanny knack for coming true, to anthropologists breaking pottery with chants, and also if all that is too boring and old school for you I suppose there's a whole mess of celebrities that have claimed to have hexed people, for instance Dave Mustaine of Megadeth (though knowing the background of Mustaine, he may have just been drunk.)

          October 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          All of it is bunk. Every supposed example of something supernatural has a very natural explanation, regardless of whether we know what that explanation is yet. There is absolutely ZERO empirical, verifiable evidence of anything supernatural, EVER. Are there amazing feats of weird nature? YES! Are there quantum particles that do not behave according to the other laws of physics? YES! Does that mean it's supernatural? NO! It just means that it's Super Natural! That is all.

          October 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I do not doubt there are unexplained accounts.

          I do not believe there have been any demonstrations (of prayer or spells) that meet the minimum standards of the scientific method. For example, I do not believe there are any demonstrations that are repeatable under the scrutiny of independent observers or when attempted by others.

          October 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
        • Anonymous

          Lol kind of an interesting paradox you've worked yourself into.

          It's supernatural = Super Natural. So essentially yes, the tomb curses, curiousities of magic, etc. are all Super Natural as I said before. Or above/beyond the natural to the limits of our technology, however you prefer to word it. Lol you have funny enough just accepted the supernatural in your statement but try not to accept it at the same time lol. That's okay though, because that's pretty much in the same realm of my mindset too, though I don't just write off the supernatural explanation right away, mostly because even if the supernatural explanation is wrong, in this example summoning spirits, that still doesn't stop millions of people from adhering to it, lol. So even if the wiccans are not summoning spirits and there's no such thing as spirits, you can take it to the bank that a good number of them certainly believe they are summoning spirits.

          Like I said though, you cannot disprove the supernatural (above/beyond the natural). However, I agree with you, since we all ready cannot disprove magic/supernatural and can in fact prove it exists at least exists to the possibility that technology cannot physically explain it at the current time; the real question ought to be what is the REAL explanation behind it? Is the driving force behind supernatural events physically and materially test-able (science)? Is technology/scientific theory advanced enough to even deal with such issues? Is the phenomena commonplace, or just a rare event? Is reality larger than we thought? Is it even possible for humanity to ever get definitive answers on all the mysteries of life?

          I don't have the answers to all those questions, and there are even more questions to ask for any committed intellectual. Simply saying "it's not real" is and has never been an acceptable answer in science or philosophy. Plus don't forget, even by testing a lot of the supernatural to scientifically prove or disprove it has often-times led to the happy and unexpected result of accidentally making breakthroughs or discoveries in science/history/etc. (for instance trying to prove/disprove the world is flat helped the people of the Old World find the New World, or looking into the spirituality in schizophrenics by Carl Jung, while not confirming all his theories, at the least helped jumpstart modern psychology and led to people being treated instead of jailed.) I'm not saying you gotta believe in all things supernatural, merely don't push them aside so quickly, because even if the particular supernatural thing isn't trully Super Natural how its adherents believe it to be, just by discussing ,analyzing, and testing much of the super natural has led to hard discoveries that have bettered mankind.

          October 31, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Don

      Maybe it the Witches brew! Sacrificial stuff and lack of community service. Notice how all pagan religions are all about self?

      October 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  20. palintwit

    Last night I dreamt that Sarah Palin went bungee jumping with a rope that was about 100' too long. I woke up very well rested.

    October 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.