Before you get concerned, let me say- I know the occult is nothing to joke about. There are some serious and seriously scary ways that the devil uses the occult for awful things.
I’m not joining the occult.
But… recently I posted a question on Facebook: ‘What do you know about color theory and emotions/ colors in magic systems?’. I thought it was an innocent enough question, and hey, I’ve only been writing since I was seven, so the people that know me can’t possibly forget that I do research into random things, right?
Wrong. Really wrong.
I was bombarded with messages about being careful, and not learning about magic, and accused none-too-gently about my question being occultic. Occultic?
I’m going to be really honest here and tell you: it hurt. It was someone who I thought knew me, who knew my love of fantasy is outshined always by my love of the Lord. And I struggled.
‘Cyber-bullying is the Crusades of the 21st century,’ my husband said consolingly. ‘Used to be that if people wanted to use their beliefs to be mean, they had to go on the Crusades, and there was a serious downside to that.’
Now? Now people can make snap judgments and cram name-calling down your throat and feel validated and holy. It’s not. It’s mean. It’s awful.
But I used to be that, to do that. Now, as an INFJ (again, I’ll get to that in a future post) I wouldn’t have said anything, or if I did, I would have phrased it in such a way that the person never felt attacked, but I often thought condemning things.
I wrote semi-extensively, back in the day, about my position against Harry Potter. (This was probably 10 years ago?) I hadn’t read it (big problem) and had always been taught to stay away. That it portrayed evil magic as good, and that kids (gasp) could learn about witches and dark magic and learn incantations just from reading.
That’s a lie.
(Also, this post by Mirriam Neal is everything I want to say about HP summed up perfectly. Go read it. And if you don’t follow her. Follow. You won’t regret it.)
Ahem. Harry Potter is not evil. The incantations in Harry Potter do more to teach a child a love of new languages (hello, Latin) than teach them how to tap into a deep so-called available magic. ‘Witch’ and ‘Wizard’ are just labels, and if a parent is worried that their kid will get into black magic because they want to be like Hermione, maybe they should sit down and talk to their kids more.
Think about Narnia. There was magic, and ‘deeper magic’, and yet under the label of allegory, somehow this is different. People don’t cringe at the mention of ‘magic’ in the Chronicles of Narnia. It’s different, obviously, labelled differently, used differently, and yet- it’s called magic.
Think about Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. There’s foresight. There’s prophecy and prophetic dreams. There are creatures who use dark magic for shapeshifting. Gandalf uses offensive and defensive spells while fighting the Balrog. Magic. Lots of magic. Magic that is no different than the magic in Harry Potter, except that perhaps it is of more limited availability.
The Bible talks about magic; the greek word φαρμακεία (translated as pharmakeia/ pharmacy) is translated as ‘sorcery’. It comes from the word meaning ‘to administer drugs’. Does that sound like spellcraft? It sounds like substance abuse to me.
There’s also the greek word μαγεύων which does mean the ‘practicing of magic’ and appears the the book of Acts, referring to a demon-possessed man.
I will say, as I said above, that the devil has power. But labeling his power as magic and all magic as the devil’s power is a syllogism. I think it’s dangerous.
What do you think? What are your positions on magic?