Welcome to the Occult?


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?



10 thoughts on “Welcome to the Occult?

  1. I’m so sorry that this happened to you, Amanda. I don’t know you as well as most of our mutual friends do (which is sad) but honest: but, the point for this is, I don’t know you very well but the thought never even once crossed my mind that “oh, she’s curious about the occult”. So, if it’s even a little bit of comfort, it didn’t cross everyone’s mind.

    And, to be honest, I read this (because I love blog updates from you) and I felt your pain and that stinging sense of betrayal you probably felt keenly…
    …and, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry that anyone would behave that way towards you: you of ALL people. I get it when it’s me, because this stuff happens to me and I attract it; but people like you? I don’t understand…!

    Just, remember to stick to your guns, and YOU know the innocence of your inquiry.
    I get it, because back in the summer of 2011, one of my aunts snooped through my luggage and found I was reading the third Harry Potter book, she then tricked me into using my email on her phone to write a friend so that she could snoop through that too, she then proceeded to call my mum and grandma and uncle that I was “getting involved” in Harry Potter. They all talked about it behind my back for a week and a half before I found out, and it was stupid because I was 21 and living with my siblings on my own at that point. To make matters worse, the fact that I read Harry Potter turned my best friend away from me. She disagreed (which is fine), but she started shunning me and it was rather public too, because we were ridiculously close and it showed at church, so everyone knew what had happened and why. Church was hell for four months because she acted so condescending to me as if she was better; and then she would loudly and publicly denounce Harry Potter at church whenever I was standing right beside her.

    It’s still painful to mention I do have magic in my universe, but I haven’t let it stop me.

    Don’t let it stop you: not when you know the integrity and innocence of your own intentions…!

    1. Wow! I’m appalled at the sneaky aunt action going on there! And I’m really sorry about your friend. Honestly, it’s a division among Christians that makes me so sad- magic and fantasy does not equal the occult. Because the magic of fantasy isn’t the ‘magic’ of today.
      I wish that people could disagree but still remain human about it, you know? Ugh.
      Anyway, it’s true that we don’t know each other as well, (which, I agree, is rubbish) and we ought to chat more often. Do you have a blog? I watch your stuff on Insta and Facebook and I LOVE YOUR ART SO MUCH. Your style and whimsy is my absolute favorite and I want to commission a little aquatic dragon watercolor from you SOMEDAY.

  2. He is. 🙂
    I think a lot of people miss the point when it comes to magic. It’s a tool of literature, and when displayed and utilized well, it can be a great thing. <3

  3. Ah yes, this topic. How I love it. (Not.) I haven’t as yet read HP, but I have heard that the only ones who say it’s evil are the ones who are speaking from hear-say and not actually having read it… Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. The whole “magic” discussion is one that pops up from time to time and I’m very tired of it. :-/ Great post and I’m sorry that happened to you. *hugs* ‘Cyber-bullying is the Crusades of the 21st century,’ <– I can already tell your husband is awesome. XD

  4. Ah, my friend, I’m sorry you had that experience. I’m rereading the Harry Potter series now, having quit as a child in part due to the drama from some parents in the church calling it dangerous. I thought they must know something I didn’t, and I thinking some said parents already viewed me as a wild child, I quietly set down the series to spare myself further frownage. (Oh fifth/sixth grade, how I don’t miss you.) Plus EVERYONE at school was reading it, and I was way too cool to be just like everyone else. Haha.
    Anywho, I do think we should be careful with magic, but can’t we be intelligent about it and without double standards? All that to say, I’m totally with you here.
    Btw, the sorting hat put me in Gryffindor.

    1. *HUGS YOU* I agree- being intelligent about fantasy and magic without having double standards should be and is the goal. I think HP is a great way to foster a kid’s love of learning as well as a great teaching opportunity.
      I can definitely see you in Gryffindor.
      Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  5. Thank you for admitting that condemning Harry Potter without actually reading the books is a “big problem.” It’s been one of my pet peeves for years. I know so many teens who aren’t allowed to read HP, and parents who are scared of the books, yet they know literally nothing about them other than “they’re about witches and wizards” and “the books have real spells in them.” Um–yes, the characters are witches and wizards, but as you pointed out, nothing to do with the so-called witches or sorcerers referenced in the Bible. And real spells? Seriously? I’d love to see someone *actually* perform the bat bogey curse, LOL.

    That said, I totally understand when someone has a background in the occult being reluctant to delve into HP. Regardless of what HP is or isn’t, or fantasy stories in general for that matter, if the reader is worried because of their own personal experience, then I have to respect that.

    I’ve had potential readers of my own novels tell me they refuse to read HP because of magic in the stories, and I have on occasion told them that if that’s the case they might not be comfortable with my novels. Some have walked away, and some have decided to buy them anyway, but I haven’t pushed. However, if they were to tell me that my books must be evil (or I must be for having written them) I think I’d have a hard time keeping my temper.

    So sorry you had to be hurt over this topic. Thanks for sharing! And I agree wholeheartedly about Mirriam’s blog post :).

    1. Kat~ The kind of witch and wizard represented in HP is entirely dissimilar to the people today who call themselves witches and wizards. The danger with HP that some people don’t understand is that Harry is 11 when the books begin and the first book is written to a child of that age. The age when discernment is just starting, and I think that’s where some parents miss the point. Also, I don’t see anything wrong with parents reading the books first or with the child and then talking them through understanding ‘magic’ and ‘witches/wizards’ in fantasy versus ‘real life witchcraft’.
      And, I agree. If someone has a past with the occult and wishes to stay away from fantasy and magic in novels, more power to them!

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  6. first off, let me say, I love reading your blog. As far as magic in stories/movies, I think that as long as the viewer/reader understands that it is all fantasy/make believe that is fine and will help expand their imaginations. while fantasy is nice, it also needs to be balanced with truth, which from what I’ve read of your writings here, I can see that you have a great love for the Lord as well as love of fantasy. I saw some of the comments from FB and I’m sorry that you experienced some cyber bullying.

    as far as your question about colors influencing moods, yes, colors, scents, even the weather can have an influence on your moods

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