Witches: The Most Recent Victimized Minority to Come Out of the Closet

Move over LGBTQ activists and Black Lives Matter.  The most recent victimized minority to “come out of the closet” and demand acceptance and attention is your local witches’ coven.  That’s right – witchcraft, Wicca -- call it what you will – these poor persecuted souls are demanding we embrace their occult practices as the fastest-growing “faith” or “religion” in the country.  The words “faith” and “religion” are repeatedly used to describe witchcraft in an investigative piece that recently aired on News 12 Now in Westchester County NY.   Our sympathy is piqued for these oppressed faithful as we’re told that “not so long ago, witches were actually hunted!”

(In an effort to gracefully rationalize our acceptance of the occult, one witch tells us she teaches her children that, “a spell is nothing more than a prayer.  And those are my words; and words are powerful… If I’m setting an intention to accomplish a goal -- whether you call it a prayer or you call it a spell, it’s really semantics.”)

New 12 Now seems anxiously giddy as they try to shame middle-class Americans into abandoning their witchy stereotypes.  It’s just another attack on those old, out-of-touch Judeo-Christian haters who don’t realize how wonderful witchcraft really is.  After all, we’d better get with the program because in addition to its being “one of the fastest-growing religions in the country…New York might as well be its capital!”

Westchester, N.Y. news reporter Tara Rosenblum “spent four months exploring and gaining access to” a “thriving underground community of witches.”   In her promotion for the piece, Rosenblum promised it would “take everything you think you know about witches and turn it upside down.”

Most of us know the drill -- we’re supposed to buy the witch pitch (again) that they do good and never do any harm.  They’re nature-loving do-gooders who happen to be more in tune with the earth than the rest of us muggles. (And yes, one witch excitedly admits she has been casting spells ever since getting hooked on the “Harry Potter” series as a child.)  

After watching people who’ve sworn an oath of secrecy chanting in hooded robes -- which in today’s atmosphere you’d think many might see as scarily reminiscent of KKK gatherings -- we’re shown pentagrams, tarot cards, a voodoo doll and skulls on display at a witches' gathering.   During the intro, one host says that mentioning the word “witch” conjures up pictures of “black cats, broomsticks and bubbling cauldrons,” while the next host quickly contradicts saying that “doesn’t necessarily describe the modern Wicca.”  Later, a self-described witch jokingly tells us “we don’t boil anybody in our cauldrons,” as those around her cackle with laughter.  Ironically, we’re then shown a ritual of these modern-day witches chanting as they boil something in a black cauldron.  In short, buying into the line that we’re supposed to “throw out our old ‘witch’ stereotypes” turns into a full-blown knee-slapper.  

Even more laughable, the promo said we’d be meeting, “some of the most powerful witches in New York,” as if there had been a formal competition and this was a documented fact.

According to one witch, the modern day Hudson Valley (known to many for being home to the Clinton family compound), is on top of a giant quartz crystal, “so all the energy is radiated through (there.)”

A Wiccan high priestess tells us, “There are people that are very, very dedicated witches in all walks of life…your ER nurse, your lawyer…who knows?”  (This begs the question ‘What constitutes very, very dedicated?’)

“It becomes a way of life,” she says, “You start honoring nature; you start having a connection with the sky.”  (One assumes the John Muir Society wasn’t enough for them.)  Yet another one tells us she knows witches “that even go to church.”  They’ve agreed to be interviewed, they say, because they want to help people, teach people, and preserve their path.  In one highly suspicious moment, reporter Tara Rosenblum is doing a Facebook Live stream with two of the witches and checks her social media saying, “My sister Brooke Rosenblum is checking in with us.” A quick gander at the Facebook comments show her sister Brooke quoting one of the witches saying: “It’s just who we are,” followed by a heart and a smiley face.

Rosenblum’s three part series titled, “Speak No Evil” tells us, “There are nearly 1 million Wiccans in the United States.  More than 20% of them live here in New York.”  Apparently they’re going public to grow their ranks.  Undoubtedly, they’ll find success in a culture ready to turn any group that whines loud enough into the victimized, bullied, persecuted, “attacking us is a hate crime” flavor of the day.

The witches are, after all, afraid to come out and expose themselves for fear of persecution; but they bravely say their “passion for the occult is unwavering.”  

Rosenblum reports, “It’s a mysterious, feminist and nature-focused religion that rewards faith and patience…with magic.”  She asks the Wiccan high priestess, “What is your faith capable of?”  The reply, “Anything that you can think, you can be.”   The purposely evasive answer sounded more like an inspirational speech to a group of fifth graders.

The report tells us they have no Bible but claim a strict moral code which is similar to Karma.  They talk to an antler god and then ask the moon goddess to cast a protective spell “shielding them from those who wish to do harm.”  The narrator tells us “witches, of course, have faced a long history of persecution.”  What?  All that stuff we learned about innocent women being put to death was a lie?  Does that mean all the accusations of paranoia and injustice that history lobbed at the witch trials were a mere ruse for covering what were truly occult practices?  Apparently so, as one witch who claims to be descended from British witches shocks the audience by admitting, “We kept it a secret.  We were persecuted.  We were actually burned at the stakes.”

None of that persecution stuff these days, though. Today’s witches have set up shop -- as Rosenblum says -- “only a hagstone’s throw away from West Point.” They even offer military discounts.

Today’s witches are into “building community,” “supporting each other and everyone else,” and helping the total person with “mind, body and spirit.” Throw in some Reiki, herbalism, and some henna art -- and you’ve got nothing but a bunch of well-intentioned, good witches gathering for fun and frolic in your local woods.

Responding to the Westchester segment on Facebook, one man asks, “How come all the witches aren't collectively working together to get Trump out of office..???  If u guys r really good witches why isn't this happening!??!”  A woman apparently identifying as a witch responds, “Many of us are.”

Susan D. Harris can be reached at www.susandharris.com

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