From the Editor
by Gerald L. Bliss
Another hot question: Why do I want to be called a Witch? Why even use this loaded word?
Again, there are no easy answers, but let's look at the meaning of the word. There is still some argument among etymologists as to whether the word originates from one of two Indo-European roots, both called "weik". One of these roots means "wise" and is the pre-cursor to the word "wizard"; the other means "to bend or shape". Not being an etymologist, I don't know why most etymologists say that the latter meaning gave rise to the word "witch", but the modern Witch would take this to mean bending or shaping reality, not imitating Uri Geller; in like fashion, the true meaning of alchemy was understood to be transforming the "lead" of one's heart to "gold", not the transmutation of metals.
However the word was derived, from the date that the Bible was published in English, this word was used in the places wherever sorcery and necromancy appeared in the Hebrew and Greek. In the verse, "Thou shalt not suffer a Witch to live...", current scholars are still bickering about the actual word. Most either use "poisoner" or "whisperer of (evil) spells" in current translations, and even if it did refer to the pagans of ancient Palestine, there are significant differences between Palestinian paganism, Roman paganism, and the Celtic forms (from which modern Paganism is most derived), and so the comparison should be considered invalid; likewise, if a scriptural reference said, "Thou shalt not suffer a Buddhist to live", one would not expect adherents to persecute Taoists.
Isaac Bonewits writes, "When 'wicca(e)' was translated into other languages at the time, the words chosen in those other tongues were usually ones with these meanings: sorcerer, magician, singer, healer, midwife, charmer, drugger, and diviner. Frequently the translation words had a feminine gender, but this seems to have depended upon the cultures involved. Almost none of the foreign terms (except in Ireland) had any specifically religious meaning -- a very important point to consider for those who wish to claim that the earliest witches were the clergy of one or more prechristian religions." (_Real Magic_, p. 105, by P.E.I. Bonewits, 2nd Edition , Creative Arts Book Company, Berkeley, CA)
Nonetheless, nearly all modern Witches (including myself) consider
ourselves clergy, perhaps because most of our traditions come out of or are
directly influenced by Irish (and Welsh and English) traditions. And since
it is a source of honor and pride in our traditions to be a Priest/ess of
the Wicca, we pay far less attention to the prejudices of others which were
caused by errors in translation in the 1600s. Thousands of years of pride
cannot be erased by 350 years of defamation, no matter how fervent.
New developments in Cult Watching. The Salvation Army lost a controversial suit in Biloxi, Mississippi. We have included the entire AP news article in this issue. The latest issue of File 18 decided to lay off Witches and attack the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientiis); this could prove to be interesting, since the O.T.O. just settled a major lawsuit and might have adequate funds for yet another court battle.
by Rowan Moonstone
In the first half of this article, we looked at a few of the ritualistic child abuse cases being brought forth around the country. Most of these cases involved children in daycare centers and pre-schools. We demonstrated in that article that the prosecution in these cases have yet to produce conclusive proof that any kind of Satanic or "ritualistic" abuse took place. In many of the cases the PHYSICAL evidence of physical and/or sexual abuse is evident, but the so called "ritualistic" aspects have never been proven. There is, however, another aspect of this ritualistic child abuse issue that has surfaced in recent years. This area deals with the adult "survivor" of ritualistic abuse, many of whom are now seeking help from various counseling agencies around the country. This article deals with this issue.
The first stories of this kind of abuse which became public were seen in Dr. Lawrence Pazder's book "Michelle Remembers." This book was written after a patient of Pazder's, one Michelle Smith, began to bring up horrible memories of things done to her as a child by a Satanic cult. The story has become a frequent one of late with several books and prominent TV talk shows dealing with the subject. From all over the country we hear the following tales:
(Garden Grove,CA) "Jacquie Balodis is a former satanic cult member who runs Overcomers Victorious, a program in Garden Grove, CA that hides, counsels, and deprograms ex-cult members. 'We did a lot of child sacrifice' she says. Children who are kidnapped or born into the cult are used for the sacrifices, she says. Balodis claims her own first two children were among the victims."(1)
(San Antonio, TX) "Jerry Reider, Exodus member and former Satanist priest, told how he got involved in street level Satanism through heavy metal rock and roll. ... Jerry was married to a high priestess, and his baby daughter was killed in Satanism."(2)
(undisclosed location in Southern CA) "There were other facets to the cult, including child sacrifice. As Heather later related to a former FBI official, now a private investigator, 'It was explained to me they were children who belonged to members of the cult. The mother offered her own child up and if the mother didn't cooperate, she was killed also.'" (3)
(undisclosed location) "Suffice it to say that while offering him as a sacrifice, they chanted something about Satan accepting his heart as a pure and unblemished sacrifice. Then his body was laid on a black robe. The coven members each held his candle to the edge of the robe. It was quickly engulfed in flames." (4)
(undisclosed location in Fla.) Irene Park, who advertises herself as "The Witch That Switched", admits to sacrificing her son in a Satanic ritual.(5)
(Chicago, IL) A young man on the Oprah Winfrey show admits on national TV to being involved with a human sacrifice. When confronted by Dr. Michael Aquino (of the Temple of Set) about details, the young man then admits that he can't remember any names or details of the killing. (6)
(undisclosed location) A Ms. Judy Smith admitted on the Geraldo Rivera Special on Satanism (Oct 22, 1988) on national T.V. that she sacrificed her children to Satan.(7)
(Lawrence, MA) The following conversation took place on the Oprah Winfrey Show, June 24, 1987 between Oprah and Mr. Joseph Marquis, who claims to be a former Satanic High Priest:Mr. Marquis: "I wasn't the only one who practiced this." Winfrey: "So, you have practiced in going out and picking up people off the street and slicing their throats?" Mr. Marquis: "Yes." (8)
At first glance, this represents a chilling and indeed horrifying picture of what may be going on in the hidden places of towns across the country. BUT... let's put hysteria and shock reaction aside and look at this collection of accusations critically for a bit. Notice the number of cases that come from an "undisclosed location". Notice, also, when hearing about these kinds of cases, vagueness in giving locations, names of persons involved, dates, or any other data which would make the accusation able to be investigated. Also, in a great many of these cases, there is alleged to be heavy drug use.
It is a proven medical fact that drug hallucinations are very real and in some cases, indistinguishable from reality. How many of these cases can be attributed to that phenomenon? Many of the people involved, such as the young man on the Winfrey show who was confronted by Dr. Aquino admit to having spent time in mental hospitals for various problems. I mean no offense to anyone who has ever sought help with mental health problems, but might not some of these allegations stem from a confusion as to the reality of situations while mentally impaired? It is certainly something to think about.
When trying to track down some solid facts on allegations like this, one is continually confronted with the problem of "trying to nail jell-o to the wall". The disclaimer in the front of Ted Schwartz's book "Satanism, Is Your Family Safe?" is typical of what you encounter when you try to push for corroborating facts concerning human sacrifice and ritualistic child abuse, to wit: "In several chapters, names have been changed. In some instances, people requested it. In others, it was done to avoid harrassment or retribution. In a few instances, such as the story of the Cambridge family, a number of criminal activities are mentioned for which no charges have been brought. Although extensive documentation is available concerning ritual child abuse, drug abuse, and murder, charges have not been filed due to technicalities relating to the statute of limitations, the unwillingness of witnesses to testify, and similar difficulties."(9)
It remains VERY easy to allege something like ritualistic child abuse, and very difficult to prove it. As a private citizen who has heard these charges, I have some questions that I would like to pose to you, our readers in the law enforcement community. I have been studying this area on my own to the best of my ability for about three years now and would appreciate any replies to these questions that you would care to give. All correspondence will of course remain confidential.
(1) Have there been any investigations into the allegations that these VERY public people appearing on national television talk shows have made about being involved with human sacrifices?As a private citizen, I understand that murder has no statute of limitations. If these people were not directly involved, at the very least, they know the names of some who were. I for one would like to see those responsible for crimes like murder behind bars where they belong. It is also my understanding that withholding evidence on a crime such as murder is a Federal offense.
(2) If so, has any corroborating evidence been found? If not, why not?
(3) If these allegations have not been investigated, why not?
(4) If the allegations have been investigated and found to be true, have there been any indictments, trials, and/or convictions obtained? (I would like to have case names cited so that I can check the sources.)
(5) If the allegations have been investigated and found to be false, why hasn't someone from a reputable law enforcement agency come forward and attempted to stem the hysteria?
These allegations have spawned a whole rash of rumors dealing with Satanic organizations which are supposedly seeking to infiltrate schools in an effort to find children to sacrifice. In one such rumor in Kentucky last fall, a photographer who was on assignment from the Kentucky Arts Council was forced from the town in which she was working because the terrified residents thought she was a member of the cult.(10)
When incidents like theze occur, it is time for someone who knows the real truth of what is going on to speak up. As a law-abiding, tax-paying member of my community, and as a Witch (therefore standing to catch a lot of the hysteria from the general uneducated public), I must agree with Dr. Michael Aquino's statement from Geraldo Rivera's show about the supposed human sacrifices and the survivors: "Name these people and arrest them. Never a name, never an arrest. These women come out of a group. They insist that they know the people in the group, and yet they do not identify these large mysterious cults. Name them and arrest them and get them off the streets." (11)
(1) Berg, Melissa, "Satanic Crime Increasing? Police, Therapists Alarmed" The Kansas City Times, March 26, 1988, p. A-19
(2) "Satanic Crime in San Antonio" Exodus Newsletter, February, 1987, p.2
(3) Ted Schwarz & Duane Empey, "Satanism, Is Your Family Safe?" (Zondervan Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1988), p.46
(4) Lauren Stratford, "Satan's Underground" (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 1988), p.146
(5) Interview with Evangelist Rev. Peter Popoff (syndicated broadcast June 8, 1988.)
(6) Oprah Winfrey Show, March (Ash Wednesday) 1988.
(7) Geraldo Rivera Special "Exposing Satan's Underground", Oct. 22, 1988.
(8) Oprah Winfrey Show, June 24, 1987.
(9) Schwarz & Empey, inside cover.
(10) "Devil Rumors Force Photographer From Town" (AP) The Bismarck Tribune, Oct. 4, 1988, p. A-2
(11) Geraldo Rivera Special "Exposing Satan's Underground" Oct. 22, 1988
(Vancouver, B.C.) The other day my partner (religion undecided) and I (a Wiccan) took a report from a citizen who had his laundry stolen from a dryer in his apartment building. Now this may not seem like a big thing, but this laundry was a sizeable portion of this citizen's worldly possessions, so it was a pretty serious situation for him. As luck would have it, a few days later, he saw another tenant of his building wearing one of his shirts. Thats when he called us.
After obtaining the particulars, my partner and I went to the office of the Justice of the Peace to obtain a search warrant. This is a simple procedure. I fill out an "Information to Obtain Search Warrant". This I take to the JP. If the JP agrees with my grounds for search the information is then sworn and the JP issues me the warrant. Easy, right?
My partner and I arrived at the JP's office and I handed over my "Information to Obtain Search Warrant". The JP read it and seemed quite happy with it. So far so good. He then picked up the Bible on his desk and offered it to me.
Now, being a Wiccan, I don't take oaths on the Bible. So I politely informed the JP that I'd prefer an affirmation. This is when the fun began.
"I'm sorry," he said, "But if you won't take an oath on the Bible you can't have a search warrant."
This raised both my eyebrows and my partner's.
"Are you telling me that only Christians can get search warrants?"
The JP had to think about this. Obviously he wasn't expecting his opinion to be questioned. Possibly he found our glares disconcerting. "Well, its because of the way its worded," he said.
Now, if you've ever seen one of these documents, you'll note that, near the bottom, it says: "Wherefore the informant PRAYS that a search warrant may be granted to search the sais (dwelling-house, etc.) for the said things." The JP figured that people who "pray" are Christians so everybody else was out of luck!
At this point I entered into a discussion with the JP which is not worth going into in detail. Suffice it to say that the substance of the discussion was this: "GIMME MY SEARCH WARRANT RIGHT NOW AND YOU AIN'T HEARD THE END OF THIS !!!" Meanwhile, my partner (whose street nickname is "Darth Vader" and looks the part) is towering in the background. The JP issues the necessary warrant and says, "Well, I'll let it go this time."
After successfully recovering the missing laundry and charging the person responsible for absconding with it, I went back to the JP's office. There I spoke to the senior JP, a charming and very competent lady. After hearing my story she frowned and said that she knew there was an answer, but that off the top of her head she didn't know which statute to find it in. She promised to get back to me within two weeks.
Two weeks later she supplied the answer, which was simplicity itself. She had obtained 3 legal opinions which basically stated that the word,"pray" in this case meant "ask" or "beseech" according to Old English Law. The junior JP was spoken to by his senior colleague and the matter closed.
Police work isn't as easy as it is made out to be on all those TV police shows. But then, none of the cops on those shows are Wiccans either.
BILOXI, Miss., Jan. 14, 1989 (AP) -- The Salvation Army violated a woman's constitutional right to freedom of religion when it fired her because she practices witchcraft, a federal judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Dan M. Russell of Biloxi ruled last week that the Salvation Army cannot discriminate against witches because it receives federal funds for some programs.
Jamie Kellam Dodge, a former victim's assistance coordinator at the Pascagoula-based Salvation Army Domestic Violence Shelter, filed a $1.25 million lawsuit against the Salvation Army. She sought reinstatement and compensation for embarrassment, humiliation, pain and suffering. A ruling on compensation will be made later, court officials said.
Dodge, 28, was fired in August 1987 after she admitted using the agency copy machine to copy Satanic-Wiccan [sic] rituals, according to court records.
"If you could see it, you would agree it was horrible. It talked about sexual things, around the fire, lots of things that are contrary to Salvation Army policies," Raymond Brown, an attorney for the Salvation Army, said Saturday.
The Salvation Army has not decided whether it will appeal the decision, he said.
Dodge's attorney, David Frazier of Pascagoula, called Russell's decision "courageous." "He bit the bullet and did what a federal judge is supposed to do, to cite tough decisions in an effort to follow the law," Frazier said.
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