There will be "blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood," quoted Peter, a disciple of Jesus. [i] In 2014, based partly on the above quote of an Old Testament Bible scripture, pastor John Hagee boldly, but incorrectly, proclaimed that an Apr. 15, 2014 Blood Moon lunar eclipse marked the date of a significant event that would occur. The Washington Post reported Hagee suggesting that the significant event would be a 'Rapture' during which "Christians will be taken to heaven, Israel will go to war in a great battle called Armageddon, and Jesus will return to earth." [ii]
Like many others, Hagee cites the Bible verse Joel 2:30 (Peter's quote of the scripture can be found in Acts 2:20), which is meant to describe what is known as the "end times." During the end times, all believers in Christ will be 'raptured' or transported to heaven during Christ's second coming. [iii] To catch a glimpse of what the world would look like during these times, see below the Theatrical Trailer in which Nicolas Cage stars in 'Left Behind,' a 2001 depiction of what Christians describe the Rapture and end days would entail.
There are no rose-colored glasses worn when it comes to Christian's belief in the Lord's exacting of punishment against nonbelievers, to say the least. So, it is no surprise that Christians and Witches then have had quite a turbulent history. Because of their history, this Sunday, May 15, 2022's upcoming Blood Moon lunar eclipse has resulted in resurfacing 'doomsday' talk amongst people, highlighting the impact religion has had and continues to have on society.
Some Christians, adamant their belief is the only way, have in the past and as recently as this week 'professed' the symbolic nature of Blood Moons. They typically foretell a tragic event that grips the Earth so that people are compelled to repent of their sins, turn from their wicked ways and surrender wholly to God. Most recently, Pastor Brandon Dawson took to the internet this week to share what he defines as "prophecy" regarding Sunday's Lunar Eclipse and its meaning for the United States and Israel. [x]
Conversely, witches also have their eyes focused on Sunday's lunar eclipse. As detailed by one Reddit user, full moons relate to clarity, opening an opportunity for introspective thought and self-healing. The user shares a "Blood Moon Ritual of Release" meant to "help you release something, especially something painful." [xii]
How can such radically opposing interpretations be reasoned from the same event? Further, how has the United States reached the 21st century with never before seen levels of artificial intelligence and technological advances yet has somehow maintained the archaic yet implicitly negative connotation erroneously associated with witches and witchcraft? This negative perception persists despite it being a religion, particularly a belief in the Christian God that is consistently used to justify violence and heinous acts, even towards children. [xiii]
What are Witches and What is Witchcraft?
Witchcraft is a practice. Thus, a witch can be an individual of any religion (i.e., Wiccan, Pagan, Christian, Muslim, etc.) who practices witchcraft. Think of it analogous to how you would refer to someone 'practicing' law. [vii]
To take it a step further, witchcraft is NOT a religion. Contrary to popular belief, it also does not involve human sacrifice, the 'Devil,' or 'Satan,' mainly because witches consider 'Satan' a Judo-Christian construct, not a witch's belief or part of witchcraft. [viii]
Additionally, many of the stereotypes associated with witches are untruths, misinterpretations, or misrepresentations. For example, witches are obviously not soaring through town on magical broomsticks, casting hexes, and using their cauldrons to brew potions to assist them in kidnapping neighborhood children. Yet, even today, a large portion of the population would likely recognize this variety of 'facts' about witches. For example, a simple google image search of the word "witch" resulted in the Wizard of Oz's 'wicked witch of the west' as the number one result.
One practicing witch attributes the survival of such outlandish stereotypes to the media and pop culture's portrayal of witches in those same forms. This furthers the notion that witchcraft is not to be taken seriously or that it is merely a 'fad' or 'trend.' Many people are likely unaware that a large community of present-day witches like Annabel, seen in the below video, exist in today's society. [ix]
Why Are There So Many Misperceptions About Witches?
How could a practice focused on "understanding how energy works within us and around us and how to work with that for desired outcomes" be persecuted to such an extent that practicing individuals were forced underground, eternally impacting society's perception of what a 'witch' is? Although most are at least vaguely familiar with the Salem Witch Trials, it seems the gravity of the effect that period had on witchcraft seems to escape most. Still, it is a good starting point for understanding the misperceptions surrounding witches. [x]
The harmful 'pact with the devil' notion that seems so firmly planted in most people's memory regarding witchcraft trickled down from Pope Innocent the VIII's papal bull (public decree issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church) Summis desiderantes affectibus. It reversed a previous Canon that had declared witchcraft made up. [xi]
The papal bull stated that witchcraft did, in fact, exist, and to perform it was heresy. This paved the way for later decrees allowing for witch hunts and the Inquisition, as illustrated by one book written in 1486, two years after the Pope's order was issued, "Malleus Maleficarum." The book details how to identify, hunt, and question suspected witches. During this period, those accused of witchcraft were tortured and sometimes murdered, resulting in the senseless deaths of thousands of individuals. [xi]
Effects of Widespread Persecution Long-Lasting: Fear is Fundamental
Despite the eventual formal end to 'witch trials,' the negative stigma of practicing magic has remained. Further, the central source of the persecution continues to permeate modern-day society, often using fear as leverage to convert others.
For example, between May 12th and 13th, 2022, Pastor Brandon Dawson, founder of the Tribe of Christians ministry, shared a "prophetic warning" on several platforms. The "Blood Moon Prophetic Warning Revealed" message details what he believes is a clear symbolic marker for a significant upcoming event relating to the end times. [iv]
Information in the Channel's bio indicates that the host, Brandon Dawson, "saw and prophesied some of the worlds most prominent events," such as the stock market reaction to COVID-19, President Trump's impeachment, etc. [vi]
Dawson's justification for why this Blood Moon is significant is difficult to follow. He specifies that the total eclipse will last 84 minutes and that while every blood moon is not significant, you must investigate and assess all of the circumstances to determine whether any significance exists. [x]
He rambles on for nearly 20 minutes, alleging that although Sunday's eclipse doesn't occur on the same date (5-14) nor the same day of the week (Friday), the significance of the blood moon is still present and clear because of the extreme connection between the U.S.'s May 14, 1948 recognition of the State of Israel. Using thats plus Jesus' rising after three days and Christian's observing the Sabbath on Sunday, Dawson attempts to parallel the unrest seen now in Israel with the meaning of this lunar eclipse. He stated,
It does occur on a Sunday, this Sunday, the evening of the 15th. Now that is extremely significant. It has two meanings. It implies that this blood moon isn't just specifically about the United States, but it's even more specifically connected to the churches here in the United States, because Jesus was ressurected on the third day, on a Sunday, when most churches and Christians worship the Lord. . .The month of May is extremely, very [sic] significant. It's why we are seeing all these major acts of violence in Israel and Jerusalem.
Despite Dawson's zeal, not everyone agrees with his message or his tactics. Back in 2014, when Pastor John Hagee made similar proclamations about the impending Blood Moon, one fellow pastor, Greg Boyd of Woodland Hills Church in Minn., maintained that Hagee's 2014 assertions were a waste of time unnecessarily striking fear into people. [v]
Even more surprising are what seem to be fellow Christians, unwilling to be swept into another 'end of the world' craze, speaking out against Dawson's prediction. One commenter to his video, though evidently a fellow believer in Christ, points out the science behind the normal cycles of the moon. They seemingly soften the statement with confirmation that they too are believers, stating, "The ultimate blood moon will be like no other, at least by how it sounds to me the way it's worded in the Bible. The sun will be darkened, and the moon will turn to blood before that great and terrible day of the Lord." [xiv]
Even with what has been exponential growth regarding the acceptance of religions outside of Christianity, the religion continues to have a major influence, in some cases being used as the basis for horrific and sordid acts. Take the California case of deceased 3-year-old Arely Naomi Proctor, who police say was subject to an exorcism at San Jose Iglesia's Apostoles y Profetas church last fall, dying as a result of it. [xv]
Strangely, the pastor, also Arely's grandfather, admitted to participation in the exorcism, but he states he does not believe the exorcism killed Arely. He told one news outlet, "If you read the Bible, you'll see that Jesus casts away demons and made sick people healthy again... It's not when I want to do it, it's when God, in his will, wants to heal the person. The preacher is like an instrument of God; what we do is what God says." [xvi]
The September exorcism, stemming from the belief that the child was possessed, is reported to have lasted 12 hours, with suspects allegedly strangling the 3-year-old to the point of unconsciousness and forcing fingers down the child's throat causing numerous injuries to Arely's tongue and mouth. The mother, days prior to her arrest, posted a nearly 45-minute Youtube video, complete with strange edited sound effects, in which she states at one point that she is in a better place and God knows why he allows these things to happen, but that being a mom was the best thing to happen. [xv]
In a similarly shocking yet strangely related case, 3-month-old Brandon Cuellar was kidnapped from his San Jose, California, home in broad daylight. Authorities reported that the suspects arrested for the kidnapping were members of the same church the exorcism occurred, where the 3-month-old's mother states she met the female suspect, shown in the below video.
The effects do not stop at the United States doorstep, though. Even in Russia, reports indicate a surge in exorcisms. From monastery-living individuals such as exorcist Sergei Romanov to hockey-mom Maya Mayer, cases of exorcisms continue to be reported. [xvii] In 2020, Panama also made headlining news after seven deaths and 15 injuries resulting from exorcisms performed by a religious sect known as "The New Light of God," seeking to force individuals to repent for their sins. [xviii]
The Vatican hosts an annual exorcism course, now expanded due to apparent increased demand. One catholic priest shares that only a trained priest who has been given authority by a bishop can perform what is known as the "solemn exorcism." Despite this, exorcisms continue to take place worldwide. Though there has been an attempt to curb any risk of sensationalism associated with exorcisms, they continue to be performed by those who are untrained, leading to often fatal results. [xviv]
Despite this apparent link, the mention of magic, spiritualism, and witches, instead of religion, elicits side-glances and eye-rolls, quite an ironic conundrum given the circumstances.
[i] Sara Pulliam Bailey, 'Blood moon' sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians, (Apr. 15, 2014)
[iii] Biblica, Inc., Holy Bible, New International Version, NIV,(2011), Accessed from: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joel%202&version=NIV
[iv] Tribe of Christians, Blood Moon Prophetic Warning Revealed!, (May 12, 2022)
[v] Sara Pulliam Bailey, 'Blood moon' sets off apocalyptic debate among some Christians, (Apr. 15, 2014)
[vi] Tribe of Christians, Blood Moon Prophetic Warning Revealed!, (May 12, 2022)
[vii] Luna Blackthorn, Witchcraft for Beginners, (2021) self-published.
[x] Tribe of Christians, Blood Moon Prophetic Warning Revealed!, (May 12, 2022)
[xi] Luna Blackthorn, Witchcraft for Beginners, (2021) self-published.
[xii] SASSWITCHES, Blood Moon Ritual of Release, (May 11, 2022)
[xiii] Marisa Iati, Kim Bellware, A man drowned his 6-year-old son while trying to cast out a 'demon,' police say, (Oct. 4, 2019)
[xiv] Tribe of Christians, Blood Moon Prophetic Warning Revealed!, (May 12, 2022)
[xv] Lee Brown, Mom of 3-year-old killed during church 'exorcism' posts smiling video: 'It is what it is', (May 12, 2022)
[xvi] Associated Press, California Child Who Died Was Allegedly Subject to Exorcism, (May 10, 2022)
[xvii] Dan Hall, Inside the horrific 'exorcisms' sweeping Russia with sons whipped to death and daughters disemboweled by their parents, (Apr 23, 2021)
[xviii] Associated Press, Panama exorcism ritual kills seven people, tortures 15 as authorities find bodies in mass grave, (Jan. 16, 2020)
[xviiv] Paige Cushman, 'I could see the demons': An exorcism in Arkansas, (Oct. 29, 2019)