Wednesday, October 6, 2010

American Witch runs for US Senate

October is Monster Month on Wisdom Quarterly

Republican conservative and Sarah Palin sidekick Christine O'Donnell disclaiming that she's a witch just because she "dabbled in witchcraft" (

"I am not a witch."

Only in the ever-wackier 2010 election cycle would a campaign video start with such an assertion. But this particular ad was for Delaware's Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, whose recent admission that she "dabbled in witchcraft" as a teen has brought toil and trouble to the Wiccan community.

To find out more about the Wiccan religion — which bases its belief system on witchcraft — TIME spoke to Michael Smith, a Wiccan high priest and IT consultant from O'Donnell's home state.

Q: How long have you been involved with your coven, and what do you do to practice your faith?

A: In 1993 I moved to Georgetown, Del., and joined the Coven of the Rowan Star, which is in a larger tradition called the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel.

The religious life is based on eight holidays — the wheel of the year — this cycle of nature that runs through the seasons, based both on nature itself and its reflection in the light of a human being. It's the cycle of rise and fall, and change and growth, and evolution.

Q: And what kind of rituals do you engage in?

There are a variety of things people practice and learn. Wicca itself holds that what would commonly be referred to as "supernatural" or "paranormal" is actually... More>>

Q: Among those Wiccans in Delaware, how has the reaction been to Christine O'Donnell's comments?

A: There was a lot of eye rolling. It obscures the actual issues involved [in Wicca]. Who knows what she did or dabbled in when she was in high school.

I doubt very seriously that she knows what it was. Certainly I do not think that she has any concept about what witchcraft, Wicca, or Paganism actually is. I doubt very seriously whether she has any concept of what Satanism actually is.

Q: How did you react to her conflation of witchcraft and Satanism? [O'Donnell said her dabbling included having a picnic on a bloody Satanic altar.]

A: One grows accustomed to it. It's a ridiculous and childish and uniformed conflation. Most monotheistic religions, as they encounter other paths and belief systems, tend to want to confuse those with their own conceptions of what is evil.

Satanism is a Judeo-Christian-Islamic concept. To be a Satanist, one must believe in Satan. We don't do that. It's not part of our belief system at all.

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