Cross and Pentacle: Two religions at the crossroads

I was a Jesus Freak, a passionate theologian, and a Southern Baptist minister. I worked hard to convert pagans. The pagans won.

Discovering magic as a witch with an intimate knowledge of western christianity I explore the juxtaposition of these two faiths. Christianity and paganism alike are undergoing dramatic changes with parallel trends, conflicting challenges, and a growing concern for interfaith dialogue.

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Banishing a vampire


We had to banish a vampire from our community. She came last year and was charming and likeable. She was allergic to garlic and once she moved in, we couldn’t cook with garlic anymore, not without all the windows open and her safely away in another room. Of course the connection between garlic and this vampire was a coincidence, and at any rate, she was allergic to many foods. But she was, indeed, a vampire.


She didn’t pierce our skin and drink our blood; but she broke our bonds and drank our power. First she gained our trust; she said all the right things; she was charming and open; she gave tokens of gratitude and affection. Then she asked us for little favors and praised us for our generosity and unusual kindness. And so the trap was set, and the fangs dug in. The favors grew bigger and we were drawn into games of guilt and manipulation. We empathized and worked to support and empower her. Soon she was leeching power and empathy from us as we grew weak and confused. We felt drained and failed to set boundaries and practice self-care and we became agitated with each other. Our community was breaking from the inside out. But she had underestimated us. We are Witches and Heathens and we cast our wards, we called in light, we reclaimed our power, and we banished the vampire.


Like many evangelical Christians, I grew up reading C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. I liked their stories and I justified their use of ‘magic’ by telling myself that it was ‘redeemed’ because of their Christian faith. Later I fell in love with Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Stories and the idea that myths hold power to “steal past those watchful dragons”. I was fascinated by the love the inklings had for story, myth, and magic. I was fascinated, but I didn’t understand. My literalistic reading of the bible blinded me to the depth and wisdom found in myth.


When I was dealing with this psychic vampire in my community, I discovered the power of myth, the truths hidden in ‘fantasy’. Once we identified her behavior as vampirism, we set a course of action. We understood that she was feeding on us and that she needed our emotions and our power because she didn’t know how to find her own from within.


We know that vampires start out as humans who are bit by other vampires. In the beginning they don’t want to hurt others. They themselves are badly hurt by a vampire. The other vampire sucks on them but then their own need takes over and controls them. They are no longer humans in control of themselves, they have become slaves to their thirst. Vampires can be pleasant and warm and loving, until the shadow of their need takes hold and their fangs come out.


Vampires avoid light, so we decided to shine light on our vampire. We worked to take back our own power and stand in our own light. The myths teach us that we gain power over a creature when we learn its true name. We had seen shifts in our vampire’s behavior whenever we came close to identifying the nature of her shadow. So we planned a meeting with her.


I was to take the lead and be the spokesperson. There were three of us confronting her. One of my allies had been the first to see through her. The other had walked with me through doubt and confusion and helped me reclaim my power. They were powerful Witches, ready to speak up and lend whatever support needed.


I had never before excluded someone from a community and I hated having to do it. I can't stand confrontation at the best of times, so I knew this was going to be hard. We grounded, we centered, and we cast sacred space to shed light, to see and speak clearly.


As expected, she tried manipulation to elicit empathy, but I was prepared. I told her that she needed to listen carefully. She twisted my words, but I repeated them, again and again, until she heard them. It was an exhausting psychic struggle, but I was shedding light, and I had my allies. The facade was crumbling and the message was getting through. Little by little she appeared to be shrinking, her energy becoming smaller, taking up just a small space on the couch. I held eye contact as I spoke.


And then suddenly her demeanor changed. Her face fell, and she said: “I didn’t want this, I didn’t want any of this,” and I knew it was true. My eyes left her eyes and as I named the need, the shadow that possessed her; my gaze was drawn away from the crumpled body on the couch and I stared at an invisible form on the chair to her left. It was an empty chair, but I sensed an entity there, I felt the presence of the shadow that had split, left her form, and hovered over the chair. I had named it, and my gaze was locked on it, and it was no longer with her.


“This is not what I wanted”, she said again and I glanced at her and my heart broke. “I know!”, I thought, “of course you never wanted any of it, and this is the real you, the you I loved and wanted to be in community with.” I looked back at the chair and Shadow was still there, strong, weary, defiant.


“So what do you want me to do?” I heard the human form on the couch ask. This was the part where I was supposed to tell her that she needed to leave. But I was transfixed on Shadow. It was so real, so tangible, so her and yet so not her. I stammered. My eyes went back and forth, from the body on the couch and to the shadow on the chair. I was overwhelmed by the experience and couldn’t speak. My friend asked if I needed her to take over and I nodded.

I don’t remember much after that. I know my friend told her she had to move out and she said something like “now that my worst fears have come true...” and then we talked logistics. At some point she reunited with Shadow and together they left. My two friends asked me why I had faltered and was staring at that empty chair. As I struggled to put words to my experience I knew they would understand. They know the power of myth and they know the truths and wisdom that lie hidden in the realms of fantasy. They see the same unseen and know that there are worlds within worlds. They know that vampires are real and that together we had just exposed and banished one.

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Born and raised an evangelical Christian in Germany, I joined the Jesus Freak movement as a teenager and became a passionate evangelist and worship leader. No one was surprised when I went to the US at age 19 and came back a tattooed and pierced fundamentalist Christian, betrothed to a "Chrispie" (a Christian hippie, that is). I was a virgin the day we married. Five years later I graduated bible college with highest honors and post traumatic stress disorder. I deepened both my theology and trauma on the road by traveling the country in a big yellow school bus. For three years I lived as a nomad, playing music and leading bible studies, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. I learned that Christianity in America encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices, from Amish groups casting demons out of school busses to Roman Catholic priests breaking into government buildings. I saw Jesus in the oddest places. And then everything changed and I ended up a polyamorous Witch in a Pagan community in California.


  • Martin
    Martin Tuesday, 13 January 2015

    Far out!

  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Friday, 16 January 2015

    So painful. Blessings on your community and house. Blessings on those who were once part and are not longer.

  • Kathy Parris
    Kathy Parris Monday, 19 January 2015

    I came from similar background, but had pagan roots to start out with. Just wondering, did you tell this individual they were/had been excorcised, why not? Too fragile? If you had been willing to assist in healing her. It would be difficult to do, especially if your community felt victimized. You had the authority, if you had prepared for it better it seems from what you stated that you could have freed her from the entity.
    What is your moral standing on this?
    The vampire woman can't be happy.
    Do you feel that by not excorcising her that you let that entity back out into the world to continue its destruction?
    I would have cast out the demon, and healed the woman. This would have required educating your co workers and protecting them and your coven, plus cooperative effort to heal this person. The person has soul prices missing, and dreaming time work would have had to been done in order to reunite her soul peices. She would not have survived the experience without healing work.
    I commend you on your work, you have the gift to discern and to cast out. Get trained, its serious shit. I went to bible school, learned how. We had a class on it. Lots of demons sitting in pews. Lots of stories.
    I liked this post, so glad you shared!
    Glad your group is strong. Sending love and peace.

  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan Sunday, 25 January 2015

    Kathy, that's an interesting question. I don't know where the boundaries are between mental illnesses, personality disorders, and spiritual hitchhikers, but I don't feel qualified to tackle any of them. I did feel very strongly that the shadow was more than a completely separate entity possessing her, more like a part of her that was controlling her and preventing her from knowing and following her true will. It was her but it also wasn't her, at least not her true self.

    It is pretty clear that she is not happy and that her life is not at all going the way she'd like it to. However, whatever help we could have offered was not welcome. She did not listen to us when we tried to explain what we were experiencing. Also, our community was hurting from the manipulation we had experienced and we needed to set boundaries. We were in no shape to take on any spiritual struggles and had to focus on making our community safe again.

  • Celestine Angel
    Celestine Angel Tuesday, 10 November 2015

    Hi, Annika.

    I think Kathy had a point; I saw a moment in there when you could have helped empower this woman to cast out her own demon, when she and the Shadow were separate, and she asked what you wanted her to do. Of course, I don't know what your two fellows did or said after you handed things over to them. I'm just saying that I can see the opportunity was there.

    But I also understand that you were caught off guard, and hadn't prepared to see/sense this manifestation so strongly. It's also clear that your goal here was to banish, because (and I'm guessing here, or working on intuition), none of you expected to be given the opportunity to banish the Shadow not just from your lives, but from hers.

    I also understand that, given the nature of the Shadow as you've described it, and the upheaval caused by this woman, that regardless of anything you might have done, banishment was still the best option. Forgiveness is sometimes too hard to grasp quickly. Even if you and your friends had been able to banish the Shadow without doing irreparable harm to the woman's psyche (and I am a psychology major), it would would have been unhealthy for her to continue to live there, while all of you struggled to deal with the past.

    I think you did the best you could with what you had; that woman is going to have to want help before anyone can help her.

  • Antigoni Marinaki
    Antigoni Marinaki Saturday, 26 September 2015

    Good morning
    In my opinion if you want to call yourself Witch you must have the open mind to except all the creatures and to be in harmony with them in the black or white sides.

  • Celestine Angel
    Celestine Angel Tuesday, 10 November 2015

    Antigoni, in my opinion, you need to grow up and mature. Some creatures have no interest or intent in living in harmony with you, and you do not have to let them into your life, or ruin it.

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