When I opened the door, he turned and leveled the shotgun at me. The bedroom was ice cold and he stood inside of a wooden laundry hamper wrapped from head to toe in a blanket. All I could see were his eyes and the gun.
I threw up my hands in surrender. “Dad! It’s me. Sarah.”
He kept the gun leveled at me. “What are you doing here? Go! Go outside! He’s hiding in the trees.” He gestured with the gun. “Go look in the trees!”
I turned and ran downstairs, out the back door and into the frigid air. I looked up at my parent’s bedroom window where the gun barrel now rested on the windowsill and the blanket shaped figure peered out.
I looked up in the trees thinking I’d see my father’s hallucination. Thinking that my father couldn’t be wrong about intruders living in our attic and outside in the trees. Suddenly, he disappeared from the window and I shivered. My mother had left me there while she took my sister somewhere safer. I had nowhere to go but back inside.
That was the day my whole world shifted. I was fifteen and I had grown up as “daddy’s girl”. In my eyes, there was nothing he couldn’t do. Until that horrible day. The cocaine made my father a different person, someone I could no longer trust, and even though I was far from grown up, I felt like I was all on my own.
So I became a witch. Just like that. Witchcraft was something my father had introduced me to through an old book he once gave me. I dabbled in it for years, but never really took it seriously until I realized that I needed more help than I was getting. (And I think a small part of me wanted to do something that I knew my father would approve of). My encounter with the barrel of that gun made me wonder what life was really about. I began visiting New Age bookshops, reading books on witchcraft, and looking for answers.
Within months I had collected crystals, conducted séances, and built an altar in my room to worship the god and goddess I had chosen. I read incantations, used Tarot, cast spells and took on a brand new identity. I was a witch, and proud of it. Resources were a little harder to come by back in the pre-Internet days, but it never stopped me. My mom was more than willing to shell out money to buy the stuff I wanted.
My father eventually got clean, but our relationship was severely damaged. Things were a mess at home, they were a mess at school, and I became more and more depressed. I wanted out, and I began to believe that the answer was to kill myself. In fact, my “spirit guide” seemed to confirm that this was the very thing I was supposed to do. I desperately wanted things to change, but no matter what I tried, things just got worse. So one night I drove away in my car intending to never come home again. As I was driving on the back roads, waiting for the carbon monoxide leak in my car to do its work, I remember feeling relieved. Perhaps now, I thought, I can finally escape.
All I remember now is that I woke up face down in a small park some time later. I don’t remember parking the car, or getting out, but there I was – very much alive. I felt like a failure, I couldn’t even kill myself. Yet because I had failed, and college was just a few months away, I figured I would just stick it out till then. Maybe if I got away from my family, I’d be able to get my head cleared.
I continued to practice the witchcraft, though not as enthusiastically. I moved into my freshman dorm and to my utter horror, I was placed in a room with two Christian roommates. I was not amused. I was completely dumbfounded by these two girls who talked about God and carried their Bibles around. They could even quote things out of it. At first, I thought they were just weird, but they were totally serious about it. They didn’t swear or smoke or drink – which meant that our room was a no-party zone. Which I was also not happy about.
But I couldn’t deny that they had a peace and security about life that I had never experienced. Despite being a witch, I was intrigued by their faith and began to eavesdrop on their Bible studies. And it wasn’t long before I accepted their weekly invitation to the Friday night Intervarsity meeting. It was there that I heard a message that made me think that I could get a fresh start on life after all. I made God an offer that night, right before Thanksgiving. I told him that if he was real, and if he really wanted me, then I was his.
He took me up on the offer.
Things shifted in my world once again, but this time, I wasn’t alone. It took me a while to get my footing with God, but even though my parents hated that I had become a Christian, I knew that it was exactly what I was missing all along.
Many people assume that witches are the fake sort with pointy hats and brooms that we see every year around this time. But they aren’t. They are people just like you and me. People who are searching for answers. They just happen to be searching in the wrong place. Gretchen, a character in my book The Alliance said, “It’s like a religion without the rules.” The practice of witchcraft is very open-ended, allowing you to practice in any way you choose, so it can be very fascinating to some. But it’s deadly – it nearly killed me. And there is also the fact that God strictly forbids it.
Most of you probably know that. So instead, I want to look at why. Why is witchcraft such a dangerous activity?
It’s the wrong power source.
Any supernatural power that does not come directly from God comes from Satan. Satan is a real being (see Job 1:6) that likes to masquerade as an “angel of light” (2 Cor. 11:14). So even though most witches do not believe in Satan, they are playing in his playground rather than God’s. That’s always a dangerous place to be.
Since the power source that witchcraft taps into comes from Satan, a lot of stuff actually happens. I don’t even like to think about the things I saw. Yet, just because “stuff happens” doesn’t mean that it’s truth. Satan does have some limited power on earth, so that’s why psychics are sometimes right and why witchcraft seems to “work”. Don’t mistake Satan’s power for God’s. They can’t even compare!
It’s an assault on God’s nature.
Think about it this way. God gave us his most precious gift when he sent Jesus so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price for our sins. He doesn’t withhold any good thing from us (Psalm 84:11). So if we go elsewhere to get guidance or power or entertainment, then we are basically telling God that he’s not enough for us. We act like he is keeping something from us. When he is really trying to keep us from being led astray by a very convincing enemy.
Satan is an enemy of God.
When we dabble in witchcraft, we are playing with a very real predator. Most predators don’t simply grab someone off the street by force. They tempt and lure us with innocent questions or pleas for help or even offers of gifts. Once the predator lures you close enough, it’s only then that he can snatch you away. Satan works the same way. He uses innocent looking activities to lure us farther and farther away from the truth. (Check out 1 Peter 5:8)
The truth – God’s Word – is really your best weapon against the enemy. The more familiar you are with God’s Word, then the easier it will be for you to tell when Satan tempts you with something fake. So you don’t need to become an expert on witchcraft in order to talk to someone involved in it. You just need to know God, and His Word. It’s all the ammunition you’ll need.
After I became a Christian, I gathered all of my materials, the idols, crystals, books and candles I had used, and burned them all in a big bonfire. I know God was pleased with that. I had traded a whole lot of nothing for a whole lot of God. It was a pretty good deal if you ask me.