It’s time we had the talk.

Growing up, The Sword in the Stone was one of my favorite movies. Have you seen it? Remember that scene where Merlin has the battle with that fat old witch? He turns himself into a germ and gives her the flu? That was fun.

Prefer to listen? Grab the podcast episode here.

But there’s a problem. This stuff isn’t pretend.

Witches are real. Warlocks are real.

There are people, in America today, who regularly meet together to practice satanic arts. Oftentimes knowingly, but sometimes without knowing it, they seek out special abilities, influence, and favors from demons.

They don’t always wear pointy hats. In fact, their members look like business people and school teachers and doctors. They call themselves witches.

Your local police station likely has a list of known covens of witches in your area.

Every year at this time of year, animals and children are abused and some of them are tortured to death as part of satanic rituals.

The people who practice these things really have spiritual power. It’s nothing compared to the power of Jesus, but it is extraordinary in its own right.

There are many spirits, but only one Holy Spirit.

This isn’t a conspiracy theory. It’s well documented with thousands of victim reports and even with testimony from former perpetrators who have since given their lives to Jesus. I’ve personally witnessed the demonic deliverance of a victim who was abused in this way as a child.

For the most part, we don’t bother to learn this kind of knowledge because it’s so unsettling. (For what it’s worth, I don’t encourage you to research it deeply, either.) But many people, particularly those in law enforcement who specialize in these areas, can confirm that it is very real. They may disagree on how widespread the issue is, and whether it’s an organized interconnected conspiracy or isolated events, but there’s no denying that these incidents occur on regular basis.

Even if these ideas are too far outside of your personal experience to accept, we must agree that there are people in America today who self-identify as witches and warlocks, meet in covens, practice black arts, and generally seek to glorify satan. That’s what witches do.

If you’re not seeking spiritual power from the Holy Spirit, then you are seeking it from satan.

No one would ever let their kid dress up as a NAZI for Halloween. So why a witch? “Well of course little Jimmy’s not a real NAZI, it’s just pretend.” Let’s pretend something else then.

This issue becomes especially apparent at Halloween for obvious reasons, but for writers, it’s a consideration year-round.

As you’re writing, remember that Walt Disney didn’t invent witches. He just made them seem fun.

I don’t know if he meant to do it or not, but he inspired a lot of people to playfully emulate a culture that does things that would literally make you vomit if you saw it with your own eyes. 

This is heavy, right? Well it’s real. So what do we do about it?

To a great degree, we each have to reach our own conviction on how to play this out.

In Romans 14, Paul is mostly talking about adherence to Jewish laws when he talks about holidays, abstaining from foods, and things like that. But he says, “Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord…while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God… So then, each of us will give an account of himself to the Lord.” (I encourage you to take time to read all of Romans 14, as it’s too much to paste here, but the full nuance and context is really important.)

Personally, I’m not entirely opposed to Halloween. There is a deeply-buried Christian origin to the holiday.

As I’ve said many times, any time my neighbors want to open their doors and have a conversation about the afterlife and the supernatural, I’ll be there. Halloween can very well be an opportunity for that. Our annual “Spirit Stories” event invites Jesus back into the conversation.

I also don’t mind if my kids play dress up as firemen, astronauts, and princesses, pretty much whenever they want (unless we’re trying to get to church on time), including on the last day of October.

But my personal conviction is to only participate in environments where I can set the terms. The Holy Spirit goes with me wherever I go, but I’m not going to patron businesses, go to theme parks, or events that have a dark agenda or primarily make money off of worldly Halloween.

As for me and my house, we’re not going to pretend to be things that give honor to the devil.

And if I write about witches or magic, any time of year, I’m going to handle it with extreme care.

If your writing includes magic, invite the Holy Spirit into that conversation. We’ve seen it handled well in many books, so it’s certainly possible. But check in regularly if you’re walking that line. Acknowledge that there is a real spiritual danger there, and then make good decisions to anchor yourself in the light.

If the Holy Spirit calls you to remove some of those elements, don’t worry, He’ll give you something even better. You can trust Him for that.

I won’t condemn you if you post pictures on Instagram as a witch, but will you just consider it? Will you, in the words of Jack Burns (Robert DeNiro) in Meet the Parents, “at least consider another profession?”

If you write stories with magic, will you tread lightly and make extra double sure that you’re always pointing your reader back to the one true spirit?

Will you think twice about that “Feeling Witchy” candle before you buy it, now that you know what witches really do? I promise you don’t actually want to feel like a witch in any way!

And of course it’s not just witch stuff. We see all kinds of weird things this time of year. Things that celebrate death, paganism, witchcraft, and the occult. Remember that all of those things are real, even if you don’t really mean it. There’s no good fun about it. To align yourself with those things is to align yourself with darkness.

If you’re not sure about participating with something this time of year, look at Galatians 5:16-24 and see which part of the passage best describes it.

There’s a lot of good stuff to celebrate this time of year. Witches just aren’t one of them.

May the Lord bless you richly in this season as you endeavor more and more to reflect the light.

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