A Witch! A Witch!

Responding to the Catholic self-appointed inquisition.

Just when I think I am off their radar and free of the wrath of the Catholic self-appointed inquisition, they rear their fearful head. This morning as I was enjoying a glimpse of the new and expansive opportunities that are coming my way, not the least of which is the pending release of my new book – Union – a year of spiritual lessons and practices with Mary Magdalene, this shows up in my email.  Not one….but two emails from the same individual spewing their wrath:

You wicked evil christian. You thought you could deceive me and lead me to believe you really discern spirits when in fact you said it led you to practice Reiki, an occult practice forbidden for Catholics.

The Lord rebuke you. It sickens me you practice Reiki.

Your charism is not from God. The occult practices indicate otherwise. What I don’t understand is why mix catholicism with the occult?

Even if you have the charism, I know you are not in the truth because you are an occult practioner who is doing what is forbidden by Catholic practice. What happened to you…

I’m really saddened to see that you practice the occult because if you really do have the charism of discernment, The Church and people really do need it and not mixed with occult practices…

Normally, I would not give any energy or attention to emails such as these, but today, I find myself particularly annoyed, not because of their words, but because of the larger message behind these words which is:

If you are a woman who happens to be doing the work that Jesus did, you are evil, wicked, doing the work of Satan and condemnable as a witch.

As it relates to being a witch, I wear that mantle proudly for to me being a witch means:

  • Dedicating my life in service to the Divine and in support of the betterment of our world.
  • Emptying myself so as to be a vessel through which the Divine might be known in our world through my own unique gifts.
  • Allowing the Divine to work through my spiritual gifts of discernment, teaching, encouragement, leadership, pastoring, prophecy and healing to transform our world from fear into love.
  • Engaging in ritual practices for the purpose of concretizing my commitment to God which then act as efficacious signs of grace…by which divine life is dispensed to us (ref. Catholic Encyclopedia).
  • Strengthening my commitment to God and to the mission of love through daily meditation, contemplation and prayer.
  • Being of service to others as a source of love in all things.

I see none of what I do as contrary to the Christian message, most especially as this message was modeled by Christ. Jesus taught.  He prophesied.  He counseled. He meditated and prayed. He performed ritual.  He led.  He pastored.  He laid on hands for the purpose of healing, expelling demons (fears) and to empower those he taught to do what he had done.

It wasn’t only men whom Jesus empowered to continue his work. The FIRST ordained to continue Jesus’ work was Mary Magdalene (John 20), and she was a woman!  Sadly, the early response to Mary Magdalene’s role as successor to Jesus was ridicule, condemnation and slander.  She immediately went from being Jesus’ co-equal partner, the one who first saw the risen Christ and the one sent forth to share the good news, to adulterous woman, prostitute, whore….in other words….a witch.  What happened to Mary Magdalene two hundred centuries ago has been the burden inflicted upon all women thereafter who have attempted to do what Jesus did and be whom he called them to be.  The message has been clear:

If you are woman called to do the work of Christ, you are not welcome and we will enforce this ban by calling you a witch, a heretic, a whore, a blasphemer, who does this work in the company of Satan.

While it would be easy for me to get on my feminist bandwagon, I find here that I cannot as these accusations of being in the company of Satan go beyond gender. In fact these are the exact same accusations heaped upon Jesus by the self-appointed inquisition of his own time:

When Jesus had driven out a demon, some of the crowd said: “By the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he drives out demons.” Others, to test him, asked him for a sign from heaven. But he knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house. And if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that it is by Beelzebul that I drive out demons. If I, then, drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your own people drive them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man fully armed guards his palace, his possessions are safe.

But when one stronger than he attacks and overcomes him, he takes away the armor on which he relied and distributes the spoils. Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.

Luke 11: 15-26

 

Apparently ANYONE who tries to do the work that Jesus did is vulnerable to condemnation. When I pierce through the veil of these accusations I see one thing:

Fear – specifically, the human fear of that which is outside of our control.

Catholic (and most religious) doctrine, wraps life up in a tight little ball. We are told what to believe, what not to believe, what is good and what is evil. Theologians might have the freedom to argue about these beliefs, but the common person sitting in the pew is expected to believe without question. For many, believing without question provides the perceived surety they crave in an otherwise unsure world. The problem is that life CANNOT be wrapped up in a tight little ball for us to control. The truth is there is very little we truly know and even less that we can control. Those who have been called beyond these tightly defined parameters, who are comfortable in the world of the unknown, where life embodies many shades of grey and where freedom is found in ambiguity become a threat to those who cling to the illusion of surety. To the latter, it is easy to think of the former as evil as our presence stirs their fears and the unhealed wounds that cause them to cling to what they think they know. Witches….shit-disturbers, we might be one and the same. J

While my initial response to the emails above was annoyance and my second response was hurt, I can now sit in the compassion of understanding the fears that caused this person to lash out in this way. I am sorry for the unhealed fears that cause them to seek after surety. I am sorry for the fact that my presence has triggered these fears. But even more so I am sorry that they chose not to use the tools that Jesus gave them to heal those fears so that instead of finding separation, they might have found the love that unites us both. In this, there are no witches, there is no inquisition, there are only human beings trying to find peace in an otherwise fearful world.

 

 

About Your Spiritual Truth

I am a trained, professional Spiritual Director, Author and Hands-on Healer. I offer services, programs and classes that empower you to hear the voice of the Divine that speaks from within you. It is the voice of the Divine that leads us to our highest truth, to the discovery and cultivation of our gifts and to a life of Authentic Freedom where we know contentment, compassion and joy. Your truth will set you free!
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13 Responses to A Witch! A Witch!

  1. Bob Russo says:

    Hi Lori,

    Well, you must be a threat to this person for some reason. It’s probably shaking their religious foundation, which can be scary. But, who knows?

    On another note, energy work must have definitely been practiced by Jesus and his disciples when he asked them to go forth and heal. This person condemns Reiki. I wonder how he or she feels about acupuncture, polarity therapy, and so on, which are other forms of energy work. Does the RCC condemn those practices too? I don’t know. But, I once worked at a health resort in Southern California that sponsored a retreat for Roman Catholic priests. This was back in the later 1980’s. Many of them received polarity therapy sessions. I gave many sessions to these guys, and they really enjoyed and appreciated them.

    Lori, you are truly following your heart – and I know how tough that can be in a world that constantly pushes us to “conform” – and I really respect you for doing that!

    Be Well,

    Bob

    • Hi Bob!
      Interestingly, it is specifically Reiki that the Catholic Church has targeted and named as prohibited. (The Institution unfortunately has some not so nice things to say about yoga, Eastern meditation, and other so-called “new age” practices as well.) It cracks me up that as I was trying to head off the Green Bay Diocese prohibition on Reiki, members of the local self-appointed inquisition were excited about some “new” form of energy work and were studying and embracing it wholeheartedly. I don’t recall the name of the practice, but it was quite similar to Reiki. Then there is “Healing Touch Therapy” which is approved, sanctioned and taught in Catholic hospitals. These practices are all virtually the same…..so why is Reiki the target? I suspect that the real issue the Church has over Reiki is the “Attunement” ceremony. Which……hmmmmmmm……is strangely similar to the laying on of hands that is part of ordination. Is this the Church’s real beef with Reiki……..that someone other than a priest might be “ordained” to heal? Me thinks they protesteth too much! 😉

  2. Dennis Fuhr says:

    Laurie, I am just curious. Did the individuals who sent these hateful messages to you identify themselves? Did they hide behind the cloak of anonymity? Are they a part of the religious establishment?
    . I am sure that there are Sisters and Nuns who still practice Reiki quietly and discretely. They are among the many teachers who initially have brought healing to people as the Holy Spirit has blessed their efforts.
    . We take heart that good opportunities are coming your way and you that you are so effectively responding to these hateful comments, even responding with compassion…….Dennis

    • Hi Dennis,
      The man who wrote these emails did have the courage to sign his name. I chose not to include his name for obvious reasons!

      I’m also sure there are many nuns quietly offering Reiki and other healing modalities. It was from dear Catholic nuns I learned Reiki in the first place. But they too have been condemned and as you said, have had to either quit offering healing work or have gone underground to do so. Their plight is much worse than mine in that they are dependent on the Institution for their survival. I am not. One of the reasons I left the Institution was so that I could be free to do what God was calling me to do. I’d had enough if the inquisition within the Church. As I’ve said before, I did not leave the Institution, it was the Institution that left me.

  3. Janet Kowal says:

    Oh, Laurie! I am so sorry you are being treated this way. Do they not see that they are persecuting you the same way that Christ was persecuted and out cast? Continue to go with your gut feeling and whatever God calls you to do. God does not love by gender. He is also the God of the outcast, the women who were outcast, the sinners. I would gladly sit at the table with you, loving God in the way he set forth- for everyone, not just those deemed appropriate by some men….. Call me a witch as well, if you must. Since when was that exclusive of loving God? It is not.

  4. Karen says:

    You’re a better person than I. I read the letter and recoiled at the memories I have being Catholic. If I think about it long enough I become angry at the now obvious doctrine used to assert power and control. It has taken years to grow-up spiritually, no … it’s taken years to recognize I was being prevented from growing and now I am annoyed. And yet, this woman is unaware. She is trapped. The same way I was once trapped. Blessings to her and to you my witchy friend!

    • Karen,
      These words hit me between the eyes, “no….it’s taken years to recognize I was being prevented from growing.” As you know….exactly why I left. I got tired of being punished for becoming the “Mature disciple” the Church claims they want. I recently read that the enrollment numbers are way down in lay formation programs. Hmmmmm…….I wonder why!? 😉

  5. Mary Hall says:

    Well Lauri, you have certainly rattled some cages, and that is one of your charisms – to lead the way. As someone said to me recently “Be thankful for the difficult people in your life, they have shown you who not to be”.
    We appreciate and love you for who you are, a wonderful caring woman and if people in the church can’t see that, then they don’t know what they are missing xxxx

  6. elaine says:

    sending love sweet one, from one whose heart was broken in similar circumstanes.

  7. Jody Hergert-Andresen says:

    The emails you received are so full of fear. Way to take the high road Lauri and reach out with a mature, loving response.

  8. Steve Gengenbacher says:

    As usual, Lauri…..spot on!

  9. Suzy says:

    Thank you Lauri for representing our Mary Magdalene of our past, today, and future.

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