Harry Potter

CESNUR’s Note: We received this essay by Mallory Nakamura, a 13-year student at Brunswick Junior High in Brunswick (Maine), and a frequent reader of our Harry Potter pages. The provocative opinions of this essay are the young writer’s alone, and do not represent the point of view of CESNUR.

Wicca and Harry Potter

by Mallory Nakamura

Many concerned parents and Christians are concerned that Harry Potter, a children’s book by JK Rowling, has too much to do with witchcraft. Some even go as far to say that it’s popularity is the work of the devil trying to convert our children to Wicca, the witch’s religion. This is very far from the truth. I have never heard Hermione Granger try to invoke the spirit or Harry Potter say "Blessed be" (the Wiccan equivalent to "amen.") All magic is made by waving a wand and saying a word or series of words and then you have a porcupine instead of a pincushion. Wiccans are not interested in spreading their religion around. Also, Wicca has nothing at all to do with the devil. In fact, those who practice the Craft don’t believe such a thing as an evil being. So forget whatever you learned from "Rosemary’s Baby," a film made in 1968. They worship the Lord and Lady, a male and female god, which means that they don’t discriminate against either of the sexes unlike so many other religions.

The command from the Bible states: "Thou shall not allow a witch to live" was very well followed in the Medieval ages and the tightly religious town of Salem. No one was very good at recognizing the Craft. Most accusations in Salem were from teenage girls who hoped to kill off all the people they disliked before this was all over. Still, those accused of witchcraft in the early colonial times in America were lucky compared to those in medieval Europe. "Witches" were impaled by tall stakes while still alive. The most famous form of killing a "witch" was igniting one alive while tied to a stake. Joan of Arc was one of many to be burned in England. Many Wiccans, fearing for their lives, practiced in secret or stopped practicing all together. An ancient faith was nearly demolished by a far later one. In my opinion the only evil present was in the fear and hate of the people accusing innocent neighbors and the Malleus Maleficarum (or Hammer of Witches, a guide for every witch hunter to recognize and kill witches.) Now, in the twenty first century, it is becoming more and more popular, ironically, with teenage girls in particular.

The ways of finding a witch were both ridiculous and cruel. One popular way was to find out if the so called witch could swim. Flotation was a sign of evil, but if Jesus supposedly could walk on water, was he unholy? Another way was to put a thirty pound bible on one end of the scale, and the accused on the other. If the "witch" weighed more than the Bible (which was highly likely because plump women were considered attractive at the time), he or she would be murdered on the spot. Most "witches" were women, so this was not only an attack on Wicca, but an offense on women. Humans were not the only ones killed in the witch hunts- cats were also brutally slaughtered. Of course witches think cats are an important part of their lives- all nature is.

Sadly, witch hunts still happen today. The magic scare is very alive in Africa, particularly in the tribes of West and Eastern Africa. In the creations of Nancy Farmer, award winning author of the Ear, the Eye and the Arm, suspicion of witchcraft plays a role in many of her books.

As I have stated before, Wicca has absolutely nothing to do with the devil. It is a religion based around feminine strength and nature. The Wiccan Rede states: "Bide the Wiccan laws we must; in perfect love and perfect trust... Heed ye flower, bush and tree; by the Lady, Blessed be... Mind the threefold law you should; three times bad and three times good." and last: "True in love ever be; lest thy lover’s false to thee."

That doesn’t sound like Satan worship to me. In fact, wouldn’t devil worshipers have to be of the Christian faith? After all, you believe in God if you believe in Satan. Wiccans don’t believe that there is any one evil being such as the devil. Nothing is either pure or corrupt. They cannot misuse their powers, keeping in mind "Mind the threefold law you should; three times bad and three times good." In other words, whatever you send out, you get back, only three times more potent. Like in the movie, "The Craft." The girls who tried to kill their fellow Wiccan were punished, one of them mentally insane while the other two lost their powers ultimately while the one they tried to murder became even more magically powerful.

I doubt that Miss Rowling knows much about the Craft, if any at all. She continues to defend her books by stating: "If you ban all books with witchcraft and the supernatural, you’ll ban three quarters of children’s literature." Why can’t we just accept that perhaps there might be another moral religion out there besides Christianity? Personally, I’m not a religious person and I’m happy with my decision. Maybe these people are angry that a non-virgin woman with her bastard child is now the third richest person in Britain. Eve was evil, wasn’t she? I think that we could all learn from the show of love and friendship in Harry Potter. Doesn’t the Bible have many of the same moral codes? Well, someone please wake me up when someone finds a good reason to shun this talented and deserving author from our bookshelves.