Skip to comments.Harry Potter and The Lost Generations; Former New Ager Explains Potter Danger.
Posted on 11/21/2001 8:13:35 AM PST by marshmallow
We parents still don't get it. We still don't understand that our children live in a reality steeped in violence, sex and the occult, and that they move and breathe and have their being in a culture we would not have recognized even fifteen years ago, one that has caused them untold harm.
We also don't get the fact that the series of Harry Potter books, lauded by educators and parents, and bemusedly encouraged by religious commentators (except fundamentalists), not only propagates occultism, but offers advanced indoctrination into it.
That said, if we step back from the controversy and look closely enough, the series can offer us deep insights into the collective psyches of our and our childrens' generations, both benumbed by addictions to fantasy, both psychologically stunted and ignorant of spiritual truths.
Before my audience is lost too, considering me a fear-mongering, fundamentalist, unimaginative critic of the series, may I introduce myself as a former New Age "healer" and advanced yoga practitioner. Many of the delightfully described magical arts in the Harry Potter series were pretty standard fare in training courses I mastered to some degree or another, including telepathy, divination, energy-work, necromancy, geomancy and time travel, to name but a few. I was quite close friends with wizards, warlocks and witches alike - all of us (psychologists, physicists, & other professionals) being in the business of the new science of the mind, defending our studies together as being of the white magic category, much like the wizardry school of Harry Potter. So, for those readers who believe Harry Potter's world to be a harmless fantasy or the science of magic to be the stuff of educative fairy tales, let me dispel those myths (no pun or magic intended) right up front. And also let me disabuse commentators of the notion that there are two kinds of magic, however humorously depicted. There is one kind: variously known as black magic, occultism, diabolism, or the dark arts.
And while I am a revert to the Roman Catholic faith, I write about New Age topics out of first-hand experience and by way of admonition, not fear. I'd rather not have others suffer, as I did, from exposure to the occult. To the charge of fear-mongering, well, fear-mongering is not my cup of tea, although I enjoy using the word. I love words. I love fantasy and science fiction and C. S. Lewis and Bradbury and Clarke and oh so many other writers who filled my mind with wonder as a child, and yes, provided much pleasure at breaking the bonds of my mundane, grown-up infested universe. Truth be told, I graduated from these authors in my early teens into more meaty topics such as ESP, ghost hunting and parapsychology, experimenting with Ouiji boards, telepathy games, and automatic writing.
Truth also be told, I, like Harry, was also alienated from my caregivers, parents in emotional trouble from years of marital separation. These books fueled my need to have some control over my out-of-control emotional world, they made me feel that there was a way to escape, to be free, to fly. I was not so very different from other children of my era who haunted libraries and escaped through T.V. and who later became the perpetual adolescents of the '90s. Neither was I so different from our children today, who now, more than ever, lack control in their lives and need to feel in control of their inner turmoil amidst divorce, latchkey-ism, and out-of-control classrooms.
It's not hard for either of us, parents or kids, to enjoy the marvelous writing skills of J.K. Rowling, being swept up by her characters and plots - made all the more delicious because they are portrayed as part and parcel of the real world. The words found in Harry Potter are endearing and all-together enjoyable. Their effect is another matter, precisely because of the wizard world's use of real world magic, as well as our children's close identification with Harry and their predisposition, wrought by over exposure to television, to attaching themselves to his world. I frequently recall an unattributed quote that reminds me of my descent into the New Age and also of the future fate of children inured to the occult world found in Harry Potter.
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.
Harry Potter, to my mind, gives children a far from superficial exposure to the use of magic. It makes it fun and equates the learning of it with moral rectitude. "Fiddle sticks", you opine, "Harry Potter teaches marvelous lessons, showing real life situations couched in harmless fantasy, to educate my children in ethics. And besides, I really enjoy reading it to them as they remind me of Tolkein's and Lewis's fantasy worlds!"
To the charge that Harry Potter teaches children moral lessons, I would heartily agree it does promulgate lessons - but of the wrong kind. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, for example, Harry magically attacks a troublesome aunt by causing her to blow up like a balloon - with no repercussions. One of his teachers becomes an allay to Harry, relating to him on the same level, showing a decided blurring of personal boundaries not uncommon is today's high schools. Emotion-sucking ghouls are depicted as handy prison guards and the scenes of their near possessive attacks on children are uncannily real. No clear cut right and wrong lines here
Perhaps the most revelatory aspect of the series is that Harry and the rest of the wizard cohort view all non-magical adults, called "Muggles", as stupid, antagonistic and not to be trusted. The entire Muggle world is looked upon as archaic, even grossly ignorant - much the same way I viewed the orthodox religious world during my time in the New Age. And if defenders of the series supposed this to be a harmless conceit, they need look no further than the author's own admonition to children in an interview of her conducted by Scholastic (www. scholastic.com). When asked to give a few closing words of advice to children, Rowling warned, "Don't let the Muggles get you down." Far from being an innocent magical spoof like the film "Princess Bride", Potter magic is all too real and all too harmful.
Which brings us to the author. Who is she? A former teacher, single parent and a long-time lover of books, we feel she is an underdog of sorts. A close reading of one of the books in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, however, by the eyes of a former occultist like myself, reveals her more than cursory familiarity with the occult. One character is named Vablatsky (a play on the name of Madame Blavatsky, a theosophist of the 19th century). A class in "Transfiguration" (regardless of its sacrilegious context for us Muggles) also hints at familiarity with the "New Age" belief in stages of enlightenment, including that of "transfiguration". A closer reading might also reveal a woman author plagued by the perpetual adolescence of the rest of her generation and with very probable extracurricular interests in the occult.
Why has Rowling so captured our imaginations? Harry Potter books are a direct window into a preternatural middle school society governed by control and manipulation - which is why it is so appealing to us in our topsy-turvy adolescent culture. To have a map where we can see people moving around us, to point an effective wand at depression-inducing ghouls, to be able to disappear under an invisibility cloak are all salves to our fearful psyches. On the surface, these exercises are a harmless cathartic, but, unfortunately, in today's world, they are only blueprints for children to become further detached from us.
A case in point is Wheaton College, where Alan Jacobs, author of a favorable review of Harry Potter in First Things, works as a professor. A look at Wheaton College web site will yield a community link to local religious organizations including a well published alchemy group called "Philosophers of Nature". In his review, Professor Jacobs likens the science of wizardry to the "technology" of the science of alchemy. Other faculty members at Wheaton seem to have some fascinating academic interests including a course on witchcraft offered by Candice Hogan and a Professor Owens who advertises an interest in the politics of ritual and sacrifice. Well, it would seem we Muggles have our very own schools of wizardry, which are, unfortunately, not uncommon in academia, higher or middle, where professors are as adolescent as their students, a la Harry Potter. Another case in point is a local Catholic nun in my community who runs a youth camp and advertises solstice rituals in our church bulletins for kids to enjoy. A Reiki healing group, also linked to a local nun, is associated with our public hospital. Reiki is a newer version of ritual Tantric magic.
In our post-Christian culture, the occult sciences have gained legitimacy under the rubric of energy technology. This emphasis on technique and technology stems from the industrial revolution and the belief in Hegel's perfectibility of man. This concept of the perfect man, seized upon by Hitler to justify a super race, is now finding ascendancy in the self actualization movement know as the New Age. Hitler's Nazi elite were themselves victims as children of what is now termed radical attachment disorder, having been the product of "new" thinking in strict and antiseptic child rearing techniques. These children later grew into conscience-less supermen with no hearts.
Attachment disorder is much talked about these days, the latest in clinical diagnoses, applied to such horrors as the mass murderers of Columbine. These are youth that never attached emotionally to a parent, either through multiple primary care givers, neglect or abuse. These children suffer a core rage and an inability to develop normal moral scruples. They are children who often seek out violence and the occult to gain control and to channel their rage. Is there no truer representation of this than our orphan Harry when he points his weapon of magic in rage at his aunt, or when he stands in a dark "haunted" house confused as to who exactly killed his parents and if he should kill him too?
Scripture (excuse the reference) repeatedly refers to violence as the fruit and destiny of the unjust and their children. Our society condones violence, promiscuous sex and the occult on every side. We walk on a real world soil covered with the blood of millions and millions of aborted children, the ultimate victims of attachment disorder. And yet we remain in consummate denial, remaining addicted to a violent media, occult gaming and books like Harry Potter.
As my sister wrote to a young family, friends of hers, who are big fans of the Harry Potter series, "the fallacy that magic is good is the chief temptation for entry into the occult. Palmistry, astrology, fortune telling, and divining are all of them objectively evil things and sinful to indulge in. They are violations of the First Commandment. The Church has always warned people not to give them attention and to actively avoid them, as they are powerful and seductive temptations. Why, then, familiarize and desensitize your children to them by a deep and attractive exposure to their supposed neutral use for good? I had originally thought that the world of Harry Potter was an alternate universe with a made up symbolic magic, much like Narnia. In that case, I was prepared to see critics of the books as people who saw Satan under every bed. But that is not the case with the Potter universe, which is our world with our common occult practices."
As magic is to fantasy, so miracles are to our very unhealed world. Our children deserve better than this. Why not soar with them by reading about the flying saints, like Teresa of Avila or Teresita de los Andes? Why not bilocate with them on the spiritual missions of Padre Pio or St. Faustina? Why not read to them about crippled children who run at Lourdes or pray with them fantastically efficacious prayers that heal and deliver? Our faith provides all these marvelous tokens of true power for which our children are starving. We just need to be home long enough, and spend time enough with them, and protect them clearly enough from false ideas to teach them the wonders of their faith. Harry Potter and our children don't need magic. They need love and the miracle of Jesus in the Eucharist and yes, their parents, to keep them safe and secure and filled with true wonder. So do we.
You can ignore everything this guy says because of this line right here. The original definition of the word warlock is traitor. Everyone in the occult/ wicca community knows this, they'll inform you in know uncertain terms if you use the word around them. Subsequently no one, and I mean no one, in that community would ever say they were close friends with a warlock. It's like an American saying they're close friends with someone "very similar in manner and belief to Benedict Arnold", just not gonna happen.
Not only that, most children (Chelsea might be the exception) are born as a direct result of sex.
As soon as the bonfire is over I hope to start worshipping flying saints. Are they all in the Order of the Leaping Virillians?
It is perfectly normal for children "make believe" that fantasy is real.
It is profoundly abnormal for an adult to confuse fanatasy with reality. If this author actually thinks that telepathy and time travel and the rest of that garbage is real, the author is in dire need of psychological assistance.
Actually this sort of elitism worries me more than anything else I've heard about the books. I disliked the "Mundanes" of "Mundania" in Piers Anthony's Xanth series, long before I disliked Piers Anthony. This sounds -- although I'll have to read the books to be sure -- like rather the same attitude.
What a bunch of Barbara Streisand, as Rush Limbaugh is often wont to say. People are forgetting that the Harry Potter books are works of fiction, for gosh sakes!
Having read the books myself, there is NOTHING in these books to seriously contradict Christianity per se. After all, note that at Hogwarts they do celebrate Christmas and Easter very clearly.
The phrase get a collective life definitely applies to too many Harry Potter detractors, IMHO.
Orthodox Christianity rejected it as a heresy 1700 years ago.
It was a Persian idea - influenced by Zoroastrianism - and it is in direct conflict with the fundamental principles of Christianity.
For what it's worth, to view the world as a contest between good and evil is to deny the omnipotence of God. Satan is not God's peer - he is a part of God's plan, and evil exists because we choose it to exist - it is within each and every one of us, an inherent consequence of our own free will. It is not some outside force forever battling against the good.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
- 1 John 2:9-11
I'm happy if one or two find this informative.
Lack of discernment is a seamless garment and is not compartmentalized.
Believing that people, or governments, might conspire to do evil things may be a little paranoid, but believing that a children's story is a practical outline for performing magic is raving lunacy.
I haven't seen any of these practitioners winning the lottery, which surely they'd do were there anything to the "occult".
The writer is silly. She's gone from one whacked out belief to another.
A phrase missing from the vocabularies of far too many people of almost every political bent. Thank you.