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A Pagan's Blog

Speculations on Christine O’Donnell and Witchcraft

posted by Gus diZerega

Christine O’Donnnell, the “Christian” right’s candidate for US Senator from Delaware reports she dated a witch and  did so  “on a Satanic altar.”  Very interesting at many levels beyond the likely possibility  that she made it up or embellished it beyond recognition.

Let’s assume for the moment there is some truth in her words.  What may have happened?
If this was a “Satanic altar” connected with the Church of Satan then O’Donnell likely had sexual relations with her “date” on the altar.  Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan sometimes used a woman on the alter for sexual rituals although as I understand it this was not regarded as appropriate for “dates.” Perhaps this is why masturbation is so bad in O’Donnell’s eyes.  If it is equivalent to adultery, then her own peccadilloes are not all that much bigger – and of course are now “forgiven.”
But I am reliably informed the Church of Satan does not do blood sacrifice.  In fact they explicitly prohibit it, and O’Donnell said there was blood on the altar. Perhaps this was a home grown ‘Satanic’ group with which she associated?  If so, it must have been quite a “date” indeed – and had nothing to do with Witchcraft.  
But could her date have been a Witch and not a Satanist?
If she dated a genuine Wiccan, her story makes even less sense.  Altars are not “date” props.  We do not have picnics on our altars.  The cakes and wine that are often on the altar at the close of a ritual are not the stuff of picnics.
What of the sexual connotations in having a “date” “on” an altar? While the Great Rite is sometimes used in Wiccan rituals, it is always done between experienced people serving as High Priest and High Priestess.  To do a semblance of such a sexual ritual on “a date” is akin to a Catholic having wine and cheese spread on a communion wafer or a Protestant masturbating to the Song of Solomon.  
O’Donnell also said she did not know it was an altar.  I simply have no idea how this makes sense. Altars are pretty obviously altars, or if disguised, they are not things upon which people sit, have picnics.  In addition, we Wiccans do not practice blood sacrifice, and so her reference to blood makes no sense in a Wiccan context.
If there is any truth to her story at all, my best guess is that she was attracted to a power tripper who used his alleged “magickal powers” to try and impress simple-minded women attracted by power that he was hot stuff.  (“Study with me and you’ll obtain magic powers.  Of course, to study with me you have to have sex with me.”) There are such creeps infesting the Pagan community.  They have as much to do with Witchcraft as pedophile priests and philandering ministers have to do with the spirit of Christianity.  
If this is the case, O’Donnell’s account is not very flattering regarding her discernment of men nor of her ability to resist the attractions of power.  For just as the so-called “magician” manipulates and uses women, the women falling for his line themselves are usually using him in their effort to obtain special powers.
Yet the story gets stranger.
As the Wild Hunt explained, Christine’s sister Jennie almost certainly has had experience with genuine Witches and other Pagans.  While Christine is vociferously anti-gay and a Sauronic ‘christian’, her sister is a supporter of gay marriage and apparently a lesbian.  This is not the only family with wildly different life-styes and beliefs among family members who are devoted to one another.  I think of my own family as another example.  But it puts Christine’s “witch date” story in a even stranger context, because members of her family probably did know what Witches and other Pagans did, and her description of her “date” does not fit.
All in all, I think she probably went out with a creep claiming to be a witch, using his claim as a tactic to have sex with attractive young women.  Since then she has embellished the tale to make it more exciting than it really was.

Comments read comments(29)
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posted September 18, 2010 at 6:25 pm

It astounds me how some people will create issues just to get the ‘votes’. I seriously doubt she would even know the difference but then you’re back to the old, ‘if it ain’t my god’ feces.
The only think I see with the GOP anymore is the intent to divide people, groups and the country against each other. Apparently ‘big government’ is fine when it suits their needs.

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posted September 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Christine O’Donnell has immersed herself in a milieu in which oneupsmanship, even if it’s all made up (see Mike Warnke — a totally sham Satanic high priest — among so many others), is all the “street cred” one needs to become an expert and/or role model. Part of me would be amused by a train of ex-sex partners describing in the most graphic detail her party girl pre-abstinence days, but the rest of me really wants this wretched, self-righteous, self-absorbed woman to shut her mouth and go very, very, very far away. Like maybe Wasilla, Alaska.

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Aleen Andrews

posted September 18, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Witchcraft? Well, Christine O’Donnell has certainly bewitched the mainstream media bloggers & pundits. They all seem to be babbling & ranting hysterically before lapsing into catatonic dementia.

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gus diZerega

posted September 18, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Bye Randy- come back when you can give reasons for yur rants…

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posted September 18, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Looks like the Tea Party is really moving up. Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin – Two birds of a feather?
Give us your two cents at http://www.beyondmytwocents.com

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Diane Vera

posted September 18, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Without more details, we don’t know what Christine O’Donnell “dabbled” in, if anything.
Her “dabbling” is alleged to have consisted of a “picnic” — apparently, not even a full-fledged ritual of any kind. For all we know, she might have just dated some guy (a Wiccan? A Satanist? Perhaps just a Goth or metalhead?) and then, for whatever reason, perhaps jumped to the conclusion that a large rock they were both sitting on was an altar, and perhaps mistaken a ketchup stain for a blood stain. Some people do have wild imaginations, you know.
What IS clear is that, after her alleged “dabbling,” she was still quite ignorant about both Wicca and Satanism.
Anyhow, thank you for the sober, non-defensive tone of your post. On too many other blogs I’ve looked at this evening, Pagans have stridently insisted that she must have been dabbling in Satanism and not Wicca.

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Marlon C. Hartshorn

posted September 18, 2010 at 11:44 pm

I just saw this video myself earlier tonight. I don’t think she was going on a date with a real Pagan, perhaps just a novice. I did try to add her sister to my Facebook but she only friends people she knows. Her sister was very kind, however, in a reply. It would have been nice if Bill Maher would have put in a little note, that things have evolved in the Pagan community since 1999 and we are all quite nice people! In any case, I was surprised actually to see this video. I don’t know why she would say on that TV, but I don’t know why a lot of people do the things they do. Hopefully, being involved in civic/governmental life will help give Christine some good insights into human nature.

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The L

posted September 19, 2010 at 8:55 am

I don’t believe she was with a Satanist or a Wiccan, outside of her own imagination. People who want to control other people are more than willing to make such tales out of whole cloth. She’s a social dominator; she wants votes; she will do whatever it takes, moral or immoral, to get people to vote for her. Ignorance and lies don’t faze her at all–she needs ignorant people, because the well-informed can see right through her nonsense.

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The L

posted September 19, 2010 at 8:56 am

@Marlon: She knows plenty about human nature. Namely, that if people don’t know about something, they fear it, and that if you can increase that fear, they will turn to YOU for protection against the bogeymen. She knows exactly what she is doing.

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Hecate Demetersdatter

posted September 19, 2010 at 10:21 am

Good old Occam suggests that she’s just making stuff up.

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posted September 19, 2010 at 11:17 am

Hi All,
One of my favorite subjects to “study”, and “explore” is world religions and belief systems. I have done many years of study of the “ancient belief systems and religions”including, but not limited to paganism, wicca, witchcraft, satanism, druidism, buddhism (a more recently started study), and many many more. My understanding of ALL of the above listed religions and belief systems, including “native american”, is NONE of them have practiced blood sacrifice for over 100 years. Satanism absolutely forbids it, according to the satanic bible.
I do not know where Christine O’Donnell got her information, but I do believe she should sit down with practicing pagans, wiccans, and satanists, and ask for the facts about what they believe, and practice, it may be quite enlightening.

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posted September 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

Whatever happened during this “dabbling in the dark occult,” the account certainly matches the typical Christian narrative of temptation and salvation. O’Donnell went on a date, found herself exposed to aspects of the dark occult, yet, fortunately, found her way out and back to her Christian faith.
But in politics, every and any dabbling will be used by opponents to discredit and undermine a candidate and a campaign.
No matter what, Witchcraft takes a hit!
Noobs to occulture are noobs. They probably cannot properly or correctly identify all the things they experience–as they experience for the first time! What O’Donnell considered “dabbling in witchcraft” may, in fact, have actually not involved witchcraft–as talked about on this blog, for instance–at all. Maybe it was a bad date.

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posted September 19, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I just gotta add this–
Wouldn’t it be a hella better date if The Devil was your wingman?

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posted September 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Hi guys and gals – As someone who detoured into wicca from Xianity and who is now a fervent, traditional Christian, I am happy to find a blog that discusses the issues I think should be raised – that this story more closely reflects some loser who called what he did witchcraft. Witchcraft is being used against O’Donnell to try and smear her to those who would be most attracted by her message: conservatives and independents. It’s the 2010 Salem witch trials – accusations of witchcraft to demonize one’s opponents. As for Christine’s family issues, such just reveals to me that she is someone who had family of birth issues. Should we look at her more closely on character issues now? Absolutely. Should that disbar her from running against some ruling class hack who feels entitled to a Senate seat, and is part of a group ruining the country? Heck no! It’s may well mean that she is MORE able to deal with the culture wars tearing this country apart. The fact that the media indulges in smear tactics to divert the conversation rather than substantive issues show that they have NO substantive counterarguments to O’Donnell’s very substantive platform be revealing?

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posted September 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Yes, Catherine, the substantive issues currently in front of us should be the bulk of the conversation about Ms. O’Donnell, but family of origin issues and personal history are other ways of understanding a candidate and why they might lean one way or the other politically. I find this piece of history off-putting because she’s just demonstrated that she doesn’t really want to know the truth of her “Satanic date,” or tell the truth if she does.
And that, I think, is because the whole “I dated a witch on a Satanic altar” thing will work with people who don’t know any better and don’t want to know any better. It’s about playing to your base, not honest reality. (And I’m admittedly sick of that in every candidate and every party.)
What do candidates do to define themselves? Make stark contrasts between their beliefs, policy, etc., to show that they have a new/different/better way to run things.
Religion has been drummed up as a big political issue the past decade (and longer). In some ways I guess you could say that it’s surprising that hers wasn’t a story of “I dated a Muslim but didn’t know it until he had me kneeling on his prayer rug facing Mecca.”
My concern is that several people like this have made it to candidacy for high offices. Most of the people I know would have never thought it possible, but these are interesting times, as they say. The racism and bigotry that’s been unleashed in our country via the media since Obama’s election has never been seen to this degree since perhaps the 1950-60s and I was certainly too young to remember for sure. What connection that has to Ms. O’D in my view goes from the birther thing through the Obama’s a Muslim/Socialist/Nazi fill-in-the-blank. Those “true believers” comprise her political base.
My concerns about having many of these folks in political office are that they will make it okay demonize all they perceive as “other,” and that backlash will culminate in more division, more separation and more fear and violence. (We’ve seen examples of this already in Congress with more moderate Republicans and the Islamic center and Quran burnings.)
One question I have is Why are we so afraid to see our own violent Christian extremists for what they are? A guy kills an abortion doctor and is a hero to some on the far right wing. This murder hardly makes the news. Yet this person, cloaked in their very extreme, and most would say twisted, version of Christian faith, committed murder. The people who would paint all of Islam with the same brush as Al-Qaida seem to be many of the same people who have made this gunman a martyr.
To Ms. O’Donnell my questions are, If Ms. O’Donnell doesn’t believe in abortion under any circumstances, how does she see this man who is “acting on faith”? Would she rather see this country under the rule of law or the rule of her religion?
The religious right’s focus makes me concerned about the destruction of the secular freedoms we have. Although the Bill of Rights may not seem to be in immediate danger right now, I want to know how she and other tea party candidates think to determine if I should be concerned. I don’t much care about her anti-masturbation mission of 10 years ago (although the jokes are endless) unless she’s going to try to put government in people’s bedrooms (an obvious contradiction to the platform of less government, but if god tells you to stop adultery and homosexuality, well, what’re you gonna do?).
Personally, I could care less about her or any candidate’s faith except that I don’t want to be forced to pray to someone else’s god or have anyone’s religion become government sanctioned. I’ll also admit that I’m not big on people having god tell them what to do in the day to day running of things and I’d rather have people who know how to figure things out.
The fact that her version of Christianity is a big part of her politics makes me, and I hope others, watch, closely.

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posted September 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

This was a great post. I also thought her comments on a bloody witch altar were pretty loopy and probably lies, but I love that you logically broke down all the reasons why. And maybe she was conned by a perv! In any case evangelical christians think that feminists, gays and liberals are all part of the occult, nevermind actual self identified witches and satanists.

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Cheryl Hill

posted September 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

I’ve lived in Delaware since 1981, so I will have the wonderful fun of voting against that drama mama in November.
Nevertheless, as Pitch313 said, Witchcraft IS going to take a hit. People who know nothing about it will listen to her and gasp over her brush with “that evil Witchcraft”. So I’ll be happy to see this little Sarah Palin wanna-be and tea-party darling finish with her 15 minutes of fame.
Once she loses the November election, I wonder how long before she shows up on Jerry Springer?

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Wash O'Hanley

posted September 20, 2010 at 12:25 am

Folks, we’ve all seen the videos… multiple times. We have every line of corny scripted dialogue, every bad early 90s hairdo, and every unflattering camera angle ingrained in our subconscious where it will sit in our Rolodex of things that we will never unsee. For those reasons there’s no point in posting the videos yet again.
The left has been having a field day with these videos and frankly I feel sorry for the girl. Obviously these tapes were a mistake. She was fresh out of college, couldn’t find a job, had student loans to pay off and saw a way to make some quick money. Maybe she met a guy at the Dennys while she was waiting tables, maybe he told her he had an acting gig for her and maybe she saw it as a quick way to earn a couple of bucks– how she got in this situation doesn’t matter. Obviously she was taken advantage of, obviously things got out of hand and obviously she was made to do things no woman should ever have to do on camera.
What was supposed to be a short student film about a single mother working two jobs to find a better life for her autistic albino son quickly turned into a sleazy attempt to get this young lady to do degrading things on film.
It’s a sad reality that young and desperate women that are down on their luck and out of money are being disgraced and taken advantage of by the absolute lowest form of human scum on this planet: Moral Activists. They get you in that room with the phony potted plant, sit you down on that filthy stained couch, shine a light in your face and instruct you to read horribly-written pieces of dialogue like “if he already knows what pleases him and he can please himself… then why am I in the picture?” I mean the idea of a woman trying to single-handedly stop fourteen-year-old boys from using their penises like the fire hoses those cops used to shoot black people with during the Civil Rights movement is more far-fetched than three sorority sisters having a 4-way with a pizza delivery guy because they can’t pay for their pizza. Really, you don’t have $10 between the three of you?
Based on the poor production quality, the awful haircuts, the cheesy music, the unbelievable premise and the cringe-worthy dialogue I think it’s obvious this video was meant only to be seen by a very small cross section of America’s most vile and detestable citizens. Limited to small book and video shops next to liquor stores in strip malls located in the bad part of town where men hiding inside trench coats and sunglasses look both ways to make sure no one is watching before slipping inside to quench their despicable habits, it’s apparent this video was never meant to be seen by normal, well-adjusted and functioning members of society.
When she was talked into performing in this tape Christine had no idea that one day a series of tubes would bring the world instantly to our fingertips and any motion picture caught on video or film would gain a world audience. When Christine regrettably decided to participate in this degrading video there was no way of knowing one day her parents, her friends, and the entire world would see it and feel ashamed for her.
We all make mistakes, maybe we don’t go on Politically Incorrect and say that it was wrong for people to lie to Nazis about hiding Jews in their homes, but we all have lapses in judgment that we hope no one else sees. How would you feel if your lowest moment was caught on tape and played on every major news show in America? These videos were obviously never supposed to be seen by people like us and I want to personally reprimand the disgusting, vile, maladjusted, bottom-feeding scumbags that lure down-on-their-luck girls to say and do deplorable things on camera for the titillation of only a few fat, ugly, girlfriendless, perverted, mentally-ill Values Voters.
Shame on you!
While I like to believe O’Donnell has learned her lesson and will never appear in an embarrassing video again, the revelations that she has been living off campaign donations and has racked up thousands in debt by not paying her staff lead me to believe that if things don’t rapidly get better for the spunky young Senatorial candidate from Delaware we may see another shameful video of her on the internet spearheading a campaign to make it illegal to have sex with the lights on.

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posted September 20, 2010 at 10:06 am

Here it is, morning of September 20, and the cable news folks are giggling and pointing at “dabbling in witchcraft” as a sure and certain indicator of Wing-Nutship.
Serious Craft and Pagan affiliated political aspirants and candidates now face much more difficult campaigns. Thanks, all you dabblers!
I also think that this little episode reveals that Craft and Paganism are nowhere near as “mainstreamed” as some of us had hoped or believed. When it gets down to it, we are still loonies, crackpots, screwballs, wingnuts, and goofs in the eyes of the nation.

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Cheryl Hill

posted September 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Pitch313 – I’m not sure I agree with you on that. When it comes to the loony/crackpot/screwball department, I think the tea party is beating out everyone.

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Macha NightMare

posted September 21, 2010 at 4:11 am

Nice reasoned post, Gus.
With due respect to my Pagan colleagues, II’m one of those public Pagans who sees no benefit to engaging in discussion.. There are those who already know she’s a far-right, uninformed, hate-mongering nutcase so will not take her comments seriously. Those who would give her comments any credibility don’t seem to be the kind of citizen who would be swayed by logical discussion.
Any harm to our country would be if those fine citizens of Delaware, Pagan or not, were to stay home and not vote for her opponent, thereby giving her a seat in the US Senate. Now THAT would be shameful!

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Macha NightMare

posted September 21, 2010 at 4:12 am

Correction — engaging in discussion in defense of Witchcraft in this specific instance.

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Franklin Evans

posted September 21, 2010 at 9:02 am

I was going to post a rebuttal to Macha (hello, neighbor!), but she clearly stated a personal POV, and sharing both public exposure and a geographic region, I have to stop and acknowledge her position as valid and, sadly, accurate.
I can only repeat what I often tell those siblings-in-faith with whom this topic comes up: Unless you have a compelling reason to stay hidden (job, children, the rare but still real threat of physical harm), stand up and be counted. I don’t mean be in-your-face Pagan, I just mean be a regular person who happens to be Pagan and is capable of talking about it in polite company.
My eye-opening moment was when I first “took the plunge” by becoming a spokesperson for a Pagan organization. I had some coworkers who (I worried) might find out and make my work environment uncomfortable, including my manager. So, with a deep breath, I opened a topic with him in a manager-employee meeting.
He sat and just looked at me for a long minute. Then he said something I never expected: “I’ve always been told that there is good and bad, good and evil,” he said, gesturing with his hands as he spoke. “After working with you [for over a year], I’ve just now come to realize that nothing is ever so easy to see or put into categories.”
I don’t remember the rest of the conversation as vividly (that was verbatim), but I had to grab my chair to avoid falling out of it. Here was a devout Christian, in a position to make my life very miserable, telling me that he (and by implication his fellow believers) was just wrong about something that was of critical importance in my own life.

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Cheryl Hill

posted September 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

Well don’t anyone worry. THIS Witch in Delaware will be voting against O’Donnell in November. And I believe the majority of my fellow Delawareans will do likewise.

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Frank Jones

posted September 23, 2010 at 12:12 pm

Q: What do Satanic Altars and the US Senate have in common?
A: Each offers a perfect venue for Christine O’Donnell to dabble in screwing other people
(Love this joke … giving credit where credit is due, I lifted it from this satire page: http://www.facebook.com/TeaPartyCognitiveDistortion )

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Grumpy Old Person

posted September 27, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Her “substantive platform” also includes “Evolution is a myth” and “masturbation is evil”.
Face it, she’s just another delusional nutjob in convenient “christian” garb.

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posted October 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Well, if Christians are expected to be good sports about being told that Christianity can mean anything anyone wants it to (“you don’t own Christianity!”) I don’t see why pagans think it’s a horrible thing if people want to make up their own definitions as to what their religion means.
Witchcraft meant Satanic stuff long before it came to be “rewritten” as peaceful and harmless. Why shouldn’t rebellious kids looking to thumb their nose at Christianity take advantage of a religion that draws from Christian history to find symbols of evil that can be “revised” into whatever you want it to mean?
That is the problem with revising reality. Anyone can do it.

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Gus diZerega

posted October 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

The problem is that you don’t really know much about what you are claiming. Of course people in their ignorance blend and mix things together. Happens all the time – beginning with the vicious attacks monotheists made on Pagans a very long time ago. The first genocide I know of is celebrated in the Old Testament.
Second, what’s your point about owning or not owning Christianity. Christians, some of them, have been absolutely certain as to what it means for maybe two thousand years – and killed one another by the millions to prove it.
Problem is, sincerity alone does not seem very convincing to other sincere people reading texts differently. Learn some history sometime.

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Shirleen Shimura

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