Ah, witchcraft in the schools. Lovely.
Color guard. If you’ve ever seen high school bands or college bands marching around on a field and you saw those people waving flags and spinning rifle stocks into the air during these wonderful choreographies, you’ve seen color guard. That’s what it is.
My wife and I found ourselves at one of these competitions. These color guard performances will have themes attached to them. They might be circuses or romances or space or different social themes (some healthy, some not so healthy.)
At these competitions this year here in Michigan, we saw a truly jaw-dropping performance that stood apart from all the rest.
The teams have a moment where they’re getting everything set up for their performance, and in this particular case, we saw people scurrying around in, what I would call, Puritan outfits. We had a little campfire over in the corner, and some benches over in the other corner. It looked to me like we were going after Thanksgiving.
But that’s not what they were thinking!
Everyone takes their places, and then the announcer announces the name of the school, please help me welcome such-and-such a school, and then he gives the title. In this case, the title was “Burn the Witch”.
The music starts up and begins with these lyrics:
The flame lick at my feet,
their heart’s full of hate.
What they don’t understand, they condemn.
What they can’t comprehend must meet its end.
Up in the upper left-hand corner, we have Christians in what I would call a weekend gathering, sometimes praying with their clasped hands or they are with open hands, they’re reading imaginary Bibles.
Quickly though, one of the girls sneaks off and four more follow her to the campfire on wheels where the five of them begin to dance around the fire, obviously emulating coven activity.
Well, the Christians catch wind of this and spiritual warfare begins. Eventually, the witch hunt commences with everyone now flipping fiery flags.
The head witch is caught, dragged to the stake, and the cloth behind her is dropped, revealing this big fire. She starts thrashing and writhing, eventually collapsing to the ground. The rest of the dancers convene where?
Back at church.
Ah, those hateful, judgmental Christians, always trying to keep those nature-lovers down.
While the imagery from this performance was overt—it was clear, this is a slap at Christianity—I couldn’t assume that the music was equally a slap at Christianity, so I needed to get better grounded on the lyrics and the artist.
The musician is super talented, and the song itself is very harrowing. But let’s take a look at these lyrics. I already spoke to
their hearts being full of hate and
what they don’t understand, they condemn.
Then there’s the stand in defiance, rebellion:
but I won’t scream, won’t give them that satisfaction.
I won’t confess my false interaction, and
I hear them chant, burn the witch.
Here again, we have the return to innocence, oh no, the witch being burned at the stake is innocent:
I stand accused of being in league with Satan.
No proof for that false accusation. (I mean, other than these dancers dancing around a fire in a pentagon.)
You know, the song goes on, burn the witch, burn the witch, burn the witch.
Still, at this point, I’m trying to give the musician the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he’s just angry at the Church. Maybe he has some sort of deeper meaning than what I’m thinking. So my question becomes, well, does he explain the meaning of this song?
The musician’s name is Shawn James Mavrides and he goes by the stage name Shawn James. About the song, his Twitter account says,
“Burn the Witch’ is a song about discrimination and those who choose to stand up against it in spite of being persecuted. The idea that being from a witch’s perspective, burned at the stake made perfect sense to me.
“What are you thoughts behind the meaning of this new single?”
One of Shawn James’ audience members says on Facebook:
“Besides the song being a very important and real lesson on some of the mistakes we as a society have made in the past, I find I can relate to it on a personal level. It resonates with me because of my involvement/association with a rather unorthodox religious group, the Satanic Temple. Since coming across their work and the ideology that drives that work, I have been an open supporter. In a sense, TST is the witch. Their perspective on things, although very sensible, is more often than not not understood and is chastised by the majority. ‘What they don’t comprehend, they condemn.’ TST is literally seen as ‘being in league with Satan.’ (It could be because it’s in the name.) “But if people would take the time to educate themselves, they might find their points of view very agreeable. Overall, it is a very powerful song and I absolutely loved it.”
Shawn James writes, “I love your perspective and good points you made there. Thank you for sharing.”
The more meaningful comment for me came right after that:
“The first word that comes to mind… esoteric.”
It was the esoteric comment that received the praise emoji that got my attention. You see, I’ve splashed around in the New Age gutter long enough to recognize the word “esoteric” is a reference to something else.
So a quick glance at Wikipedia shows us that yeah, esotericism, or esotericist schools, are connected with the occult and Wicca, which is witchcraft. It also includes smatterings of Gnosticism, like what we see represented in movies like “The Matrix”, “Lego Movie” and “Truman Show”, and it’s involved with Freemasonry, which it just so happens is this school has a Facebook club page that was advertising a spaghetti dinner sponsored by their local Masonic temple. (So maybe not a big surprise there.)
As you look on further, you can go deeper into Wicca, and sure enough, there’s our five-pointed star, there’s our pentagram!
Now, obviously while I’m on this journey, I’m Googling and I’m discovering other things and I eventually see the song cover for this song. On the song cover are these hands that are bound (which makes sense; we’re talking about burning the witch, which includes binding the witch.) But there’s these tattoos, these runes tattooed onto whoever’s thumbs.
So I have the question then, are these the artist’s hands? How deep is this? Or is this just a set of hands that’s a stock graphic?
Well, no. You go to Facebook and Pinterest, and sure enough, yeah, these are indeed Shawn James’ hands.
In fact, he’s got several tattoos, including tarot cards and this esoteric dial called a vegvisir which is Icelandic for “signpost or way finder.” Now, a vegvisir is an Icelandic magical stave (which I had to look up.) What is a stave? It’s a symbol, and in this case, this magical symbol is intended to help the bearer find their way through the rougher weather of life.
Going back to the symbols on his hands, well, the next question is what do these symbols mean, because maybe they’re just stylized letters and it’s really his mom’s initials or something cute like that.
No, it wasn’t that. Thank you, Reddit:
“Those appear to be alchemical symbols for lead on the right and phosphorus on the left.”
Another contributor writes in, “Interesting thing I never noticed before seeing them presented in this way with Ma’at’s scale is that they’re both representing paths or partial paths up to the Tree of Life from the Kabbalah.”
So there’s this tension between light and dark, or as Star Wars would put it, the balance between these two forces.
And it was this comment that threw me back to go look at the album cover. I had noticed it in my searches, but I hadn’t really take any time to look at it.
Well, now I’m looking at it because somebody recognized it as Ma’at’s scale. I didn’t know who Ma’at was, and didn’t know why they had a scale.
This Egyptian illustration reads from left to right, beginning with Anubis and ending with Osiris. To the left, Anubis brings the deceased into the judgment area, and then, in comic book fashion, Anubis is also shown at the scales supervising the scales of judgment. The deceased’s heart (conscience, emotions, intellect and character) was weighed against the feather of Ma’at, an ostrich feather in this case, on scales which represented balance and justice. If their heart was found to be heavier than the feather, it was determined that the deceased had failed to live in a balanced life by the principles of Ma’at.
As a result, the deceased would have been condemned to non-existence (which I guess you would call destruction of sinners) and their heart was either thrown into a lake of fire, or devoured by the demon deity, Ammit, depicted as part crocodile, part lion, part hippopotamus. However, if the heart was balanced with the feather of Maat, the deceased would pass into eternal life.
So that largely explains the scales. We have these alchemical symbols at the bottom of it. We recognize this now as an Egyptian mystery school scale.
But then, at the bottom, you can see just for added touch, we see cloven hooves, an obvious reference to Satan and Luciferianism.
You do a quick Wikipedia on Luciferianism, and it kind of falls in line with Gnosticism, it falls in line with all of these mystery schools, the pagan, Wiccan, and all that kind of jazz.
Lucifer, called the light-bearer, also known as Saturn, is seen as the great judge with scales and a sword, and he’s been entrusted with the gateway to transcendence.
Now, because he went off-page, off-script with this overbearing God, because he and his angel friends taught divine mysteries to mankind, he’s been punished.
So we went back to this idea of reaching and attaining for esoteric, ancient wisdom, even in the face of being held down by a restrictive, punishing, dictatorial God. Lucifer wasn’t a bad guy. He and the other Watchers of Enoch and Jubilees were just trying to help humans by sharing secret knowledge including the knowledge of good and evil.
But now, cast out of their heavenly abode, they are fallen angels who have been falsely accused and who only really seek to elevate humanity.
I hope you guys are seeing this. I hope you’re seeing the heart behind the lyrics, the heart behind the performance.
I hope you’re seeing that, as they’re reaching for this clandestine wisdom, as they’re reaching for higher knowledge, self-actualization is all they’re after. After all, they’re made to be gods too.
So we have this false accusation theory that’s going on in Luciferianism, that’s going on in Gnosticism, that’s going on in Wicca. And so we see it here in the song.
Oh, and just so you know, the crowd cheered just as loudly for this troupe as they did for every other troupe, which is crazy when you think about it because you’ve got to figure at least probably a third to a half of those people in the audience would probably check the Christian box to say, “Yeah, we’re Christian.” At least a third of them probably go to church I’m guessing.
One final note here: During the final awards ceremony, each team was introduced and they would come up donning these crazy hats and headgear. As they would do so, a couple of members of their team at the front of the line would step forward and do some sort of flourish or salute.
Well, this group, the Wiccan group, this is their flourish.
We have the feminine truth-seeking daughter of Mother Earth being held down by the rigidity of patriarchal Abrahamic religion. The injustice of it all. She just wants enlightenment, folks.
Open your eyes, Christians. We have this stuff going on under our noses.
Look at what your kids are reading. Sniff out the agendas that your coaches have and that your teachers have. Ask your kids how things are going at school. Bring them to material like this and say have you ever seen anything like this? Most of the kids should probably say no, but there’s been times where I’ve had to go in and speak with teachers because I’d have a kid come to me and point out that there was a book on witchcraft in the classroom. And because it had the seal of approval by Newbery—it was a Newbery award winner—it must be okay.
I love you guys.
Hope this was informative. Hope this blew your hair back a little bit. This is a sobering video to make. It’s not the video I intended to make right now, but this is the video that came up, so this is what we’re running with.
Remember: It’s the Truth that sets you free!
Ah Matt?. I’ve seen those books before given as contributions by foreign charities to government basic schools in Jamaica. I ended up with one from a teacher friend and had to glue down or tear out pages with pirate signs and monsters…a few weeks ago I checked my daughter’s school book to find she was learning about “magic E”. I erased it and wrote instead “silent E” and told my daughter we were able to learn very well about the silent E with no reference to magic when we were children…
Ugh. Gross. Sorry you had to do that, Yaneke. Thank you for sharing this, sister!