Monday, February 11, 2013

Accuracy in Speech

We are continually annoyed by the inaccurate use of words in describing various occult phenomena. Perhaps the most egregious error occurs in the King James Bible:
                  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
The accurate translation of the original word is not witch; it is poisoner--and the substitution of witch for poisoner carries over into many of Scotland's trials held during the reign of that self-same King James.
At that time in western history, arsenic was a new find. People knew how to manufacture it, but they did not know how to trace it in the way we think of today as forensic detection. So if someone wanted to get rid of an inconvenient person, what better approach than to use arsenic and casually throw around the w-word to distract investigators from their own guilty activities? And I won't even lift the lid on King James' after-dark activities with pretty boys and young men ... More on him another time--if you're over 21 years of age and if you have a strong stomach..
The most famous of those Scottish trials is recorded in the ordeal of the Lady of Glamis in 1537. She was burned as a witch "for the attempted slaughter and destruction of our Sovereign Lord by poison." Most so-called "witches" in Scotland were simply people whom others desired removed for various personal reasons. Some indeed were feeble old women--but many were young and had committed no crime except those imagined by the superstitious judiciary acting under James' crazed fear of everything occult. The well-documented Scottish witchcraft trials show how the dominant central power of the king caused thousands of deaths in that nation--to such an extent that there is in the files a plea from the citizens of a village saying, "There are no females remaining except one three-year-old child."
Fortunately James finally went to England. Once he was crowned there, he seems to have lost most of his interest in dominating that specific area of his subjects' lives. Poor James (sigh). He wanted so desperately to be a scholar (see his Demonology), but he simply didn't have the horsepower.
As Shakespeare noted in Hamlet, there are many facets of life and of our world that are still unexplained, so we sloppily label them "magic" and let it go for now. It's easier than puzzling out the real cause and effect. Example: Many people have psychic experiences and are in fact able to predict what may happen in their future. Often this is no more than the mind using its idle capacity unconsciously to plot out future probabilities.
In the course offered on astral travel by the School of Wicca, many students have been able to leave their bodies and visit other realms. These are simple and straightforward experiences--but they are mis-named "occult". The dividing line between the ancient alchemist and today's chemist is very difficult to define; but we should not label alchemy what are again easily repeatable chemical experiments. It's all research; and occasionally research yields up new information. High-caliber minds tend to be inquisitive. See Isaac Newton.
When a Witch uses her/his inborn bioplasmic energy to cause something to happen, it is not magic--nor is it (gasp) witchcraft. People like the Kodak company have shown that some women cannot work in the packing of sensitive film because their energies tend to fog the film; thus when someone like Ted Serios fogs film, it should not be thought of as woo-woo magic. It's bioplasmic energy. Similarly, when Uri Geller bends keys and teaches children to do the same thing, it should not be thought of as magic. It's just the application of their inborn powers.
How did these demonstrations of what power can do get to be so vilified? The answer is too simple, really. There have been those people, and those letterheads, that sought (and seek) to control our every activity and thought. Picture a conference table surrounded by people in funny collars or smelly woolen robes. Can you hear those people saying something like the following? "We've got to keep a lid on 'em! We've got to keep 'em putting coins into the collection plate! I know! Let's label something a sin and make 'em feel guilty. Let's tell 'em they have to buy forgiveness for it. Hmm. Okay: How about if we tell 'em it's a sin to have your hands in dishwater and to come out with pruny-looking fingertips? If we can convince 'em that pruny fingertips are a sin, they'll pay and pay. Hot diggity dog. We're home free, boys. Let's never lose sight of the Eternal Trinity, eh? Guilt, shame, fear."
For centuries churchmen have denied us access to our powers and have murdered anyone who actually exhibited such powers in public.
The same lust for centralized dominant power is exhibited by the abrahamic churches of our day--and incidentally, by the alpha male baboon in any baboon troup. See the work of Robert Sapolsky. Right now it seems to be worst in the east, with the ayatollahs fomenting war against the infidels--but never assume that it doesn't exist in these United States, most especially in the south. There people are still regularly shunned for being (gasp again) different.
Our plea, then, is this: When you see or hear of phenomena that are at the edge of rational explanation, do not assume that they are the result of magic, of Witchcraft, or of other "occult" forces. Magic and Witchcraft are different: Magic is one thing; Witchcraft is another. Both ideas are valid, but the area of overlap is low. Remember your class in Geometry I? Remember dimensions--up and down, left and right, near and far? Spirituality and magic are simply in two different dimensions. Yvonne tends to think in the time-worn stereotypes: spirituality is in the up/down dimension, whereas magic is in the left/right dimension. Sort 'em out in your mind, and you won't be guilty of sloppy semantics.

3 comments:

אַהֲרֹן אֵדֶלְמָן said...

Greetings. Could you please provide at least one reference for your translation of Exodus 22:18? I have been studying Biblical Hebrew the vast majority of my life, and never have I seen any source or reason to suggest that מְכַשֵּׁפָה means "poisoner" and not "witch". Thanks in advance.

thirdeyespinning said...

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Gavin Frost said...

We do not have a reference for the substitution of poisoner for witch; in fact we may be in error. The idea came from the late Reverend Ron Parsley, a Jesuit priest, who retired to become a biblical critic. His reasoning was this:
The biblical quote meant sorciere (French) which translates literally to
one who dreams after administering a potion
and comes from the French sortilege: the drawing of lots. The potion would be some form of poison, probably a hallucinogen.
Given your question, we will discontinue our criticism of witch being misnamed as poisoner in the bible.

Thank you most sincerely for your interest.