Author and researcher Mitch Horowitz discussed the growing popularity of witchcraft, and the worldwide revival of Wicca and pagan traditions. Yet, with this upsurge, there has been an unfortunate increasing wave of violence against witches. Here in the West, in the US, Canada, and Europe, practitioners are generally peaceful 'New Agers' who practice Wicca, as a form of nature-based spirituality. But "in other parts of the world, including Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific, people are practicing ancient traditions of witchcraft that sometimes get them accused of performing black magic or Satan worship, and they are being harassed and murdered by mobs, in the thousands, and that's why I'm talking about the existence of a war on witches," he said.
This is the secret human rights crisis of our times, he continued, with the majority of the accused being women, and sometimes kids, and most of them completely innocent of any wrongdoing. We have to start compiling statistics and encourage law enforcement to do something about it, Horowitz proposed. Violence is also cropping up in the US and UK, as migrant populations move in with their "witch hunting traditions," he detailed.
In certain parts of Africa, small children are accused of being witches or possessed if they are born different like albinos, or have conditions such as autism, and can be shunned or thrown out on the street, he added. In the US, parents sometimes worry if their kids start to get into Wicca or neo-paganism, but "I think that's a good sign...that your kid is an independent thinker and that he or she is searching for meaning in the world, and they're involved and interested in something, not just sitting in front of a screen," Horowitz remarked.
Open Lines followed in the latter half. Randy shared an account of when he was hunting on the slopes of the Cascade mountains in Washington, and slipped on the trail, and fell down 15-20 ft. almost into a creek bed. A man appeared out of nowhere, offering to help him, and threw a horsehide rope down to him and pulled him back to the trail, and then left. But when Randy followed the path the man had come from, strangely there were no tracks in the wet ground. Lee from New York spoke about his politically-tinged dream, while Peter, an astrologer in Asheville, offered his analysis of the presidential candidates.
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