At age 11, he cast his first spell. Now at 18 years old, Jason (not his real name) professes to be a practising witch.
It is the latest craze among teenagers not only in the United States and Europe but also right here in Barbados. Jason is just one of a growing number of youngsters who has rejected Christianity and is embracing witchcraft as a way of life.
They cast spells to pass exams, predict the future by communicating with the spirit world and even place curses on others. If you think your son or daughter could never be one of them, think again.
Most of the teenagers in Jason’s circle of friends have parents who are devout Christians and who have no idea of what they’re up to.
Jason, a student of the Barbados Community College gave the SUNDAY SUN a glimpse into his world of spells, rituals and divination.
It started when he was eight years old. He recalled seeing the spirit of his paternal grandmother who had been dead for a number of years. And, at age 17, he predicted the death of his other grandmother. Soon after, she died.
From there, he got curious about the supernatural, researched it on the Internet, read books and chatted with other practitioners around the world. Now, he’s well versed in the teachings of witchcraft.
His gifts or abilities, he says, are in the realm of dreams, premonitions and empathy – the ability to take on how others around him are feeling.
Jason’s parents are Christian-minded and aren’t pleased in the least about his chosen path. However, he said they didn’t interfere even though they objected.
He grew up in a Methodist family but when he attended church he said he felt nothing. It was only when he tapped into the supernatural that he felt “connected”.
“To me there is less judgement in witchcraft and more acceptance and freedom than in Christianity. I see it as a tyrant religion. I feel more of a connection to witchcraft than Christianity. I would sit in church and just be there because I was sent there,” he said.
While he believes in God and Jesus, it is not in the same way Christians believe.
“I believe there is a spirit for everything in this world. I also believe that smaller spirits or angels are responsible for different things.
“I don’t believe in the devil as in giving him that much power, or acknowledging him. A great misconception is that witches worship the devil; in fact, that was why many of them were killed in the past,” said Jason, adding:
“Witchcraft is nature-based. It is a form of spirituality. It is about the love of nature, being solely confident and using your own will to get things or make things happen. It is working with energy. The whole world is energy – trees are energy, flowers and human beings are energy.”
But this “energy” which he classifies as white magic also has a dark side. A side he crossed over to in the past, though he stays clear of it now.
“When I was 11, I was just getting into it. I gathered my cousins and instructed them to stand in a circle. I didn’t know anything really but I had seen it in a movie called The Craft and I repeated something I heard from it.
“There was this boy our age who lived next door and I didn’t like him much, so I got a needle and made them prick their fingers, smeared the blood on a piece of paper and, in my mind, I visualised him being punished in some way.
“In the evening, he was out on his bike, he fell off, landed on some ‘galvanise’ and cut himself up badly. I stopped because I didn’t really want to harm or kill anyone,” he recounted.
There was also another time when he placed a hex on a bully at his secondary school using what those in the world of witchcraft would call “the evil eye”, where a witch just looks upon someone and curses them in that moment.
However, he only does this if he’s really angry with someone to the point where he wants to physically beat that person. Instead of carrying out the action, he uses the same energy to put a curse on the individual.
“Persons I’ve tried hexing have either ended up being sick or harmed.
“The guy who was harassing me at school, my best friend and I placed a hex on him just by looking at him (the evil eye). He became ill for about a week,” he disclosed.
There were no set rules as to how long a hex would last, he said.
One, however, must be careful. According to Jason, there is a law or rule in witchcraft which states that if you harm anyone without justification, then you can expect it to come back to you three-fold.
But besides bringing harm, he said he could also use his craft to heal people of sickness and disease. He can use dolls like those used in voodoo to heal different parts of the body.
“Persons who practise witchcraft aren’t necessarily evil or dark. It has to do with intent. A person can be either good or bad. Some Christians can be good or bad too. They can pray to God to strike down someone for some reason, for example,” he said.
The young witch uses a number of aids in his craft. They can range from tarot cards for practising divination or candles for use in candle magic, (using candles in rituals and spells).
A red candle, for instance, is used for bringing about passion or romance while white is for purity, black symbolises evil, loss or discord while a greenish-yellow candle can invoke sickness, cowardice, anger or jealously.
Though he owns one, he shies away from ouija boards and pointed out that he didn’t sacrifice animals nor do seances in any of his rituals.
“I believe the dead should be left alone,” he said.
Though Jason works alone, there are more like him throughout the island, he says. They sit in classrooms in secondary and tertiary institutions.
“There are a good few young people I’ve met both here in Barbados and abroad who are into witchcraft.
“Those from overseas, I communicate with them online. The ones here, I’ve met at college. I’ve heard of others at the University of the West Indies,” he said.
And, witchcraft can be used to help them succeed in examinations.
“There are spells to pass exams but when you cast them you still have to make an effort. It is just not a case of hocus-pocus,” he pointed out.
Some youngsters like Jason are bold, they have no problem talking about their craft, while others prefer to practise in secret.
And, there is a rule – a witch never points out another witch. They usually know each other from wearing symbols like the pentacle – a five-point star with circle. It represents earth, water, fire, spirit and air and is a popular symbol of witchcraft.
Not everyone is accepting of what he does. He found this out on the first day at college.
“I introduced myself as a practising witch. The classroom got silent and all the students pulled their chairs away from me. But, as they got to know me and not just what I practise, it doesn’t matter,” he said, boasting that some of his friends are Christians.
Jason intends to keep on developing his craft. He believes there is no one right path or religion; and only God can judge him in the end.
However, Pastor Wesley Dear of Covenant Life Teaching Centre, Green Hill, St Michael, said Jason and teenagers like him were playing with fire.
The Bible clearly spoke out against witchcraft and its consequences, he said.
“There is no doubt that people can get results from these types of practices but to their own detriment,” the pastor said, adding: “Anyone who seeks out the occult for answers, brings a curse upon their lives, their household and their seed for generations.”
He quoted scripture to back up his stance, particuarly Deuteronomy 18:10-12 which states:
“Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells or who is a medium or spiritist who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord . . .”
Father Clement Paul, Vicar-General of the Roman Catholic Church, said anyone who associated with dark or supernatural powers could bring harm to themselves.
“They are interfering in a world that we don’t know much about and therefore a lot of damage can be done to one’s mental balance in the long run,” he said.
Father Paul said the Church had failed if young people saw Christianity as a tyrannical religion and were turning to witchcraft for answers.
“I think Christianity needs to get out there and listen to people. We need to get into the schools, colleges and any other place where it (witchcraft) exists, hear the problems of young people and find out what leads them into witchcraft.”