Archives For Queen of Heaven

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

I’ve written at some length about the upcoming prayer rally “The Response” and its problematic organizers and endorsers, and I have also devoted quite a bit of time to the New Apostolic Reformation, a neo-Pentecostal Christian movement that regularly engages in spiritual warfare tactics, displays a disturbing anti-Pagan emphasis, and has intertwined itself with Perry and his prayer event. While I use the terminology “spiritual warfare” quite often, I think that it’s hard to envision what this practice is like among the Christians who engage in it. I’ve mentioned that it is, in essence, malefic magic, but that’s often a difficult picture to square with the usual harmless image of devout Christians with heads bowed and hands clasped. But an upcoming New Apostolic Reformation-led event, brought to my attention by fellow Pagan blogger Hecate, does an very good job of illustrating how “spiritual warfare” works in their context.

The above video is from an upcoming prayer-war event called “DC40″ which will “lay siege” on Washington D.C. to change the “District of Columbia” into the “Disctrict of Christ” (they even issued a faux-legal “divorce decree”). This initiative is being co-led by Cindy Jacobs (who managed to find the spiritual bright-side in the Japan and Haiti earthquakes) and John Benefiel of the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network (HAPN), both influential figures in the New Apostolic Reformation movement, and both are national endorsers for Rick Perry’s “The Response.” In anther video, organizer and “prophetic artist” James Nesbit makes clear that the goal is to return Washington D.C. to Christ, and to eliminate compromise in our government.

That animus towards compromise isn’t an aberration. Benefiel’s HAPN released a “Declaration of Light” that made it very clear that they have “no power to purpose or accept any compromise of the promises of God, and we declare illegal in the earth any action of any people, Nation or nations that undertake what is contradictory to the Word of God.” In short, if it isn’t God-sanctified, it doesn’t apply to them.

Now many see these sorts of things and simply scoff. But for a large number of modern Pagans the focused intent of will, the use of prayer to achieve goals, the harnessing of intent towards a shared goal is taken very seriously, we call it magic (or magick). If we believe that groups of Pagans working towards some shared spiritual goal is effective, then by extension we can’t help but take an initiative to harness the wills and intents of thousands of Christians towards a goal that would marginalize or harm our faiths seriously. These prayer warriors make plain that their “struggle is not against flesh and blood” and that they “do not curse those deceived,” but disclaimers do not make malefic magic positive. These groups have made it very, very, clear that our gods are their enemies.

The question is how do we respond? Some want to respond with their own magical action, but would that simply feed their spiritual warfare paradigm? As the New Apostolic Reformation climbs the ladder of influence and power within politics, organizing their massive group spells, simply ignoring them seems to be quickly fading away as an option.

Ever since the movement came to my attention during the last presidential election, I’ve been keeping tabs on the malefic prayer warriors in the neo-Pentecostal/evangelical Christian movement known as the “Third Wave of the Holy Spirit”. This loose affiliation of Christian leaders, activists,  and churches brag of (indirectly) killing Catholics, maiming Wiccans, and “rewriting” the spiritual DNA of their followers. This group nurtured Sarah Palin, gets wooed by Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, and wants nothing less than the supreme dominance of (their version of) the Christian faith. At the center of this movement sits C. Peter Wagner, founder of Global Harvest Ministries / The World Prayer Center (which sits within the New Life Church campus in Colorado), and resolute prayer warrior who organizes coordinated prayer wars against the Goddess (whom he calls the “Queen of Heaven”) in all her manifest forms.

“Atop the hierarchy of demon spirits are the ‘territorial demons’, and squatting near the apex, over Mount Everest, is a purported global-level demon spirit called ‘The Queen of Heaven’ that prevents, according to Peter Wagner, prayers of Catholics, Muslims, and adherents to other supposedly illegitimate forms of religious belief, from reaching God. In 1997, while Wagner was still running the Colorado Springs World Prayer Center (a joint project of C. Peter Wagner and Tedd Haggard), that center mounted an expedition, conceived by former voodoo priestess turned evangelist Ana Mendez, to Mount Everest to do battle with the “Queen of Heaven.” Ana Mendez later suggested that the spiritual warfare waged by the expedition team may have helped contribute to the death of Mother Theresa.”

Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action, who has been doing the lions share of digging into this increasingly prominent fringe movement, has now dug up a 1993 video segment where Wagner reveals more of his rampant anti-goddess paranoia. As fellow religious blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, this time it’s all about how Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu is the “harlot” from the Book of Revelation.

“Japan, as a nation, is one of the nations of the world which has consciously, openly, invited national demonization.  And they do this though what’s called the Daijosai ceremony…where when a new Emperor comes in to power…And as a part of this ceremony the Emperor goes to this specially chosen…place…He eats rice that has been planted and harvested and chosen through witchcraft. And at a certain time that night the Sun Goddess visits him in person, and has sexual intercourse with the Emperor…So the emperor becomes one flesh with the sun goddess…There is a certain spiritual phenomenon…that’s called succubus…Since the present emperor slept with the Sun Goddess the stock market in Japan has gone down, never come up since. This has been a disastrous year, the first year the rice harvest failed, the first Japan has ever had to import rice.”

Naturally Bartholemew dissects and debunks Wagner’s crazy talk, but I doubt any “Third Waver” will listen. If Wilson is right, and Third Wave affilated churches are being recruited to make up the core of a newly revitalized “Religious Right”, we need to keep our eyes open concerning their rise. Should these extremists ever hold real politcal power, I can’t imagine it would be condusive to the growth and health of the modern Pagan movement. At the very least, we should be concerned that seemingly mainstream politicians are willing to ally themselves with groups that are so hostile to religious co-existence.

It seems I wasn’t the only one drawn to Newt Gingrich’s “surrounded by paganism” comment, other religion blogs have weighed in on the significance of that (and Mike Huckabee’s) talk at Rock Church in Virginia. We start with fellow Pagan blogger Gus diZerega, who wasn’t very happy with the idea that Pagans might not be fully American.

“Apparently from Newt’s perspective we Pagans are not Americans, for in his fatwa he warned Americans that they are surrounded by “Paganism.” … Three old white geezers giving their race and gender a bad name, speaking to a crowd that gives its religion a bad name.”

Meanwhile, another Beliefnet blogger, Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, suspects a bit of redirected anti-semitism.

“I am pretty certain that any time a non-follower describes any tradition, without at least the active presence of an actual believer or two, something bad is bound to happen. Any doubts? Think about how Judaism has been mangled over the centuries by non-Jews twisting it to meet their needs for a spiritual foil. My guess is that is what Newt was doing with paganism, and since it’s no longer acceptable in most quarters to do that with Judaism, he simply picked on another group which has fewer defenders. It was wrong to do to Jews, and it’s wrong to do to pagans.”

However, Bruce Wilson at Talk To Action sees something far more dangerous in Newt’s (and Huckabee’s) appearance at Rock Church than some lazy swipe at “paganism”.

“Leaders on the Christian right have been giving such speeches for decades, but the  two-day Rock Church conference was not business as usual. Rather, it showcased the rapid reconfiguration of the Christian right around the rising, highly militant but poorly understood charismatic wing of the new Christian right, a movement which includes both Ted Haggard and Sarah Palin.)”

Wilson goes on to look into Lou Engle (featured in “Jesus Camp”) , who presided over the event, and who has a long history of anti-abortion and anti-gay militancy (including providing a theological framework for the murder of doctors who perform abortions). It should surprise no-one that Engle has ties to C. Peter Wagner of the “Third Wave of the Holy Spirit”, with its emphasis on prayer-war and destroying the “Queen of Heaven” (who they see as the Virgin Mary of the Catholics, a major demon, and the Goddess of the Pagans all rolled into one).

If Gingrich, Huckabee, and other Republicans are nurturing these folks as the new core of a revived “Christian Right”, we better keep our eyes open. As Wilson points out, these Christians have an entirely different unifying rallying call.

“…the emerging face of a new type of fundamentalism in America that is multiethnic, multiracial and, because of that, can appear pseudo-progressive but which is in many ways farther right than traditional fundamentalism. The new axis of bigotry is no longer defined by racial and ethnic distinctions. It is religious supremacy.”

Maybe Gingrich, a recently converted Catholic, doesn’t realize the dog-whistle language he’s using. When you say “paganism” to these folks, it doesn’t merely mean secularists, or modern Pagans, or atheists, it also means Catholics, and any Christian who isn’t fully on-board with their mission of “religious supremacy”. They are just as proud of (allegedly) killing Mother Teresa as they are of (again, allegedly) blinding and giving cancer to a Wiccan with their prayers. Gingrich haphazardly invoking the spectre of “paganism” might make for good jokes, but it’s no laughing matter to the prayer warriors at Rock Church.

While the extreme anti-Pagan “Third Wave” spiritual warfare practitioners lost out on gaining a powerful ally in high government office during the recent Presidential election, that doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared or slowed down. The El Paso Times reports that Mexican “ex-witch” (and associate of C. Peter Wagner) Ana Mendez Ferrell is coming to Texas to lead a worship conference where she’ll help rewrite your “spiritual DNA” and apparently use her spiritual powers to end border violence.

Supporters of the evangelist, prophet and apostle are hoping “a general in God’s army” and a host of prayer warriors will have more impact on ending the violence at the border than Mexican soldiers or police have had. More than 1,800 people have been killed in Juárez since 2007 in alleged drug violence. “The violence in Juárez has made news everywhere, and people are coming from all over to pray for our region,” said Moni Field, co-pastor at El Paso for Jesus. “God uses people like Ana Mendez Ferrellto mobilize believers to bring about change.” In a phone interview, Mendez Ferrell said she is looking forward to her visit to El Paso.”The (El Paso) conference is God’s appointment. Worship at a certain level can totally transform a region,” she said. “We’ve seen this happen in other parts of the world. Worship, as a weapon, can counter the evil and murdering.”

Ana Mendez Ferrell is quite proud of using prayer and worship as a weapon and brags about being a part of the infamous workings against the “Queen of Heaven” (aka the feminine divine/Mary in Catholicism) on her web site.

As a general in spiritual warfare, Ana has coordinated many of the most important prayer initiatives in the darkest places of the earth, confronting major territorial spirits.  The most difficult assault that she and her team undertook was the climbing of Mount Everest in 1997, which resulted in major spiritual breakthroughs in the 10/40 window.  Ana was also the special task coordinator for operation “Queens Palace,” the first worldwide prayer initiative, involving nearly 75 percent of the nations in the world in a war against a dominion of darkness known as the “queen of heaven.”

Participants in these workings take credit for everything from the death of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa to giving Wiccans cancer. They are willing “soldiers” in an organized network of malefic “black” magic workings that they justify and sanctify by claiming they are merely casting out demons. While the El Paso Times makes a quick note that Mendez Ferrell is “controversial”, it is couched in a way they makes her seem heroic rather than monstrous. It gives no background in what sort of “workings” these “generals”, “warriors”, and “soldiers” do. How many Christians will attend thinking it a normal prayer service to end violence only to find themselves enmeshed with a spiritual paramilitary.

While it is certainly the right of the “Third Wave” to practice their religion freely, journalists need to be a bit less credulous, do actual research on religious organizations, and understand the inherent dangers of spiritually militaristic groups that declare “war” on other faiths. It seems all too easy for these “warriors” to veer into actual physical violence should their goals not be accomplished on an acceptable time-line. As for their spiritual “targets” (ie most of the people who read this blog), we need to keep our eyes open, and not assume these extremists have faded away simply because an election didn’t go their way.

Just when I thought this story couldn’t go even further down the Christian extremist rabbit-hole, up pops another revelation about a Sarah Palin coreligionist.

“On June 13, 2008 Mary Glazier told attendees at the “Opening the Gate of Heaven on Earth” conference, who represented many of the New Apostolic Reformation’s top leaders, that she had been present at the inception of Sarah Palin’s political career and that Palin was in her personal prayer group : ‘There was a twenty-four year old woman that God began to speak to about entering into politics. She became a part of our prayer group out in Wasilla. Years later, became the mayor of Wasilla. And last year was elected Governor of the state of Alaska. Yes! Hallelujah! At her inauguration she dedicated the state to Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!’”

Who is Mary Glazier? She is the founder of Windwalkers International, and is a key figure in the Third Wave/New Apostolic Reformation movement. Part of C. Peter Wagner’s inner circle. Wagner, as I have pointed out before, is the man who is waging a war on the “Queen of Heaven”, whom he equates with pre-Christian goddesses, Islam, and Mary within the Catholic Church.

“Peter Wagner appears to be afflicted with a rather bizarre form of paranoia. He sees the world controlled by a demonic force he calls “the Queen of Heaven.” He sees this demon in everything from ancient Moon goddess religions to Islam (e.g., the crescent moon), to environmentalism (Gaia), feminism, witchcraft, and even in mainstreem Christianity (e.g., Catholic respect of Mary as the Mother of Jesus). That’s the purpose of the book, to help you, too, see that all these disparate religions are really united, and that the Virgin Mary is the demon behind it all.”

Glazier’s claims directly tie Palin into the world of anti-Pagan spiritual warfare. While some conservatives have defended the anti-witchcraft blessing of Palin by Thomas Muthee saying it was acceptable because of his cultural context, Glazier, who has her own witchcraft story, has no such excuse.

“In 1995, Mary mobilized a prayer network for Alaska’s prisons and began experiencing spiritual warfare as never before. She had received word that a witch had applied for a job as chaplain of the state’s prison system… Mary recalls, “As we continued to pray against the spirit of witchcraft, her incense altar caught on fire, her car engine blew up, she went blind in her left eye, and she was diagnosed with cancer” … “Ultimately, the witch fled to another state for medical treatment. Soon after, revival visited every prison in Alaska. At the women’s correctional facility in Anchorage alone, 55 of 60 inmates found Christ. “Ask largely,” Mary says. “Intercessory prayer is making a major difference in North America.”

I’ll give you a moment for this to sink in. Glazier and her prayer warriors claim to have made God blind and give cancer to a Wiccan chaplain. Is this anything but the most malefic of magic? Any Pagan who proudly claimed to have given a Christian cancer, or put out one of the eyes of a Christian, would be rightly shunned and rebuked. Within this community of extremist Christians Glazier and her fellow prayer warriors are lauded as heroes, holy warriors striking a blow against Satan and the “Queen of Heaven”. While these warriors are quick to post disclaimers saying their efforts are “merely” spiritual, who knows what an unbalanced mind would do with this sort of rhetoric.

This adds to the questions I would love to ask Sarah Palin (not that she’s taking questions). Not just if she approves of the spiritual warfare techniques of the Third Wavers, but if she personally prayed for harm to come to one of our own (she was still deeply enmeshed in the movement back in 1995 after all). Sadly, while Obama and McCain were grilled on their religious stances, we’re supposed to take it on faith that she will respect the rights of non-Christian faiths should she be elected?

Here I was thinking to myself that the chances of a modern Pagan angle to the Republican VP pick of Alaska’s Sarah Palin would be truly minimal. Sure, you had her support of aerial wolf hunting (a cruel method that violates the ethic of “fair chase”), and her drill-happy attitudes towards ANWR, but nothing explicitly anti-Pagan had emerged. But a number of bloggers, most notably Bruce Wilson at Talk2Action, have been digging into Palin’s religious background and found some disturbingly anti-Pagan connections.

“Sarah Palin’s churches are actively involved in a resurgent movement that was declared heretical by the Assemblies of God in 1949. This is the same ‘Spiritual Warfare’ movement that was featured in the award winning movie, “Jesus Camp,” which showed young children being trained to do battle for the Lord. At least three of four of Palin’s churches are involved with major organizations and leaders of this movement, which is referred to as The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit or the New Apostolic Reformation. The movement is training a young “Joel’s Army” to take dominion over the United States and the world.”

These “Third Wave” Christians believe in supernatural powers, demon possession, curses, and ongoing spiritual warfare. Most of them are loosely grouped around C. Peter Wagner, founder of the World Prayer Center, and coiner of the term “Third Wave”. Wagner believes that one of the greatest opponents to Third Wave Christian dominance is The Goddess.

“Several of their top prophets and generals of intercession spent weeks in intensive prayer to “confront the Queen of Heaven.” This queen is considered by them to be one of the most powerful demons over the earth and is the Great Harlot of Mystery Babylon in Revelation … Wagner and his group also claim that the Queen of Heaven is Diana, the pagan god of the biblical book Ephesians and the god of Mary veneration in the Roman Catholic Church.”

Wagner is so serious about the “Queen of Heaven” (you know the one the ladies made cakes for) that he has written two books on the subject: “Confronting The Queen of Heaven” and “The Queen’s Domain”. Third Wave Christians participating in spiritual warfare against the Queen of Heaven believe their efforts (directly or indirectly) have caused earthquakes, hurricanes, large fires, and killed Princess Diana and Mother Teresa.

As for Palin herself, she spoke approvingly of being personally prayed over by Thomas Muthee just before winning governorship of Alaska. Muthee is a popular figure among Third Wavers for driving out the “spirit of witchcraft” that resided in Kiambu, Kenya.

“He and his wife committed to six months of prayer with various types of fasting before ever entering Kiambu. Their goal in prayer and fasting was to ask God to reveal the name of the demonic principality ruling over Kiambu and keeping the city under such oppression. God revealed through a vision that a spirit of witchcraft was the ruling principality there and that a number of other demonic spirits were functioning under the headship of witchcraft. An effective strategy for conquest would be to topple the spirit of witchcraft first and thus bring the coalition of evil spirits into disarray and drive them from the city.”

Muthee’s vision of spiritual warfare fits right in with the Third Wave’s, and he has spoken at churches across America, including 10 consecutive sermons at Wasilla Assembly of God (Palin’s main church until very recently). The idea of that sort of anti-witch hysteria being imported and cross-pollinating with extremist American Christianity is troubling.

While Palin has striven to present herself as a “post-denominational” Jesus follower, it should be noted that most Third Wave Christians also present themselves in this manner. Also, lest you think this article is some sort of liberal Pagan anti-Christian take-down, it should be noted that this Christian movement has been deemed heretical by several (conservative) Christian groups, including Fundamentalist Baptists.

What Pagans need to know, especially those who are considering voting Republican, is if Palin condemns or rejects the spiritual warfare teachings of the Third Wave movement. A movement that essentially espouses malicious Christian magic. Pagans have seen first hand that the religious opinions of Presidents have been used in the past by government agencies to deny us our legal rights. What would happen if our vice president thought we should be supernaturally eradicated?