For those of us who live and walk our path everyday, there will eventually come a time when a monotheist or ‘unbeliever’ of our tradition will ask for aid. This is a delicate situation, for we walk on a razor’s edge. Do we help those who have persecuted others like us for thousands of years? Do we assist, even though their own ‘holy’ books denounce our practices and in some cases, espouse our deaths?
In Chapter 28 of the King James version of the Bible, the Witch of Endor was also faced with such a dilemma.
Ostracized and exiled from her home, she now lived in fear for her life, and was told that if she ever summoned the dead or gave aid with her powers, she would be killed. Her story begins here. Let us listen:
The prophet Samuel has died. One of Yahweh’s chosen, he was highly regarded and his death, much mourned. King Saul of Israel has been deserted by his god for his disobedience. Adding to this misery, the death of Samuel only compounds his worry. To please his god and make amends for previous disobedience, Saul drives out all witches, necromancers and magicians from the land. He wishes to purge Israel from ‘evil-doers’. He desires to regain his previous confidence and know with certainty he will succeed in battle. Once mighty and filled with blood-lust, Saul now stands quivering in front of the Philistine army, assembled at his door, ready to attack.
Saul seeks divination from his countrymen to know his fate. Will his army hold against the Philistines? Will he and his dynasty survive? He seeks aid from the last living prophets, from Yahweh himself, from dreams, and finally, the urim and thummim, (a divination method using the sacred stones from the breastplate of the Jewish High Priest). No answers are forthcoming.
In desperation, King Saul asks his aids where a ‘woman with a familiar spirit or talisman’ may be found. His counsellors tell him that such a woman abides in the city of Endor. In shame, Saul disguises himself and proceeds to Endor to ask the ‘ob’ (Hebrew for psychic or medium) for assistance. He arrives at her home and requests lodging for the night and also, that she would summon forth the Spirit of any he asks. Of course, the Witch suspects deceit, and reminds the disguised King that for her to do such a thing would be certain death. His own fear of the future takes over and the King promises her immunity from his own decree. The Witch does her duty and summons forth the Spirit of the deceased prophet, Samuel.
Only the Witch can see the Spirit, but knowing it is there, Saul prostrates himself and tells the Spirit that he has been abandoned by Yahweh and is fearful of his future and what he should do against the Philistines. He asks the Witch to communicate this to the Spirit. The Spirit of Samuel refuses all aid or guidance and instead, foretells the death of the King and the subsequent fall of his dynasty.
In utter despair and frustration, Saul faints and she who is most despised and exiled, offers him food, drink and rest until he is ready to leave. At first he refuses, disgusted and in fear of her contamination. However, once again, his desperation reigns and he is revived in her care. In a week’s time, Saul is dead, his kingdom destroyed; the Witch’s prophesies fulfilled.
It angers me that those who do not walk our way, who do not worship our Gods, who hold us in such contempt, seek us out when the world seems heavy upon them.
This scenario has happened to me numerous times. I am routinely asked to provide divinations, spells or healings for monotheists. I remind them that their own scriptures and beliefs denounce my behaviour, but this doesn’t seem to dissuade them. Like King Saul, they find no solace in their God and no salve for their worries from either their leaders or their scriptures.
My patience is at an end with such as these. I do not initiate contact with these people. They seek me out. I do not ask for their friendship. Mostly out of pity and sometimes out of compassion, I may help. My divinations reveal what they ask and I offer guidance.
At their request, I, with the aid of my Gods, assuage their discomfort, but typically, over and over, I find that at the end of it all, once they have received that for which they asked, they turn away, ashamed or embarrassed of me. I represent all they fear; I am their disgrace incarnate, proving their beliefs are weak – their faith, tepid.
But, still they seek us out: the despised, the exiled, the unnatural, the eccentric. Be wary. For as we walk on the razor’s edge of compassion for the unenlightened, those who seek our help can use that same razor against us. And indeed, they do.
Holy Bible: 1 Samuel, Chapter 28