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Jean-Luc deVere

I was a Christian and had been for a number of years - but I was a
broken man. I had lost everyone and everything that was dear to me. I
had lost my wife, my self respect and most telling of all , I had lost
my faith... I still believed, but I had no faith! And so I began to
wander through life fairly aimlessly - disillusioned with the Church,
with God, with myself and with life in general - looking for answers but
finding none.

I became intrigued with the occult. I read copiously and found a power
that I felt I lacked, and most importantly, I found something that I
sorely needed... a place to belong.

I began to practice daily rituals, relied on divination before making
decisions and made contacts within the Pagan community, joining the
Pagan Alliance and travelling to attend major gatherings, though I was
still, at this time, what is known as a 'Solitaire', one who practiced
alone rather than in a Coven.

Cutting a long story short, I eventually found myself in regional
Western Australia, and travelling the 200kms to Perth every week for a
year or so, to train with the Coven that I was originally Initiated into.

I met other Pagans in my own area and a "study circle" formed consisting
of a number of Seekers as well as 1st and 2nd Degree Wiccan Initiates.
The 'powers-that-be' in Perth decided to give the group 'official'
recognition and I was installed as the High Priest - and so the 'Circle
of the Mystic Moon' was formed.

Coming from a Christian background to Paganism I had a much stronger
evangelistic bent than Pagans normally do, and the new Coven ran ads in
the local press announcing our first formal 'Outer Court' training
session. All concerned - in what some considered to be the 'buckle of
the Bible belt' - realized that there was bound to be a response from
local Christians, but no-one could have anticipated quite the reaction
it received!

A number of Christians wrote venomous letters to the paper denouncing
the 'Satanists in our midst', making all the usual accusations about
blood sacrifices, orgies and the worship of a devil that no-one in the
group believed in. Even the 'Christian Democratic Party' jumped into
the fray with the local candidate publicly calling for us to be 'run out
of town'!

Coven members cars were vandalised, female Coveners were verbally abused
in the street, and dead cats were thrown on the front porch of our
Covenstead. Any thoughts of somehow 'going back to God' were shattered
as a result of these shining examples of 'Christian love', which
culminated in the physical assault of our High Priestess in the car park
of a local shopping centre.

And as a result the Coven progressively moved away from it's Wiccan
origins, and members, bit by bit, begun to perform 'darker' workings.
The 'Wiccan Rede' ('Do as thou wilt, an' it harm none') was abandoned
and what became known as 'The Rite of Vengeance' was accepted into the
Coven's 'Book of Shadows'. This was even reflected in the Coven's
Motto: "Sic Gorgiamus Alius Subjectatus Nunc" ("We Gladly Devour All
those Who Would Subdue Us").

Undeterred by the 'opposition' we began producing our own magazine, and
the group became a visible presence at events such as 'Balingyup
Medieval Fayre' and hosted officially sanctioned Halloween and Yule
Rituals as part of the the town's Year 2000 celebrations!

But personally, I was a mess inside - worse than I had ever been! I
knew that what I was involved in was against God - I guess I had known
it from day one, but had been too angry about the attacks against Coven
members by professing Christians to pay these doubts any heed. But as
the voices against us were shamed into silence I had time to look at
myself - and I did not like what I saw! I so much wanted to experience
God's forgiveness for all that I had done, but was convinced that I had
'blasphemed against the Holy Spirit', the one sin the Bible says can
never be forgiven (Mark 3:28-29)!

Convinced that no matter what I did I was merely "storing up wrath for
[myself] in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgement
of God" (Romans 2:5) I stood down as High Priest, saying I was taking a
'temporary leave of absence' due to the stress of leading the Coven for
the past few years when the persecution had been at its peak, and passed
full control of the Coven into the hands of my High Priestess.

Burdened with guilt and fear for the future I fell apart. I was truly
beginning to reap what I had sown and lost everything that I held most
dear - even my partner. After six years together we split up and I was
left totally alone, living in the garage of a friend who had taken pity
on me.

Too depressed to want to live, but in too much fear of God's judgement
to hasten it by committing suicide I was truly going mad, and on a
Disability Pension, when nearly one day I was driving past a small
suburban Church. For some reason I was thinking about my ex-wife, the
girl I had married when I was first a Christian all those years ago.

I guess God can even use madness, because my thoughts ran like this... I
remembered that when I was about to get get married, the pastor slapped
me on the back and said "Welcome to the sufferings of Christ"! Now the
Church is referred to in the Bible as the 'Bride of Christ' (Revelation
21:9) and the passages in the Books of Hebrews and Colossians concerning
the difference between the Old Covenant of the Law of Moses and the New
Covenant of Grace through Jesus Christ ran through my head (Hebrews
8-10; Colossians 2), when it occurred to me that each Covenant was like
a Marriage Contract, and that the New Covenant could not be entered
into without the 'death' of the Old Covenant. God didn't just
'divorce' Himself from the Old Covenant - it had to be "nailed to the
cross" (Colossian 2:14) and die!

"Oh great!" I thought "That means because I divorced my wife and she
hasn't died that every relationship I have been in since has been
adulterous! Well at least adultery can be forgiven even if blasphemy
against the Holy Spirit can't..." Just then an image filled my mind of
the Pagan altars the Israelites had worshipped at in the time of
Jeremiah and how God did not turn his back on them but invited them to
repent (Jeremiah 3:6-14)

And it dawned on me, I had not yet committed blasphemy against the Holy
Spirit, but 'spiritual adultery'! And that - as bad as it was - could
be forgiven! And for the first time in years this passage came to mind...

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting
life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:16-17)

Now all this happened in the time it took to drive past a small suburban
church! It's a bit hard to fall on knees while you're driving, but I
knew that if God wanted me back, I wanted to be back with Him!

It hasn't been easy being an ex-Witch. In fact, at times it's been
pretty miserable, but I know that whatever I go through in this life,
whether good or bad, is nothing compared to the reward of being with
Christ rather than being eternally separated from Him!

I avoided 'giving my testimony' for the first 18 months - only my Pastor
and one of the Elders was privy to the details of my past. In fact it
was only recently that I discovered that people from that very Church I
was driving past when God grabbed me by the scruff of the neck - the
Church I attend today - while others had hurled abuse at me and had
threatened me with violence in God's name for being a Witch, had prayed
FOR me... that I might come to Christ, that I might be saved!

One thought I would like to sign off on is this... "Rebellion [against
God] is as the sin of Witchcraft..." (1 Samuel 15:33 - KJV) While we
as humans often 'rank' sins as being somehow 'better' or 'worse' than
others ALL sin is rebellion against God and He sees ALL sin in the same
light as what many consider the WORST of all sins...."...for all have
sinned and fall short of the glory of God..." but "God so loved the
world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his
Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him
might be saved." (John 3:16-17)

Yes... even Witches...

Yours in Christ

Jean-Luc deVere