The Real Merlin

by John Hayward

Poisonous mandrake plants are due to be hurled into the River Danube and queen witch Bratara Buzea has devised a spell involving cat dung and a dead dog.

No, this isn’t the plot from the next series of Merlin. This is the response of some in Romania to the imposition of new income tax and health and pension payments by the government.

Witches, astrologers, fortune tellers and embalmers, along with car valets and driving instructors, were not listed in the previous labour code, and therefore not subject to tax, but have now been classified as self-employed.

Queen witch Buzea, once imprisoned for witchcraft under the Ceausescu regime, is happy to curse the country’s rulers publicly for taxing their profession. However, another noted appositely, ‘It means that our magic gifts are recognised and I can open my own practice.’

We in the technological, materialistic western half of Europe might scoff at such traditional beliefs, but we probably shouldn’t be too quick in dismissing that which the bible treats with all seriousness. As Dr Burnside warned in our latest Cambridge Paper, ‘Witchcraft is often present in society because it expresses something deep-seated in our broken humanity, namely, our desire to carve out a space where we can make things happen apart from God. … We may not buy a ‘curse tablet’ on the Internet, to use against a rival. However, we are each guilty, at some level, of trying to manipulate people and events to bring about what we want, without trusting fully in God.’

While Ms Buzea may claim that her curses always work, non-overt forms of witchcraft may in fact be working more powerfully than people realise through the context of everyday life, precisely because they aren’t recognised. God’s good intention is for us to relate both to the ‘unseen real’ and the ‘seen real’ from the security of being in relationship with God, knowing him and trusting him for our lives and for the future. Control and manipulation might look like cleverness but ultimately it isolates and dehumanises.

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Category: Blogs

January, 2011

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