Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Pat Robertson's Hurricane Shield

There are literally so many images on the Internet of Pat Robertson making weird faces that it's hard to pick just one. So I decided to re-use the above image from Comedy Central because it illustrates my point so clearly.

During a recent broadcast, the evangelist led his congregation in conjuring what he described as a shield of protection that would cause Hurricane Florence, currently predicted to hit the southeastern Atlantic coast Thursday night, to move out to sea. It should be noted that since he did this, the hurricane has shown no signs of changing course. If you live around where it is expected to make landfall, you should be ready to evacuate whether you're a believer or not.

But the East Coast of the United States can rest easy, because Pat Robertson is on the case. That’s because Robertson thinks he’s some type of wizard who can cast shields of protection over his church’s campus in Virginia, and the East Coast as a whole. Robertson asked the congregation to assist him in casting the spell, by raising their hands whatever direction the Atlantic is (he appears to not know in the video), and shouting loudly into the microphone:

"In the name of Jesus, you Hurricane Florence, we speak to you in the name of Jesus, and we command the storm to cease its forward motion and go harmlessly into the Atlantic. Go up north away from land and veer off in the name of Jesus. We declare in the name of the lord that you shall go no farther, you shall do no damage in this area. We declare a shield of protection all over Tidewater, and we declare a shield of protection over those innocent people in the path of this hurricane. In Jesus’ holy name, be out to sea! In Jesus’ name!"

He then asked the crowd to praise and thank god, but didn’t specify what to thank him for. I have to assume the full statement would be “thank you god for creating this massive storm capable of causing hundreds of millions of dollars in destruction and likely killing many who choose to not evacuate, you must really love us!”

Then, he promises that the crowd will remember the day that they thwarted the angry cloud monster. But, he offers a caveat to his promise. He says that the spell will only work if those present don’t doubt it in their hearts. So it gives him a convenient explanation for why the spell didn’t take when, according to every indication from the scientific and meteorological data available, the storm smashes into the Carolinas in a couple of days.

While the article's angle is to make fun of Robertson because he thinks he's "some type of wizard," my point is totally different. Robertson is a wizard here because he's casting a spell. The type of wizard he is? A completely hypocritical one. Skeptics can argue that spells don't work and all that, but to me what's really telling about Robertson is how he believes spells are totally, irredeemably evil unless he and his congregation are casting them.

As the diagram above shows, spells and prayers are the same darn thing. The reason that mine work better than Robertson's is that he employs an entirely unfocused casting method, basically expecting the god-force he is calling up (Jesus, or in Western esoteric terms YHShVH) to do all the work while telling his congregation that their belief will make the thing work. There's no structure, no magical link, no nothing. Robertson would have to be a serious natural talent to move a hurricane using a spell like that.

I get that Robertson doesn't think he's casting spells, and that he's doing something totally different. But that's only because his idea of magick is whatever the "evil Satanists" were supposedly doing during the whole Satanic Panic thing, like baby sacrifices that left no physical evidence and were apparently done only because the practitioners were really evil, not for any actual magical objective - because, you know, real magick doesn't work like that.

What we really do is conjure spirits - often angels, especially in the case of hurricane because they are classed as aerial spirits - by various names of God, sometimes including YHShVH. Or, we can invoke an aspect of God and cast a spell that way without the help of spirits. How the latter is different than what Robertson is doing is anybody's guess. He even says it's powered by belief, just like a chaos magician would. I have some issues with that technique, but it's definitely magick.

Where this could potentially get insidious is if people interpret his remarks along faith healing lines. Faith healers, especially the ones who wind up with dead subjects, commonly tell people that seeking regular medical treatment shows a "lack of faith." But this couldn't be further from the truth - I believe firmly in the power of healing magick, but there's nothing about it that requires you to eschew regular medical care. That's just dumb. What you should always do is take every possibly mundane measure you can, and then use magick to tilt the odds further in your favor.

So get ready to evacuate if you're in the storm's projected path, and if you wind up in its path do so. That's not a lack of faith, it's just smart. And anyway, belief doesn't power magick like this. Either the spell will work or it won't, and based on the most recent storm data it sure looks like it won't. Be ready to move.

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