Bright Blessings Witches, Witchlings, and Witchlets! Today’s post comes after a recent discussion I had with a friend of mine who doesn’t practice, but who saw a documentary about a so-called ‘spiritual guru’. She was taken aback at just how much influence this leader had over their followers. This got me to thinking about those who are new to the metaphysical community and are often considered to be easy prey by predators. And while this subject matter is pretty heavy stuff, it’s very important to talk about as to keep people safe in magickal groups. Let’s get started.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY MAGICKAL GROUPS?
First things first, let’s look at the community itself. When I say ‘magickal groups’ I’m using it as a broad umbrella term for New Age spiritualists, Wiccans, Pagans, occult factions, covens, etc. These can be groups you find entrance to at your local metaphysical shop, library, book store, online, or through another practitioner. And while it may be super exciting to find a coterie to join, take your time vetting out the who, what, when, where, why, and how the group operates. This could save you from being the victim of an abuser.
ABUSIVE POWER AND CONTROL
It’s no secret that spiritual communities come with direct ties to potent emotional experiences, especially for those who are new. It’s these emotions that abusers are after. When we act from an emotional state, it’s easier for the truth to be blurred – particularly when these emotions surround feelings of finding a home or a place to belong.
Human beings are hard-wired to have feelings about a situation or occurrence before reasoning kicks in. Being in your feelings offers predators the opportunity to twist and distort facts in order to serve their goals of control, personal gratification, and personal gain. Those who are targeted are liable to experience psychological, emotional, physical, sexual, or even financial abuse.
WHY ARE NEW MEMBERS AN EASY TARGET?
Simply put, because they don’t know any better. When we’re new to something – something we are super amped about learning – we tend to go looking for others who are well-versed in the matter to guide us. This emotion of eagerness, of the possibility of discovering a place where we belong, makes for a vulnerable state to be in. And in this state, predators thrive.
This is not to say that those who have been a part of the metaphysical community for some time are not vulnerable, because we are. Both new and old constituents are at risk of being coerced and manipulated by abusers. Without knowing how to spot predators in magickal groups and actively protect ourselves, we are all under their heel.
HOW TO SPOT PREDATORS IN MAGICKAL GROUPS
While there is no perfect formula or profile when it comes to spotting a predator, there are red flags to tip you off:
- It is common for abusers to be older then who they prey on
- They tend to hyper focus on one person
- They want to always know where their prey is and whom they’re with
- Abusers are very charming and charismatic
- They will make fun of or embarrass their prey in front of others
- They aim to be the ‘knight in shining armor’ for their prey
- They are defensive and cannot stand criticism
- They are jealous if their prey’s attention is not on them
- They do not like people of authority
- Feelings and emotions make them uncomfortable
- Predators will threaten to expose their prey’s secrets
- They do not take responsibility for their actions
- They lack empathy
- Any promises or apologies are a tactic to regain favor
- Grandiose behavior
- They are extremely arrogant
- They boast credentials that they cannot back up
- Abusers believe that they are ALWAYS right
Predators work on tearing down their prey’s confidence, getting into their minds and making them question everything they thought to be true. Typically the abuser will then make a huge deal about the prey’s age and how they have no idea what they are talking about or doing – despite any actual knowledge or skill. Anything that the predator sees as ‘unacceptable’ will be brought up repeatedly in order to make the victim aware of of these ‘flaws’. All of this is done in order to collapse any semblance of confidence or acuity their prey may have in themself and in their abilities.
After abusers have decimated their victim with these tactics, their prey will become dependent on them. They seek the predator’s stamp of approval, needing their Craft, practice, and metaphysical workings to be validated.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A PREDATOR GETS THEIR HOOKS INTO THEIR PREY?
Once the predator has worked to gain control of their victim, they enter what I call the ‘maintenance phase’. It is here when the abuser will conduct regular discourse that involves knocking down the victim’s character in order to control the narrative. They do this to put themselves in the best light possible – one of ultimate knowledge that can only be given to whom the predator deems worthy.
It is upon this promise of knowledge, of status, and of healing that hooked the victim in the first place. This proverbial carrot being dangled in front of the predator’s prey will always be just that – a promise never made into reality.
Part of this ‘maintenance phase’ is to ensure their victim’s isolation. If their prey is allowed to mingle and converse with other people in the shared group, then they may compare experiences and uncover who the abuser truly is. This completely shatters the illusion the abuser is working so hard to maintain. To do this, they typically will bad mouth other members and postulate how they threaten the victim’s chance of achieving enlightenment, being a ‘real’ practitioner, success in casting, etc. If this tactic of separation is unsuccessful, they will then turn to other methods including acts of violence, giving the cold shoulder, and gaslighting until their prey resigns and follows orders.
To continue their rule, abusers will vehemently refute any of the prey’s beliefs that do not align with what they claim to be truth. To do this, predators will resort to listing unverifiable claims in order to back up what they’re preaching. They will also use intimidation strategies, like speaking loudly and quickly. This is to once more establish their dominance over their prey.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE VICTIM TRIES TO TAKE A STAND?
When a victim tries to stand up for themselves, there are several responses that the predator may try to pull off in order to tip the scales back in their favor. These include:
- The predator will say their prey is ‘crazy’
- Abusers will say things that devalue the victim
- Abusers will claim that the victim has ‘anger issues’
- The predator will be dismissive
- Abusers will turn their victim’s words/actions against them
- The predator will claim they are being verbally attacked
After the abuser has had their chance to respond in whatever way they choose, they will then most likely turn softer and kinder. They will then reiterate how their prey is ‘The One’, the special student they’ve always dreamed of who is unique to anything they’ve ever mentored. They will continue this until they feel that their prey is back under their spell and everything returns to the way it ‘should’ be.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WHEN YOU SPOT A PREDATOR IN A MAGICKAL GROUP?
Remove yourself immediately.
It is best practice to treat this person as a predator and not as a person. I know how that sounds, but it is imperative to act on the side of caution versus getting caught up in a web you may not be able to escape. Again, I know this sounds incredibly dramatic, but I’m writing it this way to make sure it is taken seriously. Do not entertain predators like this because once you let them in, they will wreak total havoc on your confidence, self-worth, and all around well-being.
So how do you remove yourself? The following steps must be taken in order to keep yourself safe:
- Do not allow yourself to be alone with this predator
- Sever all communication: block phone numbers, email addresses, social media accounts
- Do not speak to them, even through another person
- Confide in those close to you about the predator in detail
- Keep receipts! Any kind of communication from the predator needs to be documented and kept in a safe place, even if it seems ‘harmless’
- Dismiss any kind of thinking that runs along the lines of ‘This could never happen to me’
- Install security cameras
- Invest in additional door locks for your home
- Do not be afraid to go to the police if only to start a ‘paper trail’ to document a history of threats/abuse/stalking
Tolerating a predator will only encourage them to pursue you until you are ‘theirs’. The second you know that they are a predator, leave. And only upon the condition that you can guarantee your safety, attempt to expose them and their actions. Seek out those who are in charge – High Priestesses and Priests, organizers, moderators, etc. – and relay your experiences with the predator in order to see their removal.
IF THOSE IN POWER WHO CAN REMOVE THE PREDATOR REFUSE TO DO SO, REMOVE YOURSELF. This is the only way to guarantee your safety. No social circle, coven, group, etc. is worth having while it simultaneously risks your well-being. PERIOD.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. This subject isn’t an easy one, but it is an important one. The safety of ourselves and our fellow practitioners matters more than ever. And remember – if you see something, say something. Bright Blessings!
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