A new Disney animated television series released by Disney Television Animation on Friday has many parents concerned that the House that Mickey Mouse Built has transitioned into giving children a bizarre pro-demon and witchcraft message.
THE OWL HOUSE: MAKING WITCHCRAFT ATTRACTIVE TO CHILDREN
The Owl House, created by Dana Terrace, is described in the words of Disney: “The series follows self-assured teenage girl Luz, who discovers a portal to another realm where humans are not well-liked, and she must disguise herself in order to fit in at witch school.”
Luz, the main character is a 14-year-old Dominican-American teenager. Her mentor, Eda the Owl Lady, is the most powerful witch on the isles and a wanted criminal for selling magical items to humans. King is a demon warrior and Eda’s roommate
The evil nemesis in the story is a character named Warden Wrath who wears a plague doctor mask. Wrath keeps his enemies in a prison called the Conformatorium for the crime of being different from everyone else. The setting for the demon realm is on the Boiling Isles which is the decaying corpse of a titan.
If the elements sound a bit too creepy for a Disney production, even Newsweek noted that the dark-side is familiar turf for them.
“From Pinnochio’s nightmarish equine transformations on Pleasure Island to the clown with the tearaway face from the Nightmare Before Christmas, Disney animation has never been afraid to express a spooky side. The latest Disney channel original series, The Owl House, continues that trend for a modern audience with a demonic twist.”
Nonetheless, Terrace did have to convince the Disney people to venture into decidedly un-Disney territory.
“I am always trying to push them to go a little bit darker and weirder because I find that stuff fun,” Terrace told Newsweek. “There is sometimes a concern with family networks for what is considered family-friendly…because Disney is such a big company that in certain corners, they say that maybe they don’t want to take those risks,” Hirsch said. “Walt Disney took those risks, and that’s why we are sitting in this building. You have to remind yourself that Disney is the full spectrum of emotions, creatures and scary things.”
The Newsweek article noted that the writers’ room for the show was “full of books on witchcraft, witches and spells to take inspiration from.”
An article about the production in LA Times noted that Terrace took inspiration from Hieronymus Bosch and other artists she encountered while learning in Catholic school.
Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch/Netherlandish painter in the 15th-century whose work contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives. Critics argue that Bosch’s art was inspired by his heretical beliefs. His paintings, most notably his most famous Garden of Earthly Delights, depict nudity, people in the act of sinning, and demons.
It is important to note that even though Judaism does not have a dualistic concept of Satan as separate from God, witchcraft in all forms, even witchcraft which is not based on Satan, is explicitly prohibited by the Bible.
You shall not tolerate a sorceress. Exodus 22:17
Let no one be found among you who consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead. Deuteronomy 18:10-11
Now, should people say to you, “Inquire of the ghosts and familiar spirits that chirp and moan; for a people may inquire of its divine beings—of the dead on behalf of the living—for instruction and message,” surely, for one who speaks thus there shall be no dawn. Isaiah 8:19-20
Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) published an article criticizing the Disney series for trying “to portray witchcraft as a positive tool to fight evil.”
“Folks, if you think this latest ‘Owl House’ show is just ‘fantasy and fun,’ think again,” CBN wrote. “Over the years, Disney has gone farther and farther into the darkness of the spiritual world that opposes the living God, coming up with programming and characters that lead the vulnerable into that dark world of deception.”
An article on Patheos, a website for wide-ranging discussions about religion, criticized CBN for supporting Trump, who they describe “pretty much the living embodiment of the exact opposite of all of [the] teachings in the Bible.”
The article in Patheos goes on to slam CBN’s critique of Disney with a strangely pro-witchcraft primer on how to become a real practitioner of the dark arts.
“Can you imagine how great it would be if you could learn witchcraft from watching a cartoon? Unfortunately, as most witches know, that’s not how it works. Witchcraft takes a ton of work and study and practice. You can no more learn to be a witch from watching The Owl House as you can from watching Harry Potter, though positive portrayals of witchcraft as a marginalized practice are important and can change public perception of what witches are—which is magick in itself. The same is true for positive portrayals in media of people of color, queer folks, and people who are differently-abled. This includes fantasy. Children need fantasy in their lives, or they’re likely to believe fantasies such as Trump somehow being remotely Christian when they grow up.”
LOVE OF WITCHCRAFT A SIGN OF MENTAL ILLNESS
Rabbi Rami Levy, and end-of-days lecturer from Jerusalem, is not impressed by these attempts to inculcate children with love for black magic.
“These are foolish people who are running after things that have no connection with the power that created the world,” Rabbi Levy said, bringing an axion from the Talmud (Shabbat 104b).
“You cannot bring a proof from idiots,” the rabbi quoted.
“These are foolish people who are creating a movie that reflects precisely their baseless fantasies. They make witchcraft sound attractive and important but the people who create this are displaying in front of the world their own mental illnesses and the only people who will continue to believe this are idiots who are mentally ill in a similar fashion.”
“These fantasies cannot stand before the light of the Torah. Religious parents know that children love the stories in the Bible and retain them for their whole lives, not like a silly film that makes no sense and they will forget next week.”
WITCHCRAFT: A GROWING MODERN PHENOMENON
In 2017, Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a mystic rabbi in Israel with a large following who is known for astoundingly accurate predictions, predicted that witchcraft and black magic would make a comeback in the world. He compared the spiritual condition in the world to Egypt just before the Exodus of the Jews.
“After every plague, Pharaoh, his warlocks, and all of the idol-worshippers consulted with their false gods and asked them to remove the plague. This did not help them at all until they turned and cried out to Moses and he stopped the plague in one moment. Then they understood that there was one power above which is God, and it is Him that rules the world and not the power of impurity: serving false gods, idol worship, and fortune-telling.”
His predictions are undeniably coming true. Through Disney productions like The Owl House as well as novels like Harry Potter and the Trilogy written by J.R.R. Tolkein, witchcraft and sorcery have become mainstream. Even the Star Wars series contains a strong element of magic and paganism. The mystical Jedi practice has actually become a real religion with legions of adherents.
But witchcraft is not relegated to fantasy. It is now making a resurgence in mainstream culture. Two months after Donald Trump was sworn in, a monthly effort to use witchcraft and black magic to end his presidency began. A gathering was called in Brooklyn to hex Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The Burning Man Festival, an annual gathering bringing about 70,000 people to the Nevada desert, includes pagan temples and undeniably pagan elements while claiming to be secular and unaffiliated.