DO SATAN AND “WEATHER WITCHES” MAKE IT RAIN? TURNS OUT THE ANSWER MATTERS
Northern California is bouncing back from a once-in-a-decade storm. Lucky we all made it through okay, since that giant ark building is all the way over in Kentucky.
Yes, in Christian myth, god makes it rain. But, occasionally, the devil brings storms instead.
Over the years, a little spiritual sleight of hand happened when it came to the weather. And this tells us something important about what the character of Satan can do for us.
Take the Bible for example (if you can put up with it for a minute). Back in 1 Kings, the broadly unlikable prophet Jeremiah [EDIT: Nope, it was Elijah] challenged the priests of Baal to make it rain.
Baal was a storm god, so this made sense. (Actually there were about a million gods named Baal, but if we get into that we’ll be here all day.) When they couldn’t do it, he killed them all.
Not really sure why, but, again, he’s not the most likable guy. To top it off, he then makes it rain himself. Which is almost gloating at that point.
Later people turned Baal into a devil figure, under the name Baal-Zebub. So the Bible myth’s message is clear: god makes it rain, Satan doesn’t.
But then a few thousand years go by and up in the British Isles, “weather witches” were allegedly always calling on Satan to whip up storms.
King James I was once so convinced that witches sent a storm to sink his ship that he arrested 70 people for it.
(If you’re curious, they supposedly created that storm by tying severed genitalia to the legs of cats and dogs, then throwing the animals into the ocean. Do not try this at home.)
One witch confessed that Satan appeared in the flesh to help with the magic, so important was the mission of sinking James‘ fleet.
But of course, as a Bible enthusiast and king himself, James should have believed based on 1 Kings that old Beelzebub and weather witches can’t make it rain.
Now, it’s no secret that people’s religious beliefs are often inconsistent. The reason I bring this up is because it shows that the devil has always been a very elastic concept.
If you live in a desert, rain is a blessing. If you live in some wind-blasted islands famous for crappy weather, it’s a curse. So god and the devil trade the rainmaker job to suit their audience.
Since I don’ t believe in god or Satan, I don’t credit either of them. But here’s the thing: Anti-Satanists sometimes insist that we can’t “change” what the concept of Satan means.
I would argue that we aren’t, but even if we were, we can see that Satan has always been whatever people need him to be. So there’s no reason he can’t be a powerful tool in the public realm today.
It’s just a question of how much you want it to rain.
Let me please correct you, it was not the prophet Jeremiah who calleda drought and later rain and of course slaughtered the prophets of Baal – it was the prophet Elijah (not to be mistaken with Elisha)!