Naomi Wolf & The Ancient Gods
I haven't paid a lot of attention to the writer Naomi Wolf in a while -- I know she was a big anti-vaxxer, but nothing more about her -- but a reader sent this startling essay of hers, about a startling book that I liked last year (and wrote about here). Attention, let's pay it.
She's writing about the Messianic Jewish rabbi Jonathan Cahn's book The Return Of The Gods. In it, Cahn puts forward the thesis that ancient Near Eastern gods like Moloch, Asherah, Baal, and others, to whom humans were sacrificed, did not go away (because they are demons, not mere fictions), but were suppressed by Judaism and then the spread of Christianity. Yet as Christianity declines in the West, says Cahn, we are seeing these ancient gods return. He means it literally. Here's what Wolf, a Jew, has to say about it:
But I think it is possible that for four thousand plus years — and then for two thousand — God’s covenant has in fact largely protected the West, and that we have had His blessing for so long that we have taken it for granted; and that in the last few years, we have released our hold of God’s covenant – and that God has simply, as He warned us in the Old Testament that he could — withdrawn; and left us to our own devices — so we can see for ourselves how we will do when we depend on humans alone. In the absence of God’s covenant and protection in the West, great evil is flourishing.
Pastor Cahn’s premise resonated with me, because the energies that I have felt flooding into our world in the last two years, feel primally recognizable to me as a Jew, – ancestrally recognizable.
These dark forces now freed into the world around us, feel like the way the world must have felt before Moses ascended Mt Sinai; before a baby was born in a manger.
They feel again like the pre-monotheistic past; like the world the Hebrews confronted, when the Word of God was first revealed to them.
It feels again like the ancient world that continually tempted the Hebrews away from the hard, rigorous, daily, demanding practice of morality and of adherence to the Ten Commandments. It feels again like the ancient world felt, being as it was under Baal’s, Moloch’s and Asherah’s dark, inexorable, complex and antihuman rule.
That is to say: it was — and now it is — a world in which humans did not, do not matter. It was – and now is – a world in which children can be slaughtered by their parents, or by the Authorities. It was – it now is — a world in which slavery had and now has no moral valence. Lust and greed were — and now are again — everything. God was not then fully present — and now I argue, as Pastor Cahn argues, God has withdrawn.
The commitment to Judeo-Christian norms and values, which have been the hallmark of the West for two millennia — even when we fell far short of them — has fallen apart altogether.
The great genius of America was not that it was consecrated to a specific religion — the genius of our nation included freedom of religion — but our distinction was that we were founded as a City on a Hill; spiritually; we were consecrated, via our ultimate organizational manifestation of human freedom, with its basis in free will — to God.
If we withdraw our role in that covenant, perhaps Pastor Cahn is right and pagan entities, long held at bay in the West – are empowered, and rush back in.
And so decency, human rights, human values, all of which we thought were innate secular Western values – turn out to be values that cannot be protected enduringly without the blessing of what has been in the West, a Judeo-Christian God. They are all being cleared out of our society, and almost no one — certainly very few people who are not people of faith — are standing in the breach as this takes place.
As such, I do feel that this is with what we are grappling and terrifyingly so. Since 2020 the world, I feel, has been bathed, infused, bombarded even, with intensely powerful energies that are totally unfamiliar to us in this generation, but that may derive from a pre-Christian, pre-solidly-Jewish time, a time when early Judaism was struggling with the seductive and oppressive entities that always sought to seduce the Children of Israel away from the monotheistic truth, the One God.
The ancient “shedim” are the only “principalities and powers” I can imagine that are capable of manifesting a national, and now a global, network of policy advocates, social workers, graphic designers, Members of Parliament, who are all on board with an escalating euthanasia death cult. The ancient “daimones” are the only entities I can imagine powerful enough in just two years and a bit, to destroy families, to ruin sexuality and fertility, to make a mockery of human rights, to celebrate the end of critical thinking, to march us all in lockstep to worship of technocrats and technocracy; medical cultism and an orgiastic cult of self- and other-annihilation.
And — I must notice — if these “shedim” or “daimones” are powerless — why are their symbols reappearing everywhere? I used to see fundamentalist Christians who warned of Satan lurking in rock and roll, as fanatics. But what I myself am seeing around me, I cannot unsee.
Read the whole thing. She has pictures. She says that once you see this stuff, you can't unsee it -- and she's right. By the way, six years ago, Alex Ross of the New Yorker wrote a really interesting piece about the occult roots of artistic, literary, and cultural Modernism. And, as I wrote in Live Not By Lies, the elites of pre-revolutionary Russia were deeply into the occult. This guy I call "Jonah" in my next book, an ex-occultist who was involved at a very high and intense level, has been telling me how this stuff suffuses pop culture, and how he and his occult friends used to delight in the confidence that they were going to win, because they owned pop culture, and Christians were no match.
One of the weirdest things about our current moment is the creeping realization that the fundamentalists, at whom I often sneered myself, were right about most things.
There's a Satanic convention -- SatanCon -- coming to Boston next month. Lucien Greaves, the founder of sponsor The Satanic Temple, is a master troller of liberalism. He tells the Boston Globe:
In 2016, TST requested to deliver an invocation before a Boston City Council meeting — a request that City Council denied. As a result, the dedication to Wu is an attempt to highlight what TST co-founder Lucien Greaves called “clear corruption on the part of the Boston City Council” for violating the religious freedoms of the Satanists. TST is also currently suing the City of Boston for denying their invocation request.
“The Supreme Court ruled in favor of such invocations of prayers being given so long as they are open and available to everybody,” Lucien said to the Globe. “They need to still respect pluralism and still respect people’s religious liberty and recognize that no government agency has the right to limit the civic capacities of any one viewpoint over another.”
He's right, isn't he? Isn't this what "religious liberty" means in a neutral public square? The Constitution doesn't say "but not Satanists," does it? That's because it never would have occurred to the Founding Fathers that this would be an issue. It probably wouldn't have occurred to anybody prior to the last few decades that it would be an issue. Now, the usual liberal suspects will tut-tut that Greaves is only trolling, and that this doesn't really mean that the most evil spirit of all is being honored and worshiped. I think this is nothing but liberal cope, the sort of thing right-thinking secularists tell themselves to calm themselves down when dark and freaky stuff is irrupting.
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We are doing to see more and more of this, and coming at us fast. Why? Because we have turned away from God. We are opening doors that were closed and sealed many centuries ago, but that we are now prying open like fools. A liberalism that is not founded in and bounded by Biblical religion has no defense against the enemy. Wolf writes:
And that this — the absence of the protection of our God – the ascendancy of a realm on Earth of us doing it all ourselves; regarding ourselves; worshiping ourselves, whoring after only human works; releasing ourselves from all lawful constraints, embracing all lusts and all obedience to non-divine authorities; rejecting mercy; celebrating all narcissisms; treating children like animals whom we own, treating the family like a battlefield; treating the Churches and Synagogues as marketing platforms — this is, indeed what the realms of pagan darkness; or of Principalities and Powers – look like.
The coming years are going to be something else. People are going to make fun of you for seeing what's right in front of your nose, but you have to persist. It's important. Alas, many of you and I will part after March 10, when this blog disappears -- but I hope you will follow me over to Rod Dreher's Diary, my Substack, where we will continue talking about these weird and important things. I'm already doing it -- new subscribers are getting daily mailings from me already, and the comments section is roaring to life with the intelligence that the one we used to have on this blog once did. Subscribe! It's only five dollars per month, or fifty dollars per year. I'm planning on writing five days a week, but you know me, I'll probably send out a dispatch every single day. I wish I could give you this material for free, as I was able to do here at TAC, but now that I'm moving on, I gotta pay the bills some kind of way.