Witches and Animal Worshipers

Halloween often turns people’s thoughts to the casting of spells or the worship of animals. Difficult to imagine that things like that exist in our quiet community, but they do.

Animism is the belief that all things have a spirit, including animals, plants, rivers, mountains, stars, the moon, and the sun.

Each spirit can offer help or harm, and each must be either worshiped or appeased. Participants in Animism offer sacrifices, prayers, dances, and other forms of devotions to the spirits in hopes of blessings upon certain areas of life (crops, health, fertility, etc.), or for protection from harm.

A form of Egyptian belief in animism is often condemned in the Bible, but it has been practiced since ancient times, according to encyclomedia.com.

Hinduism is an example of a religion that evolved from Animism.

Not all scholars see animism the same way. Animism is derived from the Latin word anima, which means “breath, spirit, life.”  Animism is the oldest known type of belief system in the world that even predates paganism.

Also in animism, people have multiple souls and spirits, sometimes within multiple body parts. Some believe that within animism, reincarnation happens, but some believe that animals are reborn within a human body and some believe that humans are reborn within a body. Reincarnation varies in Animism, meaning that people believe several different things, according to encyclopedia.com.

Wicca is a more modern form of paganism which is was founded in England in the mid-20th century claiming its origins in pre-Christian religions.

There are other names for the religion such as the Craft, Benevolent Witchcraft, and the Old Religion. There are many different groups of the Wiccan religion and each has different purposes. Wicca was introduced in the 1950s by Gerald Gardner, a Wiccan. This religion is not an ancient religion, but derived from many other older religions.

Wicca acknowledges the polarity of the Divine, which means that both male and female deities are often honored. Wiccans believe that casting spells are not exactly supernatural but use natural energy to affect change in the world. Magic to Wiccans is basically just a skill or tool that anyone can use with a bit of practice.

Freerepublic.com, states in an article from 2004 in Ringgold, VA, a ritual using an animal sacrifice was at the center of a property-line dispute between a Ringgold concrete company and a neighbor who practices the Ifa religion, a form of voodoo. The sacrifice of animals is a big part of Animism, but voodoo is considered to be a big part of witchcraft and Wiccan.

Osungbemi Olaseni, a believe of the Ifa religion, had been arguing back in forth with the cement company over a property line ever since he and his family moved into their Wilkerson Road home in August of 2004. Olaseni sacrificed a bird to the god of Shango, who is the god of enemies in the Ifa religion. Olaseni claimed Shango instructed him to hang the bird from a tree.

Robert Hughes, who is the general manager of the concrete plant had been in the majority of the arguments with Olaseni. He believes the bird is supposed to symbolize a personal threat against his life and he started to carry a pistol to his work out of fear.

Olaseni stated himself that the rooster he hanged was the first of many sacrifices he was going to make because he was extremely bothered with Hughes. He even stated that there could be goats, sheep and chickens hanging from the trees as well, depending on the wishes of Shango.

Paulette Dean, executive director of the Danville Area Humane Society, at that time said that no animal should be sacrificed no matter what religion,  and that Olaseni should be charged with Class 4 misdemeanor for failing to bury or cremate the animal; however, in 1993 the U.S. Supreme Court supported the right of individuals to sacrifice animals for religious purposes, overturning an ordinance passed by the city of Hialeah, Florida, that prevented the practice.

A later survey proved that about four feet of the company’s driveway is on Olaseni’s property. The company installed railroad ties and “No Trespassing” signs Monday to mark the new property line.

Olaseni is a babalawo, or high priest in the Ifu religion. He said that the rooster would continue to hang “until the forces tell us to move it.”

Olaseni’s wife, Tola Adaramola, says that the family raises chickens and goats for sacrifice, and has a shrine to Esu, a neutral force, on their property. She also claimed that the sacrifices were not meant to be a threat, but Hughes refused to believe that.

Weird things have happened in our quiet county!