According to CBS/Pittsburgh, a career and college guidance counselor, whose name has not been released, has resigned from North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh after students complained about the coven whose members handed out “magic crystals” in the school.
The incident occurred just before Christmas when the counselor invited the owners of a local metaphysical store called Elemental Magick to speak to a marketing class about women-owned businesses. Tamara Latshaw; her wife, Tabitha Latshaw; and her sister, Kari Latshaw, are practicing Wiccans and witches and have owned the store for seven years.
During the presentation, the witches handed out crystals, telling the students that the crystals had metaphysical properties that they would explain after the presentation.
The metaphysical properties attributed to crystals are based in New Age and occult-based beliefs that the stones absorb and store “energy” from the universe which can be used for a variety of magical purposes ranging from developing psychic powers to healing and improving one’s love life.
In other words, they are used as talismans, which is in direct conflict with the Catechism No. 2117 which teaches that all practices of magic and sorcery, which include the use of charms, are to be condemned.
Thankfully, the students knew their faith and later approached school administrators to complain.
“Students in the class went, ‘Man, something isn’t right here,’” said Michelle Peduto, superintendent for schools at the Archdiocese of Pittsburgh. "They let the administration know about these crystals, and we investigated the business further.”
Following the investigation, Peduto said that the counselor is no longer with the school.
In an interview with KDKA-TV’s Andy Sheehan, the counselor said she was not fired but was given the option to resign, which she took.
Even though she admits some mistakes, she fails to see why this became such a big issue. "I should have had more conversation with them specifically about the crystal situation, but again it didn't ping for me something that would be such a big issue."
In her opinion, it was an error in judgment, but did not warrant her being forced to resign. “…[T]here was an opportunity for me to grow and develop as a professional and as a Catholic. I think the term we look for here is pastoral care. There's been no evidence of pastoral care for me or my family."
The witches were also perplexed by the school’s response and were not aware that their belief system clashed with Catholicism. They also insisted that they do not worship Satan.
"No absolutely, we don't believe in that," Latshaw said. "We worship as Wiccans. We worship nature. So our elements, earth, air, water and fire, that's what we worship."
However, their website tells a different story. Their metaphysical store sells products used in candle magic, crystals, and spellcasting, as well as a variety of occult books.
Some of the titles on their shelves include Solitary Séance: How You Can Talk to Spirits on Your Own by Raymond Buckland, an occult writer and former high priest in Gardnerian and Seax-Wica traditions.
Queer Qabala, by Ariana Serpentine, teaches how to “talk to your ancestors through the stars and introduces you to spirits and deities that can help you achieve self-actualization.”
Perhaps most disturbing of all was a book entitled Thelema: An Introduction to the Life, Work & Philosophy of Aleister Crowley: The Life and Legacy of One of History's Most Fascinating Magicians. Crowley, aka "the wickedest man who ever lived," was a notorious British occultist and practitioner of “magick” who referred to himself as the Beast 666. According to Britannica, he was denounced in his own time for his decadent lifestyle and had few followers, but he became a cult figure after his death.”
Thankfully, the Archdiocese did provide plenty of pastoral care to the students. They sent a letter of apology home with students that included instructions to either return or remove the crystals from the home and to say the Prayer of St. Michael the Archangel.
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