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What Does it Mean That Kat von D is a Christian Now? | A Christian Witch's Perspective

Honestly, I have a lot of thoughts on this, so buckle up.

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry, Discernment, Church, Solomonic Magic, Occult, Left Hand Path, Demonolatry, Demonology, Corinthians, Paul

A lot of folks have asked my opinion about Kat von D getting baptized into the Christian faith. For those of you who don’t know, Kat von D is a pretty legendary tattoo artist, starting off on TLC series Miami Ink before getting to star in her own TLC spin-off, LA Ink, where she would demonstrate her talent, showcase some interesting stories that clients would share, and manage High Voltage tattoo shop in the middle of LA, all alongside a hefty amount of drama.


(It’s reality T.V. There’s gonna have to be drama. And you can see the episodes free on YouTube.)


But as Kat von D’s fame grew, so too did a lot of other business ventures like memoirs and a makeup brand she started in 2008. While she stepped away from the make-up brand in 2020 to pursue the million and two other things she’s doing, like releasing an album and releasing a vegan shoe brand and whatever else, the brand continues under the name KVD Vegan Beauty, and I do have some of it (tattoo eyeliner and mascara), and I love it. Best liquid eyeliner I’ve ever used, hands down. Don’t @ me lol. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had some serious faux pas moments with the makeup, given some of her names for her lipstick, like “Selektion,” were… extremely problematic in Germany, given its history with the Nazis. She just kept striking out with the names of that lipstick and eventually pulled it altogether. Woof.


Many books intertwining her tattoo career and her life are out, detailing the struggles she’s faced and the life lessons she’s learned. I mean, even just from reading her Wikipedia page, it doesn’t look like she’s had the easiest time in life; abuse in Provo Canyon School as a teen, a solid fight for sobriety after years of alcoholism, a list of messy relationships… all that. And among it all, she had a solid interest in all things spooky and witchy and “macabre.” Usually—not always!—but usually, people who are into that kind of stuff tend to also find themselves tangentially into witchcraft.


A Theory for the Link Between Alternative Fashion and Alternative Spirituality


These two things just go together for some reason. Maybe it’s because the aesthetic of these things is counter-culture socially, and the witchcraft thing is counter-culture spiritually. There’s usually a link between alternative aesthetics and alternative beliefs, especially in such a largely Christian-dominated culture that focuses on trying to look like wholesome, pure souls as much as act like it (even though we know they all have some pretty ungodly amounts of skeletons in their closet—ahem, Shiny Happy People).


If we take a look at the Gothic aesthetic as a subculture, we can understand its roots right off the bat and why it’s become a name for an entire group of people. Originally, the term belonged to that of the tribes that sacked Rome: the Ostragoths and Visigoths, Germanic tribes that were considered crude and barbaric. When the term came around centuries later in reference to the style of architecture that buildings like the Notre Dame in France, it wasn’t a positive thing: people thought the style of architecture was ugly, horrid, barbaric.


Even later than that, the term came around again in reference to literary styles. Gothic literature, known as Gothic horror, is its own fascinating genres that takes Dark Romanticism to its extreme and explores topics, ideas, and themes that lots of folks in upstanding society may have considered crude or unconscionable to think about, including a lot of fascination with science, the occult, and those hit-you-in-the-heart storylines. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, anything by Edgar Allan Poe, all are some examples of dealing with the strange, bizarre, and macabre, as well as revealing the ugliness and hypocrisy of the alleged upstanding members of humanity through the monsters, ghouls, and dark secrets featured within. Such things largely inspired the development of the subculture that became its full-fledged self in the late 70s and early 80s where suddenly Goth became a genre of music and an iconic fashion style distinct from its Punk origins.


It’s not a hive-mind subculture by any means, though. The focus with Gothic expression is on exactly that: expression. Individuality, acknowledging the darker side of life, not shying away from death and dying, being open-minded towards the dark and spooky things people reject on first impulse—it all finds a home in a surprisingly tender and sentimental subculture. That’s why it branched off from Punk to begin with: because its founders wanted something softer, something more emotional and intellectual, something more whimsical and willing to explore what went creeping in the dark. That’s why the subculture has such a huge focus on music: the early bands, like Bauhaus, The Cure, Joy Division, all that, made up a huge amount of the subculture, and many bands thereafter kept after that emotional, romantic aesthetic, like H.I.M., The Rasmus, all that.


Likewise, witchcraft does something similar. The aesthetic of magic as people understand it, especially for people getting into it now, isn’t all bunnies and flowers and nature-based, fertility-focused paganism. Goth and Witch seem to go hand in hand, in that the Witch aesthetic is a lot of that darker, more grungy and Gothic aesthetic, especially as the world continues going more and more down the drain. It focuses on individual spirituality, individual connection with one’s gods and spirits separate from organized religion. It also focuses on personal power and sovereignty, with people rediscovering their own agency through spiritual and supernatural means. Molly Odintz has some interesting theories and insights on the issue:


Witches in novels, and in real life, are having a moment. While last summer was defined by the nap dress and Cottagecore, this year’s end to Roe V. Wade makes “goth witch” the only reasonable aesthetic to embrace. After all, the original witch crazes, according to Silvia Federici’s essential theory book Caliban and the Witch, were meant as methods of reproductive control—village women steeped in herblore understood how to terminate a pregnancy, and the capitalist need for new workers, soldiers, and prisoners, (or as Amy Comey-Barrett calls it, the “production of infants”) demands that women with enough knowledge to end a pregnancy be themselves terminated. Paradoxically, as our rights are taken away, witchcraft becomes ever more important for the power of magical thinking alone—sometimes, the only power in an increasingly disenfranchised nation.


There’s another reason witch books are popular right now: it’s the end of the world, environmentally speaking, and as our ability to change reality positively without magic diminishes, our need to embrace witchcraft correspondingly grows.


Witches also represent the spirit of female rebellion, or at the very least unapologetic female weirdness, explored by Mona Challet’s passionate work of nonfiction, In Defense of Witches: The Legacy of Witches and Why Women are Still on Trial. The trial aspect of the book is particularly relevant considering the growing backlash to #MeToo happening in the courts, not to mention the scores of women soon to be prosecuted for having or aiding an abortion based on their neighbor’s hearsay (basically what happened to like every cool woman in the 17th century).


That part, that ability to change reality positively without magic thing, is important. The reason magic was even a thing to begin with, from a purely psychological standpoint, was simple: it was a way to appeal to supernatural entities, like gods and spirits, to protect us from things we couldn’t attack with a sword or legislate away. Like floods. Or droughts. Or wildfires. Or locusts. Or disease. Or bad luck. Or anything else that could righteously screw up an otherwise pretty good time for us on earth.


This even happened in early Christian magic. Religion for Breakfast had a wonderful webinar that I attended that talked about early Christian exorcism, and you may or may not be surprised to know that a lot of early Christian magic had amulets focused on driving spirits of disease and bad fortune away in the name of Jesus; these prayers and bits of scripture would be written down onto tiny pieces of paper for the commissioner of such magic to carry around to ward these things away. Magic across cultures has always been a way in which people tried to negotiate with their perceived makers of the world into giving them an easier time in a very difficult world to live in.


The same thing is happening today. The Church has let a lot of people down. Mainstream religion does not have the answers or the level of connection people want. Our leaders are ignoring the needs and voices of the people, both at home and abroad. The world is burning and flooding at the same time, and no one seems to be doing anything about it. The threat of global war is now more real than ever. What else are people to do but turn not only to faith, but to a faith that hasn’t hurt them in the past? What else is witchcraft, but a public expression of someone opting out of these institutions that have left them and their loved ones scarred and picking up the pieces, that have destroyed the world they want to heal?


While you definitely don’t have to be Goth to be a witch or magician of any kind, there is a lot of sentimentality in witchcraft and in Gothic aesthetics, a lot of concern with the ugliness of the world, and so it’s no wonder to me how these things get tied together so often.

But for some people, when life doesn’t get better no matter what, a huge change feels like the answer. I mean, we’ve all chopped our hair off after a wild ride in our lives at least once, right? It’s a similar idea: things are bad, and maybe shifting something very important about us and our lives will help us cope with that. For some people, that’s hair—and for some people, that’s religion. So let’s take a look at what happened on Kat von D’s Instagram a year ago, in July of 2022.


The Inciting Incident: Kat von D's Instagram Post


So here’s the post that started this situation, including the caption that caught so much attention in press and caused such a ruckus. You can read it for yourself and see the photos.

And she wrote all this next to pictures of her bookshelf and the books she tossed, as well as a couple tarot decks, one of which I have. It’s a good deck, The Golden Tarot! A beautiful example of the traditional Rider Waite symbolism in lovely Renaissance art!


But anyway, naturally, people were commenting on both sides. Lots of vitriol from people who were less than pleased with her decision and who were railing against Christianity, lots of encouragement from Christians happy to win yet another soul over to “their side” or something. Plenty even accused her of just converting to stay relevant. However, it’s the language in this post that gets me. Specifically the language about a spiritual battle.


You know what? I don’t even disagree with her about the idea that there’s a spiritual battle. It smacks of the New Age Rapture Reloaded nonsense they like to push, where these New Age kids basically just repeat the same Good vs. Evil themes of Christianity in a different context and pretend they’re more spiritually aware than the rest of the population, but I feel like there’s more to this transition to Kat than people readily understand.


Moreover, the problem is that while I agree there’s some kind of spiritual battle here, especially for people on a personal level, you won’t easily find an agreement about what the spiritual battle is. For myself, I think that “battle” comes in the form of the fact that everything Jesus ever said got tossed out the door a long time ago, and people are just waving His dead body around like some kind of badge of immunity for all the stupid stuff they believe and do. I mean, Jesus, just this year, Russell Moore, the former president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, came out and shared some harrowing truth about the state of western Christianity: it thinks Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, the peak moment of Christian doctrine from Jesus’s own lips, is weak and too liberal.


Damn.


However, it seems like Kat was going through a separate battle, and frankly, as a Christian Witch myself… I can see it. The thing about witchcraft is that it takes a lot of ferocity, a lot of energy, a lot of peering into the darkness, and when you have a person who has already been so exposed to darkness all their life—from abuse to alcoholism to the stress of being a self-made entrepreneur to failed relationship after failed relationship—it can become too much. I don’t know what Kat’s practice or spirituality looked like before her conversion, but if she didn’t have a good foundation in her spirits, whoever those spirits may have been—if she ever felt like she was doing all this on her own, trying to shift her world with her own power and finding herself unable to keep showing up day in and day out with all this pressure mounting on her—witchcraft can become a burden more than a help. I mean, it looked like she was dealing with some stressful stuff just within a few blips of the LA Ink episodes I went through; the phone call with the editor for her Go Big or Go Home book alone sounded stressful as all ever (S7 E8: Nothing is Forever).


With things like this, it makes sense to me that people would choose to offload that anxiety and that tension onto someone or something else. All this going on in Kat’s life, it takes a toll. Sometimes witchcraft—having to be in charge of your own growth, find your own answers, make your own decisions on what is right and what is wrong—it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. In those moments, I can totally see the inclination to do exactly what 1 Peter 5:7 says: Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.


As a Christian Witch myself, I can’t fault Kat for that. A lot of people get into witchcraft without ever asking themselves if witchcraft is for them, and it’s good to me that Kat took it upon herself to do that introspective work and ask herself what her relationship with the macabre even is. It’s good that she realized that she needed something different than what she was doing, and that she committed to doing it. It’s good that she found a way to offload some of the stress and uncertainty of life that she couldn’t do with the system she built for herself spiritually. I’ll be the first to say, again, as a Christian Witch myself: magic is a huge thing to get into, occultism a very difficult and burdensome topic to explore, and it is more than possible for something like that to be too much for people struggling just to keep their head above water on a day to day without adding spiritual defenses and concerns to their material defenses and concerns. While many, like myself, are called to this path, even in a Christian context—the fact is that many are not, yet try to get into this life anyway.


It’s not for everyone. I and my many spiritual friends agree: if you can avoid the heartbreak and despair that comes with being a mystic, a magician, a theurge, a Witch—avoid it.


The Issue I Have with Kat von D' Conversion to Christianity:

The only thing I do remember thinking when I first saw this, though, was that it was going to be another ember on the already burning anti-occult fire. Yes, Kat acknowledged that she wasn’t trying to throw anyone still on this path under the bus, but by the comments on her post, it’s obvious that that’s what mainstream Christians will take away. Every time there’s something like this happening, with some big celebrity discovering Jesus out of nowhere, it seems to get the Christians up in a tizzy. And certainly, there is no shortage of “Ex-Witch Turned Christian” shenanigans out there on the internet (like this Tiktok from user @jennyjoyhappy). I’ve written about this on my blog before, I’ve talked about it on Tiktok before, but to reiterate: the thing I see most often with these ex-witch types is that they make some vague claim about how Jesus delivered them from spooky evil darkness and now they renounce everything else they ever did.


If we wanna talk spiritual battles, we have to talk about the fact that the Christians are in the same boat as the witches: confused, scared, unsure of the future, and looking for an enemy to put in their sights that they can defeat and, afterwards, hopefully restore order with. At the end of the day, the Christian’s and Witch’s wishes for stability and the defeat of evil are the same—we just can’t often agree on what the source of the evil is.


As a Christian Witch, I can say I certainly do not side with the Christians who seem to think that the LGBTQ+ community is a sign of the devil’s work or that Christian Nationalism is necessary to heal America or that Roe v. Wade is the worst thing that ever happened in modern history. But I also can’t say I side with the witches who want to blame all the world’s evils on a religion that hasn’t, since the Roman Empire’s adoption of it, been able to be true to itself. The real root of evil, in my eyes, is something I discussed on my Tiktok page, something I wrote quite extensively about in my upcoming book, Discovering Christian Witchcraft, and that I’ll likely have to do a longer expose about at some point, but to quickly sum it up: the root of evil is Power without Love and Mercy to balance it out. It is the lust for such power, the brutality that comes with such power, the need to twist all things to fit within the narrow bounds set by such power.


Many people, be they Christian or Witch or whatever else, want that vengeful, crushing power over those they deem unworthy of their love and mercy. And there is a creature out there that offers it, a verifiable Anti-God that broke off of God and disappeared to create its own abominable worlds, only to want more and try to break its way onto earth to drag us all down into its jaws. More on that later on my Patreon and YouTube.


All that aside, in the realm of liberation theology, there are so many powerful mystics, theologians, and philosophers who discuss these things, as well as the way in which this Anti-God shifts itself to try and catch as many people as possible in games of division, separation, judgement, and hate. Theologian and philosopher Christena Cleveland, in her book God is a Black Woman, notes how this creature—which she calls whitemalegod and fatherskygod to represent the way in which this thing prioritizes certain demographics in society and is so far away, so remote, so detached from the plights of the average person—is a master shapeshifter, something that can infiltrate the obvious places like megachurches and the supposedly “good” places like white feminism, sowing discord and creating division wherever it goes so that nobody can ever properly unite and stand against the ills of the world. Christ, on the other end, is one who, by His death on the cross, shows us that there is no one too different to love. In fact, it’s Jürgen Moltmann, who became a proponent for liberation theology and social justice after his experiences as a German soldier being captured by Allied forces in World War II, that tells us a key feature of the Church and the cross: it needs to be made of people who are radically different from one another, and it needs to extend empathy and solidarity to all people, no matter their backgrounds, race, religion, or anything else. After all, it wasn’t the righteous and holy that recognized Jesus, but those discarded from society, those denied their humanity.


So truthfully, after looking into this, it breaks my heart that Kat, despite her attempts to change and walk a new spiritual life in earnestness, was met with some serious vitriol for her conversion. It came not only from former fans, but from fellow Christians, as seen in the many tabloid articles that covered this like in the Daily Mail:


'It was really sad to see this critical display of judgment from Christians... because that isn't Christ-like to judge people or judge people's journey. You would think most Christians would be happy for you when you come to this point in your life, especially when you get baptized.'

Apparently, plenty Christians still weren’t happy that she kept some of her tattoos visible, that she wore black to the ceremony, that her friends wore black, and all other kinds of ridiculous, nit-picking nonsense that flies in the face of what Jesus ever told us to be like. Kat mentioned in these articles that she didn’t think there was any certain uniform Christians had to wear, and that given that her social media isn’t monetized, the accusations that she was trying to profit off an otherwise vulnerable moment was wild. Moreover, the reasons she’s sharing her journey at all isn’t to proselytize, but to be a call to people like her: ones who feel like they can’t authentically chase their spiritual path, whatever it looks like, because of how they’ll be received, whether by the people on that path or the people outside it. From The Insider’s article, Kat says:


If there was anybody out there that felt like they were at a crossroads and don't feel like you fit in — because I don't feel like I fit in anywhere now or that I ever have, to be honest with you — you're not alone… And it's crazy how many people in my DMs and stuff shared with me what they've been going through too, so it's kind of cool to be able to connect in that way.


How could anyone fault her for that? I can’t—especially given that this is the reason I’m out here, too: to show people that they don’t have to choose between Christianity and Witchcraft, and that the two can (and always have) coexisted in some capacity. But for others like Kat, this isn’t the path for them, and that’s okay. To reject the institution of the Church for all the damage it’s done is to also reject the sources of that damage—one of which is the idea that we all need to agree with each other spiritually or walk the same path. There’s this cultural need to be right, for our path to be the path, that is the result of such a thing being pushed on people for literal centuries. To turn up our nose at those who choose to leave the Witch part aside and focus solely on Christianity is much like those Christians who throw curse after curse at us Christian Witches from their whitewashed tombs.


In short, if Kat is happy with her spiritual path, who the hell am I to complain? And what business of mine even is it? All I know is that she's out there doing what she thinks she needs to be doing for her own betterment, and that's all we can ask of anyone. It's also a sign that Christianity as an institution is, as expected, in massive trouble, because even when these mainstream Christians do win people over to their side, they still manage to screw it up by being the most persnickety, judgemental, awful people on the block.


An that's all there is to say about that.


Sources:

About Kat von D:

About Gothic Fashion:

About Witchcraft:

 

Christian Witch, Witchcraft, Mysticism, Magic, Crystals, Bible, Incense, Folklore, Sara Raztresen, God, Spirituality, Tarot, Occult, Evangelical, Demons, Sin, Danger, Possession, Idolatry

Sara Raztresen is a Slovene-American writer, screenwriter, and Christian witch. Her fantasy works draw heavily on the wisdom she gathers from her own personal and spiritual experience, and her s


piritual practice borrows much of the whimsy and wonder that modern society has relegated to fairy-and-folktale. Her goal is to help people regain their spiritual footing and discover


God through a new (yet old) lens of mysticism.



Follow Sara on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and explore her fiction writing here.


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