How Can Christianity and Wicca Mix? How can that be? Isn’t being a Christian and a Wiccan oxymoron?
The term Wiccan does not automatically indicate “anti-Christian” – this is the single most misunderstood concept revolving around Christian Wicca. This is a stereotypical way of thinking and a spiritual prejudice. As the researcher and author, obviously I have been able to draw the parallels of communing with the Holy Trinity within the spiritual framework of Wicca. However, the numbers of people who have claimed to study both Christianity and Wicca, and have not seen the parallels have overwhelmed me.
To be very honest, I am not the original person to set about Christianizing the practices and sacred Days of Power of The Wicca, Pagan religions, or any earth-based religions. As much as I would like to take credit for this – the Roman Catholic Church did this first. The Catholics are truly in many aspects the original Christian Wiccans or ChristoPagans!
Understandingly, it is human nature for us to not see the obvious truths standing directly before us. The change that the truth brings about in one’s own life is a scary thing. It is much simpler to be spiritually ignorant to esoteric concepts rather than to complicate one’s mind and soul with unfamiliar ideologies. The modern Church tends to frown upon anything outside beyond the mundane.
Most people don’t consider the many sects and denominations of Christianity as being oxymoronic, they are merely a different approaches. For example, when a Christian worships as Baptist is that an oxymoron? No, of course it is not! When a Christian worships as a Catholic or a Protestant, we don’t consider this an oxymoron, we considered this a diversity of theory and practice within the umbrella of Christianity.
Likewise, Wiccans identify themselves by tradition. Some of the traditions include Dianic Wiccans, Gardnerian Wiccans, Faerie Wiccans, Celtic Wiccans, and Eclectic Wiccans. What is wrong with considering Christian to be another tradition of Wicca?
Spiritual labels such as Dianic, Baptist, Eclectic and Catholic only define the technique of worship the practitioner uses to commune with the Divine. This concept is the same as when a Christian worships as a Wiccan. If it helps you to think of Wicca as another denomination of Christianity in order to better understand this spiritual path for yourself or to explain to others, then by all means, feel free to present it in such a light.
So, what aspects make Christian Wicca not an oxymoron? Below, I have tried to list the most frequently asked questions and address the most commonly distorted concepts revolving around practicing Christianity in the framework of Wicca.
Question 1. How is it possible for a Christian worship as a Wiccan? Wiccan ceremonies are not set up with an absolute Deity(s) system. Instead, Wicca is set up so that any pantheon of Gods and Goddesses can be acknowledged. Wicca allows the practitioner to worship the male and female aspect of The All in an understandable and personal way regardless of any religious, ethnic, or spiritual background. You may find that many books denote the male and female aspect of the Creator Spirit as merely the God and the Goddess. Wicca is best defined as a general worship format in which the practitioner supplies the Deity or Deities of their own belief system into this spiritual path.
Most Pagans tend to accept the fact that Jesus was a great teacher and healer. His parables and ideas were peaceful and filled with messages of love and goodwill for our fellow human beings. It is the distortion of Christ’s teachings and the misuse of the power of Organized Christianity that bothers Moderns Pagans. This book has come about because it bothers eclectic Christians as well! Christians who accept the Mother aspect of the Godhead share the bitterness of misogyny with Neo-Pagans and share the common distaste for the financial and political arena that modern religion represents.
Question 2. Doesn’t the Bible speak out against so-called “witches” and other forms of divination? Perhaps, but only in the literal sense of the word, and literal, symbolic and figurative contexts of the Bible have always been it’s point of controversy. However, if the words of the Bible have been throw out of context due to the reality of passing through the hands of morally and ethically corrupt humans in position of power, then one’s own personal research and conclusions is only means of gaining spiritual responsibility and peace of mind.
The most widely abused verse of the Bible against Wicca comes from Exodus 22:18: “Thou shalt not suffer the witch to live.” That sounds straightforward until you realize that the English word for witch is the Hebrew term kasheph, most often translated as “a poisoner.” Researchers believe this use of the word came about during the King James administration when the royal family’s paranoia ran high. They feared assassination from within due to poisoning and they relied on food and drink testers.
Kasheph also denotes the characteristics of a greedy, selfish, or immoral person. It often implies one who will do willful harm. In Exodus 22:18, it was an aggressive use bordering on assassination or indirectly calculated ways of murder. As words and phrases are prone to generational changes, vernacular use, or slang, one may feel this is the case here. It is for this very reason that Latin is used in legal and medical terminology; it is a dead language and is not subject to changes in phraseology.
Question 3. Wiccan rituals are not like typical church service; is this type of worship wrong for Christianity? This specific question always comes from Protestants because open-minded Catholics will look at a Christian Wicca Sabbat and say, “this is very much like a mass”! Actually, there is a very sound reason for that: Christianity spread worldwide via the Roman Catholic Church. Their tactic for converting Paganism into Christianity was to make the rituals of Pagans into masses, make each set of Pagan Deities into Saints, in exchange for taking on the Christian Triune God; those opposed or those who did not conform were killed. The Sword or the Lord – its your choice. This method of absorbing the earth-based religions was a very simple but highly effective plan.
If you are a Protestant, you must remember that you are a split-off of the Roman Catholic Church. You are the religious affiliation that protested the Roman Catholic Church. If you are a Roman Catholic, then all your masses and ceremonies are based on or stolen directly from the Pagan religions.
Another reason it may seem unfamiliar is because the average Christian church service is lead by a single minister or priest and the congregation is generally passive. Here is a good time to speak out on behalf of the “hands-on” benefits of personal spiritual participation involved in Wicca. This aspect allows each individual to be their own minister and to be their own congregation at the same time. Each person is a priest and each person is a priestess. In Wicca, each practitioner can have a part to play in the worship service. Whether you practice Wicca alone as a solitary or worship with a group, the assembling of the ceremony is part of the learning experience. Once parts are established and assigned, then the practitioner has to “do his/her homework” to be prepared for the ritual. This tends to enhance your knowledge of the ceremony, cause heartfelt emotions toward the rite being conducted, and as a result, deepen each practitioner’s connection to the Divine.
Practitioners gain so much more spiritually by getting involved with the entire Circle of Worship than by merely listening to another person recites passages from a book. Regarding this aspect of methods of worship, I often compare the Organized Church to going to college – at some point, you have to put down the books and begin to put your education into use. No one can make a living being a professional college student! (Trust me, I know people who tried!) Would you trust a surgeon to operate on you if she/he has only studied the human body from a textbook? Wicca encourages the Christian to take the lessons of the Bible, put them into action and to write their own ceremonies. Then just do it – celebrate your Communing with the Trinity!
Question 4. Should a Christian perform spells of magick? Let me clarify that spells can best be interpreted as “prayers with props”; these props may be candles, incense, healing herbs and oils, as well as the “not yet” defined powers and properties of semi-precious stones and gems. The use of candle magick continues in the Catholic Church in the forms of Novena candles. When Catholics call upon Saints in this fashion, it is no doubt a similar practice akin to magick. However, the Roman Catholic Church would not agree to terminology. Their pseudo-magical practices are more fashionably referred to as “popular religiosity.” There is absolutely nothing different about this practice from forms of candle worship in Wicca. Both are points of focus in one’s meditations, the only difference is that Wicca does not fall under the rule of the Vatican.
Question 5. How can a Christian observe Pagan sabbats such as Yule, Mabon, Ostara, Samhain, Imbolg, Lughnasadh, Beltane, and Mid Summer? This answer is very simple. You already are doing this, if you celebrate any of the holidays. Many if not most of the holidays and Saints’ days in Christianity, especially in the United States, derive from Pagan (or pre-Christian) holy days.
The Roman Catholic Church Christianized the Pagan holiday of Yule into Christmas, as it is the time for all Young Gods to be born according to thousands of years of Pagan traditions. Mabon is Thanksgiving. Ostara is Easter. Samhain is Halloween. Imbolg is Candlemas or Groundhog’s Day. Beltane is May Day and is a time for many spring celebrations with the dance of the May Pole and the crowning of the May Queen. Midsummer, the lesser sabbat of the summer equinox, seemed to need an association of some kind, so the Catholic Church re-associated this observance as John the Baptist Day.
The date of Christmas was the celebration of the return of the sun (“the light of the world”) and the birth of the Solar God, the “sun god” which was parleyed into the Son of God by the Organized Church. In almost every ancient religion, the young God was born at the winter solstice, and Christianity is no exception. While, it was widely recognized that Jesus might have been born in the late summer and recent re-evaluations point to early April, the Roman Catholic Church chose to continue the Pagan Young God birth cycle as a winter holiday.
Easter, once known as Ostara, is the time for procreation. Therefore, gifts of rabbits and hunting eggs continued to be a very common celebration. Ostara, the Spring or Vernal Equinox, which was a symbol of fertility as well as the origin of the Easter Bunny (a highly procreative species) in hopes of bringing bountiful crops. In all actuality, the Hebrew celebration of Passover began as a fertility festival as well.
Number 6. What is the difference between a Circle and a Coven? This is a two-fold question. Just as many Wiccans are steering clear of the term “witch”, many are steering clear of the term “coven.” Due to the negative light that the Inquisition, fundamental Christianity and society in general has put on the words, many Wiccans of all traditions are opting to avoid these terms that carry alot of false information and prejudice. Slander and spiritual hatred is never attractive.
A Circle is often a group of solitary practitioners of varying beliefs who gather to celebrate Esbats, Sabbats, and special healing or prosperity rituals with total respect to each other’s personal beliefs and views of The Divine. Usually this type of eclectic Circle or a group of Wiccans of various traditions does not have an appointed Priest or Priestess. Instead, there is usually a group facilitator of the rituals; he/she organizes the parts to which each person is going to take which part of the ceremony. For example, someone is appointed to cast the protective circle, one is appointed to call the quadrants, one is appointed to invoke The Divine Spirit, and others are appointed for coning the power towards the goal of the ritual, as well as the other components of the ceremony.
A Coven is a more organized group. There is usually only one tradition observed among all members of the Coven, and the belief structure is very similar, if not nearly identical between the practitioners. In addition, there is usually a hierarchy of leaders within the Sacred Space. Christians should be able to understand this as having a Pastor, Elders and Deacons, or Priests, Ministers, Lay Ministers, Reverends, Stewards, Music Directors, and Youth Leaders. This is the same for Wiccan Covens.
Covens and Circles can be all male, all female or both male and female. This is a personal choice of each group regardless of being a Coven or a Circle. Many groups feel that male and female personal energies do not work together when raising the cone of power towards a particular goal; other groups feel no problems in mixing personal energies of the two sexes. Sometimes there are problems of mismatched energies in any Circle and Coven, regardless of it the group of practitioners are the same-sex or mixed. Often, not everyone’s goals and intentions are the same; some have a less positive outlook on life and this can affect the entire group.
Question 7. How can a Christian use the pentacle and not the Cross of Calvary as a sign of their religious affiliation? Today, it is hard for Christians to believe that the cross was not always the symbol of Christianity. Originally, the cross was non-existent in the Early Church because it was considered in violation of the second commandment and considered a “graven image.” To the sensitive Christians of the early church, Jesus on the cross was a grim memory. The cross was a cruel execution device used in ancient Rome. The cross has also been used worldwide as a religious symbol, even in cultures that had no contact with Christianity such as many aboriginal tribes in Africa.
In antiquity, the solar cross, or the equal arms cross resembling a “plus sign”, was used by the Knight Templars, the Celts, followers of Janus/Bacchus, and Hebrew mystics. It represented the equal male and female energies of the universe – the Goddess and the God. The vertical line represents the male aspect of the Divine and the horizontal line represents the female aspect of the Divine. Through out history, we find the pentacle on jars of food and in ancient homes as a sign of protection from evil. Likewise, it is an adornment symbolizing protection and unity through the all-encompassing One Spirit. We shall discuss more details about the real mean of the symbol of the pentacle later in this book.
Many Christian Wiccans choose to wear their cross in addition to their pentacle to promote the idea that Trinitarians are Wiccans, too. In addition, it serves as a statement of affirmations for Christians who are putting the Goddess back into the Trinity. Other ChristoWiccans simply wear a pentacle and find no reason for anyone to question that their choice of God and Goddess is any less credible than those of other Wiccan traditions are.
Question 8. How does the Trinity fit into Trinitarian Wicca? The Trinity concept is not exclusively Pagan, however it does pre-date Christianity. Trinities have been part of almost all the world religions since the beginning of recorded history. Until Christianity appeared on the scene in the early first three centuries A.C.E., all trinities were female. The female trinity is the three aspects of the Goddess: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone (or the Wise Woman). As women were the bearer of children, the bringers of life – the female role in most cultures was more respected that after the onset of Christianity. At this time, each family was lead by a matriarch; the eldest living woman was the matriarch of each family, and her words of wisdom were highly respected.
One aspect of the Trinity often not mentioned or celebrated, as strongly among Wiccans is the Triple Male Concept. This Trinity is the Son, the Father, and the Sage (or the Wise Man). For the most part, I believe from first hand experience that Christians who turned wholey Pagan often put stronger emphasis on the Triple Female Concept of The Divine than longtime Wiccans, seeming as some form of mental, spiritual and psychological cleansing of the jealous and bitter Old Testament God who projected the message of “worship me or die”. Indeed, this is not a very loving concept. If it is spiritual love that is missing from one’s own religious practices, then the rebellion of the vengeful Christian God is an understandable human reaction.
Staying with the Trinity approach to the worship of the Godhead was an intelligent move. However, Christianity realized the Trinity in the form of Triple Male Godhead composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Before the Gutenberg press and the release of the King James Version of the Holy Bible, it was very common to find that the newly absorbed Pagans-turned-Christians would honor the Christian Holy Trinity of male deities completely in addition to their regional or cultural Goddess from their specific earth-based religion. Ironically, no one in the masses even questioned the gender of the Holy Spirit except for scholars and those who would not readily fall under the brutalities and persecutions of the Roman Catholic Church or the Inquisitions.
Question 9. Are there other Christianized Pagan and Catholic tie-ins that are still in practice? Yes! Many of the ‘traditions’ in church and in the modern world are not those derived either from the Bible or from the letters of the early church fathers. Instead, they derive either in whole, or in part from Pagan rituals or from the secular rituals of Pagan cultures.
For example, the advent wreath is part Christian, part Pagan. The evergreen wreath, the use of candles and increasing numbers of them, and its circular shape are all derived from various Pagan solstice rites, but the current number of candles (four), their arrangement (a cross), and their colors (purple and white, and sometimes a lighter purple or pink one) derive from Christian symbolism. A Pagan solstice wreath would have candles in the elemental colors, or all one color, probably red, to symbolize the new birth of the sun.
There are two candles on the altar of Catholic Churches used for illumination; many realize this is a parallel to the God and Goddess candles of Pagan Altars. In addition, votive candles used during mass derive from Mithra worship. The candles represent the Sun. In almost every religion in the world observes a God and Goddess. In other spiritual paths, equal male and female aspects of the Divine are revered because humankind is both male and female. Most equate God with the sun. It is for this reason that candles are usually the focal point of the Male aspect of God or the young Solar God, which is Jesus in Christianity.
Question 10. How do angels and saints integrate into Christian Wicca? The Roman Catholic Church has worked with angels and saints for two thousand years. They work as guardians, guides, protectors, and celestial intercessors between humankind and the Divine. Many of the saints were Pagan Gods and Goddesses absorbed into the Catholic Church.
Many Christian Wiccans likewise feel a spiritual connection to deities of the Old Religion as they are appropriately referred to as Patron Gods and Goddesses. The do not supercede the Holy Trinity; they are simply compliment the Father, the Mother, and the Holy Son.
The Goddess Brigid was one of the most difficult transformations in religious history and yet, Sainte Brigit is the most famous of the Pagan Goddesses turned Sainte. There was reasonable amount of conformity as the Irish people took on the robe of the Roman Catholic Church as they embraced the teachings of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, these people refused to give up their beloved Brigid. Unable to eradicate all elements of some Pagan religions and fearing to loose all of the Irish Tradition, the Roman Catholic Church made Brigid a Sainte, renamed with the Christian approach as Ste. Brigit. For all the Pagans who missed their beloved Kernunnos, whose symbol was the Stag; the Catholic Church replaces Him with Saint Hubert and Saint Tatheus. Sainte Ann proved to be a replacement for the Pagan Goddess Ana or Dana.