This is not a post bashing Christianity or it’s followers. I have friends who are Christian, and to be honest, I get along better with some of them than certain other witches. I don’t have a problem with Christians as long as they don’t try to convince me to become one too. Ever since I became public about being a Witch, I have met only a handful of Christians who condemned me to the “fires of Hell”, while most others were merely curious about my beliefs and spirituality as it relates to Witchcraft. Most of them were educated and intelligent enough to know that witches do not worship Satan, we do not even believe in Satan, nor do we participate in human sacrifice or do any of the other horrible things that some people think we do. I have encountered more than a few militant Christians, of the “Fred Phelps” type, who take the bible quite literally and view anything not exclusively Christian as evil and satanic, but I have met many other Christians who have treated me with dignity and respect even though I do not share their beliefs. There are many religions in this world, and I believe everyone should have the right to practice the religion of their choice without interference from others. I don’t necessarily believe that “all paths lead up the same mountain”, but I do believe that if your spiritual path brings you joy and enlightenment, and does not advocate harm toward those who follow a different path or belief system, then it is a worthy and noble one.
First, I’d like to make it clear that I am very secure in who I am as a Witch, and Christianity does not fit anywhere in my personal theology. I know some folks have found creative ways to blend Wicca and Christianity. While I remain very skeptical of this practice, it would not be right for me to look down on those who have chosen such a path, if they sincerely feel it brings meaning to their lives.
That being said, there are certain tenets of traditional Christianity that do not play a role in Witchcraft. One of these is the concept of Grace. In Christianity, Grace is defined as the undeserved favor given to us from God or mercy granted to us that we are not worthy to receive. In Witchcraft, however, we do not consider ourselves unworthy or undeserving of anything. We are not separate from the divine, but rather, we are co-creators with the divine. We view divinity as both imminent (within us) and transcendant (around/above/below us). The concept of Grace does not play a role in our belief system.
Other Christian concepts are Sin and Salvation. In Christianity, Sin is anything you do that separates you from God, such as breaking the 10 Commandments or doing anything that the Bible says not to do. Those who commit sin are estranged from God until they ‘repent’ (refrain from sin and return to God). Christian theology teaches that we are all born as sinners, and will suffer punishment in hell unless we accept Salvation by becoming subservient to Jesus Christ. In Witchcraft, the ideas of Sin and Salvation do not play a role. We do not need to be redeemed or saved, because we are not in peril. We do not believe in a Satan/Devil figure, nor is there anything in our belief system stating that we are inclined to sin. Furthermore, as witches, we do not need an intermediary to connect with the divine. We are each of us Priestess and Priest, and we have divinity within us. The spirituality of Witchcraft is based on direct experience with the divine, rather than Faith.
Other Christian concepts such as Evil, Judgment and Scripture, also do not play a role in Witchcraft. As stated earlier, we do not believe in the Satan/Devil figure or any other all-evil entity. People have the capacity to do evil acts, but the concept of a supreme evil being does not exist in Witchcraft. Evil is not an absolute power, but a choice that one makes. In traditional Christianity, Judgment is the belief that one day you will stand before God and give an account of the deeds of your life, and by those deeds you will either go to Heaven or be condemned to Hell. As witches, we do not embrace this belief. Many of us believe in reincarnation, which teaches that we may experience many lifetimes after this one. Wiccan teaching describes a place called the Summerland, where we are reunited with loved ones who have passed on. Celtic mysticism describes a place called the Otherworld, an unseen realm that exists alongside our own, where we join our loved ones after death, and from where we guide and assist our loved ones who still live on the earthly plane. Wicca has such teachings as the Wiccan Rede, which is more of a guideline than an absolute rule, and the Law of Threefold Return, which is based on the idea of cause & effect. We do acknowledge that actions have consequences, but there is no final judgment of deeds in Witchcraft. Regarding scripture, we do not have a holy book of rules handed down to us from on high. Our inspiration comes from Nature and our personal connection to the divine. I always found it odd when people would quote scripture to me, as if that somehow would make a difference. I do not live my life according to the Bible. It is not final authority for me, and has no influence in my life or my path. I have done extensive study of the Bible, I have read it cover to cover more than once, and I think every Witch should be familiar with it’s teachings so that they can respond in an educated way to those who might challenge their beliefs in Witchcraft and Paganism.
As I try to gain more understanding about the whole “Christian Wicca” thing, I learn that most practitioners of this blended path tend to follow it from more of a mystical aspect rather than a dogmatic one. I was reminded by a friend that certain spells in ancient grimoires contain bible scripture and call upon angels to assist in magick. Followers of Christian Wicca seek to be “Christ-Like”, living by forgiveness, tolerance and love rather than as traditional bible thumping hell-fire Christians. And they also happen to be witches. As I said earlier, this concept is something I just cannot wrap my head around, particularly due to the scriptures in the bible that explicitly condemn witchcraft. I do believe it’s possible that certain scriptures were altered or mis-interpreted, such as the famous “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” from Exodus 22:18. Some have interpreted this as another way of saying ‘do not partake of the services of a witch’ or ‘do not allow a witch to make a living’. In Deuteronomy 18:10 we read, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch” and Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me“. In my mind, these leave little room for mis-interpretation. Do these scriptures make me fearful for being a Witch? Not in the least, as I do not believe them to be truth. The bible is not part of my belief system and I do not follow it’s teachings.
My only hope is that if you wish to blend Witchcraft with Christianity, that you carefully examine your reasons for doing so. It can be very difficult for someone who was raised in a strict, dogmatic religion like Christianity to transition into Paganism. When you have had certain teachings ingrained into your psyche for so many years, it’s not easy to just cast them aside. “And why should I”, you might ask. They likely have become comfortable and familiar, and you might have many good memories associated with them. Still, it is important to be honest with yourself. How will you decide which scriptures to embrace and which ones to ignore? Do you really believe you can blend these two belief systems in a way that can enrich your life? If so, that’s great and I wish you the best, but you must also ask yourself if perhaps you are keeping one foot in Christianity, out of fear, just in case you made the wrong choice with paganism and you might end up being judged for your ‘sins’? You might have a strong emotional attachment to Christianity even though deep down you feel drawn to Witchcraft and Paganism.
I want to say again that it is not my intention to judge or look down on those who practice Christian Wicca. If it works for you, that is all that matters. Just know that it may take some time for myself and other traditional witches to understand it, but we are trying…
For a further examination of Neo-Paganism as it compares to other religions, I recommend The Living Temple of Witchcraft: Volume Two (Chapter Sixteen: The Wisdom of Sagittarius), by Christopher Penczak.