Thursday, July 1, 2010

Llewellyn's Confusing Update: Christo-Wicca?

My Riot inbox stays pretty full. You folks really keep me hopping with tons of listener and reader feedback, and I totally love it. Also, because I'm pagan and have a well-read blog/podcast, I seem to get put on all these lists. Somehow I've ended up on the 'Llewellyn's Witchy Updates' mailing list. Now, I'm not one to immediately knock Llewellyn publications. I shamelessly own a few of their titles, but I sometimes wonder exactly how far they'll go in their quest to publish absolutely any pseudo-pagan-related text.

Case in point: The Path of a Christian Witch by Adelina St. Clair. I just got an entire email from LPubs (Llewellyn Publications, but I'm just too lazy to keep typing it) regarding this new book, as well as a sample article from the author about the 'Christian Witch Wheel of the Year.' (Basically, if you've ever read the history of things like Easter or Christmas, you're up to speed on the article's contents. Every Christian holiday has pagan origins! Ahhhhh!!!!


I got this a couple of days ago, but it's interesting, because I've also recently gotten a good deal of feedback from the Twitterkin, readers, and listeners lately about being a Christian Witch/Wiccan. The term I found at good ol' reliable Wikipedia is Christo-Pagan. Basically, the name implies exactly what you're thinking: somebody decided Christianity and Paganism go together.

Now, that I can actually get behind. I am all for forging a new path, blending the old, the new, and the different. I like taking opposing ideals and finding their commonalities. Christo-Paganism is all right by me.

I is just a bit confuzzled by the Christian Wicca, though I get where they line up. I get the general idea of Trinity = Triple Deity. I get comparing the Virgin Mary to the Goddess. I get prayer = magic (though I disagree with the concept)...etc, etc, etc. I totally get it. My only question, and again I'm not knocking anything, is 'Why Christian Wicca?'

My rumination is on the marriage of religions. Typically when you are initiated into a religion, there is a caveat about only being part of that religion. Religions have laws and rules and things. Sometimes a religion has a specific law about you NOT being a part of another religion or belief system. However, in the case of marrying two spiritual paths or one religion and a spiritual path, the lines become blurred.

Putting ideas and practices from a path in with your religious tenets is like choosing to use a TI-89 calculator to do your homework, instead of the standard 10-key add, subtract, multiply, divide one. Sure, it might cost more to use this option, and you might not understand just how best to use it the first few times, but after a while it's so much easier and faster to use the calculator with extra functions. Adding to your practice with and open world view takes nothing away from a religion. And, I'm not saying being Christo-Wiccan or a Hindu-Asatru or a Jewish-Christian takes away anything, but it gets confusing.

Take the last example: if someone wanted to be both Jewish and Christian. Well, there are some basic problems with this. Christians believe Jesus Christ is the one and only, virgin-born son of God. Jews don't. In fact, they don't believe the Messiah has come at all, but that he will some time in the future. Putting aside all other facets of belief, this one law/rule/stand-by is a pretty important feature. You cannot both believe that Jesus is God and that he is not.

This is the trouble I have in understanding the marriage of two religions, especially ones in which there are specific tenets that are diametrically opposed. But, I am a seeker. I don't understand everything. I don't even understand 1/billionth of 1% of everything. However, I try. So, if you're a Christo-Wiccan, let me know how you reconcile the two. How do you get around the practice of magic or the concept of the Devil/Satan? What do you feel about sin, original sin, or apples in general? (Yes, that last bit's a joke.) In Christianity, the triple deity is male, while in Wicca it is female...thoughts? Has Mary's personality split into three? Or do you just add Sophia into the mix?

Do you know who Sophia - Yahweh's wife - is?

Let me know with a comment, a tweet, or an email!

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

20 comments:

  1. It seems like such a strange concept to me. I thought in the bible it says something along the lines of "thou shall not suffer a witch to live". How does that work itself into the Christo-Wicca faith? Are certain parts of the bible just ignored?

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is a bit confuzzling. I call myself a Solitary Eclectic Christian. Since I am a Christian with core Judeo-Christian beliefs I cannot be called a Pagan, Wiccan, etc. Which means I don't think I can be accepted by the Pagan Community.

    I am a Christian that practices many aspects of the Craft. Because of this, I am not not not going to be accepted in the mainstream Christian church. I attended a Calvary Chapel non-denom church for 30+years.

    I think my beliefs just don't fit anywhere.

    How I feel is that there are energies that can be harnessed. I don't know if that's the right word. I feel that many things being practiced in the pagan community have origins out side of religion or tradition or whatever. There are powers and energies and vibrations. And what I've learned is that peoples of the Bible, God fearing peoples, often performed majic in the form of herbs, oils, candles, sacrifices, prayers, all kinds of things!

    I come from a pretty long line of psychic Christian women. It is understandably hard to explain. It is more common than you might think and certainly different from what I'm able to read in the books I've come across.

    So I would be interested in reading books on the subject. Thanks for the heads up!

    Grace and Peace

    Priscilla

    ReplyDelete
  3. Quick comment about Judaism and Christianity: The Jews never actually equated the concept of the Messiah with God. Occasionally, ancient Jewish prophecy were called "sons of God" to imply that YHWH favored these men and had adopted them as his own children.

    In that sense, it's possible for a Jew to believe Jesus was:
    a) the Messiah, but not divine;
    b) divine, but not a Messiah;
    c) a Messiah, but not THE Messiah.

    Two of these don't necessarily conflict with Christianity, depending on your interpretation of the Gospels.

    Also, most people who refer to themselves as "Christian Jews" are of Jewish ethnic descent and Christian religious affiliation. They generally celebrate Jewish festivals alongside Christian ones as a way of celebrating their heritage. This is not quite the same as attempting to syncretize religious Judaism and Christianity.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can also totally get Christo-paganism. I can see how mixing a certain combination of specific tenants of each path can lead to a plausible singular path.

    But what I get confused with is that it only seems to work if the follower picks and chooses the tenants that fit the path.
    I had a conversation on this with a Christian who's daughter was pagan. She said that she found paganism interesting but that her faith taught "Suffer not a witch to live" and, of course, the commandment "Thou shall not worship any other God but me". In that sense she felt she couldn't have any part in what her daughter did, despite being very curious about it.
    Her daughter agreed, having been raised in a Christian house and told me that the two will never fall parallel to each other. The whole of each can never make one.

    I don't think I'd like having to cut down my path to allow it to mingle with another. It's all or nothing for me!
    xx Aria

    ReplyDelete
  5. RE: "Religions have laws and rules and things."

    Beware words like "laws." Since I'm something of a walker of the way that my boyfriend calls "Santeria for white chicks" (which is basically Northern European Heathenry blended with Episcopalian/Anglican Christianity), I have been attending not only Holy Eucharist on a regular basis but also going to Bible study. And the great thing about Bible study with Episcopalians, particularly the ones at St. Joseph's Episcopal, one is encouraged to read as many different translations of the Bible as possible, to get a greater understanding of the same verses.

    So, as we at St. J's have been studying Romans of late, it has come out that "law" is not quite what we in the 21st century would call "law." In the Greek in which St. Paul would have written Romans, "law" can mean "custom" or "tradition." But it would be customs and traditions that were so throughly ingrained, that the very idea of transgressing them would be very difficult for these people to even wrap their brains around, let alone get them to DO.

    Not only that, but blended traditions aren't anything new; Christianity itself is a blended tradition (but most of them won't admit it). Somewhere in Norther European lore is the story of a man who said when he was on land, he sacrificed to the White Christ, but when he was at sea, he sacrificed to Red Thor. Also, Egil Skallagrimson was a "prime signed" heathen; he had gone to a Christian church and received the sign of the cross in holy oil upon his forehead, with the promise he'd be baptized in time, and this enabled him and many others like him to trade with Christian merchants. Not so unusual.

    ReplyDelete
  6. RE: "In Christianity, the triple deity is male, while in Wicca it is female...thoughts?"

    Well, considering that the whole Maid Mother Crone triple Goddess idea came straight out of Robert Graves' book The White Goddess, and not out of some ancient lore like most people think, I'm inclined to think (as a former Wiccan myself) that many people who grew up Christian have a need or a habit of thinking of the Divine as a trinity, and so they latched onto Graves' image (even though most seem very ignorant of the fact that it does come from Graves) to compensate for the trinity they walked away from.

    ReplyDelete
  7. And original sin came into the Christian way via St. Augustine. Jews don't have that idea. And it's not in the Scriptures. It's one of the reasons why St. Aug is one of the historical figures whose arse I'd dearly love to kick for sticking his nose in where it was better left out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. And....yup, I do know who Sophia is. She's Wisdom. The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul bears her name (but you cannot pray there; it is a museum, and praying there is a no-no). :D

    Next question?

    ReplyDelete
  9. And one can be a Jew and believe that Yeshua is God's Messiah:

    "Messianic Judaism is a Biblically-based movement of people who, as committed Jews, believe in Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah of Israel of whom the Jewish Law and Prophets spoke.

    To many this seems a glaring contradiction. Christians are Christians, Jews are decidedly not Christian. So goes the understanding that has prevailed through nearly two thousand years of history.

    Messianic Jews call this a mistaken - and even anti-Scriptural - understanding. Historical and Biblical evidence demonstrates that following Yeshua was initially an entirely Jewish concept. Decades upon decades of persecution, division, and confused theology all contributed to the dichotomy between Jews and believers in Yeshua that many take for granted today."

    Taken from here:

    http://www.mjaa.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Spg_About_History_MesJud

    ReplyDelete
  10. The MJAA site is quite right; remember, St. Peter was very resistant to St. Paul's evangelization to the Gentiles/ethnics/nationals/pagans of the Greek-speaking world. But that's how St. Paul's letters wound up in the Bible - he carried the Gospel to the nations, expanding beyond the Jewish world.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'll be quick. I call bullsh^t. Pllleeeaaasseee. Some things don't go together - hot peppers and ice cream for instance. You cannot embrace the idea of Dominion and reconcile it with Pagan concepts, no matter how many ways you attempt to interpret it. Spiritual beliefs can be blended, yes. But they have to have basic foundations in common.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Religions can't really be merged, but spirituality is not bound by any laws, rules, or conventions, and that's where the two can marry. Following the wisdom of each faith has no conflict on a spiritual level.

    A quick note of clarification:

    It was King James who introduced the "not suffer a witch to live" bit in his own version of the bible. Before him, the noun was "poisoner," but Jimmy had a hate on for witches, and since he was king he got to do what he wanted. He even tried to burn and ban other bibles so that his version was the only one, despite public outcry against this act.

    Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pfft Gillian, everything goes with Ice cream.

    Especially bacon and sweet corn, mmmm

    ReplyDelete
  14. Whatever floats your boat!

    It's all "made up" anyhow...hee hee!
    *runs laughingly from the room*

    Oh and BTW, Fire Lyte, isn't Sophia Yahweh's mom...she can't be his wife too...but...then you have Diana and Lucifer--brother and sister-- getting it on to spawn Aradia. Sheesh, our gods are just plain gross sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I know it can be confusing and at times we feel defensive about our religion . what ever religion it may be ;-) I find often when that is the case it is best not to look at others but what is it within ourselves that is upsetting us .
    Really reality is we don't know do we . Honestly who knows if is it right or wrong ? If it is good with her and not with you , can't that be cool and ok ?
    Catholics and others do not deny having pagan roots or rituals etc. it is a given , a known . the practice of relics came from the pagan practice of keeping ones bones around after death . people just do take & share from their cultures and religions . That is how new practices come to be . We must remember people learn both good/bad behvaiours . This means the abusisive ones too . one can blame abusisve behaviour on releigion but it is not it is in a persons character , most often passed on . these healthy & poor choices , behaviours are learned, passed on not taken .
    I know as a catholic some baptists who say catholics are pagan because we pray the rosary , they see it as praying to beads . I also have to not lump all into one ball as I do not like being put into a box myself ☺ . not all catholics are roman . not all baptists beleive a soul needs saving here on earth before reaching heaven etc.
    we just cannot put people into boxes. many catholics say Thomas Merton was not really catholic because he practiced bhuddism , not realizing buddists do not consider usually buddhiam a form of religion . To me he was of course a catholic just by being him .
    People often assume all aboriginal cultures were/ are pagan , again putting people into boxes.
    was mother Teresa not a catholic because she felt women should be priests just as they were in the first Christian churches ?
    people will make assumptions all the time not realizing there are gay , secular , pagans who are against abortion .
    aboriginal catholic , jewish Christians , and now Chriastian wiccans .

    remember the project pagan thing ☺
    I know for me being aborginal catholic but mostly just catholic is who I am . one God in all . water , sand , rock, sky , person ,plant . I can talk, call upon , pray to whom I want be it fairies or Krishna because they are all one , this is what I believe. this is universal - catholic ☺ to believe is all so some believe they are Christian wicca some just don't . my sil who is my best friend is neo pagan and a major in religious studies . She says it would appear I should be pagan also but will be first to tell anyone I am not , I can try all I want to be hindu or wiccan etc. it would be pretending .
    so instead I feel stuck at times in a catholic church family that is majorliy disfunctional . That got as far away from what we were given as they could . To believe just is we cannot force people to have what we believe to be theirs . we can just merely share and if they are meant to believe it will come .
    So for me to pray to Grandfather sun and sister sky is just a given it is part of me part of one . We pray the four dircetions(I honour 7 directions personally ) in church , have the drumming and smudging and share , this is all part of our mass . Is is wrong or right ? some people do not while the four directions are being honoured partake . They just do not feel comfortable or that it is right so they just wait until we are finsihed .
    I am really big on celtic Christianity right now there are many pagan / christian practices in this too . Reading ST. Hildegard and her writings about the elements especially in healing is wonderful . I love it .
    I hope your heart is calm ☺

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh I forgot to say too I have written before about the fullmoon rosary & why this is so special to me . I always thought I was nuts a lunatic 3-4 nights before the full moon tossing and turning . My school chums used to laugh look out for rox it is a full moon . Reality is it all belongs to no one religion . But given to all ! we all beleong to this creation . so just like the ocean tide , certain , plants , insects , & animals I am tuned into this moon .
    I no longer toss and turn and ask my dh to turn it off lol
    I figured out thanks to my pagan roots I am to be praying ! funny how something that almost tormented me for yrs turned out to have such a simple solution . So as in my aboriginal culture and catholic religion I pray for who ever I am called to pray for at that time . most often soul work .
    just wanted to share that as I know many struggle with the idea they cannot do this or that especially in regards to nature because it is from someone else's religion . again it all was given freely to all and we are part of that all ☺

    ReplyDelete
  17. Fire Lyte,
    I have struggled for some time now with a reality I can no longer ignore: I am Catholic AND Wiccan (I cannot justify calling myself "pagan" for I worship the Christian God who I have accepted as being incarnated in the person of Christ).

    I believe some things need to be clarified and,in doing so, perhaps it will help you expand your perspective on the topic at hand. The ultimate religious doctrine espoused by practicing Catholics is the New Testament, not the old. The Old Testament- the Jewish Torah- was written by Jews and for Jews. The laws recorded in the book of Leviticus (O.T.) namely "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" falls among the same religious obligations that call for keeping Kosher (i.E. strict diet which eliminates dozens of animals such as shellfish,ecc.), instructions on offering sacrifices, what clothing to wear, and various practices regarding relationships and so on. Many, if not all, of these laws run contrary to what was demanded by Christ and He RELEASED his followers from these observances, permanently.

    Also, in the New Testament (I do not recall which particular letter) Saint Paul states that the Almighty sends his people "Diverse gifts" and these are understood as being gifts of healing, psychic abilities, other talents that would be considered supernatural.

    But mostly, I would reconcile the two beliefs, Christian and Wiccan, based on the inner calling so many of us have to the esoteric and hypnotic side of (in my case) Catholicism with its trance inducing rituals and unparalleled reverence for the Holy Mystery that is God, a God who manifests Himself in all that which has come into being through his divine authorship. The Catholic church, historically, was less interested in behavior which resembled that of pagans than it was with the central core or Catholic belief. In this regard, many practices considered "pagan" by fanatical fundamentalists were quite acceptable to the Catholic Hierarchy.

    Undoubtedly, the greatest amount of Mystics the world has ever seen fall within the framework of the Roman Catholic church- not within wicca, buddhism, or any other faith. Their lives and their work are well documented and the books some of these Holy men and women have written are legion
    ("The Interior Castle" by St Teresa and "Dark night of the Soul" by ST John the divine are but two).

    If I were to continue, I would need several hours of typing time and I wont do that to you and your other readers. But In conclusion I still must admit that my answer to your question is not 100% satisfying because, after all, it is a calling and quiet understanding within me and not something I can readily demonstrate through language.

    When I was a child, my grandmother (from rural Italy) had the ability to detect and remove "il malocchio", a bad spell called "the evil eye". This was only one of the talents she possesed that today I recognize as being considered wiccan, and yet she was ferociously Catholic.

    I am traveling down that same path,
    but unfortunately, I am doing it alone.

    I appreciated this thread.

    Be Well...

    I.G. il Cacciatore....

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think from looking at the religion merging, people want to keep certain things and be able to follow others. Now, there is that whole confusing thing of what rules to follow. But thinking about that too, I realize that all religion has rules and "codes" and the reason some people might decide to keep some of the old and merge it with something "new" is because certain aspects of paganism gives freedom to the one who is interested in practicing. You look at history and the origins of Christianity and you see that the rules in there were meant to control the population. And now people don't know what to do because sometimes the rules make a whole contradiction with people's humanity (i.e being gay,believing in polygamy,etc.). do believe there is such a a power entity as God with no gender whatsoever and I do believe at the same time that there is magick (however you spell it). I feel that what I may practice and believe are things that are for me, that are fit for my life, a constant unchanged. I consider myself Pagan because in history Christianity was paganism. The way I see it, I want to stick to the ole' tradition. I honestly don't believe that there is only Satan. I do believe that there is much worse than Satan. But those are my beliefs straight from my opinion meaning no one can prove I am right or wrong. People are busy trying to prove that one religions is more true than the other or that their religion is what exist when in reality they are trying to prove their beliefs on someone else. So, in reality there can't be a right or wrong on merging religions. If its fit for a person then that's them not me.

    Blessed Be,
    Miss BoBo

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hi there. .
    If you want to be technical Sophia isn't the wife of God, but rather the voice and wisdom of God. . I guess the wife of Yahweh would probably be Astaroth. She is the consort of El, who began as a Cannanite God and ended up also being another Name for Yahweh.

    I am a Christo-Pagan. .a Gnostic Christian who practces Witchcraft. I was raised to consider Christ God and since he is kind, compassionate and nonjudgemental, I saw no reason to change that belief. I also believe he has a consort, or wife. I lean toward calling her Asteroth, though I am also attracted to Isis. To find the female diety I read up on ancient Cannanite religions. That was how I found out the El that the Bible calls God was also a Cannanite God with a wife who co-created creation.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I spelled her name wrong. . it's Asherah. . sorry.

    ReplyDelete