I found this disturbing essay about Christian Witchery in the Pagan/Wiccan Religion section on About.com. This is a popular site viewed by many seekers to the concepts of Wicca, NeoPaganism, and Witchcraft. For those who do not have a local source of magickal information such as covens, open circles, or metaphysical book stores, About.com is a handy option. However, after reading this one approved article, I am curious about how many more subjects are improperly represented. The author’s views seem extremely heartfelt about being a Christian Witch, but the description of the techniques and beliefs used were askew. Obviously the author’s expression of what it meant to be a “Christian Witch” was without a doubt the most training was not that of a family tradition because it lacked depth of substance. Likewise, they were not rooted in any of the cultural basics of the 2000 year old practice of Christian Witchery.
The early church in Rome, later known as the Roman Catholic Church, was quite successful in either stamping out Paganism “by the Lord or by the sword.” In problematic areas of pagan devotion, the Vatican absorbed Pagan Deities into Saints. Perhaps the paganism of pre-Christian times was eliminated, but the minds of the practitioners of true magick could not be changed. Magick survived by going underground and the witches refocusing their craft work with the tools of the new Christian Religion! Wearing the mask of what we now consider cultural folk Catholicism, magick never went away, it simply adapted.
Of course there are various forms of Christian Witchery, but they all have the same nuts and bolts to their practice. True Christian Witchery is about practicality and using magick to deal with day to day problems. It is about getting things done using Christian methods, it is not a salvatory religion. I have never known a Traditional Christian Witch to practice magick with the concerns of “the importance of love and forgiveness” nor dogmatic limitations this individual attempts to convey, for example the author states:
“One cannot take Christianity and Witchcraft, even when one has defined them, and slap them together and call it a system. There are still limitations where some parts of Christianity cancel magical practices out. For example, the importance placed on love and forgiveness in Christian belief would restrict “harmful” spells. While it is fine for some witches to cast curses, and it does not go against their ethical code, when a potential Christian witch is practicing magic, he or she must take into consideration her own ethical code.”
Currently, at age 50, I have been a serious practicing Christian Witch since I was 17. I must admit that I was truly horrified that the internet is about to start cultivating a generation of Fluffy Bunny’s Christian Witches by providing misinformation! I’m sure there have always been dabblers but traditional Christian Witches usually consider themselves Grey Witches and practice “An Eye for an Eye” - NOT! - ”Do unto Others as you would have them do unto you!” In case you haven’t noticed, the Old Testament God was not quite a loving and caring God. He was a jealous God of Wrath and Vengeance and passages of the Psalms are perfect for a wide variety of healing, hexing, safety from enemies, righteous retribution against those who have wronged you, and settling domestic disputes.
Psalmic magick is one of the most common facets of Christian Witchery. Other keystones of the Christian Craft include the traditional use of herbs, ritual oils, jar candles used setting lights for the saints and pseudo-saints. Ritual bathing is very important not only as a pre-ritual cleansing, but as a corrective form of magick itself. Other aspects of Christian Witchery is the use of holy water, Catholic prayer cards, praying the rosary to cone energy, and the use of sigil magick of the 6th and 7th Books of Moses, the Black Pullet, and the Greater and Lesser Keys of Solomon.
Originally the Psalms were used in Jewish folk magic and Kabballistic mysticism; the earliest book found is the Hebrew text “Shimmush Tehilim” (“On the Use of the Psalms”), which dates back to the 10th century C.E. From there, they have been used in various Christian folk magic traditions including Protestant, Catholic, and Spiritalists. the German Christian practitioners of brauchererai folk magic (better known as Pow-Wow by the Pennsylvania Dutch), and in the Afro-American practice of Hoodoo, Conjure, and Rootwork.
The Traditional Christian Witches that I am most familiar with practiced during the Great Depression and World War II. Those were desperate times and they called for desperate measures, and that included desperate magickal workings. Another motto among Christian Witches is “Those who can not harm, can not heal;” they are not worried about “What would Jesus Do?!” Christian Witches live in the real world; they are worried about results and the health and welfare of their family and friends. We work by whatever means necessary. While Christian Witchery is adaptive, it is not eclectic and there isn’t room for substitutes in herbs and oils, as many NeoPagan authors suggest.
“Also, with Christianity’s worship of God and the belief in His presence in all things, I believe that magic would be hard to separate from spiritual and religious presence in rituals.”
Without a doubt, this person has never been to New Orleans. The author has not been exposed to Hoodoo, Conjure, and Rootwork. As many local New Orleans Catholics state: “If you need to confess something heavy on your heart, go see the Priest. If you have a problem and you need it fixed, you go see the Conjure Man!” Is it just me or does this sound like some communities of Christian Witches have no problems separating magic from religion!?!
Just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I read this unusual definition of magick:
“My definition of magic was ritual; I never cast spells as much as symbolic prayer. It simply didn’t feel right to me. I began to look deeper into my love of magic. It wasn’t the “power” that I liked; it was the smell of the incense and the sight of the flickering candles, all arranged and charged with meaning. My rituals were unions with God, not energy manipulation and whatever power there was came from God, not from me. It was not magic; it was mysticism.”
At first, the author states “magic was ritual; I never cast spells as much as symbolic prayer.” No, magic is magick and ritual is ritual. There is obvious magickal workings conducted during a ritual, but if you are a practicing Trinitarian Wiccan, you should be advanced enough in your studies to know the definitions and their differences and similarities.
Then I became more… concerned about the future of Christian Witchery based on statements like this: “I began to look deeper into my love of magic. It wasn’t the “power” that I liked; it was the smell of the incense and the sight of the flickering candles, all arranged and charged with meaning.” This wasn’t really magic, but more like the decorative arrangement of candles and incense my 82 yr old Mother burns on her coffee table each night. I am not making fun of this individual at all. My Mom’s “altar disguised as decoration” is charged with the intent to eliminate stress with soothing fragrances and the calming glow of candle light. So realistically the feeling that the author calls magic, is more accurately described as aromatherapy practiced by a Christian. Sincerely, I believe the author has innocently mislabeled these actions as the practice of magick due to the lack of research. This is not Christian Witchery! Unfortunately, this is a prime example of romancing the idea of witchery and magic.
This part of the information on Christian Witchery, seriously makes me very sad: “My rituals were unions with God, not energy manipulation.” My rituals are unions with [my Christian Deity(s)] and the use of energy manipulation in my ritual does not reduce my union with Deity. Instead, the focus of my will intensifies the direction of my energy, and ultimately acts as the catalyst for my connection with Deity.
Lastly, the statement: “and whatever power there was came from God, not from me,” indicates that this is not magick at all. While many witches of various traditions petition their Deities for aid, the denial of personal power is the primary limitation that would negate one’s magickal attempts. Magick is an active will driven force of personal power intended to change or improve a series of events or correct a non-productive situation.
While I was very upset at this point about the misrepresentation of my life-long practice of Christian Witchery, I was more upset with About.com’s approval of this information without confirmation that the author is passing on correct information about Christian Witchery, which will inevitably perpetuate the Fluffy Bunny view of this highly misunderstood path.
If you know anything about thought-forms, you cannot deny the amount of energy poured into the Blessed Virgin Mary for the last 2000 years. The same goes for the fundamental Christian Trinity, and the pantheon of Saints. Pagan deities have only experienced a re-awakening since around the mid 1940′s. While yes, the NeoPagan movement continues to flourish, it has not yet permeated entire cultures nor dominated the collective unconscious, or altered today’s deeply indoctrinated Christian social structures.
Christian Witches are playing on the strongest magickal team. We feel no need to vote for “the other guys,” just because Paganism is trendy and popular. Christian Witchery is has dominated the craft for the last 2000 yrs. It is a serious path of the serious student of magick. There is always more to learn. I call myself a life long Christian Witch, but due to the depth of occult knowledge required for the practice of this path, I will go to my grave not knowing everything there is to know about Christian Witchery.