One of the most significant difficulties when discussing the viability or legitimacy of Christian-Wicca as a religion, is getting people to understand that it does not necessarily involve their Christianity, or for that matter, their Wicca. Unless someone claims to be a “Baptist-Wiccan,” or a “Christo-Gardnerian,” etc., then any argument based on a belief or tenet that is specific to a Christian denomination or Wiccan tradition is simply a moot point. Therefore, for the purpose of this essay, I will be taking into consideration only the most general understanding of that which constitutes a non-denominational Christian and a Solitary or Eclectic Wiccan.
This essay will begin the most basic beliefs and practices that are common among Wiccans, in order to establish a baseline to which common Christian beliefs and practices may be compared and contrasted. By taking a step-by-step approach, it should be easy to identify any conditions or qualities that appear to be in contradiction with each other.
- First and foremost, a Wiccan has chosen a path or tradition that allows him/her to explore and establish his/her own spirituality through self-examination and self-actualization. This does NOT mean he/she will “pick and choose” what to believe. It is looking at what reasonably constitutes a spiritual path from start to finish, based on what he/she knows at that time, finding his/her place on it, and seeking ways to proceed further on that spiritual path. Religious teachings, whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, etc., may be used for reference, but nothing is considered obligatory until the individual decides he/she is ready to require it of themselves.
- Also important, since it separates Wiccans from some (but not all) Pagans/Neopagans; a Wiccan uses High Magic (a.k.a., Ceremonial Magic) to offer prayers, give thanks, seek aid from Deity, and to celebrate any number of holidays throughout the year. Of course this includes the use of candles, incense, salt, water, and a number of other ceremonial objects.
- A Wiccan may believe in a single creative force known as the Godhead, the Unknown, The One, or some other designation. For such Wiccans, The God and Goddess are archetypes, or aspects, of that single force. These archetypes allow a person to learn about, and build a relationship, with the Divine in steps, rather than trying to conceive of the Godhead in their entirety. A Wiccan learns in his/her own way, at his/her own pace. It would not be unlike learning about the stars in the sky; no one can claim to have learned them all in a single night or a single viewing. Typically, one would begin by learning one star at a time, and then constellations, and then entire hemispheres, and eventually the entire sky.
- Most Wiccans subscribe to a philosophy of Pantheism, Panentheism, Animism or similar system that elaborates on the relationship between Deity and the physical world.
- A Wiccan usually maintains a relationship with, or at least a keen awareness of, nature and the natural world. Wiccans do not worship trees, rocks, plants, animals, etc., but all these things are revered for their interconnectedness with Deity and a Sacred Nature.
- Most Wiccans (Dianics are a notable exception) emphasize, or at least acknowledge, gender equality, especially as part of the balance of nature.
- A Wiccan acknowledges their own personal responsibility for his/her actions upon the world, whether by the Three-fold Law, the Wiccan Rede, or any number of other possible philosophies.
- A Wiccan practices The Craft. He/she exerts influence on themselves or the world around them through the use of what is commonly referred to as spell work.
And that concludes the summary of what constitutes a Wiccan. One notable omission that warrants mention is the use of Tarot cards, Ouija boards, astrology, and other forms of divination which are generally (and subjectively) prohibited within Christianity. The fact is, while many Wiccans may practice any or all of these, it is by NO means a requirement that a Wiccan practice any of them.
Now for the question of what constitutes the Christian half of a Christian-Wiccan. As mentioned before, there can be no doubt that it would not be an orthodox Christianity. Ultimately, the Christian component is simply having value in Christian philosophies, with a wide variety of personal interpretations to reconcile conflicts between apparently disparate philosophies. In truth, this is not quite as difficult to do as many conservative Christians might think.
Overall, there is nothing in the Old Testament that directly contradicts the religion of Wicca itself. These are all Jewish teachings, presented as Jewish law, and given specifically to the Jewish people. There are clear references of the law being for the “children of Israel” (e.g., Exodus 20:1,2; and Leviticus 20:1,2). In addition, many of these laws are civil law, and a number of good arguments could be made to indicate that in a different time and place, such laws were not meant to be relevant irrespective of changes in society. Also, practices that were considered forbidden to the Israelites were openly tolerated when practiced by non-Jewish people (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:14).
Throughout the New Testament, specifically the letters of Paul the Apostle, references are made to occult practices that are forbidden, but always in terms that are specific either to action, method, or intent. There is no need to raise a debate over interpretations of these particular verses, this is mentioned only to indicate that there is certainly room to abstain from specific practices without having to abandon Wicca altogether.
Now, the various tenets and beliefs of Christianity can be compared with the previously presented list of Wiccan beliefs. In the same order as presented:
- The Bible does not contradict a person learning in his or her own way, at his or her own pace (1 Corinthians 13:11). Also, the Bible indicates that a person is judged not by what they read, or from where they learn, but from what kind of person they become (Matthew 7:17, 18; and Mark 7:14-16).
- Though it is referred to as ceremonial “magic,” there is nothing in the Bible that specifically prohibits the Wiccan ceremony. In fact, a Wiccan ceremony is comparable in many ways to a Catholic or Eastern Orthodox ceremony.
- There seems to be no direct prohibition of using symbols or archetypes. Granted, idolatry is clearly and expressly forbidden, but nonetheless, the Bible at least once refers to Deity as plural (Genesis 1:26), as being both genders (Genesis 1:27), and as being a mother figure (Hosea 11:3,4; Isaiah 66:13). Deity has been represented in the Bible as a Man, a dove, an eagle, a burning bush, and an invisible spirit. There may be a level of subjectivity regarding that which discerns symbolism from idolatry, but clearly, it’s a matter that any individual adherent should be able to address.
- I’ll keep this one simple. No Christian denies that Deity is omnipresent. Pantheism simply takes that to a slightly different level by acknowledging a connection to all things. This point is still contradictory to many Christians, but is purely subjective. Nothing in the Bible specifically opposes Pantheism. It bears mentioning that certain specific Pantheists do not differentiate between “the Creator and the created.” Some could argue that such is contrary to Christian beliefs. Such a point is basically moot since it speaks to a specific minority, and not the whole of Pantheism.
- Nothing in Christian philosophy prohibits a person from being a tree-hugger. Remember, the tree is being loved, not worshiped.
- Subjectively, gender equality is not exactly promoted or supported by the Bible, but neither is it fully discouraged. In the Bible, gender roles are clearly guided by civil law and societal influence. Philosophically, however, little or no distinction is made between genders in terms of spiritual responsibilities or rewards. Therefore, there is no direct contradiction here.
- This simply refers to alternate forms of the Golden Rule; “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” Clearly, no real dispute should exist on this concept.
- On the subject of magick and spell-casting; it seems very likely that most Christians will not concede this point. Regardless, this is a very subjective area, and as I mentioned before, it is possible to take a liberal view of the Bible, with proper regard to specific prohibitions, and still have sufficient latitude for each Christian-Wiccan to reconcile any apparent contradictions. Wiccan spell-casting has many parallels to simple prayer. Any limitations would seem to address only intent, form, and purpose.
By all accounts, the blending of Christian and Wiccan traditions is not as difficult as some may believe. Taking into consideration the wide variations among traditional denominations of Christianity, the amount of latitude necessary to resolve conflicts between Christianity and Wicca should certainly exist in equal portion. It should be pointed out, however, that each Christian-Wiccan should carefully consider if the designation is both accurate and proper for his or her practice. I’ve known some who would have been better served to call themselves Christian influenced Wiccan, or possibly Abrahamic Wiccan. Ultimately, it is for the individual adherent to decide.