Christian Wicca

PentacrosssTo my knowledge,  there is a single book and website written by a Christian Wiccan. That website has changed multiple times, rendering my original footnotes useless.  As of May 25, 2014, the website’s domain is expired, leaving nothing at all to be referenced.  This is why most quotes here have no source notations.

There is also an article about it at ReligiousTolerance.org, which lists my original article on the matter among others as “Essays, covering a wide range of viewpoints — a few are quite negative.”

My opinion on this topic is absolutely negative, but it is informed opinion, built upon the words of author-founder Nancy Chandler Pittman and experience with others who follow it.  I’ve yet to meet one who can offer a sophisticated explanation of their beliefs (instead getting things like “I believe in Jesus and nature”) or solid understanding of how diverse concepts are being coherently united.  Rather than pursuing a truth, Christian Wiccans seem primarily interested in straddling two religions without making profound choices on how they understand the world, and that is what I criticize.

Defining Christianity and Wicca

The first issue is the name Christian Wicca.  Every believer I’ve encountered believes  Christian Wiccans are both Christian and Wiccan.  In fact, most forms are true to neither Christianity nor Wicca, and it certainly cannot be true to both.

To avoid debate of exactly how one defines these religions, I turn to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary for the most general of definitions of the two faiths:

  • Christianity: “The religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies.”  Its Concise Encyclopedia continues with the explanation: “Its principal tenets are that Jesus is the Son of God (the second person of the Holy Trinity), that God’s love for the world is the essential component of his being, and that Jesus died to redeem humankind.”
  • Wicca: “A religion influenced by pre-Christian beliefs and practices of western Europe that affirms the existence of supernatural power (as magic) and of both male and female deities who inhere in nature, and that emphasizes ritual observance of seasonal and life cycles.”

The Bible is rooted in the belief of a single deity, commonly referred to as God. There are no other acceptable deities. Wicca, on the other hand, involves the reverence of two deities minimally, a god and a goddess.  If you worship God alongside a goddess, then you are breaking the Christian commandment to worship only God, and you are denying his existence as the only God.  If you attempt to be a monotheistic Wiccan, you lose the polarity and unity of separate halves that is fundamental to Wicca.

The All

ReligiousTolerance.org attempts to reconcile the difference this way:

Many Wiccans (perhaps most) also believe that there is a single ultimate deity which/who is unknowable. A common Wiccan saying is that “All Gods are the ONE GOD.” This deity is sometimes referred to as “The All” or “The One” and is often visualized as having two aspects: a male facet who is called the God and a female component, the Goddess.   (source)

Not quite.

  • The saying is “All gods are one god.”  The inclusion of “the”, making it “All gods are THE one god,” is absolutely not a Wiccan belief.
  • The statement is not a Wiccan saying (it was coined by Dion Fortune, who died before Wicca even existed), although some employ it to explain their personal views on divinity.
  • There’s a second half to that statement, completely ignored here: “all gods are one god and all goddesses one goddess.”
  • The Christian God is not unknowable.
  • “The All” is a concept largely created and popularized by author Scott Cunningham.

At least some Traditional Wiccans recognize a concept known as the Dryghten, which is an impersonal power, an energy from which things came, but, again,that is not the Christian God.

Mary as Goddess

Most commonly, Christian Wiccans try to fit the Virgin Mary into the role of Goddess.  The problem is Mary isn’t a goddess in Christianity.  In fact, to elevate Mary to godhood destroys a vitally important facet of her. Her son, Jesus, acts as an intermediary between God and man through his dual nature of being both mortal and divine, and that nature is defined by his parentage: one mortal (Mary) and one divine (God the Father).

Worshiping a mortal as a goddess doesn’t work in Wicca either.  God and Goddess are equal.  God and Mary most certainly are not.

Sources of Sin

The concept of a savior is anathema to Wicca.  Salvation is necessary because of inherent flaws in humanity, traditionally brought about by the Original Sin of Adam and Eve.  Wicca does not accept that we can be tainted by mere existence. Any taint we might bear comes from our own choice of actions, not our nature.  We do not bear responsibility for the actions of others, and only the individual  can make right his or her personal transgressions.

Many other concepts are important although arguably not foundational, such as the existence of Satan.  In Christianity, Satan is an embodiment of evil, and supernatural powers within a Wiccan context are intimately part of nature. A Wiccan acknowledgment of Satan would imply that some part of nature is inherently evil, which they deny.

You can’t just take one theology, smack it down on top of another theology and say “close enough”.

Redefining Definitions

Are those definitions too rigid?  There are always exceptions, but the above points are very central and agreed upon by most.  Even so, most important here is the number of exceptions necessary to make this fusion work.

Trinitarian Wicca is the correct name of the tradition often generalized into a practice called Christian Wicca. Trinitarian Wicca is a path of American Wicca (or Non-British Traditional Wicca) that works exclusively with the Christian Pantheon. … There are no church trappings or conflicts with the Bible, because we work directly with the Gods and Goddesses; church dogma does not have a place in our ritual structure. Concepts such as the original sin, salvation, baptism, heaven, hell, and satan have no place in Trinitarian Wicca.  (Nancy Chandler Pittman as quoted at ReligiousTolerance.org)

Yes, some Christians debate the existence of Satan or Hell. But if you take out Satan and Hell and Original Sin and commandments for monotheism and the need for salvation, why are you calling whatever is left “Christian”?  The result is something new.  There’s nothing wrong with new, but it shouldn’t be packaged as something it isn’t.

Why People Attempt to be Both

There are four general scenarios where I find people attempt to be both Christian and Wiccan:

  • They believe in God and Jesus but want to practice magic and think you need Wicca to do that.
  • They want to be Wiccan (often because it sounds cool), but they’re afraid of going to hell if they change religion.
  • They believe in God and Jesus but are also attracted to certain things embraced by Wiccans but are by no means fundamental to Wicca.  You don’t need to be Wiccan in order to respect nature and experience the glory of God through it, for example.
  • They believe in God and Jesus but object to certain things within their church, such as inequality between genders or condemnation of homosexuality. I counsel such individuals to simply find a different church or denomination.

There is nothing wrong in being Christian.  If that is your path, embrace it.

The Origin of Christian Wicca

Christian Wicca is the brainchild of Nancy Chandler Pittman.  According to one of her old websites, her book, Christian Wicca: The Trinitarian Tradition, stems from five years of:

research and comparative studies of the Pagan Wheel of the Year, the Kabbalah, and the Gnostic Gospels. The overwhelming parallels made me wonder why no one else had written such a book for magickal practitioners who uphold the Wiccan Rede, but choose to not give up Jesus as Lord.

Problems here include

  • Nothing listed is actually Christian except accepting Jesus as Lord.
  • Kabbalah is an esoteric path of study within Judaism
  • The Gnostic Gospels are, well, Gnostic.  They floated around very early Christian communities but were rejected as contrary to the faith.  Considering Gnostic  teachings revolve around the soul attempting to escape the bonds of materiality, it’s quite contrary to Wicca as well.
  • Neither Wicca nor Christianity is a system of magical practice.  For that, you’d be looking for something like witchcraft or ceremonial magic.
  • The Rede says we can do harmless things freely.  It’s not something you “uphold,” and you don’t have to be Wiccan to agree with it, much less “give up Jesus as Lord.”

Biblical arguments are suspiciously missing here, perhaps because, in Pittman’s own words:

[m]ost of the information of any Female Deity or feminine affiliation with the Godhead is absent from the Holy Bible.

Correct.  Goddess figures are not a part of Christianity.  If you’re looking for a goddess, Christianity isn’t where you should be looking.  That’s not a flaw in the religion.  It’s simply a fact.

To throw out the authority of the Bible – and, indeed, replace it with texts from outside Christianity – yet continue to call oneself Christian employs a label without its substance. What Pittman is really offering is a new religion.

In short, Pittman exists in a Christianity largely of her own making.

The Old Religion

She explains the connection between Wicca and Christianity via the theory of the Old Religion, which has  been debunked for many decades.  Because Wicca is understood (by her) to be the modern form of the Old Religion, and the Catholic Church to merely be the Old Religion with a Christian veneer, Wicca and Christianity are therefore religious blood brothers, originating from a single source and therefore somehow compatible.

Even if they did come from the same source (and they don’t), that doesn’t make them compatible.  Christianity comes from Judaism, and Islam comes from both, but there are still fundamental differences between the three.

It is interesting to note that even a person identifying herself as both Christian and Wiccan still has a bias against Christianity. According to Pittman, the Old Religion naturally evolved into modern Wicca, but Christianity had to subvert the Old Religion by force and make fundamental concessions “in exchange for [the pagans] accepting the Christian male Trinity.”

Pittman herself defines a Christian simply as one who has a “personal relationship with Jesus and the Holy Trinity” while all but discounting Jesus’s accepted teachings:

Who determines that Wicca is not an acceptable method of worshiping the Holy Trinity? Do I trust my life and my spiritual soul to British Scholars [at?] the Court of King James?

Her specific mention of the King James Bible makes me wonder why she doesn’t just work from another translation of the Bible.

As for who determines if Wicca is an appropriate vehicle for honoring the Trinity…basic definition of words is all that is required.  Wicca has no Holy Trinity, and what it teaches is contrary to Christianity.  That clearly makes Wicca a poor vehicle.

In later versions of her website, Pittman explains that Trinitarian/Christian Wicca was never meant to be Christian.  Instead, it’s a Wiccan tradition influenced by Christianity, which is pretty contrary to her older website.  Regardless, the explanation really doesn’t change much: the Christian ideas she attempts to inject into Wicca don’t work well in Wicca.

Responsible Eclecticism

There is nothing wrong with combining certain Christian and Wiccan beliefs into something new. However, if you’re creating something new, why insist on labeling yourself something you no longer are? Christianity came from Judaism, but Christians don’t claim they’re Jews. If you believe the Trinity to be three separate figures, (Father, Son, Mother) that’s your right. But that is not a Christian belief. By insisting on being both Christian and Wiccan, you’ve committed yourself to two incompatible theologies.

Also, there’s certainly nothing wrong with bringing certain Christian concepts into your Wiccan practice or certain Wiccan concepts into Christian practice. But the choices should make sense just like any other belief system.  Can a Wiccan follow Jesus’s ethical teachings?  Absolutely. Can a Christian worship outdoors, creating their own sacred space?  Of course.  But neither of these situations results in a “Christian Wiccan”.

12 Comments to "Christian Wicca"

  1. June 24, 2014 - 12:48 pm | Permalink

    My response here may be a bit too long, so I understand if it is not accepted but I just wanted to share my take on it from someone who was both.
    I am ordained in a Progressive Episcopalian church, we agree with the points found in Progressive Christianity – http://progressivechristianity.org/ (as are many Christian churches of various denominations, including some local Anglican churches) — so there we have thousands of Christians that do indeed have a less strict view on what it means to be Christian.
    My understanding of Christianity was very much a pre-Pauline version. To me, the God that Jesus prayed to, and that was discussed in Gospel of Thomas and other non canonical sources could very well have been the ‘Power’ that Gerald Gardner discusses:
    “the Gods are real, not as persons, but as vehicles of power. Much food for thought upon this point will be found in such books as The Mystical Qabalah, by Dion Fortune. And The Art of Creation, by Edward Carpenter, by those who care to seek.
    Briefly, it may be explained that the personification of a particular type of cosmic power in the form of a God or Goddess, carried out by believers and worshippers over many centuries, builds that God-form or Magical Image into a potent reality on the Inner Planes, and makes it a means by which that type of cosmic power may be contacted. Nor is the worshippers’ belief in vain; for though they may themselves have built the Magical Image, the Power which ensouls it is real and objective, if the building has been done in the right way. – Gardner, Gerald. The Meaning of Witchcraft. Lakemont, GA US: Copple House Books, 1959; 1988 edition. (p 260-261)”— (other references along these lines are read in the introduction of The Witches’ God – the Farrars)
    In Progressive Christianity, you see many Celtic Christian influences evident in the various services offered by different clergy from different traditions. Especially in the UK we have ministers with heavy nature influences and even Thomas Merton the beloved author, poet and Mystic refers to the feminine natures of God.
    So for me it didnt seeem a far cry to understand that perhaps Jesus simply did not need to fragment the Power into a Male/Female and instead saw just the One. I could understand the One from a Pre-Pauline Christian understanding, and celebrate it via the Wiccan wheel of the year, the Gods and Goddesses all faces of the One Power.
    However – whether this was considered a bunch of BS or not, I realized for me, that as you said ” Even so, most important here is the number of exceptions necessary to make this fusion work.”—–Or, the ‘when does this become so far from what the general (often misinformed) population believes about Christianity , that it makes best sense to just leave Christianity altogether’— I realized that even though I was ordained by a church that sees no issue with the pluralism, and that even though there are Christians like Fr. Matthew Fox (who i don’t necessarily agree with but admire the direction he went with with his theological understandings)and thousands of others who DON’T believe in a little ‘saving of our souls’ by Jesus. Thousands of educated Christians who realize the bible is a collection off many stories written by many people based on their ideas of God at the time. Thousand of Christians who even understand and are okay with the fact that the life of Jesus is more mythical than factual but that this does not detract from a larger truth which lays underneath.
    I realized that for MOST, the current we call Christianity now , which is a FAR cry from where it started, is NOT compatible with my understandings.
    There are too many qualifiers, too many explanations.
    Religious paths have currents and the Christian current unfortunately has so many negative connotations associated with it, especially in the US with the fundamentalists, Westboro Baptist types – that by claiming I am part of both, I am putting my toes into a current that sadly DOES interfere with the path of Wicca.
    So I decided just to dedicate myself to the one path of Wicca again.
    I also explored what it was that may have really brought me to the Christian path from paganism in the first place (and eventually put me BACK on this pagan path) in my post called The Mountain – where I realized that the God I felt drawn to in the bible was actually a wee glimpse of the El, of the Canaanite Pantheon that I now work with on a personal level. http://terraspiritus.ca/2014/06/09/the-mountain/
    I apologize for the length of this post, but wanted to share where you did indeed hit the nail on the head, but also give the point of view that is shared by another set of people. Ones who dont try to worship a Christian Pantheon etc — but some that simply saw in the celebration of the Wheel of the Year and the honouring of the Masculine and Feminine as ways to celebrate the One Power that Jesus honoured as Father. And also to offer some of the Wiccan written support for the idea of a One Power as offered by Gardner and the bit by the Farrars.
    (I would have just emailed this to you but the old email addy I had for you bounced :) )
    Blessed Be.

  2. June 25, 2014 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Absolutely right on. People have heaps of reasons for wanting to claim both labels. And I understand a few of them, one of which is fear. I broke free of the fear of Christianity going on about 8 years ago now, and I still have days (only rarely now) where the ole, “What if??” creeps in about Hell. When people are questioning, that fear is much, much more powerful. So holding onto two labels seems like a happy medium for many. Mind you fear is a terrible way to live, and a crappy thing to make choices around, but such are human beings. Glad to see this site up and revamped too. It’s a great resource.

  3. August 27, 2014 - 10:16 am | Permalink

    Christians who are attracted to aspects of Wicca but don’t want to completely overhaul their theological worldview might fare better looking into neo-Druidry. The Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids allow room for this in their philosophy: http://www.druidry.org/druid-way/other-paths/christianity-druidry

    I generally agree that trying to blend Christianity and Wicca is an exercise in futility, but I do think that its possible to be Christian and use magic depending on the person’s hermeneutics (chances are they aren’t going to be Biblical literalists/fundamentalists) and how their craft fits into a Christian ethical system. I know Christian/Catholic and Jewish witches for whom magic is incorporated into their worship.

    I feel like the “Christian Wiccan” phenomenon is a late 90’s/early 2000’s fad that was born thanks to the sudden surge in pop culture visibility of Wicca, coupled with poor/limited information on the internet. I think as time goes on Christians who are curious about these things will be surprised to find out how heterogeneous their religion really is, and that many options exist within their own faith. There are a lot of syncretic religions out there that incorporate Christianity and paganism/witchcraft/folk beliefs. Likewise Jewish/Christian mysticism is being explored by mainstream religious circles more often these days, which may appeal to young Christians who want a more personal, esoteric spiritual path.

  4. February 25, 2015 - 1:53 am | Permalink

    Hi, I have been reading this article for some time and I would like to say one can be a Christian and a witch…note I didn’t say Wiccan. I am not a Wiccan. I am a Christian who practices witchcraft. I too think it would be difficult to mix the two and but it would not be impossible, especially if you have a pantheistic view of the creator. Just my two cents….Thanks for the article.

  5. March 17, 2015 - 2:59 am | Permalink

    The Cross-Quarter Days and Sunday after Paschal Full Moon are already important Christian Feasts. The Catholic view of ‘Assumption’ into heaven of Mary, and the hope held out for all mortals that they may become ‘gods’ seem to me to permit some kind of divinity outside of the ‘One God’. This is only intelligible if we ascribe the concept of ‘angels’ to the word ‘gods’. If we accept modern analytic psychology’s concept of the feminine ‘anima’ as the soul of a masculine being, and the ‘animus’ as the soul of a feminine being, then we may conjecturally arrive at ‘Mary’ as the ‘Divine Anima’, who, once assumpted into heaven, becomes the ‘Queen of Heaven’. Christ also, I believe, said that ‘From the beginning, male and female were equal’. Implying that it was the particular cultural-historical distortion since ‘The Fall’ that brought in both mortal and theological ‘inequality’. Read some South American ‘Goddess Theology’, it’s all written by nuns, many of whom are sympathetic to Rosicrucian and Gnostic ideas, the latter not nearly as simplistic as this article would suggest. It was only ‘radical gnosticism’ that was condemned as heresy. Are we similarly to take it that there is to be no Christian ‘art’ because of a fundamentalist and basically stupid interpretation of the commandment against idolatry? I’m all for more ‘nature’ and ‘feminine’ in Christianity, and some ‘magic’ would help as well. After all, weren’t the ‘Magi’ magicians?

  6. Haley's Gravatar Haley
    August 4, 2015 - 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Mix the TV shows “Bewitched” and “The Flying Nun” and **shazammm** you have Christian Wicca :-)

  7. Janice's Gravatar Janice
    September 14, 2015 - 5:49 am | Permalink

    Thank you for such a thoughtful and insightful discussion re: Christianity and Wicca.

    As a Christian I have found this most helpful and enlightening but also leaving me with questions and a desire to explore the various issues raised. Interestingly enough I am one of those Christians who has found the feminine within the Holy Spirit who is most often addressed in the Old Testament in the feminine.

    Additionally many of the Old and New Testament books that included strong women, the Holy Spirit and other ‘feminine’ aspects as well as links to ‘creation/environment’ have either been removed, were deemed not to be used etc which can only be put down to the rather patriarchal culture of those times especially as power and control was the order of the day.

    It is heartening that the feminine of God is being revived and along with it a greater and deeper respect for the environment but also for other faiths for surely the Sacred Divine has been communicating with humanity prior to the calling out of the Jewish Nation and Christians!! Respect and understanding as we all walk to find a more peaceful, harmonious and respectful way of being and living upon this planet is what is so needed today. There is so much destruction as a result of bigotry and prejudice, greed and self-righteousness etc etc …. so hopefully through inter-faith dialogue and co-operation we can move forward within the grounds of respect and compassion to make a difference within our communities and world.

    Again thank you Cassie for your article and I wish you and all others on this page peace and blessings.

  8. Sylvia Pauckner's Gravatar Sylvia Pauckner
    December 25, 2015 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I wish to thank all of you for your contributions to the concept of combining Wicca and Christianity. I look forward to seeing more posts about this as I pray about my path. Amen and Blessed Be to all.

  9. aleena's Gravatar aleena
    February 2, 2016 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    i agree with this statement.itz just am too a christian but i would like to practice the supernatural powers of wiccan .can anyone answer to my question if there is any problem with practising the supernatural powers .

  10. Rachel's Gravatar Rachel
    August 22, 2016 - 9:22 pm | Permalink

    As a Wiccan and by what our beliefs is that we can’t make that decision for you,it has to be by ur own choice if u want to especially if it comes from the heart. Only u will know if it’s right for u.

  11. Anna R.'s Gravatar Anna R.
    November 12, 2016 - 1:59 pm | Permalink

    I am wiccan. But i came from a Christian family.
    I suffered severe depression and anxiety. Hospitalized and given medication. It didnt work for me. I tried Church, didnt work for me. I struggled with this for 7 long and dark years. Then i discovered Wicca. My life completely changed. I loved myself, cherished life, nature, everything. Everything is beautiful and life so worth it.

    Now i am commenting because i obviously googled Christian wicca for a reason. I would think it did exist. Being part of a christian family my entire life and God being around my family for so long i just couldn’t shake the idea of not worshipping him or him not existing or whatever it is Wiccans believe of him (That he exists or he is non-existent like Satan)
    As i grew older, i started to believe that a lot of the bible was made up. Look how much it changed over time. If God was so forgiving, why was so much of the bible sounding so hateful to me? I then began to believe some of the bible was true but some of the bible was written by a man who couldn’t accept magick, gays, psychics, ect. Someone afraid of what exists. Something in my heart believes strongly that God gave me a gift as he has many times. I believed in him 100 percent but not the bible no way. At least not all of it.
    So when i would do my spell work, the goddess and him i would ask for protection. And this has always worked for me.i believe multiple gods exist and goddess, and religions ect. But my religion is mine, i will not tell someone else that their deity doesn’t exist. Anything is possible.
    So,
    A few times i had sleep paralysis and encountered an awful spirit or entity, now tell me why when i would ask for God to help, this thing would vanish?

    I worship more than one God.
    So far everything is great.

    The Bible i dont think is 100 percent true
    And this is working wonderful for me
    So i do consider that christian Wicca.
    But after being part of Christian churches that were run by corrupt people and witnessing the hate of Christians all over social media and other places for not having the same view as them for being atheist, satanist, or pagan or whatever else, just disgusted me. I feel something huge is missing. I don’t believe God wanted that. And i feel he is a God amongst other gods regardless if the bible says its wrong to worship something else. How is it that he has came to my help when i asked for him.
    Wicca means the world to me and so does he. I dont know exactly how to explain all of this and sorry if this confuses. And also, i dont really believe in a heaven or hell. But i do believe there may be a satan. Like devil worship have their leader for a reason.
    I know we shouldn’t or arent supposed to think so but then why is it we cast to protect ourselves from the evil? There has to be a leader for them
    Again this is my view on it. I am very open minded to it all.

    By the way sorry for the way i have explained any of this i am so bad at wording things

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