Long before I bore the burden of identifying as a Christian in today’s society I donned the hat of witchcraft. During my teen years I remained devoted to the dark arts as well as favorable to things supernatural even as my experience with Christianity grew. I developed a duality not just in my person that became my transgender self hiding inside a face, a mask so to speak, that I wore. I also became a Christian Witch. An oxymoron in many ways to those uninitiated. A realization of the truth in others.
What does it mean to be a witch? For me it is about shunning societies rules. It is about being close to nature, to the spirit world and being more open to having a spiritual life. Christians refer to the spirit filled or spirit led life. They refer to the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The truth is over the years I have come to see the Bible in a different light the more I read it, study it from other perspectives and learn about it’s history. I have concluded that the Bible, while still absolutely being the Word of God to me, is complicated. Some Christians often spout “It’s in the Bible” without questioning what the words in the text mean.
I grew up having a very complicated relationship with religion. Like I said I was essentially pagan at first. I knew there was a god and I sometimes went to church but I also believed in spirits, ghosts, demons and nature. At my earliest stage when I began studying the various world religions and mythologies I dabbled in a devotion to Thor. I chose Thor because I had Germanic heritage. Also because I lived in Kansas so it made sense to devote oneself to the God of Thunder when thunderstorms were so common. My sister once told me thunder storms were when God and the Devil were fighting. She also is quite spiritual and does not fit into the box of traditional Christianity. Or at least in the modern sense.
I have come to learn a lot of the dogmas, the strict rules and code of ethics modern Christians, be it Catholic or Protestant, have little in common with the Jewish faith the religion sprang from nor even the earliest examples of Christians. There was a time when the beliefs were less a list of rules to live by and more a guide to being more spiritual and serving others. We have lost this in today’s modern Church. We focus more on attendance, as if the more people in the seats translates to more people in Heaven. We also focus too much time on money. We build elaborate church structures, donned with beautiful but expansive statues and we utilize the latest technology in our services. It’s far too commercialized for my liking. Throughout history Christians have shunned the established church structure and wandered into the wilderness to form spiritual families in monasteries or gone it alone in the wilderness as hermits. These people are very much Christian yet sometimes, due to their practices, way of living and devotion to nature in their worship of the Almighty, they have more in common with the witches their more organized bretheren would persecute throughout the ages. It is that persecution that leaves non Christian witches with a sour taste in regards to Christianity in all its forms. That some claim one cannot be devoted to nature and serve the Christian God equally.
I am not so sure.
First the sins of one do not taint the entire flock. Even if those sins run rampant they do not inherently define Christians. I pray to the God in the Bible, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I call to Mother Mary and ask for her prayers. I sometimes call out to another Saint in Heaven, as depicted in the Book of Revelation and taught to us in the Catholic-family of Christian churches. I also have been told one can call out to their own Guardian Angel. Now praying is not exactly the same as practicing witchcraft but it’s not far off. However the rituals we perform in the Mass, the Eucharist, and the way we set up our Alters to the Lord and pray. Our use of Holy Water. Our Christian Calendar and it’s many Feast Days and Holydays of Obligation. These do bear resemblance to older, pagan religions. So much so it causes many on the outside to accuse Christians of co-opting pagan practices and even some within to cause divisions in the Church over accusations of Pagan Christianity. This accusation is lobbed mostly at the Roman Catholic but also Anglican and Orthodox branches as well.
What does it mean to me to be a witch?
It is a part of my heritage. It is a part of who I am. For me it means I listen to the trees. I try to hear what the animals around me are saying in their eyes, with their actions. I feel connected to the insects chugging away beneath my feet feeling not superior to them but equal just serving a different purpose. If the critters in the dirt didn’t fertilize and soften the soil our crops couldn’t grow and our food supply would dry up. I don’t feel disconnected from the circle of life. Yes we Worship the creator but we can very much feel connected to ALL of Creation. We can feel a spiritual connection to the natural world. Those things God chose to place here for his purpose.
To some Witchcraft is forbidden. They say the Bible bans it. To this I say 1, even the Disciples performed great miracles and performed rituals. 2, the translation of the word is contested and many believe it refers to something else. 3. A lot of the Bible is allegory and not to be taken literally thus it cannot be taken at face value in all cases.
Yes DEVIL worship is forbidden. But Witches, even Pagans and Wiccans, do NOT worship the devil. Some devote themselves to certain spirits, parts of nature, or other causes. Devotion is not the same as worship. Christians devote themselves their spouses, those privileged enough to be granted the Sacrament of Matrimony that is, yet they do not worship their spouses. Devotion means you try to further ones cause and do their work. It does not mean you recognize them as God. Catholics often devote themselves to an individual Saint and follow in their footsteps. Even Evangelicals devote themselves to mimicking their favorite pastor, public speaker or some other fabled leader they admire. Devotion is not worship.
I choose to devote myself to the spirit world. I choose to reach out to all spirits who will listen and ask for immediate guidance. I never leave God out of the mix. I pray daily, directly to him. But I see nothing wrong with calling out to spirits, be it Angels, lost souls, or passed Saints, who are in closer proximity to myself who have less going on if it will provide the Lord the means to administer his Grace in more urgent manner.
Former me did fall into Necromancy. I had Ouija boards and other tools designed to facilitate talking to the dead. Parts of this is forbidden in the Bible. Although it is not entirely clear what exactly is forbidden. Some prefer to shy away from all forms of spirituality outside a simple 2-3 sentence quick prayer in the morning to start their day. I, however, find myself in near constant prayer to the Lord. Sometimes I am praying through one of his other servants. I have also lovingly discovered the power of grace which comes from reciting the Hail Mary or praying the Our Father. I also recite the Creed when I do attend mass. Mass itself is a very spiritual experience for me.
When I tell people I am a Christian Witch it doesn’t mean I serve to masters or that I summon Evil spirits. What it means to me is I try to feel as connected to all of the Natural and Supernatural world as I can. I do not seek personal power for my own ambition. Rather I am merely looking for ways to be a better servant to others. A better steward to the natural resources God has gifted me. A better friend to the animals, plants and insects that I interact with on a daily basis.
The other day I was sitting on the curb outside work for my afternoon break. I saw a roly-poly walking by minding his business. I sat there and felt like the two of us were in a shared space each doing our own part to better the world around us. The old me would have crushed a bug out of fear and disgust. The new me wants to welcome them into my life and assist them in their endeavors.
I have met other witches, the non Christian variety. We have another thing in common I will get into later. Our aversion or resistance to societal pressures. As a trans woman it is safe to say I resist social norms.