Divinity: Thought We are Many, Are We One?
You asked if there was such a thing as Christian Wicca. The simple answer is, of course there is!
The tradition of communing with all the lovely fellow spirits in this cosmos goes way back beyond apostolic times.
Didn't the Magi (plural for magus = priestly magician of the Persians) use astrology to locate and to greet and to worship our baby? Didn't Christ and the apostles do things like multiply food, invoke powers for healing, bind bad spirits, speak to the dead and so on and on?
The great texts of western high magic tend to be quite Christian affairs. Trithemius of Spannheim was looking for a way to reliably be taught by angels. Agricola was looking for a way to respond responsibly as a magus. The Keys of Solomon were intended to assist folks in attaining greater integration of their psyche -- though those terms didn't exist that way back then. All of these were quite Christian Texts. And the Jewish and Moslem texts are equally rich! Indeed, my favorites in ceremonial magic: Eliphas Levi and Papus, were devout Catholics. I highly recommend a book just out of print if you can still find it: Meditations on the Tarot by anonymous (Valentin Tromberg). While his theology tends to disregard the value of physical manifestations, he still demonstrates conclusively that the Christian theology at its core
is absolutely magical!
How does this interrelate with Wicca?
Consider folks like St. Francis of Assisi and his songs addressed to Brother Sun and Sister Moon. Consider all the recent teaching in defense of the ecology. Consider the fact that traditional concepts of property have been rejected by the bishops in favor of an American Indian concept of caretakers (the Catholics call that "stewardship," but in some circles that equates with being sure to fork over enough cash to sustain some media preacher's lifestyle). After all, how can you morally "own" something and exploit it to destruction when it existed before you and if properly cared for could exist and be of happy service for many more lifetimes. I think of this every time I see the Antiques Roadshow program on PBS>
If we have angels, why not have fairies and elementals too?
The complex answer is very complex. Have you taken a look at the Christian Earth Spirituality board yet? I'm working on the next two articles right now and they will address parts of your question right away.
There are, however, several strands of melding Christian faith and magical mysticism. There's a variety called Creation Theology, which is very centered on the environment and our response to it; there's the "mystical church of St. John" which basically rejoices in the communion with spiritual beings mediated via the Catholic Church; even the Masons and Rosicrucians represent an attempt to meld the two. There's literally dozens more. Outside of the more orthodox strands, there's also several gnostic or gnostic derived cults -- such as the Golden Dawn and all its offshoots -- who see Jesus as an incarnation not of the unique Deity but of a great being called Metatron. That one goes back to apostolic times when folks couldn't accept that God personally would care and relate to us.
Now Christian Wicca can be contradiction in terms, an oxymoron, as DragonHawk has pointed out in his FAQ
on this issue.
However, I'd like to point out that we always actually visualize and listen to a particular aspect of Deity -- as we, not it, are so limited. We're the blind men and the elephant. There's an old Jewish saying, which I've probably typed a dozen times or more on these boards, that there's 600,000 faces of God, one for each Jewish warrior at Sinai. We are free to search among those faces for the aspect that we can endure and be transformed by. Now Yes, the Deity is rather above gender, as we know it. Yet gender occurs within the Deity's creation so must reveal something significant about Her nature too. As an exercise in the seminary, we were told to change all the pronouns from masculine to feminine in our prayers and readings for a week, just one week, and see how it made us feel. Well, if you need to reach the feminine aspect of the Deity, it is there!
Moreover, if you examine the anthropology of the various "pagan" pantheons, you'll quickly find that they often derive from very historical heroes. Rather than saying, "Ah, this shows that they are false!" I'd say that this shows that they might be true. We have saints and angels -- what are they but heroes who in some unique and transcendent way manifested the actions of the Deity so clearly that we could not deny His presence?
The God Most High is exactly that. Her existance rises radically beyond all else, and all else that is depends on Her sustaining it *(which sounds like a mother to me!) Yet where is there a more clear demonstration of the Virgin Goddess as an aspect of the Mother Goddess than in the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God? In addition, scripture contains this thing called Holy Wisdom. It is invariably presented in a feminine garb and action and as a consequence many gnostic groups take Sophia (Greek for Wisdom) to be the Female God. There is even a tradition which proclaims the Holy Spirit to be the Mother God, because of its association with Sophia. However, again, the God Most High rises above it all! After all, who got the virgin pregnant? Another important distinction between the traditional Christian wizard and many of these other groups is that some of them feel that we, in our belief, actually generate the Deity.
For these folks, The Deity becomes an aspect of our own collective psyche, so to speak. Thus the deified hero or canonized saint acquires their status and power from our investing them with it. However, the reality of Deity is not dependent on its being perceived by accidental creatures. It is alone the "necessary."
Since it is our perceptions of Her which are flawed, then when we find that an approach to a particular aspect is rewarded with spiritual growth and real empowerment which heals and blesses and loves, then it is important to explore that avenue further. I'll not deny that such a process of generating a powerful entity by group action can happen. Indeed, the effectiveness of the infamous "Necromicon" in our times derives an awful lot from that very dynamic. However, such beings are too petty, in my over pompous opinion, to deserve "worship". An advanced adept, indeed, can theoretically manufacture such entities to their will and design - and many of the troubles ascribed over the ages to "evil spirits" are probably
partially the accidental encounters of such eggregore permitted to over last their purpose and period. These beings could be tremendously helpful to us in our various paths, and indeed, I hope very much that we are generating just such an entity here to help the growth and work of the Mystical Grove and our hosts!
Then if gods who depend on their worshipers for power are little more than spiritual equivalents of machines and servants, does this imply necessarily that there is only one God? Well that depends on what you mean by that.
Ultimately, yes. However, such an awesome entity is quite capable of sustaining a universe
of manifestations to fit the needs of a universe of beings.
Philosophically speaking, there's a large variety of reasons for accepting an abstract, monotheistic view of the Deity. Very few people, unfortunately, feel that it is even theoretically possible to interact with the Deity in that absolute state and that therefore the aspects of the deity, such as the Sephiroth in QBL are essential meeting points for human/Devine encounters. They see this as explaining not only the essential nature and reason for parallel pantheons, but also for things such as the saint's cults in the Catholic Church.
IMHO, however, this overlooks the essentially transcendent nature of a human spirit too. Even if we are not enlivened by being aspects of the Deity itself, we are to some degree akin to that entity and are in many ways our own demi-urges. My primary problem with group spirit type gods is the inherent improbability that such beings can rise to the world making level of existance. If I can dream of making my own stars and solar system, then the power for such actions must exceed that available to the average cluster of devotees -- whose imperfections will flaw such grandiose schemes anyway.
A being whose power and existance derives from the acceptance of a cluster of lesser beings is not only
philosophically problematical, but also displays less personal posture that a psychologically healthy animal. For me to bother with it, it has to be patently worth the trouble
However, just because the term "God" has unfortunate cultural associations, shouldn't change the fact that the ultimate source is still a person, and still is capable of feeling and of responsible relationships with us. Which is why we so often need pantheons to deal with it. Now just because somebody with the label of "googlian" has really mistreated me or I associate "googlianism" with head lice, doesn't mean that another person can't find the gate to the astral realms smack in the middle of the Great Google! Over and over again, I counsel my Christian associates, look at the fruit. Not everybody who claims to be Wiccan is a nice guy. Not every Christian is as nasty as me. The core is, "what do we care about?" "What will we do about it?" "Do we think that the god/s care?"
There are folks who claim to be Christian who preach racial war - hardly the fruit I'd be looking for! There are folks who claim to be Wiccan who are drug and sex rings - an abomination to all of us here, I'm sure! NO PATH guarantees spiritual success unless the individual upon it is willing to be transformed by the Deity into a more god-like being. One who cares for all of the children and works of the Mother! (See the first epistle of John about this).
And isn't that the biggest part of what so many Christians call salvation?
But this dialogue is important to all religions. When Wiccans can look at a Cross without thinking that I want to pin them on it; and when Christians can join in the celebrations of the fact that God has placed a spirit or some spirits in this cosmos to really care for us and to enjoy our company;
Then, I think we both will be closer to the source with which we both seek to commune!
Suggested News Resources
- Women Are Knocking on the Door of the Church
- “Women are knocking on the door of the church. We are knocking right now. But I fear a generation will come that will stop knocking,” Dr.
- Smiley: Missing house
- Mary Pramuk, of Baton Rouge, says, “Speaking of Spam, has anyone mentioned the 'other' vintage canned meat, Vienna sausages? We all loved them as kids.
- Every t-shirt tells a story, and divinity student's collection leads to shows
- SHMATTES's mission is “to help change the way we think about Jewish cultural identity,” Grant says. “Shmattes” is a ...
- What a shrine with dogs reveals about the state of puritan Islam in Pakistan
- As we drove down the three-lane highway, Iqbal Qaiser, my mentor and travel companion, pointed towards a settlement on our left. This was the town of Pattoki. From afar I ...