Many people in the Pagan community were raised in a religion that wasn’t Paganism, and sometimes, it can be a challenge to set aside the beliefs with which you were raised. Occasionally, however, you’ll encounter people who didn’t set their beliefs aside at all, but have found a way to blend their Christian upbringing with Wicca or some other Pagan path that they’ve discovered later in life. So, that begs the question, what about that whole “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” thing that appears in the Bible? There’s an argument in some circles that the word witch was a mistranslation, and that it’s actually supposed to be poisoner. If this is the case, does that mean it’s possible to be a Christian Wiccan?
Unfortunately, this is one of those questions that has to get broken down into a bunch of really small bits, because there’s no simple answer, and no matter how it gets answered, somebody is going to be upset with the response. Let’s try to break this down a bit, without turning it into a debate on Christian theology.
First, let’s clarify one thing right off the bat. Wicca and witchcraft are not synonymous. One can be a witch without being Wiccan. Wicca itself is a specific religion. Those who follow it—Wiccans—honor the deities of their particular tradition of Wicca. They don’t honor the Christian god, at least not in the way that Christianity mandates that he be honored. In addition, Christianity has some pretty strict rules about what gods you get to worship—pretty much none other than theirs. You know, there’s that “thou shall have no other gods before me” bit. By the rules of Christianity, it’s a monotheistic religion, while Wicca is polytheistic. These make them two very distinct and very different religious belief systems.
So, if you go strictly by the very definition of the words, one could not be a Christian Wiccan any more than one could be a Hindu Muslim or a Jewish Mormon. There are Christians who practice witchcraft within a Christian framework, but this is not Wicca. Do keep in mind that there are people who declare themselves to be Christian Wiccans, or even ChristoPagans, honoring Jesus and Mary as god and goddess together. It’s generally rude to argue with how people self-identify, but if you go by actual semantics, it seems that one would rule out the other.
There are some practitioners who follow what they call Trinitarian Wicca, which “is a tradition based on American Wicca, boasting no direct lineage. Trinitarians work exclusively with the Goddess-inclusive Christian Pantheon. This tradition is not eclectic nor is it ChristoPagan because our devotion lies exclusively with the Christian pantheon.”
Witch, or Poisoner?
Let’s move on. Let’s assume that you’re interested in becoming a witch, but you plan on remaining Christian. In general, the witch community isn’t going to care—after all, what you do is your business, not ours. However, your local pastor might have quite a bit to say about it. After all, the Bible does say “thou shall not suffer a witch to live.” There’s been a great deal of discussion in the Pagan community about that line, with many people arguing that it’s a mistranslation, and that originally it had nothing to do with witchcraft or sorcery, but that the original text was “thou shall not suffer a poisoner to live.”
In general, the notion of the line in the Book of Exodus applying to poisoners and not witches is one that is popular in Pagan circles but has been repeatedly dismissed by Jewish scholars. This theory of mistranslation of the word “poisoner” as “witch” is acknowledged as being patently false, and based upon ancient Greek texts.
In the original Hebrew, the text is very clear. In the Targum Onkelos, which is an ancient translation of the Torah into Aramaic, the verse in question reads M’khashephah lo tichayyah, which loosely translates into “A M’khashephah you shall not let live.” For the early Jews, a M’khashephah was a witch who used herbal magic as a form of sorcery. While herbalism could have involved herbal poisons, if the Torah had meant to say poisoner, it would have used a different word, rather than one that meant, specifically, witch.
While this doesn’t need to turn into a discussion on Biblical theory, many Jewish scholars have asserted that the passage in question does in fact refer to witchcraft, which seems fairly sensible, since they’re the ones who speak the language best. Keeping that in mind, if you choose to practice witchcraft under the umbrella of Christianity, don’t be surprised if you run into some opposition from other Christians.
The Bottom Line
So can you be a Christian Wiccan? In theory, no, because they’re two separate religions, one of which forbids you from honoring the gods of the other. Can you be a Christian witch? Well, maybe, but that’s a matter for you to decide for yourself. Again, the witches probably don’t care what you do, but your pastor may be less than thrilled.
If you’re interested in practicing witchcraft and magic within a Christian framework, you may want to look into some of the writings of Christian mystics, or perhaps the Gnostic Gospels, for further ideas.
SOURCE: Wigington, Patti. “Can I Be A Christian Wiccan or Witch?” Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, learnreligions.com/can-i-be-a-christian-wiccan-or-witch-2562901.
2 thoughts on “Can I Be A Christian Wiccan or Witch? (1 Person Opinion)”
I’m going to gently disagree, at least in one aspect. As far as Christian “Wicca” goes, not technically. Christian reconstructed paganism? Yes. There’s plenty of research on Biblical times and the Bible itself revealing that the people of the time of the Old and New Testament were, indeed, Polytheistic. The gods of the Old Testament are actually El AND Yahweh, among others. There’s even a goddess or two sprinkled in there.
And technically, the commandment is not to have any other god *before* Yahweh, so even that clears as long as Yahweh or El if you prefer are the top dog. 🙂
There are also a few Christian Witches who have YouTube channels if someone wanted to investigate that path.
AND I’d add to your collection of suggestions of places to look for Christian Witchery the folk magic of many cultures. Braucherei, for example, and Granny Magic from the Appalachians are both examples of magic paths that are highly Christian and highly magical. Both are closed, as far as I know, but there are other folk paths open and again, there are some people on YouTube who present those choices as well.
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