Not too long ago I wrote a post ” One Path, Two Tools, or Confessions of an Anglipaganostic“. It seemed to make so much sense. Simplifying this inner battle. Things are never that simple it would seem.
I have so much faith and hope in the Progressive Christian Movement. I especially have great faith and hope in the Progressive Episcopalian Church and what it is they are doing to make this accessible and inclusive. I really believe in it – so much that I have wanted nothing more to work on my little Sacred Path Fellowship and offer a new variety of Christianity to the locals. To put it out there, let people know it exists.
Then in a debate over my blog post at the WiccanTogether.com website I really got a good glimpse of how the majority seems to understand Christianity. Namely “Accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour”, and accepting the bible mindlessly (something that isn’t that common to Christianity actually, though the general public seems to think so)
I was honestly a bit taken back by this a bit. It is not the way I have experienced Christianity among my peers, and upon further debating (arguing) it was pointed out that my ideas were so far from the ‘Mainstream’ – of which I’ve never cared much for anyhow – that how could it really be considered Christianity anymore? Why not name it something else?
Is what I (and many MANY other Progressive Christians) follow even Christianity? Those of us who love the 8 Points of:
1. Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;
2. Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;
3. Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:
Conventional Christians and questioning skeptics,
Believers and agnostics,
Women and men,
Those of all sexual orientations and gender identities,
Those of all classes and abilities;
4. Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;
5. Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;
6. Strive for peace and justice among all people;
7. Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;
8. Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.
– this seems more akin to what JESUS would have actually taught. But is it what Christianity has become today? –following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life – to me THAT is what Christianity is about — but I realize now that what we know as Christianity, offers little that would impress Jesus were he to show up here one day and look around. Unless he is impressed by big billboards, fancy cars, gold crosses with his battered body upon it….
As for two paths. There is the whole Exoteric part.
In Wicca, in Christianity, we dedicate ourselves to the religion.
Whether it be via confirmation or Initiation —
The fight to get Wicca seen as a recognized religion means that the same sort of ‘rules’ begin to apply. (societal rules – the ‘norm’ – which of course many people could care less about)
I ‘can’t ‘ be Jewish AND Christian.
Not claiming identification as Christian and Jew at the same time anyhow
The same gets carried over into the current of Wicca and Christianity.
Now on an Esoteric level, this can have a sense of validity –
Esoterically I believe that religions/spiritual practices have currents. Some currents flow well together and some do not. (and this is referring to Wicca – not Witchcraft. Being a Witch is not a religious dedication, so there is much more leniency for syncretization)
When looking at my desire to ride both currents, I thought to myself. ‘am I a Christian, using the techniques within Wicca to find the Perfect Union with Deity as taught by Jesus? Or am I a Wiccan, who enjoys the teachings of Jesus?’
I enjoy the teachings of many. I enjoy many Christian practices of Mysticism, as I do Jewish Mysticism.
However, declaring myself as a Christian means I have put my toes into that current.
A current that carries many energies, thought forms, ideas, violent history. A current that will not always run alongside Wicca. If one is dedicating herself to Both those paths, I think it can be a problem.
To say ‘Oh I’m Christian, but not THAT kind of Christian.’ gets so tiresome. I always think – what would Jesus think about Christianity? As said above, at one point do those beliefs become so far removed from what Christianity is known as, that it ceases to become Christianity?
One pivotal discovery that prompted my decision to rededicate myself to Wicca was my new found interest in the Canaanite pantheon. This instigated the reading of many texts. Learning about the evolution of the religion of Israel. The Canaanite origins of El. The texts discovered at Ras Shamra/Ugarit.
From a young age , and increasingly so as I grew older, I felt a presence of God. A large, silent but pulsating, presence. Powerful but benevolent.
Time and time again I was drawn back to the Old Testament. There were many passages in there, especially in Psalms, in which I felt a connection to ‘this’ God more so than the God i had tried to acquaint myself with in Wicca or the angry war-like version of God found elsewhere in the bible.
When I learned about El/Ilu and the Ugaritic writings. Myths of Baal etc — it brought things into a new light. It was this El – Father of All Creation. That I immediately identified with as the Mountain symbolism that crept into my understanding of God all my life. And whereas I had never identified well to a Goddess, except Hathor (whom I still adore) I connected with Athiratu, Ilu’s consort. (said to be the Asherah worshipped by early Israelites).
I still very much agree with this saying of Gerald Gardner:
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)
But El/Ilu and Athiratu have become very real to me. The ‘Power’ fueling this love and dedication to me is the Divine. The One. The Unknowable. It is the Canaanite God Form of Ilu that I connected with. The one that is found within the Old Testament. It is the Canaanite stories of Anat, and her bloodshed and Baal’s command to her to
Remove war from the earth,
set love in the ground,
pour peace into the heart of the earth,
tranquillity into the heart of the fields.
that connects me to the Goddess, and the depictions of Athiratu, near the water, with her cauldron, doing the ‘menial’ tasks, although being Queen of All Creation, that I connect with.
The Bible seems a bit different to me now.
I still find much comfort in Psalms, and in Jewish and Christian Mysticism, but I don’t feel that I can declare myself as a Christian.
I have rededicated myself to Wicca.