Is Christian witchcraft a thing? Can a Christian be a witch?
Wow, what sticky questions!
The article below tackles this controversial and widely misunderstood issue.
I wanted to know how both Christian and metaphysical communities receive them, whether or not they accept their practice and how they handle the inevitable conflicts.
So, I went on a mission to find self-proclaimed Christian witches and magical practitioners.
This is what they had to say.
The Christian Witch
When I ask Violet Mavrick*, a self-described Christian witch, what she struggles with most in her practice, she echoes the sentiments of many people like her.
“It’s very difficult. There’s not really a safe spot for us besides Christian Witch [sic] groups. I think a lot of us struggle deep down with wondering if God is ok with the magic we feel inside.”
I ask her how she is received by the wider, more mainstream Christian community.
“Almost all Christians will take issue with you in some form or fashion if you use the word ‘witch’ to describe yourself,” Violet points out.
Many more felt trapped or rejected by both worlds.
Ask a group of non-Christian witches how they feel about the integration of Christianity with the practice of witchcraft, and you’ll get a variety of answers.
Some are supportive.
Others are not.
Organized witchcraft is, in large part, made up of folks who left the Christian church, often bitterly, to take up the Craft.
Some of them resent the intrusion of Christian practitioners in their community, where they feel threatened by the very theology they left for witchcraft.
But how does that theology square with witches who still live by it?
Witchcraft, The Bible and a Linguistic Game of Telephone
There are a handful of passages in the Bible that directly address the practice of witchcraft.
Nearly all of them condemn it outright.
So that’s the end of the matter, then, right? Hypocrisy in Christian witchcraft must be unavoidable.
Not so fast, says Amber Long of Portland, Oregon.
Amber is something of a biblical prodigy. She taught herself Aramaic (the language of Jesus) as well as Hebrew.
A self-described Christian mystic and magical practitioner, she spent years decoding the “witchcraft problem” in Christianity.
She explained to me that the specific meaning of the word witchcraft as it is used in the Bible differs greatly from the modern understanding.
Specifically, the Bible terms witchcraft:
-Killers who use poison or malignant toxins to murder people.
-Women who use spoken words or incantations to curse others.
Let’s talk about the first one, because it’s the easiest one to knock out.
Very few people in the modern, mainstream witchcraft culture would disagree that someone who poisons another person to deliberately cause death or injury is anything but a criminal sociopath.
This type of activity has nothing to do with folk or ritual magic.
It isn’t even technically witchcraft. It comes from a misunderstanding during Biblical times that poisons were magical potions with metaphysical properties, instead of neurotoxins that acted directly on the body’s biochemistry.
Now let’s talk about the second one. It’s a little more complicated. There are some indigenous and even modern witches who think curses are a thing.
But there are also lots of forms of witchcraft that stand strictly against this practice and find it morally repugnant.
Ethics and the practice of witchcraft are uniquely complicated by the many and varied personal codes of practitioners themselves.
Before you leap the conclusion that witchcraft is guilty merely by association, remember that a minority of Christians practice genital mutilation in Africa and a whole bunch of them went on a few pretty murderous rampages during the course of their history.
That doesn’t mean they represent you.
Sorcery in Biblical Texts
One of the main arguments of Christian witch groups centers on the idea that the Bible affirms the use of sorcery as often as it forbids it.
For example, the Old Testament pretty clearly condemns divination several times.
Numerous passages specifically address the use of “casting lots.”
However, even on this point, Biblical scripture isn’t entirely clear.
“Joseph had a divination cup,” Violet points out.
And according to Violet, that’s not the only way the Bible mirrors modern witchcraft.
For example: “Leviticus is a grimoire.”
And: “Numbers 5:11-29 has a ‘test for an adulterous wife,’ which is a straight up potion. You can’t get around it.”
I like the way Violet thinks.
More importantly, you don’t have to practice divination, mix potions or keep a grimoire to practice witchcraft, just like you don’t have to go to Sunday school to be a Christian. These things are merely elements of witchcraft.
And if you plan to skip this one based on these Old Testament passages, you may also want to:
-Stop eating cheeseburgers (Exodus 23:19).
-Forget about Crab Fest at Red Lobster (Deuteronomy 14:9-10).
-Skip the keg stands in college (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
-Tell your boss you can’t work this Sunday (Exodus 20:10).
-Swear off bacon. (Leviticus 11:7–8)
-Tear out your English garden. (Leviticus 19:19)
-Get rid of all the polyblends in your closet (Leviticus 19:19—-and you should really do that one any way).
Plus a whole bunch of other stuff that has little relevance in modern life.
“Okay, I accept that what the Bible calls witchcraft isn’t the same as what modern witches mean by that term. And I’ll skip the divination just to be safe. But my religion tells me that I can’t practice other religions. Isn’t witchcraft a religion?”
Witchcraft isn’t a “religion” any more than prayer is a “religion.” Witchcraft is a component of many religions, and I would argue, it’s already part of yours.
Exorcisms, saying the rosary, maintaining an altar, and keeping religious icons and statuary all have direct implications in witchcraft.
Every time you say, “In the name of Jesus,” you are evoking your god like any good witch.
We need to dispel this idea that we’re so drastically different from each other.
What we have in common is far more striking that what is different about us.
“My friend is a witch, and she says I can’t be one, because witches don’t believe in Jesus.”
With all due respect, your friend is an idiot.
She is both ignorant about Christianity, and apparently about her own practice.
Somewhere along the way, she mistook the Craft for a religion with a centralized doctrine. It’s not.
Your friend has no right to tell you that you can’t be a witch, because she has no religious authority to do so.
Her statement makes as much sense as saying “charity work is only for Catholics” or “you can’t keep an altar if you’re not Hindu.”
You may want to point out to her that lots of witches practice forms of magic that borrow heavily from the Christian tradition, and vice versa.
(This cross-cultural interplay makes for some fascinating spiritual traditions, by the way. Particularly with respect to Central American and Caribbean witchcraft).
She can say, “you can’t be a Wiccan” or “you can’t be Druid.” Because those are specific spiritual traditions that run contrary to your faith.
But she can’t say “You can’t be a witch.”
That’s up to you.
“My clergy says witchcraft is forbidden in any form.”
That’s between you and your clergy. I am not going to get in the middle there because:
1. I am not an expert on theology in every form of Christianity.
2. Ultimately, you have to decide what’s right for you.
If it makes you uncomfortable, or it feels “naughty,” ask yourself why this is.
Is it because you really have strong convictions against the actual practice?
Or is it because you have been conditioned to cringe at a word you may not even be able to clearly define?
Witchcraft isn’t for everyone. And I’m not saying it’s for you. I’m just saying, if you found yourself reading this (and especially if you’ve made it this far), you clearly have a curiosity.
Whether you choose to do something about it or not, curiosity and openness are good things. Kudos to you for thinking outside the constrains of tradition. It takes bravery and courage to ask the hard questions.
Interviews with Amber Long
*Interviews with Violet Mavrick (not her real name)