Is Wicca a Christian Heresy?

Is Wicca a Christian Heresy? August 29, 2011

Lud's Church, used by Lollard heretics. Oliver Dixon CC

Yesterday I gave a grumpy rant over the Watchtowers and LBRP being included in some strains of Wicca. The responses surprised me and set me to thinking.

If you begin with the premise that everything in Wicca came from a Christianized society, that Wicca was founded by people raised and well-versed in Christianity, that elements of some strains of Wicca represent entirely Abrahamic, Copernican earth- and human-centric worldviews, does it then follow that Wicca is a Christian heresy?

If Wicca is drawn from Christianity, a reworking of the Christian mythos with the ever-present celestial mother and ever-dying, ever-resurrecting God, then does it fall squarely in the tradition of Christian heresies such as the Cathars, the Amor heresy and the Lollards?

Many of the holidays on the Wiccan calendar are Christian holidays, give or take a day. Yule is Christmas, Ostara is Easter, Lughnasadh is Lammas, Imbolc is Candlemas, Mabon is Michaelmas, Beltane is Pentecost and Samhain is All Souls.

It seems to me a good case could be made that Wicca is a Christian heresy, salvation being attained by right action resulting in reunion with loved ones through reincarnation. In the Kabbalistic Cross humanity is placed at the center of the Universe, in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram humanity exerts it’s will over the elements of the universe, and in the ultimate act of Dominionism the Gods themselves are summoned by the Wiccan into an energetic circle in which they are confined until being released.

Looking at Wicca in this light is quite a trip. It makes me reconsider my ideas regarding the rise of popular Wicca and the Reconstructionist religions. There seems to be a general feeling that traditional Wicca is rejected because it’s either hard to find, too hard or in some cases, abusive. I’m not saying that those aren’t still reasons traditional Wicca is rejected, but with the rise of Reconstructionism, I have to wonder if traditional Wicca is rejected in favor of popular Wicca or Reconstructionism because it’s not Pagan enough?

People who have studied Wicca as a solitary work hard to change their worldviews, to shed old conceptions of religion and take on new visions of what spirituality can be. I spent about 9 years studying on my own before seeking out traditional Craft. I was disturbed by my first encounter with trad Craft finding I was expected to learn and practice exercises full of Judeo-Christian concepts and language. I wasn’t disturbed because “I hatez the Xtians” but because if I wanted Jewish or Christian mysticism there are better resources out there than Wicca. I wanted Pagan Witchcraft: deep, thoughtful, potent practice to align myself with nature and the Old Gods.

If everything in Wicca comes to us via Christianity, have we combined the Virgin and the Magdalen and set her among the stars? Have we given the Devil pipes and let him loose in the wild? Is Wicca essentially a gentler, kinder, more fanciful Satanism?

Or is Wicca Pagan? Is it the staunch survival of polytheism tempered by oppression, deepened by hiding and re-interpreted for a new age?

Or is Wicca an invention of the Atomic Age, a hobo’s stew of spirituality that somehow strikes all the right notes? And is the rise of popular Wicca because those who founded and maintain the original form of the religion don’t understand what they have? Is the largely Pagan popular Wicca “right” when it rejects the Abrahamic elements?

I don’t have any answers but for the moment I’m mesmerized by the questions.

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