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What is Christo-Paganism ...

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default What is Christo-Paganism ...

Post by Cristíona on Fri Mar 07, 2008 4:59 pm


Christianity is a Religion - Paganism is a Spirituality

Here is a wonderful article written about one woman's chosen path here on Earth ...




Whenever the topic of syncreticism comes up, I think of the ChristoPagan tradition. This path seeks to blend elements of Paganism (such as reverence for the Earth and the Goddess) with elements of Christianity. It is still very new, and therefore often misunderstood.

As a ChristoPagan, I'd like to share how I practice my faith. In doing so, I hope that I can illuminate why someone would choose this path. One thing that you must keep in mind while reading this is that I can only speak for myself - another person who identifies themselves as a ChristoPagan might have completely different views than mine.

~ The Nature of the Divine

Chrisitianity generally sees the Divine as being separate from nature, whereas Paganism sees the Divine manifest in nature (pantheism). My beliefs are in the middle of these two polars, and is expressed by the doctrine of panentheism.

Panentheism is the belief that the Divine includes and penetrates the whole universe, so that every part of it exists in the Divine, but that the Divine's being is more than, and is not exhausted by, the universe. For me, this means that the Goddess and God existed before the universe, and as they created it, they became part of their creation.

Because the Lady and Lord are one with their creation, everything around us is sacred. It also means that no species (or gender) is superior to the rest. Because of the Book of Genesis, many Christians believe that God gave them the right to do whatever they please with the Earth and its creatures. However, I believe that it is our responsibility to look after the Earth, not abuse it.

The Divine manifests in the way that each individual can best understand. For one person that may be the Goddess; for another the Christian trinity. Dion Fortune once said that "all the gods are one god; all the goddesses are one goddess, and there is one initiator." For me that means that all of the deities found in the world's mythologies are valid aspects of the Lady and Lord. No one's deity is invalid, even if I do not choose to venerate that god/dess.

~ Mary and Christ

Having been raised a Catholic, when I think of Judeo-Christian goddesses, the first that comes to mind is Mary, the mother of Christ. Although she may not seem like it at first glance, Mary is a personification of the Triple Goddess: She appears as Maiden when the angel Gabriel came to announce she had been chosen to bear God's son, and when she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. She becomes Mother when she gives birth to Jesus, and this continues as she raises him, for the most part by herself (after Joseph's death). her Crone aspect manifests at the foot of the Cross, as she sorrowfully witnesses her son's death. After she is assumed into the heavens, she resumes her position as a Mother Goddess, caring for her children through the miracles she has performed, her intercessions, and her apparitions. When the Pagan traditions were suppressed by the Church, the figure of Mary became a mask for the mysteries of the Goddess. The visions and miracles attributed to her are a powerful sign of the Goddess' presence, at a time when her Pagan manifestations had been demonized by the
Church.

In Jesus Christ I see another manifestation of the Dying and Rising God, who gave his life for the benefit of the people, just like Osiris, Tammuz, and countless others did. I believe that his sacrifice offered a spiritual renewal to the world, and that one does not have to become a Christian in order to benefit from it - it was an unconditional gift. His teachings were powerful. Stories such as the Beatitudes and the story of the prodigal son spoke to the people in his day of God as a loving father instead of a stern judge.

Although you might think that to become a Wiccan/Pagan one must abandon belief in Christ, this is not necessarily so. This quote from Gerald Gardner, in his book "The Meaning of Witchcraft, " offers a different perspective:

"It is usually said that to be made a witch one must abjure Christianity; this is not true; but they naturally would not receive into their ranks anyone who was a very narrow Christian. They do not think that the real Jesus was literally the Son of God, but are quite prepared to accept that he was one of the Enlightened Ones, or Holy Men. That is the reason why witches do not think they were hypocrites "in times of persecution" for going to church and honoring Christ, especially as so many of the old Sun-hero myths have been incorporated into Christianity; while others might bow to the Madonna, who is closely akin to their goddess of heaven."

~ The Bible

Fundamentalist Christians consider the Bible to be the infallible word of God, but I do not share this opinion. The books of the Bible were inspired, perhaps divinely, but they were written by many different authors, some of whom contradict one another. It is also quite possible that texts were edited to fit to individuals' beliefs or prejudices. The best example of this is the King James Bible and the infamous "thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" - the original word was "poisoner, " but was later changed to "witch" at King James' command. Another thing that Fundamentalists do not take into consideration is that there are more books than those found in the Protestant translations. The Catholic and Orthodox churches include a group of books known as the Apocrypha in their canons. Another group of books, which none of the mainstream Christian traditions accept are the Gnostic Gospels.

When I read the Bible, I try to find the passages that are meaningful to me. For example, in the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Proverbs, I found a goddess-like figure named Wisdom. She is described as being God's companion during his creation of the world, and some passages suggest that she may have played an active role (see Proverbs 8:22-31). Two beautiful passages about her are Wisdom 7:22-30, 8:1 and Proverbs 3:13-18.

~ The Afterlife

Do I believe in Heaven and Hell? I believe in Heaven, but I find that I can not believe in the doctrine of Hell - I could never believe that a loving God would condemn his children to eternal suffering for mistakes made in one lifetime. I believe in reincarnation, the idea that we are given many lifetimes to learn, and that if we get something wrong, we are sent back to learn it. No one needs to suffer. I do believe in Heaven, but not in the traditional Christian sense of the word. I believe that Heaven is a state of being in complete union with the Divine, something that I believe will happen at the end of our many lifetimes, when we have finished our learning. The joy that union will bring is something that inspires me in my faith.

~ Ritual

I observe the eight Wiccan Sabbats, as well as the cycles of the Moon (by holding an Esbat celebration on the Full Moon). My rituals are much like any other Pagan rite that you might attend, but there are some minor differences. When I begin by casting the circle, I invoke the ArchAngels at the four directions. I realize that there are other Wiccan/Pagan traditions that do this as well, but I've made the choice in part because of my Christian background. Before I invoke the Lady and Lord, at the centre of the circle I ask for the presence of my guardian angel. This is my way of honoring the "element" of Spirit/Akasha.

The ritual continues on with the invocation of the Goddess and God, and then a celebration of the Sabbat or Esbat. If the celebration is a Sabbat, I perform the symbolic form of the Great Rite (I omit this during Esbat celebrations). Instead of Cakes and Wine, I celebrate the Eucharist - the bread is dedicated to the God and the wine/juice to the Lady, and I ask them to infuse the food with their essence. I adopted the idea of a "pagan Eucharist" after reading Scott Cunningham's "Simple Feast, " wherein the celebrant asks for the Lady's blessings over the cup and the Lord's over the bread. I also learned that in some of the Mystery cults, such as that of Mithras, a sacred meal was celebrated, and that was likely part of where the Christian Eucharist came from. After Communion, I either meditate or say a decade of the Rosary. Then, if I am going to perform a spell, it is done at this time. After all is done, I thank the ArchAngels and the Goddess and God for their presence at the rite, and the circle is opened.

~ Prayer and Magick

Many Wiccans/Pagans see magic as being the same as prayer, and in a way they are right. When one compares spells to prayer, they are thinking of prayers of petition or intercession. However, there are more types of prayer - according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the other forms of prayer are adoration, praise and thanksgiving, confession, and unitative (mystical union or ecstasy).

When you pray, you are communicating with the Divine (which itself is a magical act). This communication doesn't need to be limited to just asking for things you need. When you find yourself in awe of the beauty of Nature, you may say a prayer of praise to the Lady. Or you might give thanks when prayer is answered or a spell's goals have been accomplished. When you pray asking for something that you need, you are placing your request into the hands of the Goddess and God and asking them to help. On the other hand, when you cast a spell, you are using the power of your will (and perhaps the forces of Nature) to cause needed change. You might ask for the Goddess and God to bless your efforts, but you are not asking them to do everything for you. Both prayer and magic have a place in my beliefs. I use spell casting when I am in need, and I use prayer to help those who are in need (especially if they are someone who I do not know, and therefore spell casting would be inappropriate). I also incorporate a Pagan form of the Rosary into my nightly prayers, as an act of devotion to the Lady. The use of prayer beads is certainly not limited to Catholicism, and is a Pagan practice - the Phoenicians used them in their worship of Astarte, and the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and Eastern Orthodox faiths use prayer beads in their worship.

I have been on this path for five years, and my faith has continuously grown. Serving the Lady and Lord has been a pleasure, and I delight in finding them revealed in the world around me: in the wonders of nature, the faces of people I know and love.

In this essay, I have covered a fair bit of information concerning my beliefs as a ChristoPagan, but there is so much more to my faith than what can be covered here! I hope that reading this has shed some light on why some of us choose this path.

Peace be with you and Blessed Be!
Ara MoonSong


Christo-Pagan
It Is NOT An Oxy-Moron


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Post by Guest on Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:08 pm

Reading good reading! thanks
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Post by Cristíona on Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:50 pm


Ara MoonSong and I see a good many things the same ... even though Christo-Paganism is as diverse as there are people inquiring about it.

When I am in a situation where I have to sum up my belief system in one word it's Christo-Pagan. This nicely opens the door for a more detailed description of my simplistic personal relationship with God.

We, as a culture, have been made to fear words ... even as we continue to glue a label on everything. There is this growing NEED to make everything more and more complex when it ALL can be so very simple.

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Post by nwpisces on Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:22 pm

Thank you for sharing this explanation.
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Post by in2wish4everpeace on Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:27 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this knowledge with us Cristiona. I hope everyone reads this, as they will find many similarities between Gnosticism and Wicca/Christo-Pagenism and this is very comforting indeed. Had I not discovered Sylvia and Gnostic teachings, i think i would definatley be of the Wicca/Christo-pagenism crowd! I was a natural born (Panthiest), these are things i have always believed also in my heart. Again, thanks for imparting some of this knowledge with us Cristiona!
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Post by samijo on Fri Mar 07, 2008 6:38 pm

In2 you said it well.
My thoughts exactally. Idea
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Post by Cristíona on Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:32 pm

in2wish4everpeace wrote:

Had I not discovered Sylvia and Gnostic teachings, i think i would definatley be of the Wicca/Christo-pagenism crowd! I was a natural born (Panthiest), these are things i have always believed also in my heart.




You're more than welcome, darlin' ---

But actually ...

gnosis (no'sis) n. Intuitive apprehension of spiritual truths - independent of faith

Gnosis means "Knowledge from the Heart" - not intellectual knowledge. As a person reads, among other things, they will come across knowledge that resonates powerfully in their heart and they will KNOW it as Truth ... that is gnosis.

One can belong to any religion (Christian or Otherwise) and be Spiritually Gnostic - one can choose to not belong to any specific doctrined religion and still be Spiritually Gnostic.

In defining the words ...

Gnosis is the intuitive apprehension of Spiritual Truths - understanding without conscious use of reasoning ... in other words, it makes perfect sense without dissecting or thinking about it.

A Gnostic is the person who experiences this (gnosis) and understands this as not an Earthly Truth.

Gnosticism is being active. It means taking those Truths - always seeking MORE Truths - and putting them together into a Belief System.



That having been said ...

Sylvia's Gnostic church body espouses Christianity as their Religion of choice.

Thus, we call ourselves Gnostic Christians.

However it's important to not only think about and be active in your relationship with God ... but also work at how you want to expand it.

And in recognizing, respecting, acknowledging and loving all of God's Creation by your actions as well as your words — you are cognizant of The Earth through your Spirituality (or personal relationship with God). Which takes nothing away from your Religion of choice ... it only MAGNIFIES it.

You say you are a natural born Panthiest, In2 ... that this is in your heart — what a GLORIOUS thing - not to be discounted and believe me, you are not taking anything away from God, Sylvia, Novus Spiritus or the depths of your beliefs by adding something positive to it, sweetheart - it's only a cherry added to your sundae.

Being a Gnostic Christian-Pagan ... is truly not a bad place to Be.

Heart 2 Heart 2 Heart 2
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Post by in2wish4everpeace on Sat Mar 08, 2008 4:48 am

I definately agree with you Cristiona, sometimes I forget, that I am a student of all beautiful knowledge, its what feels good to me.. I can definately find beauty in all forms of religion and spirituality, and learn from all forms of spirituality and religions. What I meant to say was, that it was familiar with me, and I would be just fine had I first discovered that form of spirituality, or vice versa. It also resonates with me.
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