christian witch

Journey Towards Christian Witchcraft

November, 2008

This article is dedicated to Father Jordan Stratford+ of the Apostolic Johannite Church and fellow witch, who helped me to find Holy Sophia.

My long, agonizing journey towards becoming a Christian Witch began on the day that I left the Christian Church forever, which was thirteen years ago.  After having been an Ultra- Traditional Catholic followed by my conversion to the Russian Orthodox Church, one day, I simply walked out of the 2,000 year old, heavy oaken Christian door and never looked back.  Or, so I thought at the time.
Leaving Christianity had nothing to do with Jesus Christ or his Mother Mary, the latter, to whom I had been deeply devoted all my life.
I  finally had enough of the rules and regulations regarding every aspect of my mind, body and soul. I was done with the politics and the scandals which touched me, personally. I was finished with the hypocrisy of a priesthood that didn’t always follow it’s own rules, alongside a male hierarchy which felt it had a God-ordained right to instruct me as how to conduct the most private parts of my life under pain of ever-lasting fire, anguish and desolation.   I was angry, very, very angry.
The first thing I was determined to do upon my new-found freedom, was to read every book that had been banned to me as both a Catholic and as an Orthodox Christian.  Anything that had been deemed heretical, I read, most voraciously.
My eyes slowly opened to a greater, wider truth.  Hmmm, Church history wasn’t quite what I was taught. Gee, St. Dominic and St. Simon Stock were torturers.  Wow, the Church wasn’t exactly ‘in place’ from the very beginning. What, there were ‘other’ gospels?  And, oh, most of our holidays and even some of our ‘saints’ came from Pagan places and myths, what do you know? And, omg, you mean the Resurrection could actually have been a MYTH?
Well, that’s that.  St. Paul said that if the Resurrection did not take place then there was no point to being a Christian. (Pardon my paraphrase.)  Well, that was good enough for me.  I could now happily leave Christianity with a clear conscience.  The in-bred fears, however, took years to overcome.
A day in the bookstore brought me to the most evil of part of the store, the New Age Section.  The section at which I used to glance quickly with judgmental derision.
I knew that the New Agers consisted of a vast net-work of the most highly sophisticated entrepreneurs, a matrix of high-placed businesses and people which and who were connected to each other in a web-like conspiracy that prefigured the vast cyber-maze of the internet.
The New Age Powers that Be were obscenely wealthy people who, through invading our schools and infiltrating our homes and bookstores, were going to take over the world for the very-soon-to-appear-upon-the-Earth, Anti-Christ.  This was the absolute Truth.  I had been taught this at Church and I had read it in many a bona-fide Christian book.
Funny thing was, I had always secretly whispered to myself that if I wasn’t such a staunch, loyal Orthodox/Catholic (they were both one Church for the first thousand years) Christian, I would so love to be New Age with the crystals, the fairies and the tarot cards!  How fun would that be?  What a joyous spirituality!
That’s the way the world should be; magick flowing through the air, so thick you could feel and sense it. The glowing light of fairies hidden beneath draping willow trees.  The mists of the lake, beckoning you to dwell within its swirling multi-dimension, veil-ripping-connecting energies.  The tropical breeze-kissed mid-summer nights, enticing you to venture beyond your own drab world to Summerland.
Back at the bookstore, The Mists of Avalon looked intriguing, as well as the books by Scott Cunningham, who-ever he was. What kind of name is SilverRavenWolf?  I figured I might as well read what she had to say, also.  And, as I began to read these bizarre, almost fearful and bordering on the spiritually dangerous books, I began to remember……
I remembered how my pockets were always filled with special rocks and gemstones, nestled alongside the little white, cloth ghosts that I both made and named (after the gemstones), until I was 11 and such things became too childish.
I remembered that I could talk to and understand the trees, at least, until I was 13 and high school began to overwhelm me.
I could gaze into a brook and become so connected to it, I could so feel it’s spirit, I could so meld as one with it, I so understood it, that is, until I turned 14 and the brook was covered in pavement.
I remembered the stars, the planets, the star clusters, galaxies and quasars.. my greatest passion and the greatest love of my life, the Cosmos, until I turned 16 and realized that I was never going to be an astronomer.
I remembered the forest, the home place, the most safe place, the most secure place, the place where I belonged,  until I turned 17 and entered the ‘real world’ of working to make money and searching for my future husband.
I remembered the magick I used to try to practice, until I turned 18 and started studied Christianity as an adult.
I remember the moon, who was my very best friend ever since I was five years old and she followed me home from school one day, (except back then, I got the impression that the moon was male,) until I was married and had to focus on raising children.
I don’t know nor understand what happens to us as we get older. I no longer want to understand.  But, it’s so wonderful to know that we can get it back, again. It  grew stronger each year that I was, well, to use a term that I never really, actually wanted to use let alone fully acknowledge to myself, a witch.
I’m no-one special. I don’t want to be part of a fad. I have no special ‘powers’ or secret knowledge. There are so many who leave me in the dust when it comes to occult knowledge and the practice of magick.  But, when you get right down to it, I guess I have to admit, I am a witch.
I thought to myself at the time, Wicca is the most perfect religion in the world. Just perfect. My Hand-fasted husband thought so, too. It was great to have his support in my new-found religion.
, home-study courses, tons of reading and lots of magickal practice took up the next five or six years of my life.  The Sabbats and Esbats, well, they were just awesome, to say the least.      My own personal rituals consisted of prayers, poems, magick and a true Goddess-Communion.
I found Wanding, by Evan Twede and became a wanding practitioner. I studied the Tarot and Runes (didn’t really ever get to crystals but, I still love them) along with the use of the pendulum.
On a trip with my sister to Louisiana, where I had lived for a time as a child, I both read about and marked the tomb, in New Orleans, of Marie Laveaux, with three x’s and left a lit candle.  (This was the November before Katrina.)
The study of reincarnation simply gave life a whole new meaning.  Reincarnation gave life the meaning of Hope. This wasn’t an all or nothing life, after all.  We have plenty of time to get it right.
The greatest gift that I have received from Wicca is not only this great feeling of flying freedom but, it has reconnected me to my Mother, to Nature, Herself, to what I knew was true in my childhood but, now I understand things at a more mature and wiser level.  At least I hope so, anyway.
There was always something missing for me from Wicca, though. I tried and tried to connect with the Old God/desses, the old pantheons. I endeavored to bring forth the meaning of the old myths into modern life. Aside from a connection to Woden and my ancestral Gallic Goddess, Sequanna, it just wasn’t working for me.
Despite my maternal Breton ancestral background, the Celtic myths didn’t touch me, they didn’t reach my soul. The Celtic pantheon just felt distant and alien to my sensibilities.
I understood the concept that there are many Goddesses who are all aspects of the Great Goddess.  Heck, I had been Catholic.  We had dozens of different names for the Blessed Virgin Mary, all with different aspects, myths, messages, colors and costumes. But, somehow, the pantheon part of being Pagan/Wiccan just wasn’t working for me.
The other cultural pantheons felt even more remote.  I was an American living in the 21st century. I wanted to discover the true Universal Divine Feminine for now, not the Tribal Goddesses of old.
I wanted to know HER Name.  HER true Name.  I wanted to know Who She really Was/ Is and Will Be Forever with every quantum particle of my being, with every breath from my lungs, with every beat of my heart, with every firing neuron of my brain.  I wanted to know Who She truly is, now, for me.  I wanted to know Her very Name.
There was another aspect of being Pagan/Wiccan that was sorely lacking in my practice and that was a disparity of a profound depth of spiritual life. Sure, the rituals, the magick, the divination and even the meditation were all great but, it just felt like something huge was missing.
And that is when I found, through Father Jordan Statford+, the Holy Sophia. Sophia Who is The Holy Spirit, the Feminine Face of the Very God, the True Divine Light, Isis, incarnate, Mother Mary, incarnate, Mary Magdalene, incarnate, all in Her various aspects, Whose Daughter is Eve. The Breath of the Shekinah. She Who was hidden in the form of the ancient Jewish Goddess, Asherah.  She is the Gnostic Barbelo, the True Divine Feminine, descended to us, Herself.  She is beyond Goddess. She Was, Is and Forever Will Be.
It was only when I found Sophia that the Charge of the Goddess truly came alive for me, for Whom the poetry truly made sense and in Whom the words were completely validated. She was, is and ever will be, the Soul of Nature. She was, is and ever will be, our true divine Mother. She and She alone, is truly within and without.  I had found Her.
I rushed outside and whispered to the night, “Sophia, is it You?” And a sudden rush of wind answered, ‘yes’.
Thanks to Father Jordan’s patience, I learned that I couldn’t separate Sophia from the Gnostic Christian myth nor from her Twin, the Divine Christos. I learned about Cosmic myth and it’s meaning. I learned the importance of not taking exoteric Christianity as a literal/black/white/set in stone fact.
I had to come face to face with and wrestle against, as if my very life depended upon it,  the black demons of my former Christianity to the point where I literally felt like I was about to lose my mind and I had to pray for help like I’ve never prayed, before.
I once had to learn to become free through Wicca. Now, I had to learn to become free within Gnostic/Esoteric Christianity. I had to come to terms with my Catholic/Orthodox background.  And, when I did, a whole new universe of spiritual wonder opened up before me.
We have to see things as cosmic realities, not Earth-bound realities.  All of our religious truths, from every single religion in this world, including Christianity,  all of them contain golden nuggets and rainbow embedded jewels of a world beyond us that we only see in a darkened mirror, as St. Paul said.
There is nothing wrong with Christianity. There is nothing wrong with Wicca.  One is not more ‘true’ than the other. They just both need to be expanded beyond this earthly/political plane to encompass the spiraling dimensions of what lies beyond the veil.  One does not preclude the other. They just both have to be seen in a New Light. The True Light of our True Father and our True Mother.
Did you know that Jesus, in certain Gnostic Gospels referred to the Holy Spirit as His Mother?  Did you know that ancient Christians practiced a very powerful and potent form of magick?  Did you know that there was an ancient form of Christianity that was very different for the modern form? Did you know that many of the teachings of Jesus might have come from Egypt?
The combination of Esoteric and Gnostic Christianity along with the deep prayerful life of the Exoteric Church and the natural, magickal life of Wicca has completed my journey towards becoming a Christian Witch. Or, more specifically, a Sophian Gnostic-Esoteric Witch.
I have found the Great Goddess, the True Divine Feminine, Most Holy Sophia, for Whom I had searched so long.
Do yourself a favor, if you are searching for the Goddess, read Thunder, Perfect Mind, in the Gnostic texts or online and you will find Her.  Read  the Gnostic, Song of the Pearl, and you will find out what life is all about.  Read the Gnostic, Round Dance of the Cross, and you will find a different, ritualistic Jesus.
I have found the spiritual depth and abiding, soul-nourishing prayerful/spiritual life for which, as a Pagan, I had searched for so many years. And, I’ve learned to combine them with the re-connection to Nature that I have so preciously re-learned and re-experienced through Wicca.
Father Jordan Statford+ once told me that Wicca was designed to lead to Gnosticism and that journeying from Wicca to Gnosticism was like following the breadcrumbs Home. He was right. But, for both Father Jordan+, myself and many other Gnostics, both Christian and non-Christian, that does not mean you have to leave the witchcraft behind.
So, yes, I guess you could say I am a Christian Witch. I am now spiritually complete. I feel I have the best of all spiritual worlds, so to speak.  Those who feel that Christianity and Wicca/Witchcraft do not mix, truly do not see Christianity in its true Light nor in it’s true evolution from Egypt through Israel and beyond to the East and West. Prejudices must be put aside. Toleration and education are the key.
No journey is traveled without the greatest of teachers of whom I send my most heart-felt gratitude: Gerald O’Donell, of the Academy of Remote Viewing and Influencing who, more than anyone, taught me that we are One,  my truly loving mentor, Dr. Katia Romanoff, of the Mystery Schools at Northernway.org and The Church of the Way, of whom I have the highest regard and is, perhaps, my idol in this life,  Deacon Anthony Silvia, of the Apostolic Johannite Church, whom I miss dearly and from whom I gained a wealth of Gnostic learning,  my dearly and beyond any imagining, most beloved, Rev. Mother Marsha Emrick+, Gnostic Priest of the Gnostic Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Buddhist, proctor of our Order of Gnostic nuns and Wiccan high priestess, and especially, Father Jordan Stratford+, Arch-priest of the Apostolic Johannite Church, proctor of the monks of our Gnostic Order of St. Esclarmonde and witch, whose patience, love and caring knows no bounds. He is the one who helped me find Sophia and he is the one to whom this article is dedicated.
Thank you all, for helping this poor, wandering soul, to find her Path.
May you all, dear readers, find your true path. May you find your true teachers to guide you along the way.
It can be a long, deeply frustrating and  precariously steep mountain road full of switch-backs and down-ward slides, but the Treasure, that precious Pearl is worth the journey. Keep your mind OPEN.
May you be Blessed during the coming Yule season.
Diakonissa Sr. Pamela Lanides, O.S.E., O.D.M., O.M.M.