When I told my Pacific Northwest friends I was moving back to Georgia to help my mother tend to ill family members the first thing they asked was, “Are you coming out about being a witch?” This was followed by, “Is there really such a thing as Southern Baptist Witches?”
To the latter question, I really have no answer as I am no longer the Southern Baptist Christian I was raised to be. To the former question my answer was an unequivocal “Yes.”
Most of my Northwest friends are Pagan, Wiccan, or some other form of “Other.” And what has always surprised them is the fact that I have always found “coming out” as a Christian to them far more difficult than “coming out” as a witch to my conservative Christian family!
My family has seen my psychic development and the resulting positive life changes in my clients. They have seen the desperate healed when traditional therapy failed, they have seen the comfort given to family members via communicating with those that have passed as well as the peace that comes when I have assisted souls in crossing over. My family knows me as Christ knows me: “By (my) fruits.” Matthew 7:16.
My “Other” friends also know me by my fruits. What I loved most about them was the fact that it was they who provided me with a safe space in which to cultivate and nourish my fledgling abilities. It was they who gave me permission to use these talents, who taught me that these were not signs of “demonic possession” or airy fairy flakiness. They were never shocked, scared, horrified or taught to fear psychic phenomenon—they appreciated my gifts LONG before I ever did. My Other friends called me “witch” well before I accepted the term as one of respect and honor.
Whether they knew it or not, what they actually were doing was witnessing to a simple truth of Christ—one that mainstream Christianity seems to have forgotten: “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself.” Mark 3:24. Not that I was ever “casting out Satan” per se—just using what I consider to be the power of the Holy Spirit (or the Goddess to me) to help humanity. My Other friends have long known what many Christians fail to realize: Gifts, such as healing, prophecy, and psychic talents cannot possibly come from that nasty old Devil they talk so much about.
No, what always shocked my “Other” friends was the fact that I am now and have always been a Christian. I must say, I oftentimes found my religion to be something of an embarrassment. Too many years of hell fire, damnation, the cursing of all things not understood, and yes, Christians, a basic lack of the words of The Man who founded the religion have lead to this embarrassment.
And that is something I along with a number of fiercely brave and independent men and women hope to change. I think a good start is in recognizing the difference between a religion and a craft.
As all Pagans understand, Paganism is a religion. A really, really, old religion. A religion that pretty much predates religion! However, to me, witchcraft is not a religion. Witchcraft, is just what its name states that it is: a craft–a knowledge of the powers and forces that give rise to Life itself.
To me, understanding and using witchcraft is like understanding how to flip on a metaphysical light switch. When I turn on a physical light switch I do not worship the electricity that results when the switch is flipped. In my own religion, in what I believe is now being called “Christo-Paganism”, I do not worship the forces which create change. I thank them, I bless them, I realize they are a part of me and I a part of them, but I do not, as ancient human beings did, worship them as some mystical, magical power that must be assuage and coddled. Nor do I cringe in fear when the light bulb blows and make penance to the light bulb God/dess lest S/he throw a fit and strike me down with a larger electrical surge.
Witchcraft is my craft, my working knowledge of things unseen. Christianity is my religion—the tenets by which I live.
I hope of the coming months to discuss not only witchcraft, but the tenets of Christianity—what I believe to be the true Christianity—the one that includes what we now term “witchcraft” in its teachings.
After all, what was Yeshua the Christ if not an accomplished Mage?
R.A. Áine Laisrén, a novelist and psychic practitioner for over twenty years, is devoting her life (and the life of her pet chinchilla Fionnghuala) to restoring the Goddess and all Her gifts to Christianity. She will absolutely lose her mind if you refer to the Holy Spirit in the masculine gender, so please just don’t do it!
More information about Áine’s writing and practice may be found at www.sang-realta.com