There have been a few books written recently about Jesus and the Christo-pagan path. Having grown up an (unhappy) Christian, I decided to check out what these new groups hold in their belief systems. It did cross my mind that there might be some way to bridge the gap between my beliefs and those of my past. Maybe I was feeling some spiritual loose ends that needed tidying up. Lately, though, I have been doing some real soul searching and have come to a few conclusions that I feel very strongly define my core belief system. My beliefs are personal and I don’t profess to convince anyone else of their validity.
For years I was a Christian and, looking back, I realize that most of those years I was miserable. I was miserable thinking that I was a sinner and that those whom I loved who were not “saved” would burn in Hell. My only consolation (a big one) was knowing deep down that there was a divine spirit that truly loved me beyond measure. How I came to know that is a different story that I won’t go into here.
When I finally left the church and realized that my beliefs were more in tune with the natural world (and always had been), I felt liberated and happy. It became increasingly evident to me that our society has been extremely patriarchal and out of balance for centuries. I also started noticing how I was affected by this imbalance in my personal life. There was tension between me and my husband, who was suddenly being confronted by a wife who wanted to “take back her power”. That was threatening and bewildering, to say the least. Our marriage seems to have weathered the storm, although we still have our moments. I may sound like a feminist, and if being a feminist is taking charge of my power in the Divine Feminine, then I guess that I am one. I think one must admit that with all the wars and violence in the world, a little nurturing Divine Feminine energy might be called for these days.
By looking into Christo-paganism it would seem that the whole idea of joining the two belief systems might be to legitimize something (paganism) by adding the element of Christ. I don’t mean to offend anyone who truly believes in Jesus as their savior, and I have tried to give it the benefit of the doubt and stay open about the concept. But in the end I have finally had to define what works best for me.
So here is what I believe about Jesus and Christianity: I believe that Mary has been another form of the Goddess energy and that people just can’t live a balanced life without Her. Look at how Mary has been adored throughout history. So many sightings and miracles attributed to her! The Goddess heals and will reach out to us in whatever form we can understand (not just as Mary but Brighid, Hecate, etc.). As far as Jesus is concerned, I believe he fits in the category of “ascended master” or “prophet” along with Buddha, Yogananda, some of the archangels, gods and goddesses, etc.. As far as being the savior of the world, he is one as much as any of the other ascended masters. As far as having died for my sins, in an archetypal way, yes he did; but so did a lot of other mystical beings who, coincidently, have a lot more in common with Jesus, such as having been born of a virgin, 12 disciples, living to be about the same age, being killed unjustly, etc.. Did Jesus really live or was he a conglomeration of several prophets who came to save Israel at that time? Maybe he lived and maybe not. I don’t think it matters. He is alive, none the less. He is a representation who was created out of the energy of the archetypal mind and so is a valid deity with the ability to bring about change. This is why I cannot condemn anyone who worships and prays to Jesus, even though they might condemn me for praying to goddess.
What happened to Jesus over the centuries? Well, the “church” added a few things, and having been influenced by its patriarchal, Judeo roots, proceeded to try and annihilate the goddess. What happened was simply that the goddess went underground and continues to thrive amongst her people. Maybe Jesus, even though I respect him and much of what he taught, represents that patriarchal repression that really puts me off. I doubt that was what he wanted to happen. No doubt the “burning times” saddened him a lot.
I have concluded, then, that I am really not a hyphenated Christian. To refer to myself as Christo-pagan or Christian Wiccan doesn’t set right with me. I feel I am a pagan, pure and simple. I accept many of the Wiccan principles but honestly believe that Wicca is yet another attempt to create a religion, and with religion comes hierarchy and control issues, etc., etc.. Wicca is not old but a new concept of Mr. Gardener and his friends in the Golden Dawn. As much as possible, I choose to follow the Old Path and what it represents to me. This is part of what I came here to do in this life – to reclaim my path and my power. I feel I best follow a traditional path, if I have to have a label (and I don’t!). I know I will continue along this path and make new discoveries as I go. That is good. I feel at peace with the beliefs of others because I know their beliefs are a part of their path as well.