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Article: The Path of a Christian Witch
The Path of a Christian Witch
Title: The Path of a Christian Witch
Author(s): Adelina St.Clair
Published 2010 by Llewellyn
Paperback, 184 pages
View this Book on Amazon
Reviewer: Mike Gleason
Ms St. Clair (who lives in a Cree community in Canada, with her husband and two children) states, on the back cover of this book: "I am a Christian Witch." WRONG! I don't care how politically incorrect my statement is. Unless they have done some serious revisions since I left the Christian faith forty-some years ago, the First Commandment makes that statement an impossibility. She may be a Witch who includes Jesus in her pantheon, but she is not a Christian. And if she is a practicing Christian, she can't be a Witch; it's as simple as that - one or the other, but not both.
Having gotten that off my chest, I must equally acknowledge that each individual is entitled to their own beliefs and definitions and (unlikely as it may seem to me) I could be wrong, so I put aside my prejudices and began to actually read the book.
I came to realize that the author and I started from very different places, so of course our conclusions were very different. I perceive Witchcraft as a religion, as I was trained decades ago. She sees Witchcraft as being an assortment of beliefs (an eclectic approach). I apologize in advance if I offend you, but I DO NOT believe that you can follow any religion and be a Witch. I DO believe you can follow any religion and work magick. There is a difference, current perceptions not withstanding.
Ms St. Clair makes an effort to differentiate between the institutional religion of Christianity (the religion ABOUT Jesus) and primitive Christianity (the religion of Jesus). Institutional Christianity cannot condone Witchcraft that much is obvio0us. However, primitive Christianity, with its dominant background of Judaic beliefs is only marginally more able to do so, in my opinion. It all comes down to the split between monotheism and polytheism.
Unfortunately for Ms St. Clair, neither side of this religious debate is likely to concede the legitimacy of the other side (see the opening paragraph of this review), and that severely limits the potential audience for this book.
I have no doubt that Ms St. Clair's feelings and identificatio0ns are valid - for her - but I know that the vast majority of humanity, on both sides of the Pagan/Christian divide will find reasons to declare it invalid for themselves. The perception, if not the realities, for that which separates the two sides are basically insurmountable for those with a more conventional understanding of theology.
Ms St. Clair has been a student of Witchcraft for over a decade, according to the information on the back covers. Yet I fear that she has failed to understand some basics. On page 99 she says "As the Charge of the Goddess compels [emphasis mine], once a month, when the moon is full..." Strange, every reading I have of the Charge, from various authors and sources says "Once in the month, and better [emphasis mine] it be when the moon is full..." or some other variant SUGGESTING full moon celebrations, not COMPELLING them.
Another important aspect of the Craft, at least as I learned it, is respect. Ms St. Clair acknowledges that she could be excommunicated from the Catholic Church "in a second" if it became known she is a Witch (in point of fact, she has already excommunicated herself, but we don't need to go into that). Yet still she says, on page 87, "I still attend church services and partake in the sacraments." Catholic orthodoxy forbids partaking of the sacraments if the individual is in a state of mortal sin or has been excommunicated [emphasis mine] whether it has been officially announced, which she has been by her decision to practice Witchcraft. This is NOT showing respect, but indeed the very opposite - contempt.
Occasionally I find myself in Church on a Sunday or Holy Day, but I would never consider receiving Communion since I have cut myself off from that right by my decision to practice Witchcraft. That is the kind of respect I would expect should a Catholic priest or nun attend a Pagan festival - enjoy the atmosphere, but don't try to appear to be something you are not.
Ms St. Clair has, apparently, reached a point of balance within her own life and faith, and that is a beautiful thing. Whether or not I agree with and accept her position on Wiccan Christianity (I don't) is irrelevant. It works for her. Her experiences of the worlds both within and without have grown over the years, and that cannot be anything but good.
While this book will never make it onto my "must have" list, I would still recommend it for a Coven library (or the library of a Solitary with experience). It contains few rituals, since it is primarily a memoir. It offers a distinctly minority viewpoint in a rational manner, and shows the commonality of two very divergent viewpoints. Looking at the above, it can (and should) stimulate discussion. Agree with her or not, Ms St. Clair has performed a valuable service for both of the faiths she claims membership in.
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