Why I Became a Christian Witch in the First Place | A Christian Witch's Path to God
All things "new age" aren't really so new, you know.
Christian Witch Introductory Book Progress:
Chapters 1 & 2 (Biblical/Cultural Defense) in progress
Chapter 6 (Cultural Connections in Witchcraft) in progress
How many times have I heard people ask me about my religious ideology? At this point, too many. There's one question in particular that always comes back, no matter how many times I answer it:
How can you be a Christian and a witch?
It's a question asked by well-meaning people, who are simply curious about what I do and why, and it's asked by those who love to stew in what they believe is righteous indignance. The former are easy to talk to: they'll listen when I explain it to them. The latter, however, will only continue to throw English translations of Scripture at me that, when you dig deeper, tell a whole different story.
Other blogs to read on the subject: Jewitches' Can You Even Be a Jewish Witch?
I'm currently knee-deep in writing about this for the introductory Christian Witch resource I'm working on with Emyle D. Prata (or @feral_southern_housewife, whose blog you can find here). In the chapter I'm working on, I cover a multitude of topics, like:
how the Bible has been mistranslated (sometimes on purpose to make "corrections" that scribes just took the liberty to make, other times on accident because copying an entire massive manuscript by candlelight with ink and pen is tiring, tedious work)
how those mistranslations have stripped the context of what the words actually meant (like, for example, the famous "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" line of Exodus 22:18, which used the word mekhashepah, meaning a specifically Sumerian hex worker)
how the definitions of magic, miracle, and medicine, and even of "witch" itself, got so wonky over time, and how anti-sorcery basically every nation was in times of antiquity (because obviously, if you have a hex-worker out there taking payments for causing strife and disorder in a community, that's... problematic for the community).
Because I'll be truthful with you: the whole idea of magic being good across all cultures and religions before the Bible came about is patently false. Jewitches puts it best in her blog I linked up there, where once the linguistic, cultural, political, and historical dust settles about these verses, a lot of it comes down to plain old misogyny, and some classism, too.
Even in Babylon and Sumeria, you could have "official" magic-workers (like priests and court magicians), which were all fine and dandy—but God forbid a woman did some silly little charms to get more money coming into the household. That was bad and anti-social and dangerous. Rome, especially, had a hankering for just wiping out anyone that did rites they considered unusual or inappropriate—even their own people. (The Bacchic rites were one hell of a party, and the Roman government didn't like them.)
But the point Jewitches makes, and the point so many other scholars make that I've read about (from Robert Conner to Rev. T. Witton Davies), is that magic has always existed in all of these religions, and it's when you start wholesale translating words like mekhashepah, magos, goes, pharmakeia, ov & yidoni, and more as plain "witchcraft" and "divination," you run into problems. I mean, for God's sake, my own Bible (yes, you read that right, my literal Bible, says Bible right on it) talks in the footnotes of Genesis about how Laban's method of divination was later banned in Leviticus, but Joseph, out there telling the Pharaoh what was about to happen to Egypt via scrying and dream interpretation, was just fine.
Turns out that so long as you ask God your questions and not the spirit attached to the neckbone of some animal (as ov & yidoni suggests), you're in the clear. Crazy how that works.
I explain all this in much more detail in the chapter I'm working on. But this is some pretty niche information, I won't lie to you. So, besides all this information here, a question I wish I would be asked instead of the how is the why. Why did I decide to become a Christian witch?
Let's talk about it.
Why I Decided to Be a Christian Witch (and Why I Don't Care if it's Heresy)
Now, anyone who knows me knows that I love all things fantasy. Since I was a kid, I loved the idea of magic, and you bet your whole behind I had that Dragonology book as a kid. (I also remember thinking that it was, indeed, 100% legitimate, because books would never lie to me, right? And this book had evidence, like little patches of dragon fur and special magical flakes of dragon dust! God, high school ruined my dreams when we started learning about how to verify the credibility of a source.)
But as I was mucking about as a child, fully embedded in the chakra system of Naruto (give me a break; I was ten years old), I somehow found myself stumbling across the old Spells of Magic website. I can't believe that dinousaur is still online, but what a joy it is to look through all the wacky things still on it.
As a kid, those wacky things were amazing. Spells to slow down time? Spells to cause rain, or make fireballs, or move things with my mind? These whole adults on the forums were going to tell me, a very impressionable and imaginative ten year old, that I could actually do those?
Cue me filling notebooks with the goofiest spells imaginable and trying to learn more about how magic could ever possibly be real. Naturally, I found my way to those very sparkly, poorly formatted, 90s-esque websites about magic, too, especially ones about witchcraft and Wicca, and I dove wholeheartedly into them. I even convinced my mom to buy me my first book on anything remotely witchy, which was Judika Illes' Pure Magic.
It was the only one I could convince her to let me read. My mom was wary; growing up Catholic in Europe, you get superstitious about anything involving witchcraft (because, like most people, they're taught witches go out summoning demons and doing whatever other nighttime secret blood magic that the media fills people's heads with). And granted, as I entered middle school, I didn't really have the maturity to read it quickly because it bored me to tears, but it was nonetheless fundamental to my start with witchcraft—and my realization that Wicca was not for me. It made no sense to me, I didn't like the religious lore of it (because how is a god going to marry a goddess, then die, then get reborn through said goddess? Every year? Weird.)
And I found myself wondering, as I read Pure Magic, how literally any of these things could've been considered bad. I mean, dumping milk on your head on a full moon and imagining yourself getting skinnier as the moon waned? Really? That's a legitimate spell in that book, and not only is it goofy as hell, but it's so totally harmless that even as a child, I couldn't see what the hell that had to do with "the devil" or demons or evil. The most evil thing about it was the wasted milk.
So I asked God: why is magic such a big deal? What's so sinful about throwing basil and cinnamon around? Why would healing people be a sin if it helps others?
Back then, I had no idea what I was doing. I only knew that when I came to a line about witchcraft in the Bible, it would make me feel like I'd swallowed a paperweight. In the back of my mind would be this tiny, nagging thought: that's not right. That's not right. That's not right.
What does a kid with a massive imagination, a thorn in her mind, and access to the internet do? She looks it up. She cross references things. She reads like hell. She argues like hell.
And, not content to just let it sit, she finds answers. Or rather, she's led to answers. Because I know for a fact that quiet little voice, that feeling like I was getting smacked with a shovel whenever I looked at an English verse of the Bible, and that ironclad conviction that something was not right, was none other than the Holy Spirit leading me in the right direction. For all I've heard Christians tell me to read and let myself be led by the Holy Spirit, they just refuse to believe that the Holy Spirit led me here, which, in my mind, is hypocrisy at its finest.
I always had a love for magic, and I always had a love for God—even if church bored me half to death as a kid. Finding out that I actually could combine an interest in magic, nature, and spiritual things, which I always found fascinating and straight out of a fairytale, with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit, had me thrilled. It also, over the years, had me so bitterly angry at the Church as an institution (regardless of denomination), because the more I came to understand my God and the way His power worked in the world, the more I saw nothing but evil done in His name by these churches.
Human rights abuses galore. Bigotry, hate, a complete denial of logic and reasoning and scientific evidence. An insistence on cult-like control and the most seething, judgmental groups of people I'd ever seen. It disgusted me. It made me want to have nothing to do with traditional Christianity as I got older and learned more about social justice. Even when I did try to go back to my childhood Catholic church, and I listened to a wonderful sermon about helping the poor and homeless of our community, only to watch everyone in their big shiny cars drive right past a homeless man on the street corner right outside the church, I found myself emptying my wallet and filling my eyes with tears on the drive home.
These hypocrites. Absolute hypocrites. (And I'm no angel; I don't ever really have any cash on hand to give to people that I pass by, so I'm not really opening my window anymore for them myself, but when I do, I try to muster up the guts to share it. But at least I can say I try, no?) Either way, I found that the people who could hear God were rarely, if ever, sitting in a pew on Sunday anymore. They were not the ones who raised an eyebrow at the thought of talking to God and getting an answer; they were not the kind to claim you couldn't get any intercession without an official priest doing the work for you.
They were the people out there in the wilderness, learning to speak the language of Heaven, whatever that meant to them. They were the ones relearning what it meant to be a child of God, and how to talk to their Father as candidly and easily as they would anyone else.
So to put it simply, I became a Christian witch because it satisfied my need for mystery and magic and adventure—and then because it ripped the veil from my eyes and showed me the many things wrong with the Church today. Because it was the thing that reminded me that God isn't some faraway, unreachable, unknowable Force in the sky, but a real Deity that I could reach out to for wisdom and guidance at any time, anywhere, so long as I had the courage to speak.
And the peace I achieved from this, the freedom, is worth its weight in gold and then some.
Sara Raztresen is a Slovene-American writer, screenwriter, and Christian witch. Her fantasy works draw heavily on the wisdom she gathers from her own personal and spiritual experience, and her spiritual practice borrows much of the whimsy and wonder that modern society has relegated to fairy-and-folktale. Her goal is to help people regain their spiritual footing and discover God through a new (yet old) lens of mysticism.
Follow Sara on Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube, and explore her fiction writing here.