Christianity and Wicca: Finding Common Ground
In today's multi-cultural and multi-everything world, there is an increasing awareness of a variety of spiritual traditions and paths. Many individuals choose to sample bits and pieces from a variety of religious traditions in order to pursue their own journey of spiritual growth. Traditional Christianity, while maintaining a rigorous commitment to the uniqueness of Jesus, need not be closed to learning from or dialoguing with other world religions and traditions. In fact, a cursory examination of the history of Christianity reveals that, in different times and places, the Church has embraced elements of local religion, philosophy and spirituality while simultaneously re-rooting them in Christ. Of course, the opposite, Christianity's blunders, massacres, and failures to live up to Jesus' law of love in relationship to those with differing beliefs, are well documented. With this traditional approach in mind it is possible for Christians to remain faithful to Christ while finding common ground with those of other traditions, including Wicca.
Wicca is a term generally used to describe those spiritual traditions that are seeking to revive an earlier pagan spirituality in the modern world. Often, those who practice Wicca are called witches, and this has led to many misconceptions about Wicca and so-called witches and warlocks. Wicca can best be described as a highly individual path of spiritual growth based on a variety of ancient traditions, and may be practiced by individuals or in small groups. There are some ancient and more or less unbroken traditions of Wicca, but most Wiccans take a highly eclectic approach to their faith, choosing some of this, and some of that, in order to pursue their own spiritual journey. It must also be stressed that Wiccans do not worship Satan or evil deities (at least not the vast majority of them), and that the basic Wiccan creed is, "Do what thou will and harm none." However, while Christians would obviously disagree with Wiccans on a number of issues (the oneness of God, the role of Jesus in salvation and eternity, heaven and hell, etc.) there are areas where Christians and Wiccans can find common ground.
First of all, most forms of Wicca place a high value on the earth and its sacred nature. While Christians do not worship the earth (as some modern day pagans do), Christians do worship the one God who created the earth. Veneration and respect for creation are part of Wiccan life and practice and should also be part of Christian life and practice. For Christians, the earth has been entrusted to the human race as a gift, as a sacred treasure to be stewarded and not destroyed. Christians are finally starting to catch up to Wiccans and other pagans in appreciating the environmental implications of faith.
Second, most forms of Wicca have a deep respect and appreciation for the feminine in the divine being and in spirituality in general. In fact, to the extent that much of Christianity has leaned heavily on masculine spirituality, much of Wicca leans heavily on the feminine. Certainly, an extreme in either direction is incorrect. Theologians in the Christian tradition have long reminded us that God is spirit and truth, and thus not male or female, but contains aspects of both. Of course, at the popular level this has often not been the understanding of most Christians, as most tend to conceive of God in purely masculine terms. Of course, in traditional Christianity, the second person of the Trinity is indeed masculine, Jesus Christ. A greater inclusion of feminine spirituality and leadership has been developing in Christianity in recent decades, and this is something that Wiccans have been ahead of Christians in for some time. A greater respect for the feminine in the spiritual life does not necessarily mean embracing women's ordination (though for some it does), but it does mean integrating women's perspectives on life and spirituality into Christian faith and practice.
Third, another place of common ground between Christians and Wiccans is the acknowledgement that the spiritual life is cyclical in nature and should be observed as such. Christians have a rich tradition of the liturgical year that follows not only the seasons of the earth, but the seasons of the soul. Wiccans observe the changing of the seasons, embracing not only their physical realities and meanings, but the rich spiritual realities and lessons that the earth's cycles can teach us. The Christian faith embraced many of these seasonal observances over the centuries, though many Christians do not observe them today.
Despite profound differences, Christians and Wiccans can find common ground. This does not mean that both paths are equally valid, or that believers of either sort are required to promote the spiritual vitality of the other, but it does mean that Christians and Wiccans can admit to some shared values and maintain a level of respect befitting those purporting to be pursuing spiritual growth and enlightenment.