First you must consider, what is the truth about Jesus.
Was he really the Son of God? Was he really the Christian Messiah? That
his purpose was really to die for the sins of mankind. These are hard
questions to give a definate answer to.
When you try and figure Jesus into paganism that may be
hard to do, but is it really? It may be hard to imagine, but is is possible.
Today's Christians would possibly cry out that to even have this notion
is blasphemus. Then again modern Neo-pagans generally seem to be very
adept in assimilating pantheons, rituals, and concepts from nearly every
Western religious path except Christianity. Even when realizing that
the Church has been historically both politically and socially intolerant
during its era of power, that can in no way invalidate the truths of
timeless mysticism, which it possesses in the inner resources of spirituality.
If bias can be put away and delving deeply into the eclecticism
of authentic, historic paganism, which would enable one to see the wisdom
of embracing the positive and uplifting aspects of the Christian mysteries,
along with the sacred stories of other cultures and ancient religions
of both past and present.
Christ is the most potent archetypal figure of Western
history and religion. Members of the Craft of the Wise should not ignore
his power and influence. Reactions against fundamentalist narrow mindedness
should not create an artificial barrier between the complements of pagans
and Christian's truths. Gerald Gardner himself said that renouncing
or distancing oneself from Christ is not necessary to be pagan.
It is usually said that to be made a Witch, one must abjure
Christianity. This is not true, but they naturally would not receive
into their ranks anyone who was a very narrow Christian. They do not
think that Jesus was literally the Son of God, but are quite prepared
to accept that he was one of the enlightened ones or Holy men. That
is the reason why Witches do not think they are hypocrites "in
times of persecution" for going to church and honoring Christ (especially
as so many of the old Sun Hero myths have been incorporated into Christianity)
when others might bow to the Madonna, who is closely akin to their Goddess
Well-known author Alan Richardson wrote one of the most
well thought out expressed comments on the Craft/Christ issue:
It is a question, also of whether we accept Jesus
as the Son of God or a son of light. This itself points out an advantage
that not many pagans realize. By regarding Jesus as a son of light
-- one of many -- they can actually work with and appreciate much
of the Christian mystery traditions, while never surrendering their
own pantheons. Christians, on the other hand, must necessarily accept
the exclusivity of their God and are forever denied the use of pagan
For those that might insist that for the Craft to be an
authentic expression of the Old Religion, reading Aiden Kelley's book
on the history of the Craft, Creating the Art of Magic, in
which he attempts to prove how nearly every ritual used by Gerald Gardner
was taken from the grimoire of Judeo-Christian ceremonial magick and
only at a later time were distinctively Christian elements of the catenations
deleted or revised. So with this one could conclude that even the so-called
"Old Religion" is greatly indebted to the influence and rituals
of Christian occultism in the formation of its earliest Book of Shadows.
So, back to Jesus.... For fundamentalist Christians the
true identity is solved by simplistic application of Biblical "proof
text." Jesus can only be defined on the basis of the words attributed
to him in the gospels of the New Testament. Either Jesus was telling
the truth about himself as in the gospels, or you are saying that Jesus
was a liar. This approach neglects the problem of which sayings of Jesus
recorded in the gospels can be considered authentic. This involves a
lot more than opening the bible and pointing to a select passage to
"prove" something about the divine nature of Jesus.
We may never know the "truth" about Jesus. Jesus
may have not been some kind of omniscient demigod. He made mistakes
like everyone does in both judgment and prophetic calculations. The
titles that most Christians consider to be unique to Jesus Christ were
actually appropriated from these Gods of earlier pagan mystery cults.
Appellations of divinity as Logos, Light of the World, Good Shepherd,
True Vine, King of Kings, Bridegroom, and the Resurrection and the Life
were all earlier devotional designations of Hermes, Mithra, Osiris,
Dionysus, Attis, Adonis, Tammuz and others. The composite image we have
of Christ in orthodox church dogma is not just a picture of a teacher
from Galilee. It is instead a theological collage of the most enlightened
and exalted pagan symbols and myths blended. Jesus could be a composite
of the earlier pagan deities which preceeded him, and it could be seen
as odd that it was the intolerant and often unscrupulous church which
utilized these letters and sacred stories of these older Gods to enhance
the glory of their new succesor, while condemning them as demonic. Is
it any wonder that a well known Anglican Priest admitted that Christianity
is a manifestation of reformed paganism?
So if you were to agree that Jesus was a real person and
did come to exist, would he have been pagan?
Here are some facts from Embracing Jesus and the Goddess
by Carl McColman:
Jesus along with the 12 apostles made a coven
He was careful to guard the mysteries, and not
divulge the secrets of his teaching to the unititiated. Only to
the inner circle.
He used the techniques of divine magick to heal.
He was against the hypocritical religious establishment
of his day.
He could recognize the handiwork of deity in nature
McColman states that Jesus was a witch, and that if Jesus
were here today just as he is depicted in the bible, would most likely
be considered such by even Christians. So after considerable thought
I would have to conclude that yes, if Jesus was the person that he is
said to be, he would most definately be Pagan.
Footnote: The aforementioned book by Aiden Kelly was mostly
an attempt to prove that Gerald Gardner had invented Wicca. It is considered
an odd book. It was published by Llewellyn and promoted as the book
that would blow the lid off the Neo-pagan movement. It has the overtones
of tabloid muckraking.
Thirteen Reasons Why Jesus, If He Were Here Today,
Would Be A Witch
By Carl McColman, author of Embracing Jesus and The
No single one of these reasons prove the Witchiness of Jesus, but taken
as a whole, they make for a compelling case!
1. Jesus criticized the hypocrisy and legalism of the
religious status quo, and chose to embrace an alternative spiritual
path. (Matthew 23:1-36)
In Jesus' day, the religious establishment included the
Pharisees and Sadducees, dominant factions in first century Judaism.
Jesus' alternative path followed the radical teachings of his mentor,
John The Baptist. Nowadays, in Europe and the Americas, the status quo
is mainly Christianity; the path of the Goddess - Wicca - is one of
the most compelling of available spiritual alternatives. Many people
who embrace Wicca have the exact same criticisms of Christianity that
Jesus is said to have had about the religious establishment in his day.
Hyprocisy, legalism, blind obedience of the rules to the point of ignoring
spiritual values like love, trust, and freedom. These are the problems
Jesus attacked in the official religion in his day, and that many Wiccans
today see in the religious status quo of our time. Perhaps Jesus, were
he here today, would join Wiccans in criticizing mainstream religion
and trying to find an alternative way.
2. Jesus was a psychic healter. (Luke 6:19; John 0:1-12)
Luke comments that "all in the crowd were trying
to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them."
And John recounts how Jesus made a magic healing paste by mixing his
saliva with soil from our Mother, the Earth. For Jesus, healing was
a central part of his spiritual identity. Witches, likewise, rely on
herbal wisdom, natural foods, and psychic practices like Reiki to bring
healing and comfort to themselves and their loved ones. Sadly, the Christian
religion rarely encourages its followers to take responsibility for
their own healing, but rather colludes with a medical establishment
that keeps people passive in regard to their own wellness. Jesus the
healer has much more in common with Wiccan healers than with church-going
3. Jesus acknowledged the divinity within each person.
All he was doing was quoting the Psalms, but Jesus emphasized
it: "You are gods." Throughtout the Bible, Jesus uses mystical
language to illustrate the essential unity between humanity and divinity.
How sad that the church founded in his name lost that sense of human
divinity, and has instead stressed the "fallenness" and "separation"
that keeps humanity alienated from the divine. Incidentally, this is
an indirect affirmation of Goddess spirituality, as well - for if we
are gods, as Jesus quoting the scriptures insists, then both men and
women partake of the godly nature. Implying therefore that God emcompasses
both the masculine and feminine dimension of life. So the "God"
whom Jesus worships incorporates both the God and the Goddess as revered
4. Jesus lived close to nature. (Matthew 8:20; Mark 1:12-13,
3:13; Luke 4:42; John 18:1)
Jesus took a vision quest in the wilderness; he loved
to pray in the mountains, slept in gardens, and made a point of telling
his followers tht he had no house to live in. Frankly, it's hard to
imagine him driving an SUV or worshiping in an air conditioned church.
If Jesus were here today, I suspect he would live in an ecologically
sustainable intentional community, and he would advocate a sacred duty
to the Earth with the same zeal with which he advocated care for the
poor and the downtrodden.
5. Jesus believed in magic. (Matthew 7;7-11)
Only he called it prayer. "How many of you, if your
child asks for a fish, will give them a stone?" "If you ask
for it in my name, it will be done." Church-goers often see magick
as a different from prayer, because prayer is timid and uncertain: "Not
my will, but thine." By contrast, magick assumes that the Divine
Spirit loves us and wants to bless us in accordance with our highest
desires. When Jesus prayed, he prayed with confidence, not timidity.
And he taught his followers to do the same. Nowadays, magick may have
fancy window dressings (light this candle, recite this incantation,
etc.) but it still comes down to the same thing: making a request for
spiritual blessings. Jesus' vision of prayer is like Wicca's vision
of magick: it is based on trust and love, unlike the prayer of church
religion, which is based on fear, self-criticism and self-doubt.
6. Jesus could command the weather. (Matthew 8:23-27)
Witches have a long-standing reputation for being able
to conjure up storms and otherwise control the weather. Jesus, like
any accomplished weather-witch, possessed a similar set of skills. He
did this both actively (like when he calmed the storm out in the Sea
of Galilee) and indirectly (as he was dying, he caused darkness to reign
in the middle of the day).
7. Jesus had a profound relationship with the elements.
(Matthew 14:22-26; Luke 3:16; Luke 8:22-25; John 9:6)
Jesus could walk on water; he could command the wind;
he baptized with fire, and he used the soil of the Earth to make healing
pastes. His spirituality was primal and grounded in the power of the
elements. Modern-day Christianity is abstract, sterile, and anti=septic.
It is a religion of books, words, and mental concepts. But Jesus, like
most modern-day Wiccans, found vitality in the energies of the natural
8. Like a shaman, Jesus could channel spirits. (Mark
One of the most profound stories in the Bible is that
of the transfiguration, when Jesus conjured the spirits of Moses and
Elijah. To his followers, this demonstrated Jesus' authority as a spiritual
leader. Laer on, Jesus tells his followers that they will do greater
works than his (John 14:12); ironically, though, Christianity does not
permit its followers to invoke or conjure spirits. But invocation of
benevolent spirits has been a part of shamanic spirituality since the
dawn of humankind, and modern-day Witches follow in this shamanistic
tradition when they Draw Down The Moon and The Sun, calling the spirit
of Goddess and God into their circles.
9. Jesus was comfortable with sensuality and eroticism.
One night, while dining at a respectable home, Jesus
received a sensuous foot washing from a woman, who used oil and her
hair to wipe the teacher's feet. The host and the other guests were
scandalized, but Jesus saw it as a perfectly lovely expression of affection
and hospitality. In fact, when comments were made to Jesus, he responded
by saying basically, "What's your problem?" Alas, the religion
that bears his name has evolved into an erotically-repressed spirituality,
more like Jesus' uptight host than Jesus himself. Paganism and Wicca,
meanwhile, are spiritual systems that celebrate sensuality, sexuality,
and the basic goodness of pleasure. Jesus, who got criticized for being
a pleasure lover himself (Matthew 11:19), would no doubt be at home
in Wicca's celebration of the goodness of nature and the body.
10. In his own way, Jesus practiced the Wiccan Rede.
(Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 22:33; John 8:32)
The core ethical principle in Wicca is the Rede: "if
you harm none, do what you will." There's two components to this
teaching; non-harm and freedom. It's a basic principle; you have spiritual
freedom, but not to the point of harming yourself or others. Compare
this to several of Jesus' teachings. Matthew tells us that Jesus was
so committed to the principle of non-harm that he regarded the intent
to do violence as bad as violence itself. Meanwhile, John quotes Jesus
as saying "Truth sets you free." But what is the truth that
sets us free? The truth of love, trust, healing, and divine grace; in
other words, the universal truths that can be found in any spiritual
path. The opposite of harm is love. "Harm none" is another
way of saying "Love your neighbor as yourself."
11. In his own way, Jesus advocated - Perfect Love and
Perfect Trust. (Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:32-36; Luke 12;22-34)
John quotes Jesus as saying "Do not let your hearts
be troubled" and "love one another as I have loved you."
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus says "Do not be afraid." He
suggests his disciples "become like little children" - in
other words, be trusting and open-hearted. It's such a simple message,
and today Wicca embodies the spirit of perfect love and trust; indeed,
traditional covens require the phrase "Perfect Love and Perfect
Trust" as a password to gain entry into circle. Christianity, meanwhile,
preaches a message based on perfect anger and perfect fear: God is wrathful,
and unless a person is fearfully obedient, he or she will be tortured
for eternity. That's the opposite of what Jesus stood for. Love and
trust leads to healing and liberation, whereas fear of judgment leads
to depression and spiritual passivity.
12. His enemies accused Jesus of being under the influence
of demons. (John 8:48; John 10:20)
It's an old tactic. When the people who have religious
power want to dismiss their critics, they accuse the critics of being
demonically possessed. That's what the Pharisees said about Jesus, and
nowadays that's what the religious right say about Wicca. Jesus was
someone who loved the average person on the street, but had little patience
for religious bigotry and self-righteousness. No doubt Jesus would feel
he has more in common with Wiccans than with the fundamentalists who
13. Jesus was killed, unfairly, for his "blasphemy."
Thankfully, Wiccans nowadays don't get burned at the
stake. But tens of thousands of people - mostly women - did get killed
in Europe for the "crime" of Witchcraft. Even if these people
weren't Witches, the fact remains: they were brutally murdered for religious
reasons. Well -- so was Jesus. Modern day Wicca looks to the victims
of the Witch burnings as heroes of the Goddess faith, just like Christians
see in Jesus their own spiritual hero. Jesus, meanwhile, was the kind
of man who would rather side against the killers and the executioners.
Given the fact that, throughout history, farm more Christians have killed
Witches than vice versa, it's easy to see Jesus embracing the Goddess,
working to heal her children, and calling those who bear his name to
repent of their violence.