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So, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been attending church, recently. While I didn’t think I’d actively dislike it, I will admit that I was surprised to find that I actually enjoy it, enough that I’ve gone weekly for the last five weeks.
I would not necessarily call myself any form of Christian, but I did mention that I’m intrigued by the idea of Christian witchcraft. So, I set out to find some research material.
The Overall Takaway: I would rate this book a 4/5 and recommend it to those interested in the niche faiths within the niche faiths.
I when I searched for books on Christian witchcraft (aka ChristoPaganism), there were a few that came up. Most of them seemed like how-to or instructional books and that’s fine, but it wasn’t really what I was looking for. I didn’t want to be initiated into a new faith or anything. I was just curious what it was all about.
The Path of a Christian Witch is more of a memoir; a personal story of one woman’s journey to and on the path of Christian witchcraft. That seemed a little more in line with what I wanted; personal experiences.
It’s an interesting journey. St. Clair blends the tale of her journey with the description of her personal faith into a memoir-meets-guidebook sort of thing. It allowed me a basic understanding of what her brand of Christian witchcraft is and how she practices, which was what I wanted.
It is just one story, however. While she does guide the reader on how she goes about her practice, this is not an instructional book or an introduction to Christian witchcraft. It is still more memoir than guidebook.
St. Clair’s struggle to reconcile her Catholic faith, in which she was raised and has clearly always been a large part of her identity from youth, with her witchy tendencies really comes through. I felt for her. My heart went out to her, because I know it must be hard. Especially because, as she says, if it was found out that she refers to herself as a witch, she could be excommunicated from the Catholic Church (I’m not sure why, then, she wrote a book about it; I assumed she used a pen name, but her picture is also posted alongside her bio on the Llewellyn publisher website; I’m guessing people know).
I would say about a quarter to one-third of the book is comprised of explaining what Christian witchcraft means to her, how she practices it, and (most importantly) how she managed to merge the two. St. Clair does a fantastic job of explaining just not only how Christianity can be merged into a Wiccan framework (and vice versa), but how it can be done well.
There are a couple things I want to nitpick about:
First, she conflates Christianity and Catholicism. Now, I’m aware that Catholicism is a type of Christianity, but it is generally considered much, much stricter than what we think of when we think about Christianity. Growing up Roman Catholic as opposed to a more lenient sect of Christianity is bound to color her experiences and perhaps make her struggle greater than the average person looking to merge the two faiths (again, that whole excommunication thing).
Second, she conflates Wiccan, witch, and Pagan. This is a big pet peeve of mine. Wiccans are lovely, but they do not hold a monopoly on witchcraft or Paganism. Not all witches are Wiccans and not all Pagans practice witchcraft. Her cut-and-dry statements like, “A witch worships the God and the Goddess,” or “She follows the Wiccan Rede, the Threefold Law, and the Charge of the Goddess…” (pg. 46) paint a very narrow view of witchcraft which leaves many people out.
Twice in the book (that I noticed/can recall) she takes shots at witches who do not live up to her standards. This includes witches who use their powers for personal gain instead of the betterment of the world as a whole, and those dastardly fiends who feel the need to make sure people know they’re a witch (because clearly they are only doing it for the shock value and that’s bad). Those moments reek of the pretentious, holier-than-thou-ness which drove me away from both Christianity and Wicca in the first place (thankfully, I’m at a point in my life now where I know such a viewpoint are the minority in both).
That said, it’s still an interesting read. Though I take issues with a few parts, I still read it twice and got a lot out of it. I recommend it to those interested in exploring wider sects of witchcraft beyond just Wicca and the Roman/Greek pantheons, those interested in the juxtaposition between two seemingly contradictory faiths, or anyone interested in religion from an academic or entertainment standpoint.
If you’d like to purchase a copy, please click here to be taken to Amazon.
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