Was Jesus Pagan?

Thirteen reasons why Jesus, if he were here today, would be a Witch 
by Carl McColman, author of Embracing Jesus and the Goddess 

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. 
Hypocrisy, 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 healer. Luke 6:19; John 9:1-12. 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 "patients." 

3. Jesus acknowledged the divinity within each person. John 10:34-36. 
All he was doing was quoting the Psalms, but Jesus emphasized it: "You 
are gods." Throughout 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 scripture insists, then both men and women partake of 
the godly nature; implying therefore that God encompasses both the 
masculine and feminine dimension of life. So the "God" whom Jesus 
worships incorporates both the God and the Goddess as revered by 

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 that 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'd live in an ecologically 
sustainable intentional community, and he'd advocate a sacred duty to 
the Earth with the same zeal which 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 magic as different from prayer, because prayer is timid and 
uncertain: "Not my will, but thine." By contrast, magic 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, magic 
may have fancy window dressing (light this candle, recite this 
incantation, etc.) but it still comes down to the same thing: making a 
request for spiritual blessing. Jesus' vision of prayer is like Wicca's 
vision of magic: it's 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 world. 

8. Like a shaman, Jesus could channel spirits. Mark 9:2-8. 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. Later 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. Luke 7:36-50. 
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 statement 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 your self 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 says 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 attack them. 

13. Jesus was killed, unfairly, for his "blasphemy." Mark 14:63-64. 
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, far 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. 
About the author: Carl McColman is an independent spiritual writer. His 
books include Embracing Jesus and the Goddess, The Aspiring Mystic, The 
Well-Read Witch, and Spirituality. He lives in Stone Mountain, GA. 
If Jesus Were Here Today, He Would Love the Goddess