Christianity and neopaganism

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Christianity and neopaganism overlap when the beliefs or practices of one religious path influence, or are adopted by, the other. Historically, Christianity sometimes took advantage of traditional pagan beliefs when it spread to new areas – a process known as inculturation. Thus newly established churches took on sites, practices or images belonging to indigenous belief systems as a way of making the new faith more acceptable.[1][2]

More recently, in a parallel process, some followers of modern pagan paths have developed practices such as Christopaganism by blending Christian elements into neopagan practice.[3]

Historical syncretism[edit]

Christianity and classical paganism had an uneasy relationship with each being at different times persecutor or persecuted.[4] However each also influenced the other. For example, a 10th–11th-century manuscript in the British Library known as the Lacnunga[5] describes a charm against poison said to have been invented by Christ while on the cross, which has parallels in Anglo-Saxon magic.

Modern syncretism[edit]

In the modern era, examples of syncretism may include Christians seeking to incorporate concepts of the Divine Feminine from neopaganism into Christianity[6] or Neopagans seeking to incorporate figures such as Jesus or Mary into Wiccan worship.[7]


Joyce and River Higginbotham define Christopaganism as: "A spirituality that combines beliefs and practices of Christianity with beliefs and practices of Paganism, or that observes them in parallel."[8] They give examples of people identifying as Pagan but observing both Pagan and Christian liturgical years, using the Rosary or observing a form of Communion.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Madsen, William. Christo-Paganism: A Study of Mexican Religious Syncretism (1957). New Orleans: Tulane University.
  2. ^ Yamamori,Tetsunao. Christopaganism or Indigenous Christianity (1975). William Carey Library Publishers
  3. ^ St Clair, Adelina. The Path of a Christian Witch (2010). Woodbury MN: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 978-0-7387-2641-0
  4. ^ Fox, Robin Lane. Pagans and Christians: In the Mediterranean World from the Second Century AD to the Conversion of Constantine (London: Viking, 1986, ISBN 978-0-670-80848-9; Penguin Books Ltd new edition, 2006, ISBN 978-0-14-102295-6)
  5. ^ Pettit, Edward (ed). Anglo-Saxon Remedies, Charms, and Prayers from British Library MS Harley 585. The Lacnunga, (2001). Mellen Critical Editions and Translations, 6. Lewiston: E. Mellen Press, I: Introduction, Text, Translation, and Appendices, pp. 133–49.
  6. ^ McColman, Carl. Embracing Jesus and the Goddess: A Radical Call for Spiritual Sanity (2001). Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press
  7. ^ Pittman, Nancy Chandler (2003) Christian Wicca: The Trinitarian Tradition 1st Books Library, ISBN 1-4107-5347-6
  8. ^ Higginbotham, Joyce & River. ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path (2009), Woodbury MN: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 978-0-7387-1467-7

Further reading[edit]