Neither fish nor fowl: magical Gay Christianity
by Dr. A. Fox, D.D.
In the occult community it is difficult to be a practitioner of any magical system that is associated with Christianity which is seen as the anathema of occult practice. Many in the community have experienced prejudice and have been burned by fundamentalist Christians who don't seem to practice what they preach. Therefore many treat Christian practitioners with the knee jerk reaction of judgementalness or defensiveness or outright outrage when encountering them even in chat rooms and other places in the cyber world. I used to say that being a Christian practitioner, and yes there are Christian Witches and Ceremonial Magicians and so on, was to be neither fish nor fowl. Examples include the Ordo Arcanorum Gradalis, Order of the Holy Grail, originally called Grailcraft Wicca, or more classically the Gypsy who is Catholic and yet still a practitioner. Other practitioners sometimes approach the issue as an opportunity to try to convert the confused Christian mystic or magician, who obviously must be seperated from his chosen belief system in order to flourish. Prejudice by a minority against a minority. If we look at Christian practitioners as a minority within a minority, then certainly gay Christian practitioners would be an even smaller group.
In the gay community many have been burned by Christianity and so many will not deal with Christianity in any way shape or form. For me so many of these issues are ones of personal choice and freedom. One of the issues of Psychology Today in 1999 reflects that most Christian ministries set up by gay men who have converted back to Christianity and married, have a high rate of recidivism which is most embarrassing to Christian fundamentalists. The majority of the psychological community, with the exception of Christian psychologists, note that to repress homosexual or bisexual feelings is unhealthy psychologically. The metaphor I envision is something like blocking a pipe that will eventually explode. With these thoughts in mind, how can someone who is a Christian magical practitioner survive and flourish with the pressure and prejudice from so many groups. One of my colleagues who is gay has been working with me on Christian symbolism in magical contexts that also blend with his Christianity.
The key symbolism that he has been working with, or key figure is that of Raphael. My background as a mystical Christian Knight of the Healing, Teaching, and Chivalric Order of St. Raphael has helped us bridge the gap in discussing symbolic paths that enriching for both of our traditions and belief systems. Both he and I reflect on Raphael as not only the Heavenly Physician and force in the Book of the Apocrypha, The Book of Tobit, but also as Mercury planetarily, and as having that quality of Gemini, the Twins also related to duality and bisexuality. Raphael is also the Lord of Air and Patron Saint of Lovers. From this perspective my colleague bases many of his spell craftings for love and relationships, still in a Christian context, upon calling upon Raphael, not only for love, but also healing and other aspects. Still within a framework he finds enriching and symbolic, a blessing to his work. A more specific case example for love magic from a different standpoint occurred when my colleague chose to dedicate a ritual to healing love and or/sexual healing.
My colleague chose a light blue candle for it's symbology in his system, blue for spirituality and healing, as well as a correspondence noted in "The Candlemagic Workbook, by Kala and Ketz Pajeon" "light blue for male lovers under the blessing of the planetary influence of Venus." He constructed a short chant asking for healing love, drawing it in during the waxing moon, writing the name of the Archangel Raphael on the light blue candle itself, energizing it and charging it while annointing it with olive oil. My colleague felt that appealing to the planetary influence of Venus still fell within his boundaries for his practice as a Christian mage based on the concept during the middle ages that each planet is ruled by an archangelic intelligence aside from the listed archangels, a belief continued by the Renaissance Christian magical practitioners. My colleague was invited that night after doing the ritual to a gay and bisexual singles meeting and subsequently, successfully met his healing love. While it was short lived they were both on the rebound, however the ritual apparently allowed them a short but very healing relationship as well as a longer friendship. Both of them were enriched by the working and healing did occur. A very therapeutic ritual with a Christian magical empowerment. Perhaps Christian from a liberal standpoint of the classical "God is Love" which many Christian mages subscribe to as well as the famous Matthew 7 Judge Not. Other examples of workings within a Christian gay magical practitioner paradigm include sealing spells to protect the reputation of some closeted colleagues who are also professors, who were seen at a local gay bar by less than discrete students. Ethically some might call antigossip spells questionable. But in our society they can be very real and important workings that prevent prejudicial behavior that can be destructive to peoples careers and lives. Another my colleague has also used magic/divination to assist in counseling, by finding out through this method that a clients root issue was an identity crisis about his homosexuality based on early experimentation as a teenager. Magic for healing and resolution of issues, done in a Christian paradigm. Although these last two examples while gay issues could have been done in any context. It is just interesting to see the flexibility of paradigm shift.
Theologian Richard P. McBrien discusses in his indepth theological work volumes "Catholicism" by the Windsor Press that the original proscription against homosexuality was primarily against the cultic religious practice of enemies of Judea. That homosexuals were therefore perceived as practicing enemy rituals and worshipping enemy gods while Judea was under attack. This thought puts a whole new spin on the idea of why homosexuality was rejected. The concept of Christian magical practice within a gay framework and with Christian symbology is a nice answer to the Old Testament proscription which cannot apply today, any more than we are stoning adulterers in the street etc.
In the interests of new thought and freedom I must laud my colleague for his creativity and courage in pursuing his path and finding and nourishing symbologies that are helping him in his journey. Not to any particular place perhaps, but the journey of discovering and growing along the way. For all of those with their many prejudices I think Ben Franklin said it best when he said: " A man with no character has no enemies." It is with this thought I salute my gay magical practitioner colleague.