Cross and Pentacle: Two religions at the crossroads

I was a Jesus Freak, a passionate theologian, and a Southern Baptist minister. I worked hard to convert pagans. The pagans won.

Discovering magic as a witch with an intimate knowledge of western christianity I explore the juxtaposition of these two faiths. Christianity and paganism alike are undergoing dramatic changes with parallel trends, conflicting challenges, and a growing concern for interfaith dialogue.

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Annika Mongan

Annika Mongan

Born and raised an evangelical Christian in Germany, I joined the Jesus Freak movement as a teenager and became a passionate evangelist and worship leader. No one was surprised when I went to the US at age 19 and came back a tattooed and pierced fundamentalist Christian, betrothed to a "Chrispie" (a Christian hippie, that is). I was a virgin the day we married. Five years later I graduated bible college with highest honors and post traumatic stress disorder. I deepened both my theology and trauma on the road by traveling the country in a big yellow school bus. For three years I lived as a nomad, playing music and leading bible studies, from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. I learned that Christianity in America encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices, from Amish groups casting demons out of school busses to Roman Catholic priests breaking into government buildings. I saw Jesus in the oddest places. And then everything changed and I ended up a polyamorous Witch in a Pagan community in California.
The Return of the Pagan Festival in Berkeley

When I came home today I was in a hurry to wash off the smells of the Berkeley Pagan Festival. They were all over me, on my skin, my clothes, and especially in my hair. Incense and grass, sunscreen and lotions, overly scented deodorants, and the smells of so many people. Not that I mind, on the contrary, they are memories of embraces and kisses and good times shared and some of them I instinctively link to certain friends. But my overly active olfactory faculties told me it was high time to shower or else there would be headaches.

 

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Behind the Shellfish Suppression Act

Shellfish are a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us in Leviticus to suppress. They also smell bad. [...] Any person who willingly consumes or sells shellfish is guilty of a felony, and shall be fined $666 thousand per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days.

 - The Shellfish Suppression Act

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Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • monkeyofstic
    monkeyofstic says #
    Great writing!! Hope you don't mind,but I shared you on my blog http://conspiro.net/2015/04/behind-the-shellfish-suppression-act/

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Walking in another man's privilege

When we talk about walking in another man’s shoes are we not asking to experience their privilege or lack thereof? What would it be like to walk in the shoes of a woman or a person of another gender? Recently I traded my privilege with someone. And I don’t mean that we traded stories about our experiences with privilege. We inadvertently took on one another’s privilege and we both walked in it.

I am one of the most outgoing people I know and I meet a lot of people. In light of this it is no surprise that I have met people across a wide spectrum of intersecting privilege. I have shared dinner with homeless crack prostitutes and hot tubbed with silicon valley venture capitalists. But no matter how carefully I listen, I can never fully understand how different their lives are. By walking in another person’s privilege, however, I was able to gain a better understanding.

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Ageism and Pagan Institutions

I always wondered what it must have been like to be a part of the early church, to meet the apostles, to see this little tribe of misfit disciples grow into a religion. I often wished I could travel back in time, just to get a glimpse of the excitement, the challenges, the rawness of a growing fledgling religion. I thought I would never know, but then I became a Witch.


It’s not that I discovered a spell for time travel. But I joined a young religion with old roots in which many founders of traditions and elders are still among us. And sadly I have been seeing eulogies on The Wild Hunt for elders I had just met or was hoping to meet some day. Our founders are aging and dying and a new generation is bringing different interpretations and ways of being Pagan. While we are culturally different, some of the letters that comprise the New Testament of the Christian Bible were written a a time when early Christianity found itself at similar crossroads.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Wendy WIlson
    Wendy WIlson says #
    While I like the idea... many of us may not have all those skills. I am good at creating rituals and leading them... preaching is
  • Amanda Morris
    Amanda Morris says #
    "And yes, I want to see paid clergy, but not for imposing rituals on us, preaching or instilling doctrine. Leading ritual, preachi
  • Wendy WIlson
    Wendy WIlson says #
    I create 8 rituals a year and my first priority is to minimize my talking and actions, while maximizing the other participants' in
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    And yet we already have them and continue to build then. I wonder if it is also a question of definitions. I haven't heard any out
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    "Institutions are scary. The very word produces a knee-jerk reaction in many of us." yes this indeed!

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Pantheacon and Leadership

It seems that Pantheacon gives me writer’s block. My first year it took me three weeks to write about the convention. My second year I eventually gave up and wrote about something else instead. After this, my third Pantheacon, I spent two weeks waiting, typing and deleting, and then waiting again.

 

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  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    “Don't read the comments” was one of my ribbons at Pantheacon - but I did, and while I will not respond to everything that was sai
  • Greg Harder
    Greg Harder says #
    The Parliament is a huge event that usually has over 10.000 people attending. The problem is the organizers have a small overworke
  • Aline "Macha" O'Brien
    Aline "Macha" O'Brien says #
    http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-studies-blogs/witch-at-large/response-to-blog-about-pagan-leadership.html
  • Crystal Blanton
    Crystal Blanton says #
    Great insights to complex topics. I am still dealing with the fallout that comes with leadership, and yet I get reminders every no
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thanks, Crystal. Leadership really is about service. It's odd and exciting to have joined a community that is going through growin

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Are Brigid and Jesus the same?

 At my first Brigid ritual I had an experience that was so unexpected and life changing that I fell silent. I didn’t speak about it to my friends and I didn’t write about it. I didn’t even mention it in my journal. What happened felt familiar, much like the experiences I had as a Christian, but it was also different. The differences left me confused and I asked myself if I had just had an encounter with a new deity. At the same time the familiarity of the experience made me wonder if Jesus and Brigid were actually the same, like aspects of an all encompassing deity.

 The more I thought about it, the more excited I became to find an answer.  But Ostara came, Beltaine, and Lammas, and the question remained. The wheel turned and Brigid came around again. An entire year had passed and I still hadn’t written anything. I decided to rededicate myself to the question and find the answer on the event’s one year anniversary. So I wrote a piece about Jesus and Brigid being the same. Then I wrote a piece about Jesus and Brigid being different. They were both good pieces but I couldn’t decide which one was true and I ended up deleting them both.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer says #
    I was raised Roman Catholic, left Christianity and converted to Paganism, and found myself especially drawn to Brigid, with whom I
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Jennifer, I have several friends who are both Episcopalian and Pagan, some jokingly call themselves Episcopagan. I like your descr
  • Jenny Terras
    Jenny Terras says #
    On February 2nd 1990 I made first vows as a Carmelite nun. Although I left at the end of my three years in first vows, the importa
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Wow, Jenny, what a story! I gave up on finding labels for myself. Monist is probably the closest, although it is too easily confus

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Banishing a vampire

 

We had to banish a vampire from our community. She came last year and was charming and likeable. She was allergic to garlic and once she moved in, we couldn’t cook with garlic anymore, not without all the windows open and her safely away in another room. Of course the connection between garlic and this vampire was a coincidence, and at any rate, she was allergic to many foods. But she was, indeed, a vampire.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Kathy, that's an interesting question. I don't know where the boundaries are between mental illnesses, personality disorders, and
  • Kathy Parris
    Kathy Parris says #
    Hi I came from similar background, but had pagan roots to start out with. Just wondering, did you tell this individual they were/h
  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    So painful. Blessings on your community and house. Blessings on those who were once part and are not longer.
  • Martin
    Martin says #
    Far out!

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