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.

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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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  • 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!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Why don't I have a magical name?

Another year gone. So much broke last year. My last-ditch effort to save my business proved futile. Communication with a friend broke so badly that I hired a mediator. My community nearly broke in half. Broken friendships, broken trust. To top it off, my housemate and I totaled the car when a stoned driver smashed into us.

So much brokenness and now a new year is upon us. Things will mend, our community is already healing and growing, I love my job, the bruises are gone, and we’ll get a new car. But I often wonder what it would be like to draw a clean line between the past and the present by taking on a new name. A magical name.

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  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    Where is it written that the name you are given at birth cannot also be your magical name? Yes, the name above is not my birth na
  • Meredith Lull
    Meredith Lull says #
    I have the same situation with my own name. When I was a child I had not grown into Meredith Ann, in fact I hated it. My family c
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    I don't have a magical name either, but magic isn't really part of my tradition. But I underwent a similar experience/challenge af
  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you for sharing your story, Linette. I also married young, when I was 20, and while I did take my maiden name back, I unders
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Like you, Ann is a name I'm partial to, and I've stuck with variants of it for decades. (I've never had a magickal name, either.)

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Staying awake - because of Ferguson

Helicopters roaring overhead. Spotlights sweeping over me. Sirens. Bullhorns. Angry chanting. Drums. Fireworks. A trash can on fire. Lines of cops in riot gear. Suddenly the crowd turns and I am in the front with hundreds of people behind me. To the freeway, they shout. A guy next to me sprays the word POWER on the freeway bridge. More cops in riot gear. Helicopters flying low. People running toward the freeway ramp. Cop cars speeding through the crowd; protesters jumping out of the way.

 

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  • Jeanine Byers
    Jeanine Byers says #
    Thank you!

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Her name was Sheena Renee Adams

I will never forget the moment I saw Sheena for the first time. We had known each other for years. We had spent time together, but I had never actually seen Sheena. I hadn’t even seen a picture of her. I was nervous about our first meeting and wondered if I’d recognize her. I summoned a picture of the last time we were together and tried to imagine Sheena. But when she finally came walking up to me, I did not recognize her. Who was this beautiful, elegant, radiant woman? Surely not the same person I used to know.

 

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  • Annika Mongan
    Annika Mongan says #
    Thank you, Lia.
  • Lia Hunter
    Lia Hunter says #
    Bless you for staying her friend, and bless her for opening your heart. What gifts you gave each other! This was a touching piece.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Mark Driscoll I remember

Yesterday, on Oct 15th, mega-church Mars Hill's pastor Mark Driscoll resigned after a number of allegations and scandals. I have stayed out of the discussions and conversations, but there is one memory that keeps haunting me and I finally chose to share it. May our religions, whichever they may be, always bring out the best in us and encourage us to be our true selves.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
On eating a pear - a harvest prayer

It is harvest season and my Mabon altar features the bounty of my farmbox. Piles of fruit and vegetables arranged carefully around ritual tools with a sunflower bouquet in the center. I sit back to admire how beautifully balanced the altar looks - for about 10 minutes. That’s when my cats discover the changed altar and promptly invent a game of apple soccer, sweet potato rugby, and squash - played with real squash. The apple is round enough to roll gently, the scratches on the sweet potato don’t bother me, and the squash has thick skin so I let them have at it. But when my precious pomegranate gets unceremoniously dumped off the altar, bruising and bleeding red on my bedsheet, I draw the line and stage a rescue mission amidst sharp teeth and claws.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Is Jesus abusive?

In my post “What I used to miss about Christianity” I mentioned the article How Playing a Good Christian Wife Almost Killed Me by Vyckie Garrison. The reason I mentioned Vyckie Garrison’s article was the parallel she drew between literalist biblical theology and the power & control wheel, a tool used for understanding abuse. For her, Christianity and abuse go hand in hand. Garrison opens her story by saying

 

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  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham says #
    Brilliant as usual. Thank you. I was on the edge of leaving Christianity in the 1990s because of my abhorrence to substitutionar
  • Ari M. Blunt
    Ari M. Blunt says #
    Thank you for writing this, as well as your previous post. For years, I have tried to put into words my own reasons for leaving C

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