I’m not sure about the exact moment that I was introduced to Jesus Christ. Some of the earliest memories that I have are of the mental images I associated with the lines from The Lord’s Prayer. While I recited the lines, I imagined a crucified Jesus hanging in space, surrounded by a wreath made entirely of holly.
I didn’t really like Jesus when I was little. The adults around me used the rules and regulations of the church to frighten and limit my freedom of being and expression. It wasn’t overtly stated, but I had the impression that Jesus was some sort of figurehead or enforcer of their rules. On one hand, I had the impression that Jesus was the one that answered prayers….so, he was the one that I had to go to or nothing was going to get done.
When I was a child, men were the problematic figures in my life. I wanted nothing to do with another powerful male image (even if he was the Son of God), so I went to the Virgin Mary with my prayers. In my mind, she had to be like the other females in my life–more accommodating, much more nurturing, much more attentive.
Now, as an adult (and as a chaos magician), I tend to be drawn more towards the model of magick in which the manifest gods are more like thoughtforms, created by the wishes, fears and expectations of the thinker. As a child, I wanted little to do with the males in my life, so Jesus was something I had an aversion to, simply because he represented the powerful male authorities in my life. The Jesus that was presented to me upheld and enforced the agendas of the men around me. I might not have been able to articulate it at the time, but I was aware of it on some level.
As I began to explore the Goddess pathways, I kept a mostly matrifocal attitude, in the beginning of my studies. Male gods were presented gently to me. The Son, The Lover, The Father. My comfort was in The Mother Goddess being the most powerful figure. In this comfort zone, I could explore that The Father God of modern witchcraft was not the same bully that was presented to me in Catholicism. This was a nicer version of a male Deity.
When Jesus was presented to me as another vegetation god, a sacrificial god….that gave me a whole different perspective. If Jesus was originally presented as another aspect of the Nature God, then he was a much more benevolent creature than what had been presented to me in my childhood past. In eclectic Witchcraft, there are parallels between Jesus the Christ and Horus as well, which suddenly made the idea of this Christ presence more palatable to me. I’ve always been more pragmatic in my approach towards spirituality and magick. I want immediate results and effects. I can’t say that I was as interested in historical accuracy as much as finding gods and angels that worked for me, on a very personal level. I didn’t care if there was any real, historical Jesus to be found in history….I had already been having a personal, internal experience with him and because of him.
My family had made sure that Jesus was associated with punishment and fear. I already had Jesus so woven into the threadwork of my mental landscape, that I couldn’t throw him out completely. Since I already had him imprinted so strongly into my emotional structure, I wanted to work with him in a more functional way. When I found Leo Louis Martello’s “Witchcraft: The Old Religion”, I gained the idea that Jesus was seen as a more benevolent figure in the early Catholic Church….much like the Father God of the pagans. I began to gently accept the possibility that Jesus could have (originally) been another manmade representation of the Masculine principle within Nature.
All of the negative things that were presented to me, with Jesus as a justification, were suddenly invalid. I lost my belief that Jesus was an independent spirit, with intentions of punishing, withholding or controlling me in any way. Now, there was two Jesuses–Jesus, the sacrificial god, son of the Goddess….AND the childhood thoughtform of Jesus that people held over me as a threat, if I didn’t conform to their ideas in some way.
Since I am no longer afraid that Jesus is an overpowering, independently-acting spirit, I can sometimes work with his image in my workings….mostly, when I think his energy will be compatible and familiar to the people that are going to experience it.
There are different schools of thought when working with the manifest gods. There are those people who believe that the gods of mythology are actual, independent entities….spirits with their own consciousness and free will. Then there are those of us that believe that the gods are thoughtform-constructs, which is how we can have different versions of the gods (Hecate, Venus, Jesus, The Devil and so on) “acting out” in different ways in our individual lives.
To some magicians, the manifest gods are essentially servitors or genies, carrying out individual prayers or requests. To those who have faith that Jesus will fulfill their prayers, Jesus is a good thoughtform to work with. To keep from mixing manifestations, the magician can work with Jesus in his various aspects–The Good Shepard, The Divine Child, Santo Nino de Atocha…. There are even more modern “found gods” variations, such as found in Latin America….Jesus the Doctor, for example.
Another interesting way of working with the Jesus thoughtform is through the process of godform assumption. Taking on the energy of what one would assume the Christ would have and intending how the surrounding environment (including people) reacts to that is worth trying out as an exercise. This can be an especially healing exercise to reclaim all the power that was projected onto our childhood projections of Jesus.