First off, let me introduce myself: my name online is Anwen, I use this name for everything, it is not my birth name. I am 30 years old, have six children (4 step, 1 birth, 1 adopted), I have been married for five years, and I was raised Catholic. My parents raised me as they saw fit and they did this out of love for me, but I could never agree with the doctrines of Catholicism. I studied Anthropology/Classical Studies for my first bachelor degree and my second was in Archaeology. I have studied various cultures and religions but did not realize I could choose Paganism until a friend told me about it.
How odd, one who has studied Pagan religious beliefs in several different cultures did not realize she could be Pagan! Of course, being raised Catholic I had the stigma of sin and the devil to withhold such thoughts. If it is not worship of the one God, then it must be the Devil making you do it, right? It is amazing how easy it was for me to accept the fact that there is no devil in Pagan beliefs, he is a Christian creation, and that is fine for them. The Gods and Goddesses I worship are fallible, just as I am. They are prone to acts of extreme benevolence and extreme violence, as well as everything in between. That is something I can accept. In Catholic belief, a person is born with sin, which I could never accept. I am not saying that it is wrong of them, it is what they believe, just that it is wrong for me.
How did I feel becoming Pagan? That is hard to explain, everything I read on Wicca and Paganism “fit” with everything I had experienced in my life. I have had so many events that could not be explained or that did not fit with the atypical Christian mold that I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me. Now I know that there is nothing wrong, I am who I am, I have accepted the path laid out before me and trod upon it with the expectation of more. I hunger for the knowledge of the ancients and pray to those who will listen to me. I feel complete in a way I have never felt before. I used to constantly doubt who I was and what I was doing, now I know who I am and what I wish to do – I just have to do it. Yes, I am fearful that I may be wrong. That little guilt ridden Catholic voice in my head keeps telling me I should be careful or I might go to hell, then I dismiss that voice and send it back to the depths of doubt and bring forth my new found knowledge as my shield. Summerland is waiting for me at the end of this life. Waiting to give me the respite I will deserve after learning all I can from this life, then I will move on to the next adventure.
I am honest when I speak to those who have practiced for ages. I am only as knowledgeable as I say, I know of the Gods and Goddesses of the Pagans because I studied them in the past. Before January, I knew nothing of growing things, now I have plants that are exploding with life, I thank the Goddess profusely for this joy, after all it is she to whom I pray when I water them, feed them, and care for them. I know the Wiccan rede and abide by it. I enjoy my freedom to believe and practice as I may, or can. I am only limited by my own fears of bigotry. That’s right, I am in the “broom-closet” with my parents and a few friends who cannot accept anything un-Christian, or simply do not understand. Some cannot get past the stigma of “witch” that had been demonized all those centuries ago. This is upsetting, as I wish to be able to explore my newfound faith openly. I do, however, feel that I have been Pagan for almost the whole of my life; I simply did not know what it was. I dream my dreams in full colour with all my senses alive, and it is only recently that I realized not many people do this. This is one of those “things” that can only be explained in my Pagan beliefs.
Being Pagan for me means being free. For some, the structure of organized religion is good and right, for me it was repressive. I now know and respect and adore my freedom of choice. I searched for myself for so long that I feared I was no one, a lost soul with no purpose or place in this life. I went to mass because it was the only thing I knew how to do, and it was a difficult experience for me. When I have to go now to lend support to my daughter in her journey I feel sadness at what is said, and frustration with myself that I had dwelt in anguish for so long when my path had been so close. I was a mere step from the fork in the road that would lead me to this place, and yet was blinded by an upbringing that was not intended to do so.
I have always adored nature in all her glory, and I have always thanked Her, and not the distant God, for Her bounty and beauty. So it was not a distant stride that lead me here, but a mere side step. I may still have repression to deal with, I may still feel frustration at my lack of freedom to practice and express myself, but at least I know who I am now. Once I find the courage to confront those fears, then I will find my full freedom, and be able to enjoy this new life.
I do not know what the future has in store for me. My husband and I plan to raise our children in a multi faith environment giving them the choices we never had. I hope to one day open a shop for all faiths, without boundaries or bigotry. I love nature and all her creatures, I would say that lately, Gaia is the Goddess I turn to the most. I hope and pray that I will fulfill all that I aspire to do. The journey will not be a simple one, but the challenges in the path only add to the adventure of this life. I only hope my next will be as exciting.
Many blessings of the God and Goddess on your path, may you find your way without harm.
Wrote this article 9 years ago…
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