From a Catholic School Girl to a Pagan

I wonder what the nuns would think about my present spiritual pathway as a pagan, and follower of the goddess religion? Growing up in a staunchly Catholic family my parents thought that the only choice for schooling for my seven siblings and myself was parochial school. The education was good and the religious studies a positive influence for my future spiritual pathway.

The most profound was my mother’s naming of me. I was born on an unusually sunny June day in Glasgow Scotland, which promoted my mother to name me after the month. To most that would seem not problematic except the name was unacceptable to my father, a staunch Catholic. With my family’s intense loyalty to Catholicism the rules to be a good Catholic were simply clear–that’s until my mother disregarded one of the important ones.
I am the only child of eight not named after a saint as was the Catholic custom-no doubt in hopes the child would aspire to their holy patron’s attributes. Naming me June not only broke our religion’s tradition but also laid the ground for me to follow a religion different from my family.

My family emigrated from Scotland to the United States and, as many European Catholics, we accepted Mary is the pivotal holy influence. I have no doubt the Europeans devotion to a female deity in Catholicism goes back to their roots in pagan religions. I envision the Roman Catholic conquerors allowing the newly defeated to keep their pagan goddesses by rolling them into one female, Mary, also called the Blessed Virgin or Our Lady.

My father’s wanted my name to be Patricia after St. Patrick. If I aimed to continue St. Patrick’s mission I would have had to drive the “snakes”–pagans– out of power as he allegedly did in Ireland and to spread the Catholic faith. Instead there I was June a pagan and heathen as my father unwittingly called me, who in time would live up to my father’s insight of my paganism: I brought the “snake” into the household.

On Sundays my family gathered at church to partake in the mystery of faith in God in a celebration ritual called Mass. On special occasions a particular celebration during Mass, called Benediction, occurs. Benediction ingrained a deep appreciation for the sacred powers of rituals. Frankincense and myrrh, symbolic of purification, are placed in a brass incense holder hanging from a chain. A veil of smoke carries the deep aroma of incense slowly throughout the church as the chanting priest swings the holder back and forth while turning in a circle, stopping at each of the four directions–symbolic of the cross to Catholics. Captivated with it all, I opened up to surrounding mystic energies.
Coming of age during the 1960’s I explored Buddhism and was introduced to meditation–a skill not learned as a Catholic. Eagerly I gravitated toward the silent peace. In time my spiritual truth was revealed. Appreciative of my Catholic teachings and later Buddhism, I choose a pathway right for me, Wicca. Now I am free to dance with wild abandonment under the moon skyclad, if I wish and conjure up magic and be a powerful woman instrumental in the progress of humanity. I am whole.

Learn more about Wiccan. Stop by June Ahern’s site where you can find out all about Wicca and what it can do for you.

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