Embracing A Religion of Love
Most of us who have turned to Paganism have turned to it because we were unsatisfied with our previous religion, but still needed that void to be filled. The void to feel small, the void to feel that there is a higher power, the void to feel loved by that higher power. The power that is God/ Goddess. This is the explanation why I became disenchanted with Christianity, why I came to love Wicca/Paganism, and possibly some other random ramblings.
I was raised as a “Roman Catholic.” I put the quotes around that phrase because I can remember being, well as young as five, maybe even younger, and just throwing a fit! I’d be begging, pleading if I could have a baby sitter and miss church. But that’s not really where it all started. My disenchantment began some years later.
I was still in grade school and I was playing a game board at recess. My friend was nearby and talking to another kid about religion. All I remember is that the girl she was talking to said, “Well I was raised Catholic so I was raised right and you weren’t so you weren’t raised right.”
I was so shocked at this because I was being bought up Catholic too, but I felt that people who were bought up in other faiths (my Jewish/Druid best friend) were being raised right, too. I was just so angry with that girl and I don’t know why. Maybe it was because she said it to my best friend, or maybe it was for some other reason but I think a small part of my affection (What little I had for it since I hated going to church/CCD) for Catholicism died in me right there on the playground that day.
Now, I know I have had other negative experiences with Christianity (as I’m sure we all have) but none of them stick out quite as much as that one. Although I still had issues with my father about my religion and my beliefs (numerous of them of them protesting my not wanting to go to church, because God should just love me whether I prayed in “his house” or my house) .
One day I had to go to confession. We had gotten a new priest. Everyone thought he was an amazing priest! Except me. I don’t know why but for some reason I just didn’t like him. Later on I’d find out why.
I was new to Wicca and Paganism in general (still am) . I was still trying to like the religion that my parents wanted me to have and by parents I mean my father. My mom, who is a Lutheran, could have cared less if I had a religion at all. Goddess bless her for that!
Anyway, that day I was at confession with the new “wonderful” priest telling him my “sins”. And he chewed me out and was very rude to me!
Now normally at my church it went like this: Bless me father; I have “sinned”. …Blah blah blah. You tell him your sins. He says “And for your penance, say, # Our Fathers, # Hail Marys. God bless you. Go in peace.”
Not this priest, oh no! It was butt chewing. You need to be more Christ -ike. My “sins” weren’t even that bad. Things like I’ve lied to my parents (Don’t we all when were teens?) . I haven’t been the nicest to my friends (typical high school drama, ya know?) and maybe something like I ate meat on a Friday of Lent. I thought if I’m supposed to come to you and God who is all loving, for forgiveness, why is his messenger a “man of God” being so rude and not so forgiving?
This one sermon though completely changed my view of the Catholic religion and made me lose all hope and faith in my birthed religion.
The new priest was giving a sermon around the time of the Summer Solstice, I believe it was. His lecture was about the comparison between Paganism and Christianity… and not how much they are alike but rather how much better Christianity is than Paganism and why it’s better to be a Christian than a Pagan. He didn’t even get most of what he was talking about right! That was the part that really got me mad.
I remember thinking that this guy has read too much Greek “mythology.” He preached to the church body that it’s better to be a Christian than a Pagan because the Christian God loves us and reveals Himself to us in many ways. The Pagan Gods only reveal Themselves to us when They want to come down out of the sky to wreak havoc on us, or to throw lightning bolts at us.
Now honestly when was the last time one of your Gods/Goddesses came down from the sky to reveal Him/Herself to you just to throw a lightning bolt at you? Probably never.
Then he would say, “Now aren’t you glad you’re not a Pagan?” We Christians get dressed up in nice clothes to go sit in a nice beautiful protected-from-the-elements church building. The Pagans get dressed up in animal skins, put antlers on their heads and go outside and talk/pray to trees and rocks. Now aren’t you glad your’re not a Pagan?”
Okay, maybe some of us do that but when I go do something spiritual I just normally wear my everyday street clothes. Maybe that makes me less of a Pagan than the antler wearers, but I don’t care.
The priest’s statement about us dressing a bit weird for our ceremonies made me think though.
It made me think, “Okay bud, what about you? Why do you dress like you do when you go give a sermon? Why can’t you wear your street clothing? How is dressing like that have anything to do with your religion?”
Our antler animal skin wearing can actually have something to do with our religion. Maybe we’re dressed like that to help us be more like that animal since we’re nature based religions and animals are a big part of nature.
And what about the Pope? Why does he dress like that? How does that bring him closer to his religion? It probably doesn’t, that’s how.
We wear what we wear for our ritual because it helps us connect to our religion.
Then he went on to talk about how we go to Stonehenge and pray/talk to these massive rocks and other imaginary Gods. But, oh, the Christians go to church to pray to a real living God. Now aren’t we (again) glad we’re not Pagans?
I am a Pagan. I’m glad that I am a Pagan. I love my religion.
Why? After I wrote all that? Well, I am not going to go in to much detail. I’ll save that for a later article. In short, I don’t have to get dressed up, go outside, and if it’s wet, get my good dress clothes wet and dirty. I can just wear my PJ’s, stay in, and have a nice relaxing quiet ritual and commune with the Gods/Goddesses that way.
Best part about that is They will still love me whether I worship Them in my house or “Their” house. If I do choose to go outside to have a ritual, I can wear weather appropriate clothing. I love Paganism because, yes, I can wear ‘funny’ clothing if I choose… antlers and all!
The Gods/Goddesses Whom I choose to worship have revealed Themselves and helped me out many, many times. I can’t count how many times They have revealed Themselves to me, just so they could hit me with a lighting bolt. (Actually, They have never done that. Not even once. So there are no times ‘to count’. LOL!)
Maybe we should all learn to talk to our Earth and rocks and trees… and not only talk to them but also listen to what nature has to say back. Maybe if we all did commune with rocks/trees maybe we could learn something from our great mother, Mother Earth.
I am Pagan. I am glad that I am!
Blessed Be to everyone who is Christian, Muslim, Jew, and from all the other religions in the world. (And yes, even to those of us who pray and perform spells to Gods who only visit us when they want to hit us with lightning bolts.)
Blessed Be To All…. And May All Gods/Goddess Be Worshiped Equally.