The Christian Noob (n00b)

born & raised Catholic, now going to a Presbyterian church & still learning

interview with Amadahy, a Pagan detouring into Catholicism

I recently met Amadahy who has been a Pagan for 12 years and now is considering becoming Catholic (RCIA). Surprisingly she knows the Bible much better than I do!

ME:

I must admit that now I’m more confused about Wicca and craft. Can anyone explain these two concepts to me in detail?

AMADAHY:

Wicca is a type of Paganism like Presbyterian is a type of Christianity. Craft, or witchcraft, is the art and practice of “spells,” for lack of a better word. I don’t like the word, but it works here. To be Wiccan is usually the belief in a God and Goddess, but not all wiccans practice craft work. Similarly, not everyone who practices witchcraft is a wiccan.
Hope that helps a little bit! Even a little!

ME:

Hi there, so far that is what I had understood. I know about the belief in goddesses, but I don’t know who these gods and goddesses (if plural). I understand the worship (if correct word) of Mother Earth, enchantments, potions, cures, chants and the general concept of craft — similar to the Celtic practices adopted by early Christians, Lectio Divina.

AMADAHY:

I don’t know who these gods and goddess are either! that’s a really individual question, like asking someone who is God, or what is their representation of God. It’s very convoluted. Some people follow a unnamed (or many named) overarching God and Goddess, some use the characteristics of divinity represented in various theologies like Greek or Norse. I’m not sure this question even has an answer, to tell you the truth.
In this interview, she was talking about something else entirely, a spirit guide, or someone’s spirit, or unknown.
I think it’s great your interviewing people; people need to get out there more and do these things!

ME:

So would you like me to interview you (more like an in-depth conversation) about going from Catholicism to Paganism and possibly back to Catholicism?
By the way, thank you for your feedback/explanation. I truly appreciate any information/knowledge I can get/learn about religion.
Regarding the gods and goddesses question, I found a list of 73 Wiccan gods and goddesses at DailyWicca. This is much more than I bargained for.

AMADAHY:

Yeah, and a lot of Pagans can tell you all of these Goddess names/associations. Most…pick and choose lol
You can ask me anything if you want, that’s your call. lol My email is [...]

ME:

So how did you get into Paganism? I guess your parents and/or family weren’t too committed (just like my parents). Now don’t get upset if my last statement’s wrong.
I’m not going to lie, I’ve very attracted to Paganism specially the sort that’s all about the . I even listen to Pagan metal, especially Korpiklaani with songs like Pellonpekko.

AMADAHY:

How did I get into Paganism? I would tell you I’ve always been Pagan. My parents were not religious, and they had a very hostile teenage relationship. I was baptized Catholic as an infant, but we never really spoke of religion again. I was never brought back into a church, I never returned, and I never learned what Christianity was. I pretty much lived a good part of the year in a tent by the river, we took camping to ridiculous levels. So, that connection with nature and appreciation of the Earth is how I was raised. I am the only practicing religious member of my family, my entire biologic family.
My actual labeling of being Pagan started when I was 13. My mother was in an even worse, volatile relationship with a man, and I had a quantum change from trauma…essentially. It was a rough night, and I was crying on the floor apparently praying for help. I didn’t sit down with intentions to pray, I can’t say I knew what prayer was; it was a reaction to a traumatic situation. That was the start of my relationship with the divine, I heard “Her” response and have had that connection since. A week or so later I was wandering the bookstore looking for the largest book I could find to distract me from my life, which in my smaller town the book that screamed at me from the shelf was The Mists of Avalon, by Bradley. It’s a FICTION novel, but it introduced me to a different, female centered line of thinking. That branched out to more research, and finding a coven in my hometown when I was a teenager. Dedication, Initiated, and I became a ritual dancer; that’s been my life for 12 years…until this year!
I guess that’s how I acquired the Pagan title! lol
I am on your page with Pagan musicians. I love the variety and depth a lot of Pagan musicians bring to the table. You should consider attending a Pagan drum circle, always a lovely time! If you like music and are curious, definitely consider it.

ME:

I first got a taste of Paganism when I was a child — some form of witchcraft (black magick) mixed with Christianity. Several relatives practiced it to wish evil/hurt and/or bad fortune (to curse and/or cast spells) to others praying to Catholic saints, “animas” (Latin for “the rational soul; life; the mental powers, intelligence”) and such. There was also readings of Tarot, baths with soaked leaves for luck, using holy water to cleanse, wearing red (usually a red string of fabric around the wrist) to avoid evil-eye, good luck charms, idolatry of saints and the Virgin Mary and other rites that I can’t recall right now.
Keep in mind that I’m 41 growing up in 70’s after the social experimentation of the late 60’s (acid, troubadours , etc), socialism, communism, Che Guevara, Castro, metaphysics (mind over matter) and whatever other crazy thing that people then thought of. Said this one of my much older cousins studied to become a fakir. Surprisingly three decades later, my mom started studying a form of Hinduism or Krishna developed and/or taught by a guru named Sai Baba), but she still considers herself Catholic.
It was a bizarre mix of the holy (Catechism, church every Sunday or during high holidays and black magick. At times, it was very similar to voodoo. I was told several times not to let others take (steal) my personal things, hair and even pictures of me as they could be used against me.
The weirdest and scariest event I ever experienced was what I can only describe as a demonic possession. In the other hand, the best has been feeling things as some sort of knowledge before experiencing whatever situation, condition and even whether someone is trustworthy just by looking or hearing a person (maybe a form of ESP) — sort of good or bad vibe. Perhaps the latter is simply knowing how to read body language.
So my introduction to Paganism was this twisted form of Christianity, in which all these acts and rites outside the correct concept of Catholicism was witchcraft (devil craft) and plain evil. Perhaps I should say that I was introduced by black magick.
All the while, I’ve enjoyed watching horror movies all my life and I hardly get scared. I enjoy the romanticism of death (not murder). It’s no surprise that I was close to committing suicide many times since I was about 5 years old.
I’m curious about Wicca for its relation to nature, spirits of the forest and other vague concepts I have. Also places like Stonehenge and peoples like the Druids have gotten me curious.

AMADAHY:

You Sir, certainly have a story to tell! It sounds like you had quite the mix of religions, cultural associations, and alternative therapies growing up. You have a pretty clear version of what “craft” is, because that’s what you’ve seen. In terms of light or dark, that’s a touchy topic for many Pagans . Some don’t like the labeling of any craft work, some absolutely detest intentions to hurt others… depends on the group.
I know what you’re speaking of when you discuss that somewhat spiritual feelings of people. I prefer the term Spiritually Sensitive, some will call me an empath , and the Catholics call it Discernment of Spirits. I understand seeing the levels of “light” and “dark” (for lack of better words) within a person, in a room, through texts. I do it too, and some level of that is the emotional intelligence in reading body language, but that is not all of it. I’m sorry you had some kind of encounter with something negative, demonic in your words. I’ve never been assaulted by something like that, because I recognize it and can’t go near whatever it is. I get physically stuck. It’s awkward to explain to your rebellious friends as a teenager why you can go in some room to “party.” Thankfully, I’m not a teenager anymore and don’t have to deal with that!
It sounds like you have a lot of experiences to consider, and that’s wonderful! I would warn that anything you would consider looking into or doing to know exactly what you are doing and what can happen well before you attempt anything. If you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t do it.
If you haven’t been to stonehenge, you should go! I was invited to study at Oxford for a while and I visited Stonehenge, Avesbury, and the white chalk horse. All very interesting.
There are Christian Witches! I’m not one of them, but they are about!

ME:

I’d never heard of Discernment of Spirits even though I grew up Catholic. I didn’t know the Catholic Church accepted this sensitive and had even given it a name. I’ve always seen it as a form of ESP. You seem to know more about Catholicism than I do. :)
I used the terms “demonic” and “black magick” because I don’t have better words. What I called “possession” did scare me big time especially since it was at night and even had trouble sleeping that night. The form “magick” that I mentioned was usually to cause harm, force other do the will of others, give bad fortune and other forms of manipulation. This is why I wouldn’t touch the occult, but I’m still curious.
Regarding Stonehenge, I’d like to go there and go crazy taking pictures. There’s similar place called Woodhenge and several other henges. I wonder why these places were built. Since you’re a nurse, you’re attracted to science. So am I, but I never became a scientist of any sort. I just became an audio engineer and then a systems programmer. You most likely understand why I’m curious about these Celtic, Druid and other peoples as well as their mysticism.
So you explained how you got into Wicca, but what made you reconsider and start RCIA less than two months ago? I understand that you’re married. What does your husband say about it? By the way, is he also Wiccan?

AMADAHY:

The Discernment of Spirits is considered a “gift of the Holy Spirit.” I’ve had Christians call me a witch for it, in their confusion, but it is in their Holy Books. It was told to me by a priest, it’s in the Catechism somewhere, and it’s in the Bible, Corinthians something or other:

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.”

Anyway, to answer your questions:
The story regarding how I ended up in
RCIA is pretty long, you’d have to browse my blog for the past year to get a complete picture. I don’t recommend that, I can get pretty winded. I’ll try to make this short and sweet for you! You know it won’t be short and sweet even if I try!
I started wandering Christian denominations for the first time in January, because I knew so little about Christianity. I thought having a basis of one of the world’s main religious would probably come in handy in life! How I ended up in
RCIA in super short would be two things: a great priest and a rosary.
The first Christian leader I ever met with was a
Catholic priest in his 30s back in January. Our first meeting took over three hours of constant conversation, and I kept returning to him with questions and for help. I asked him to teach me the rosary in May, and he did. He taught me as best he could for my first go at it, and then took me into the chapel to pray the rosary. I couldn’t do it, because I didn’t really know the prayers, but I followed along. I’ve expressed my connection to divinity, and in that moment I felt it all over again. I recognize this figure as female, and it could be anything, really. I worshipped that connection, that figure, for 12 years as a Pagan… but at that moment it was clear to me that I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing in that little chapel. “She” was there, next to me, overjoyed at my prayers… even if they were said by a priest, because I didn’t know them. I’ve started to consider the real possibility of guardian angels. Anyway, He blessed and gave me a rosary I’m convinced he pulled out of thin air, and I’ve been in love with that practice since.
We met a couple times, and we went out for coffee one morning. That provided a good number of stares from people, a priest dressed in full black robes sitting next to, and laughing with, a punk 20 something! When we were parting, I gave him a hug and it was overwhelming and whole heartedly comforting. Given my background, that was the first time I ever felt that from a male, other than my husband (which is completely different!). That moment healed a bunch of person wounds from my father. I used to have nightmares, and I haven’t had one since. Priests at mass, specifically, are supposed to be the very real representation (incarnation?) of Jesus for that moment (not all the time!), and I think in that quiet moment of a completely normal hug… I think a touch of divinity was involved.
I could probably find you the blog post links to these events, if you want. lol That’s how I ended up in
RCIA. Catholicism is like a huge museum, and I’m like a kid in a candy store when I find artwork, architecture, literature, music, people…anything that I connect with.
I haven’t really reconsidered my faith in the divine, I’ve just grown in my personal understanding of what I connect with. The figures I’ve recognized for 12 years are still present, if not more present.
My husband is spiritual and not seeking, and that’s fine. I never pressured him to be
Pagan, and I wouldn’t pressure him to be Catholic. He knew I was Pagan before we started dating; word got around about me being a “witch.” He went to the occasional Pagan festivals and rituals with me, and he will go to the occasional mass with me. He’s 100% supportive of my adventures, as he is 100% supportive of anyone who feels that connection with the divine of any religion. He has very little tolerance for soap box Christians, or people he deems as “fake” in their faith, regardless of religion.
One day I will be less winded…. Sorry. It actually is a pretty long story lol.

For more information about Amadahy, visit her blog Amadahy Gone Rogue.

Amadahy, thank you for your patience teaching me about Paganism and your faith journey. Blessed be!

Read part 2 soon.

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