Many from One: Wicca and Roman Catholicism Entangled
I know that many Wiccans do not have fond memories of Christianity, especially Roman Catholicism. (You know the Burning Times, eternal damnation, and all that good stuff.) However, I ask you, the reader, just to hear me out. You may be surprised at what you read.
Recently I traveled to a Roman Catholic Youth conference, called Steubenville, which was held in Denver, Colorado. My friends (Catholic) and I (Wiccan) looked forward to this event.
So I am not Christian and this conference is very Jesus-centric. So why did I go?
The first, and simplest, reason is that I love to travel. The second reason is that I want to grow closer to my friends and religion is a great structure to build friendship upon, even if your religious views differ. The last and most complicated reason is the experience of the events of the conference (I will explain this later).
On this particular trip, I became very frustrated. Hailing from Wisconsin and traveling on a bus, I spent the greater majority of twenty-one hours listening to talks on modesty and why women cannot become Catholic priests. Of course, being open about sexuality and greatly for women’s rights, this annoyed me very much.
To add to my dissatisfaction, it seemed like my friends had deserted me for a new guy in the group. I felt a complete outcast and not welcome (which was the first time after going to these conferences for the past two years).
For the majority of the trip, I let my anger boil under the surface of my smiley there-is-nothing-wrong-everything-is-great face.
Finally, after days of a mixed emotion rollercoaster, Saturday night came. Now, Saturday night is the highlight of the Steubenville conference. It is on this night that a very powerful adoration takes place. (Adoration is when a consecrated host, believed by the Catholics to be the body of Jesus, is set upon the altar in a container called a monstrance.)
Prior to adoration, the youth celebrate God with song, dance, clapping, etc. This of course, as Witches know, raises energy (and lot of it when there are 2, 300 people doing it!) After this energy is raised, adoration begins and people, whether they know it or not, draw upon this energy and go into fits of emotion (crying, laughing, etc).
During this particular adoration, while people were praying and “fitting”, I was praying to the Lady and Lord that all at the conference would find what they were looking for and that those having fits would be healed. (I had heard once, on a trip in the Underworld, that “things in the Underworld move backwards.” In other words, one has to move back through the pain to be free of it.
This all seemed very appropriate at the time, giving reason and knowledge as to what was happening and why.) While I was praying for those around me, I felt the Lady in Her form of Healer touch me. Suddenly, in just an instant, all that anger that I had been harboring just melted away. I was filled with an inner peace. Catholics would call this a form of “resting in the Spirit”.
As great as this was, what happened next was even more spectacular.
After I had been calmed, I looked at the image of the monstrance that had been projected upon the screen in front of me. As I gazed at the consecrated host, its appearance changed. Instead of a speckled, brown circle, I saw the Divine Androgyne, half male and half female.
In Its right hand was a sun and in Its left, a moon. Soon the image changed again. The Divine Androgyne faded and in Its place were people of all ethnicities and nations. I then herd the Androgyne telling me that no matter what form, all religions and all people worship It.
At this point, I felt completely connected: to myself, to everyone around me, and to everything. I had always believed that Wiccans, Pagans, and Christians had the same Divine; but now I, for the first time, felt the connection in my heart.
I had one more experience that night. After all the images had faded from the consecrated host, I saw in my mind’s eye the World Tree. It grew out from the middle of the room, with deep roots reaching into the oldest parts of the Earth and tall branches that exceeded the sky. I could see that everyone in the room was connected to It and to the All of Creation.
To me, the World Tree is the ultimate expression of the Divine: It contains everything and is everything. To see that my Catholic friends were connected to this image of my Androgyne and my Gods really made me realize just how close our Gods really are.
Besides for just seeing everyone’s connection to the World Tree, I also saw the energy flow from the people, to the World Tree, and back again. I could see streams of used energy leaving people to the roots of the World Tree, where it would wait to be reformed in the Crone’s cauldron. I also saw fresh energy coming from the branches and flowing to the people so that they may use it and be liberated from their old negativity.
This great sight really made me feel that, as a Wiccan and a Witch, Catholics are very dear kith and kin.
Once I had been exposed to the connectedness that everyone in the room shared, I began to see my place within the greater picture. I was there, at that conference, to help people. I was a Witch: a healer, a magick worker, and a friend to all Creation.
Remembering my office, I used the power of it to help those around me. I sent energy to them to make them relive their sadness so that it may be released and they may be as happy as they were before they knew pain and suffering; that they may remember the love of the Gods. (I am not saying that suffering is bad or evil, I just think that we often get too caught up in suffering and pain to remember the love that Creation also holds for us.) I also helped others direct the energy to the World Tree so that fresh energy may enter them.
This was a very empowering experience for me: being able to help those for whom I cared so deeply.
Now, as I write this, the sun is setting over the mountains as we wind our way back towards Wisconsin. I am no longer frustrated, even though I listen to the same talks as I did on the way to Denver. Rather, I feel peaceful and connected to everyone that I travel with.
I can really say that now I feel that we all worship the same Divine, just in slightly different ways. Religion had to start somewhere, and then it probably developed factions with minor differences; until, eventually, we have the religions of today.
When you really put your mind to it, Jesus Christ (whose name may be connected to those of Shiva and Krishna of the Dravidic and Hindu religions) closely resembles early forms of Mithras and Dionysus. Mithras and Dionysus are respected by Wiccans, so why should Jesus Christ not be?
Even if he never did really live, he is still an archetype of the Divine; and the Divine deserve our respect, don’t they?
I know that Witches and Pagans have had problems with Christians in the past, but those were the people, not the religion. Times have changed, and we don’t want the Burning Times back. Not upon us or anyone else.
Think about it, the religious paths of Roman Catholicism and Wicca really do have a lot in common. Wiccans have an Unnameable Force that created the All; Catholics have God the Father who created everything but is unapproachable except through others (such as Jesus).
Wicca has polar opposites that define each other and are connected as One; Catholicism has God and Satan (who, if you think about it, is really not evil but the physical/material form of God).
Wicca has gods and goddesses that express a personification of one or more Divine aspects/powers; Catholicism has the saints that serve relatively the same purposes. Wiccans have magick; Catholics have miracles.
Both Catholicism and Wicca are here for the same reason: to connect with the Divine.
So when you think about it, we really are not that different.
“Live and let live; fairly take and fairly give.” ~From the Wiccan Rede
Holland, Eileen. The Wicca Handbook. Boston, Massachusetts: Weiser Books, 2000.
Moura, Ann (Aoumiel) . Green Witchcraft: Folk Magic, Fairy Lore, and Herb Craft. St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn, 2002.
Moura, Ann (Aoumiel) . Origins of Modern Witchcraft: The Evolution of a World Religion. St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn, 2000.