What Paganism Means to Me

Paganism – the thing I once feared and cringed at

I left Christianity about 5 years ago. When I finally said no, I am not a Christian, it was like my spirit finally got to take its first breath. It was such a relief to leave and close the door on the legalism, the judgmental, and deeply toxic religion. As I walked away, I knew I was supposed to be a part of something spiritual, but I knew it would never be an organized religion ever again. I was given my first tarot deck shortly after leaving the christian religion. That tarot deck was an incredible introduction into the spirit world surrounding us as well as an introduction into me strengthening my bond with my intuition. That first tarot deck gave me the tools to lean into the things I had always known and sensed, but had never had direction with. My spouse gave me a tarot set for Christmas three years ago, and that has always been a special deck to me. But somehow, tarot just wasn’t enough. I needed something more, I needed to be stretched and guided, and tarot was merely scratching the surfaces of the things I was being pulled towards.

We moved from the east coast to the midwest, and it was like my soul came alive. Being in the wide open, the mountains always protecting, it was the first place I had ever lived that finally and truly felt like home. When we first arrived, I started looking up Wiccan groups, but the more I researched and asked questions of various groups that caught my eye, I knew it wasn’t time, nor was I entirely sure that following a Wiccan path was what I was meant to do. The very idea that Wiccan is organized was and still is very unappealing to me. Then hell struck, and then struck again and again, and it’s only been in the past few months that I have able to catch my breath and feel like I can stand on solid ground. As I have found my footing, I have found my path, I have found my community, I have found my faith again.

I am 100% pagan, 100% against organized religion, and a budding Green, or Cottage, Witch. Being pagan [to me] means living with intentional awareness of the environment I’m in. Whether that means being in my car driving around, listening to my children chatter in the back seat, or being at home in my kitchen cooking or my bed reading and researching, that means I’m aware of the Goddesses who are with me, the spirits that surround me, and whether I am grounded or not. Being pagan means honoring the earth and her bounty, honoring the spirits who give me wisdom and knowledge, and worshiping together with my fellow sisters. Being pagan means accepting all of the consequences of my own actions, and recognizing that what I believe is never going to be exactly what someone else believes, and HOLDING SPACE for others’ beliefs. And yes I am aware of my hypocrisy of not being all that willing to hold space for christian beliefs. For now, I’m going to sit with that and be okay with it, because christianity fucked me over so badly, I don’t need to give anyone my angry spirit about that belief system.

Being pagan means expanding my mental capacity and spirit in reaching out the Goddesses that call my name. It’s means getting my hands dirty and understanding oils, salves, essences, herbs and flowers. It means performing rituals to honoring the passing of the Full Moons and New Moons and the Wheel of the Year. Being pagan means doing things that mean stopping and taking a breath and giving back to Mother Gaia/Earth.

It is a slightly torn place to be as I am a mother and have responsibilities from waking to falling asleep every day. A friend had a really good way of putting things; I am not trying to find balance between my pagan practice and my day-to-day life – I am working on harmonizing my paganism and the rest of my life. My pagan practice is not a separate thing, it is who I am, so why not blend the two, figure out how to still be intentional as I’m rushing around with my kids during the day.

I have found that the things that been bubbling under the surface for the past 5 years have been significantly ignited now. And not only does this all feel slow and steady, I am not burning out. I have learned to take this path one step at a time, and work my way towards the goals I want. I am finding myself more patient with myself, and more patient with the things I can do or simply do not have the time or means to do. I am learning that the Goddess will supply, and if it’s time for something, then it is time and I will find my path forward clear.

Maeve of Tara

Maeve ~

The name I chose for myself a year and a half ago.

The name I was given at some point in my childhood.

I still have no recollection of where I came in contact with this name. It is the name that has been calling to me all of my life. When it was time to cut the strings to the man who abused me and tried so very hard to break me, I knew it was time to take on the name of Maeve.

It is a name that means strength, perseverance, goddess, and shadows to me. It is a name that has become so fully my own that I have no doubt I was born with the name hiding inside of me. As I learn more of the Goddess Medb (ancient spelling of Maeve), the more I see myself in the recounts of her adventures. I see someone who is a goddess who is one with Mother Earth, the animals and plants that full this earth, and a just goddess. Seeing her under all of the Christianized versions of her tales as she walked this earth takes work. I don’t see her as the vindictive, brash, sexual queen who may or may not have been a goddess. I don’t see her as the jealous bitch the stories try to paint her as. She was strongly rooted in her femininity; her moon blood was of the utmost importance. And I believe that she reveled in worshiping the cycles of the moon and the earth, especially rejoicing during the times of harvest.

I chose the name Maeve of Tara for this space as Tara is the ancient home of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. As I am pulling from being the namesake of the Goddess Mebd, and as my name is also Maeve, this is what I felt Spirit telling me to name this space.