Wiccan Friend

Just your friendly neighborhood Witch. Thoughts on Wicca, Witchcraft, Tarot, and Paganism today.

Mr. Keegan goes to the Cathedral, and thoughts on Christening

I don’t often get the opportunity to visit Christian churches, but still oddly enough find myself in one around once or twice a year.  I know that during the yuletide my wife and I join her parents for Christmas eve services at their Lutheran church both because we knowit is important to them and because they ask us to play music during the service.  I grew up in the Lutheran church and can appreciate the service, but sometimes times it is hard to keep an open mind.  If nothing else it stands as a reminder to my wife and I of what we left behind re-affirming our own Pagan faith.  We leave the service with mixed feelings about the message from the Homily given but proud that as Wiccans we are open-minded enough to subject ourselves to it.  It does indeed feel like service putting ourselves aside to be there for other people.  Recently however I got a real treat as my niece was Christened in the Catholic faith.  It has been ages since I have been in a Catholic church and the ones I remember were no where near this magnificent.  The Rite was held in one of the oldest Cathedrals in Texas located in downtown Austin,  St. Mary.

Copyright (c) Dave Wilson, 2009

You walk up the short concrete steps and are greeted with massive wooden doors surrounded in gothic architecture that otherwise seems quite out of place in the heart of downtown Austin.  The building itself is so moving as a work of art and is steeped in history, symbols, community, amazing art, and lots of care.  You can tell as you enter that this is sacred space.  You can tell because of the way you are overcome as you pass over the threshold.  The church itself greets you both with a hello and warning.  I wont say that I felt magick inside, because I know the Church wouldn’t want it to be refer to that, but I certainly felts the hearts and prayers of over a century of religious work.  There is also a spacial trick that happens with all of these types of buildings.  From the outside they look huge, but when you step inside the space seems to double.  It may all be a

matter of perspective but it is a great effect that adds to the experience for sure.  The symbolism and religiosity inside is quite overwhelming.  Surrounding the great length of pews in the center of the Cathedral are styled walls, stain glass, and statues.  40 foot columns rise from the ground to touch the ceiling which is decorated in Gothic trusses  and amazing patterns of light and color.  It is simply beautiful, but honestly as I acclimated to the surroundings I began to miss something…

I was surrounded by the supernatural.   This was all a great feet of inspired Human ingenuity and religious incitement, but it lacks what really stirs my soul.  The cool Earth, an awakening breeze, a warm fire, and refreshing water.  Granted all of those things were present in the Church.  The stone beneath our feet, the atmosphere of the space, the flickering of the lit candles, and the font filled with fresh water for baptism.  Even still, it wasn’t same.  The man-made becomes the focal point and the most precious gifts, our natural elements, become  the accents.  I am opened minded enough to know how amazing this place is and how much it must mean to the people who worship here, but aware enough to be reminded of my own path and what stirs my spirit.  There was comfort in those thoughts.  It was an exercise to find worship surrounded by dogma.

As for the Rite itself, it was amazing.  There is so much imagery and mysticism in the Catholic Church.  My wife pointed out to me at the beginning they asked the child’s name and what they wanted to achieve here today.  This was so much like every time we as Wiccans enter the circle and are asked for our name and purpose.  We looked at one another and smiled, or in her case smirked.  She is very smirky.  I’m fortunate to be able to share little moments like that with someone.  This was a lot of things during the ceremony that I couldn’t agree with, after all I am Pagan for a reason, but I just put that under differences in religion and do what I can.  That is be there for my family, shower this babe with love and hopeful energy, and say my own silent prayer to the God and Goddess of thanks.

Blessed Be.

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4 responses to “Mr. Keegan goes to the Cathedral, and thoughts on Christening

  1. rowanelizabeth December 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Hello! I’m a fellow Pagan in Austin and I was looking for photos of the renovated sanctuary at St Mary’s when I came across your pics – they are glorious! And I have to admit that I was tickled that the best photos I found were from a kindred spiritual traveler. Just wanted to drop you a line and say thanks for the photos and that I enjoyed wandering through your blog.
    – Rowan

  2. Art Behr July 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I have been browsing around your site and enjoying myself. Craft for many years, and currently working on a book. One of the things i worked on in Ireland are links between surviving craft traditions, the travelers, (Irish Gypsies) and the virgin Mary as manifested through the Roman Catholic Church. I had noticed St. Mary’s here in Austin, and marked it down as a place to go, since Texas has a large traveler community, i thought there might be some links there. Also appreciated your thoughtfulness and consideration regarding various Christian traditions, found it quite frankly refreshing in the craft/pagan community. Btw, I made fire with a bow drill and lit my candles which i burned above Shakespeare’s grave, and also incense which i gathered on the heath in the peak district. I did these things n the church in Stratford where Shakespeare is buried and i did it two years in a row on his birth/death day and nobody gave me a minutes grief. .On the other hand when i tried to get a quill feather from one of the swans, He beat me black and blue and the bobby watching probably would have arrested me, (all swans in England are the personal property of the Queen,) except he had such a great time laughing at the Yank. Sometimes we in the craft have to suffer for our art.
    art behr

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