“And friends, they may think it’s a movement!”

I recently received an email from the owner of a New Zealand website called Raven’s Quest for Celtic and Pagan Spirituality (www.ravenquest.net). Originally, this site described itself as “A journey through worlds of Celtic, Druidic, Pagan, Faerie, Native American lore,myth, legend and spiritual beliefs. Covering Tuatha de Dannan, Sidhe, Raven and Wolf, Dalriada, Glastonbury and Glastonbury Tor, Irish Faerie, Scottish Faerie,King Arthur, Avalon, the history of Wicca, modern Druidism, Divination, Bardic tradition and poetry.”

But now when you visit it, you get this message:

This Site No Longer Exists
A fairly accurate description (and an almost parallel journey, although mine took close on 30 years) of the reason for the removal of this site resides HERE, in words far better than I could craft. (I hasten to add that I have not become Catholic, although I now live and work as a Christian priest) It was far from an easy decision to make and a great deal of soul searching went on during the time I was training for the Christian Priesthood. In the end, and with not a little regret, the decision was made.
The website still exists elsewhere and one day I may restore and add to it… detailing the continuation of my journey from a full-blown Pagan to a Christian priest who has not thrown away Pagan principles (although my beliefs have somewhat changed) but has found that they are NOT incompatible with what I consider to be the basis of the true Christian belief system. Indeed, I have found, to my delight, that they can enhance one another most beautifully.
I would like to thank all those who have supported and encouraged us with this site over the years. I’m unhappily aware that some who have supported the endeavour of this site will turn against me and excoriate me… I could do no other.

Wow. If you haven’t already followed the link or guessed, the “HERE” link takes you to my After the Magic story on Beliefnet.

So now I’ve got Arlo Guthrie’s Alice’s Restaurant Massacree going through my head… if one person sings it, they’ll think he’s crazy, and if two sing it, they just think they’re gay… but if three sing it, they’ll think it’s an organization, and if fifty sing it, then friends, they may think it’s a movement!!!

So I don’t know if we’ve got a movement of Celtic Pagans with alarming Christian tendencies (or was that Celtic Christians with alarming Pagan tendencies? I get those two confused), at least not yet. But I just can’t shake that song going through my head…

  • http://davensjournal.livejournal.com/ davensjournal

    Carl, I wouldn’t be too concerned or upset. There has always been some cross over and cross back of paganism and Christianity. I remember one lady I had correspondance with who was a high priestess of a farily well-known coven who became “born again” and totally rejected all that Wicca is and stood for, turning her back on about 20 years of practice. Then there is Bill Schenobelin (Wicca: Satan’s Little White Lie) who WAS an Alexandrian High Priest for a while and so on.

    There is also cross over the other way, from Pagansim to Christianity back to Paganism. You just don’t hear about it very often.

    That she referenced your work is not surprising. You are an eloquent author and during that time you were trying to work out your feelings and understand what you wanted. You wrote those down and shared them. It touched her and it resonated with her. That is what makes you a GOOD author.

    Crisises of conscience happen all the time, and faith is tested as well. You know this happens as often as you inhale. Like my crisis of conscience with the $100 that happened recently. Finding the proper way of living is simply something you hvae to do. It’s individual like a fingerprint and she may be on her path parallel to you, but you did not cause it.

    So, come, sit on the Group W Bench and find the storage for the rakes and shovels and other implements of destruction. You are on the 27 eight by ten color glossy photos with the circles and arrows and the paragraph on the back of each one….

    • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

      Thanks, Daven, for your very kind and complimentary words. I’m not concerned or upset. Amused, perhaps, or even delighted, that my article was meaningful to this person halfway around the world.

      Now as for Bill Schnoebelen… people like him give people like me a bad name. Most Christians don’t want his manipulative fearmongering either, but alas, there are some (like Jack Chick) who take a perverse delight in it. I just have to trust that most reasonable, thinking people recognize what they’re dealing with in terms of a Chick Publications author.

      Thankfully, I don’t think the Raven’s Quest author is coming from that kind of a hostile place. Indeed, I get it from the Raven’s Quest author that (s)he shares my abiding respect for Paganism even while returning to Christianity.

      • http://davensjournal.livejournal.com/ davensjournal

        Okay. Good. It sounded like you were a bit concerned with “starting a trend”.

        I’m re-reading your article on Beliefnet, and it’s sparked an article for me to write. I’m going to finish it up and post it on the Journal. Want me to send you a copy when it’s done? It’s based on the other side of what you went through.

        It may answer a few questions you had at the time you went your own way. ;-)

        • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

          I think the trend that I’d like to see is more and more people who can make a change in their religious identity while continuing to respect the places they’ve been previously. In other words, I can embrace a new spiritual practice without demonizing my old one (whether it’s Pagan or Christian or whatever).

          Yes, I’d love to see your article. And be sure to give me the link once it’s live so I can mention it in this blog.

          • http://davensjournal.livejournal.com/ davensjournal

            I think the trend that I’d like to see is more and more people who can make a change in their religious identity while continuing to respect the places they’ve been previously. In other words, I can embrace a new spiritual practice without demonizing my old one (whether it’s Pagan or Christian or whatever).

            Amen. I agree whole heartedly with that sentiment. I can’t think of a more hypocritical action than to be full on *whatever* and then change faiths (for whatever reason) and then completely demonize the old faith. I’ve seen it happen with Islam, Judiasm, Christianity, Wicca, Druidism, Asatru, Buddhism, Shinto and many others. It disgusts me every time.

            I sent an email to you. The new article is up. ;-)

        • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

          Having read the article on Daven’s Journal (which I thoroughly enjoyed, btw), I was particularly struck by one paragraph which I shall quote here:

          “It is quite possible that in another level of the multiverse there really is a stable of Apollo where his horses can drive the chariot of the Sun across the sky. In fact, I would state that it’s not only possible, but also absolutely necessary since there are those who gave their belief and their faith and their energy and their worship to create that. Anything you believe strong enough and hard enough will come to pass.”

          The reason this caught my eye is because of an email I wrote back in May, 2000, in response to a question I was asked. I later put my reply onto Ravens Quest (and have now put it up here: http://www.earthlights.net/ravensquest/ Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on Personal Notes.)

      • Anonymous

        The last time I checked, I was definitely a “HE” :) I had left Raven’s Quest up in it’s entirety, although wondering if I was being ‘true’ to my conscience and current belief. I say “current” because as I stated in my recent message on the website ” my journey from a full-blown Pagan to a Christian priest who has not thrown away Pagan principles (although my beliefs have somewhat changed)”.
        Am I hostile towards Paganism, my former beliefs, towards Carl or anyone else? Not in the slightest :)
        With regards to Paganism: I feel very blessed in having walked that path, learned what I did and which has brought me to where I am now.
        With regards to Carl: I feel extremely fortunate that some dear person sent me the link to his “After the magic” article. I read and re-read it a number of times. It gave me the final push (not the only one) towards doing what I did re Raven’s Quest.

        With blessings,
        Jim

        • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

          Thanks, Jim. In which church are you ordained? Anglican? (Long story as to why I’m Catholic and not just a reaffirmed Anglican, has a lot to do with my love for Irish culture and my experiences of Catholic Christianity in Ireland). If ever you’re in Atlanta, you must let me know so we can meet somewhere for a beer. I imagine we’d have a few war stories to trade.

          • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

            Technically, non-denominationl. In practice, more Episcopalian/Anglican with a good dose of Celtic Church in Scotland thrown in.
            If you have Dublin brewed Guinness in Atlanta, then count me in! If not… I’ll think about it :)

          • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

            I have the assurance of the local Guinness manager that the kegs are flown in directly from Dublin each week. But as you well know, it’s just not the same.

            Okay then, we’ll meet up in Ireland some day for that beer…

          • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

            Make it in Cashel. I know a nice little pub there with live music. I can’t remember it’s name but I sure know how to get there.

          • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

            I was just thinking about Cashel the other day! The lovely inn there, just below the Rock, that used to be a palace, has the most comfortable beds in all of Ireland, methinks. So after we’ve had too much of the black stuff, at least there’s a place where everyone can sleep it off with ease. ;)

          • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

            I’m wondering if that inn… ahh no, twas a B&B that I’m thinking of. It, too, was just below the Rock,

  • http://reikimaster.livejournal.com/ reikimaster

    Did you contact the author of the site?
    It reminds of when all the lesbians in the early 90′s were making the exodus to the straight world. it freaked us all out – like, what’s in the water?
    so maybe you’re the leader of a strange new trend. You are definitely a leader. this is your destiny. *cue dramatic music*

    • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

      Actually, the author contacted me to thank me for my article, which is how I found out about all this. As I said to Daven, if the “trend” is choosing to respect the religious and spiritual practices we’ve left behind for whatever reasons, then I’m all for it.

      • Anonymous

        Possibly I need to clear something up… I hadn’t even heard of Carl before a couple of weeks ago (hangs head in shame). I’ve been a Christian priest for somewhat longer than that :) However, during the time I was training for the Christian priesthood – and after I became a priest – I had often wondered whether or not it was appropriate for me to still have Raven’s Quest up in public (it had been in existence for quite a few years).
        Did Carl ‘lead’ me to removing the site? No. He added another factor that led to my decision… a decision that may not have been far off anyway.
        Have I turned my back completely on the Pagan way? Not on your life! If there is such a thing as a Christio-Pagan, them I’m in that group. Again, as I stated on Raven’s Quest “Christian priest who has not thrown away Pagan principles…. but has found that they are NOT incompatible with that which I consider to be the underlying principles of the true Christian belief system. Indeed, I have found, to my delight, that they can enhance one another most beautifully.”

        With blessings,
        Jim

        • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

          Hey, no shame in not having heard of me; in all fairness, I had never heard of you (or Raven’s Quest) either!

          I think we’re probably on very similar paths, a fact to which you alluded on your website. Having been an ordained Pagan priest, I rather like not having to be a “leader” in the Catholic church, sometimes it’s nice to fly below radar. But you are hardly the first ordained Christian minister I’ve encountered who has a respect for or affinity with Pagan spirituality.

          As I said above, it seems to me it’s pretty easy to confuse Celtic Pagans with “alarming” Christian tendencies, with Celtic Christians who have “alarming” Pagan tendencies?

          One of my best friends, who shows up here under the name , combines a deep love for Anglican spirituality with a ministry as a Sufi healer. Then there’s who went from being Catholic to Pagan to currently exploring Unitarianism. Or , a Disciples of Christ minister who is also knowledgeable in the ways of Qu’ero shamanism. In other words, I think us “multi-faith” mystics really are a movement!

  • http://fey_touched.livejournal.com/ fey_touched

    Good article on BeliefNet. I enjoyed reading it. You touched again on the “crisis of faith” moment and I know that came up during our last lunch conversation (we need to do that again, btw). At the lunch I fumbled for words to describe how lost I felt when I went through those thin years and how I found my faith again – still Pagan but with some alterations. I wonder if I could get something intelligble down in LJ?

    • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

      has just posted a thoughtful piece on doubt and Paganism at his journal. I know I’m hopeless at reading my friends’ journals (do you still love me?), so please send me a link when you do write something along these lines, definitely want to see it.

      As for lunch, I’ll be in touch…

  • http://wheezinggirl.livejournal.com/ wheezinggirl

    As we were talking yesterday, I think herein lies the difference between “Spiritual Materialism” and “spiritual blending” or, as you said “Multifaith”.

  • http://blackdragon5.livejournal.com/ blackdragon5

    I think this is great!!! I said before that many Catholics are Pagans at heart and maybe it’s also true in reverse. Reading your story has helped me realize that there are many parts of the Catholic faith that I never want to give up (my dad is smiling at you in the afterlife for that!!)and that I really understand them better now that they are blended with Paganism. If you are starting a movement it’s one I want to join!!

  • http://blackdragon5.livejournal.com/ blackdragon5

    One more thing I forgot to say before. I think it’s sad that the author of that website decided to close it just because his beliefs had grown. It sounds like a website I’d love to see. If you have further contact with him could you encourage him to open it again? Tell him there is a Wiccan/Shamanist/Christian in North Dakota who would really appreciate it. Thanks!!

    • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

      It wasn’t solely because my beliefs had grown, blackdragon. Simply that there was far, far more to add to it… and in quite a different way to what I had written before.
      One day, IF I ever have enough time, I may continue to add to it and restore it to ‘public’ again.

      • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

        Since you’ve signed up for an LJ moniker, I hope this means you’ll be blogging along with the rest of us crazy folks. Warning: it’s addictive. I’ve added you to my friends list, which means you now get to see my “friends only” posts. Lucky you (it’s mostly silly stuff, but hey, silliness = blessedness).

        I’d recommend you set up your own friends list, that way you can read the journals of the people you know all on the same page. Anyways, welcome aboard!

        • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

          Och weel then… if silliness = blessedness then am I truly blessed :)

          With regards to setting up my own friends list, once I figure my around this place (I’d never been on LiveJournal.com before my partner sent me the url to “After the magic” and then I followed links, etc), I’ll be doing just that.

          • http://anamchara.com/ Carl McColman

            The etymology of “silly” comes from selie (before 1200) which means “spiritually favored, blessed” which came from the Gothic sels, “good, fit.” Silly did not develop the connotation of foolishness until the sixteenth century (hmmm, about the time of the Reformation).

      • http://blackdragon5.livejournal.com/ blackdragon5

        Hi Jim Thanks for replying to my comment. I am new to Paganism and while I have been supposedly Christian all my life I am seeing Christianity in a new way. I’m finding that for me neither one is complete alone. I think I could learn a lot about both from someone with your experience and courage to change. Take care!!

        • http://dalriadan.livejournal.com/ dalriadan

          I think possibly the reason why you’re finding neither one is complete is because, in my personal opinion, most faiths/traditions/paths tend to be exclusive in one way or another. Perhaps I should say that a lot of the people within those belief systems tend to treat their own ‘way’ as being exclusive… thus missing out (or cutting out) a great deal which can add immeasurably to their understanding.
          If you’ve read the letter I wrote some years back, the link to which I posted above, you’ll hopefully see what I mean.

          • http://blackdragon5.livejournal.com/ blackdragon5

            I read your letter and it describes my current beliefs almost perfectly. Great minds think alike I guess!! The different religious faiths remind me of the old poem about the blind men and the elephant. Each one was trying to describe the elephant based on the part he touched. Each blind man did a very good job of describing the ear, tusk, trunk, etc but none of them had a very good picture of the whole elephant. The people who act the most like they have found the only “right” path have probably only seen the elephant’s little toe!!


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