how praying the rosary has changed my practice

Back in September, I received a reading from Hex Tarot that helped me with some realizations. I had been diving into ancestor work at that time, and some of the messages that came through encouraged me to deepen that relationship. I don’t know much about older generations of my family, so when Hex Tarot mentioned a powerful mother energy within my maternal family guides, and advised working with the Virgin Mary in order to develop that relationship.

I had an almost automatic shock reaction. While I wasn’t raised in a strict Christian home, there is religious trauma in my life that I won’t unload here. I struggled with Christianity because I never felt connected to anything in the church, and never felt moved by the words in a sermon. At certain points in my life I had tried to force myself to have faith because I craved community, and it never worked. I always returned to witchcraft, which helped tend my lonely, weird little heart. The witchcraft and fiber art community online have helped me in so many ways away from trying to be something I’m not, but I digress.

So the idea of turning to Our Lady didn’t seem like a good option. A spiritual journey is a journey though. As I had always been drawn to the rosary, I began searching the inter-webs for anything related to Mother Mary magick or rosary magick. That was when I came across the book The Way of the Rose on a fellow fiber witch’s feed.

The Way of the Rose: The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary by Clark Strand and Perdita Finn was an enamoring read. I had a hard time putting it down. Strand and Finn reminisce on how Our Lady came into their lives, how they began to pray the rosary, along with its history and how it’s interwoven into the issues that face our planet. I highly recommend this book to anyone who considers themselves an environmentalist, spiritualist or historian. One of the beautiful things in the book is how the authors encourage you to make the rosary your own, and to pray in a way that resonates for you. I also really love that they have built a large community based on prayer — that isn’t a church — and that is welcoming to everyone.

Praying the rosary seemed complicated, and like something I would quickly bore of. But another one of the aspects of Christianity I really felt connected to was prayer. One religion couldn’t just take the term prayer. I may be a witch, but I wanted to pray as well! So, I began my daily devotional of praying the rosary. It definitely hasn’t happened everyday (moving to our new house in December with two toddlers = no time), but I find myself returning to it consistently. Even when my voice cracks, or I worry I am not going to be able to stay awake, Our Lady is there for me.

In doing these prayers, I felt my heart opening. I realized that if I believed in the different pantheons of Pagan gods then why would I not also believe in Our Lady, Jesus, Saints, God? These powerful energies have been here long before me, and the way I see it, probably unconcerned with the lines drawn between real and blasphemous by the Church. I was coming to terms with the fact that I wasn’t repulsed by Christianity, but that I simply couldn’t subscribe to the Church.

This is still a path I am exploring. I have opened my mind to ideas that I was at first uncomfortable exploring, and it has led to some profound knowledge. I have been enjoying learning about Saint and folk magic. I have started praying to Saint Catherine of Bologna as well. I recently purchased a book of psalms. I have begun my divination sessions with a prayer, and have been able to connect to Spirit in a much clearer way. My connection to tarot is returning. I started writing poetry again, and am toying around with the idea of writing a book of prayers. My dream work has started to progress. These little changes may not be much, but they have made a world of difference to me, and for that I choose to continue my prayers.

Another thing that tripped me up as this was all developing was whether or not to call myself a Christian Witch. First things first, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that title, I just wasn’t sure if it fit. I have every intention of continuing to build and form this practice for me in ways that best tend to my spirit, as well as those around me. I think stepping away from labels is a good way for me to remember that.

The final piece that really fell into place for me is my journey with recovery. Now, I have not been one to go to AA — I have been able to make my sober journey alone (thank goodness, because my social anxiety hasn’t given me much of a choice). But I know there is an emphasis for a belief in a higher power. I’m not entirely sure if that kind of surrender scared me, or if I just hadn’t found the correct paradigm; but I feel that connection to Our Lady. She is supporting me during an incredibly stressful time, and hears me day or night when I feel like I’m struggling. I lay myself at her feet, and she comforts me in such a motherly way.

As I type this, I sit in our last rental property, waiting for my husband to come back so we can load up more stuff to take to our new home. In two days, we’ll be completely moved. At the beginning of this year, I didn’t think it would be possible to come as far as we have, and I am beyond grateful for my husband, family, online community as well as my art, spirituality and newfound relationship to Our Lady. I’m not sure what 2022 will look like, but I am excited to continue sharing it with you all.

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