Lately, I have been daring myself, more and more often, to speak openly about spiritual topics that are close to my heart: secure in the knowledge that people who don’t know what I’m on about are not obligated to listen to my ramblings. 😂 Some of my loved ones do think I’m a little weird, but there is great affection and love between us, always … and that is the only thing that matters. Not everyone has to have had the same experiences – not everyone has to perceive things in the same way, or hold similar beliefs – and that is okay. ❤️
Many of my own beliefs have already come through in my writing work – I edit a spiritually-themed magazine, for one thing – but over the next year or so, I hope to move in the direction of becoming an intuitive coach as well: helping people to work with their own intuition and access their own truth. I’ve rapidly begun to realise that this process will involve allowing myself to be a little more vulnerable first.
My path is eclectic! I have often written about my love for the pre-Christian traditions of Ireland – the lore of the druids, the mysterious dolmens, standing stones and passage graves that are so abundant around the country, our fantastical tales of faeries and otherworldly happenings – and how they have inspired me.
My relationship with Catholicism – the religion in which I was raised – is complex. Anyone who lives in Ireland will be well aware of the abuse scandals that have unfolded in this country and around the world in recent decades. They will be all too familiar with the Church’s history of oppressing women and LGBTQ+ people, and how they have clamped down on any form of expression that fails to meet their parameters of ‘acceptable’ behaviour.
I know that the Church, as an institution, has brought comfort and solace to countless people around the globe, including members of my family who still attend Mass on a regular basis, and have faithfully followed Catholic tenets for many years. However, I cannot support the worldview the Church upholds: that women are inferior to men, that LGBTQ+ people are damned, that God is a wrathful being who will cast you into hell for the slightest of transgressions, etcetera.
My journey has involved wading through rigid dogma and patriarchal restrictions until I find glimpses of truth that speak to my heart. I embrace teachings that open my heart or cause me to be more loving, authentic, understanding, compassionate or forgiving. I love Jesus’ feminine counterpart Mary Magdalene, whose story and teachings have been suppressed for centuries. Her message of fierce dedication, love and tenderness is being more and more clearly understood these days, as growing numbers of people have begun to connect with her and understand her gifts.
The subject of female Christian mysticism – the forgotten, much-maligned energy of the Christian path – has been arising within my heart and mind more and more often these days, and I now find myself ready, at last, to speak about what it means to me.
I have great affection for the fiery, no-nonsense Teresa of Avíla (who came under the scrutiny of Church authorities during the Spanish Inquisition era for daring to suggest that everyone could have their own direct, unmediated relationship with God) and the gentle, sweet Thérèse of Lisieux (well-known for the spiritual path she described as The Little Way: a path of childlike purity, of surrender, of complete trust).
‘I feel that my mission is about to begin, my mission to make God loved as I love Him, to teach souls my little way.’
– Thérèse of Lisieux, July 17, 1897 (a few months before her death)
Thérèse Martin was born into a very devout family in January 1873 in Alençon, northern France. She became a Carmelite nun in 1888, and died in September 1897. Her life was short, but marked by a profound, heartfelt devotion that continues to inspire spiritual seekers today. This devotion was outlined in great depth in her autobiography, Story of a Soul, written at the request of her convent superiors.
I will be sharing more information about her, Teresa of Avíla, and other female Christian mystics in the future … and I look forward to doing so. ❤️
Image of Thérèse: Crossroads Initiative