Currently a county councilor in Wexford, Wadding, a 53-year-old mother of three, is a representative of the Irish political party People Before Profit Alliance (PBPA), a far-left party active in both the North and Republic of Ireland since it was established in 2005.
Wadding told the Irish Mirror that she believed being a pagan was perfectly suited for a life in politics and her future political ambitions.
“To me, it’s a no brainer that paganism goes hand-in-hand with activism and politics,” she said.
“As pagans, if we believe what we profess to believe, that the Earth is sacred and is our mother source of energy, then we have to participate in activism or politics.”
The councilor tells how she first became a pagan after her experience of becoming pregnant at 18 and being forced into a convent, where she had to give up her child for adoption. The forced adoption and the heavy sense of guilt being forced upon her following her pregnancy made her realize that the Catholic Church was a religion she did not wish to be a part of.
People Before Profit
Time for ChangePosted by Deirdre Wadding People before Profit Wexford Election Candidate on Dé Máirt, 27 Deireadh Fómhair 2015
“I was extremely spiritual as a child, but I got pregnant at 18 and my parents sent me to a convent, where I had to give my child up for adoption.
“By the age of 21, after a few more challenging experiences, I realized there was no place for me in the Catholic Church.
“I was carrying a lot of guilt and shame along with loss and grief. That was around the time I came across Wicca [a modern, pagan witchcraft religion developed in England during the first half of the 20th century].”
After spending a time as a member of Wicca, Wadding chose to move on and trained as a shamanic healer and tarot reader. Those practicing Shamanism are believed to reach higher states of consciousness allowing them to interact with the spirit world.
“Wicca was not to be my route to paganism but I learnt a lot from it,” the former teacher said. “It gave me great discipline and it opened my mind to lots of things.
“Over the years I finally settled into a shamanic practice incorporating our old Irish gods. One of my greatest devotions is to the Morrigan [the Phantom Queen – a figure from Irish mythology who at times appears as a crow. She is associated with battle, strife, and sovereignty and the hero Cú Chulainn is said to have encountered her on several occasions].
“I bring her into a lot of the work I do. When I was elected in the last local election in Wexford, I wore crow feathers in my hair in her honor. That was seen as a great coup for the pagan community.”
In fact, Wadding thanks may of Ireland’s mythological figures for inspiring her turn to politics, especially the Fianna [a mythological Irish warrior band led by the iconic Fionn Mac Cumhaill]
“I had a huge interest in Irish mythology and the Tuatha de Danann and I loved listening to Horslips albums about ancient heroes and the Morrigan,” the Councillor continued.
“A lot of what I try to do is tied into our ancient warriorship – the Fianna.
“It’s not just about going on the offensive and attacking, it’s about defending and protecting the land and the people.”
Her life in paganism has also helped her to remain an active member of her community, starting her political career with her Students’ Union and working with the Traveling community in inner-city Dublin.
“I was always involved in left-wing politics and I was chair of a group of teachers working with traveling people,” she admits.
“I’m a very ‘active’ person I suppose and I organize festivals related to the temple of Isis and I train new priestesses.”
You can find out more about Deirdre and her political policies here.