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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 79 - 9/29/2002
Have You Switched Pagan Paths?
Did you perhaps start out as a Wiccan and now follow a different Pagan or Heathen path/religion? Have you changed from self-identifying as a 'Witch' to something else? If you have changed how you self-identify under the Pagan/Heathen umbrella, why did you change? Did your beliefs change? Did the Pagan/Heathen community change? What do you think of folks who have switched? Is there currently a real shift into more diverse or selective Paths/Religions within the communities? Will Wicca remain the dominant Pagan religion that it now is? Why or why not?
| Reponses: There are 110 responses posted to this question.
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| The Spiral Lead Me On To A Different Path ||Sep 29th. at 9:33:37 pm UTC|
|Lady Eagle Hawk (Texas) ||Age: 40 - Email |
Like most people, I started out on the Christian path. Always the Seeker, Christianity
did not answer my questions nor did it feed my soul in the way that I need nourishment.
So, I started exploring Wicca because of my ethnicity and wanting to learn more about my forefathers. As time went on, Spirit lead me to explore more Pagan aspects of my ethnicities. Now Iam studying the Native American path. I still practice Wiccan meditations and combine them with Native American. Wicca opened the door to so much knowledge and self-empowerment. The Native American path mirrors that knowledge. I will always love Wiccan ways and never totally give them
up because Wicca practices many Native American traditions ... Native American does not
look down on anyone's spiritual path ... it embraces all ways to embody
the Creator. Spirit has lead me on this new path and I have come to love it as much as Wicca.
| Expanding My Path. ||Sep 29th. at 9:53:10 pm UTC|
|Ravaen Celeste (Gaines, MI USA) ||Age: 24 - Email - Web|
I was born to a Christian family but I don't think I was ever really a Christian. I began exploring Wicca at the age of 13. It fulfilled me for a couple of years but as I grew as a person I needed my faith to expand with my. I no longer call myself a Wiccan, but a Witch, it seems to be a much broader term encompassing more of what I have come to believe through personal experience. I am currently studying Celtic Traditionalism as my heritage is Scottish/British.
| Started Out Fluffy.......... ||Sep 29th. at 10:23:11 pm UTC|
|NightShade (Wisconsin) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I started out as one of those fluffy bunnies you all have heard about. You know, the kind that think everything is light and love spells that control people's minds are ok. (not that it worked, it actually backfired....) Anyways, I was born into a RC family, only went to a few RC masses as a very young child, then a little bit more to a Lutheran church. My parents weren't very 'devoted' to the whole, "go to church every sunday" thing, which was fine by me. Them sillies dressed me up in dresses. (blech) When we finally got the internet, I found wicca. So, as most teens would do, I decided to 'become' wiccan. About a year, year and 1/2 went by and I finally actually READ one of the books I had bought, "every wiccan should have an extensive library, even if they don't read the books......". Anyways, it opened my eyes. Forgetting at the moment the book name (forgive me, it was 5 years ago) but it really made me think about what I was doing. What I had been 'worshipping' was nothing. I was just rebelling using something I knew my parents would hate. But, after I had read the book, I came to discover that while traditional wicca wasn't for me, I had to learn about many different paths to find mine. Currently, I'm still studying. I'm still looking at different paths and incorporating them into my own. (5 years does not an adept make) I currently call myself an 'eclectic pagan witch'. Mainly cause, my path is eclectic, it is definately pagan and I'm a witch. (duh.........)
| Defining The Gateway ||Sep 29th. at 10:28:06 pm UTC|
|Draig Aethelwolf (Pennsylvania) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I like most people who choose to explore the Wiccan path, started out as a Christian. I during my early teens(13 or so) started getting into Wicca. As I learned about different paths, I choose to explore them, and thus re-defined my own personal beliefs. I, from what I hear, believe that many other people do this as well. I don't think that people consciously "abandon" the beliefs they Wicca teaches, but rather they adapt to different feasible explainations for things unexplained. In this light, I see Wicca as more of a gateway than a path. Wicca itself seems so very narrow in the grand scheme of things, but when you get down to it, Wicca is so very broad compared to the different paths it leads to. I compare it to one of the major branches on a tree. The trunk being religion, the thinker branches, the broader religions, and then you eventually work through all the twists and variations to get the "twig religions." You can really get a feel for the comparison if you consider relgions ceasing to exist, and being created.
| I Consider Myself A Pagen Crone Of Mother Earth. ||Sep 29th. at 10:33:37 pm UTC|
|Patricia (Oneonta,New York) ||Age: 51 - Email |
I found pagenism in the mid 90s.Previously i was Presbyterian,Methodist,and Baptist.But in about 1997 i met some very kind folk who let me experience the pagen religion.Well needless to say i have found the path i feel ive been on since i was a child but didnt realize it.I call myself a pagen or wiccan and to me this means caring and loving nature,believing in the lord and lady,gods and goddesses.I have no set ones..i am just open to the faith of all of them and as i care for them and people on earth,the spirtuality of the creators i mentioned,are with me and care for me,which is an inner peace to me. I am on a path now i will forever follow and love all the growth and positive fullfillment is has brought me.Blessed be from this thankfull crone.
| Yes, Temporarily ||Sep 29th. at 11:41:59 pm UTC|
|Treasa (Pa) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Unlike many people, I did not start out as Christian. My family wasn't very religious in any way. I looked into Christianity and did some reading up on it and obviously it wasn't for me. The religion, in my mind is beautiful but I don't believe what they do. I did some searching and found Wicca. Eventually though I looked into some of the other Pagan Paths. I had an epiphany. None of the other Pagan Paths or mainstream religions touch me like Wicca has. It brings me such peace and inner calm. I realize the world isn't all love and light but Wicca sure has made me a happier person and helped me maintain a positive attitude.
| I Agree Wicca Is Often A Gateway Rather Than A Path For Many ||Sep 29th. at 11:51:39 pm UTC|
|Christin (Sandpoint, ID) ||Age: 20 - Email - Web|
I agree with someone below who said that Wicca is often a gateway rather than a path for many people.
Like many, I started out as a Christian. I never really believed in it, though. Even as a child, there were too many things that didn't make any sense. In my early teens, I started actively questioning Christianity and the more I learned, the angrier I got. Eventually, I declared myself an athiest. But really, I wasn't an athiest. I just didn't believe in Christianity. But the only serious alternatives I ever really saw were Judaism and Islam, which were way too similar to appeal to me at all. Eventually, one of my friends discovered Wicca and I learned that it wasn't really spacy hippie New Agey BS. And it fascinated me.
And so much of it made sense, at first. All goddesses are fascets of The Goddess and all gods are fascets of The God. Well, that explained why so many different cultures had gods and goddesses that were often so similar (Love goddesses, war gods, etc). But the more I learned, it still didn't seem right to me. Too much "love and light" fluffiness. It didn't really jive with the often harsh, difficult reality of life. The Gods and Goddesses I would invoke for certain spells (depending on what the spell "needed") sure didn't feel like they were all part of one or two beings. Trying to take pieces of different ancient traditions and meld them into one practice just didn't work for me. It felt so disjointed.
And now, after much reflection, meditation, and reading, I've learned to trust my feelings and perceptions. I know what I've seen and felt and the Gods and Goddesses are real, distinct, seperate entities. They're all part of real, distinct cultures with individual histories. That's why I could never get them to mesh. I've recently started researching my Celtic ancestory, hoping to get involved with a recon path. It's hard, but it's so rewarding.
| Former Wiccan ||Sep 30th. at 12:58:41 am UTC|
|Stone Wolf (Seattle, WA) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I started with Wicca college, mostly out of curiousity, inspired by a friend of mine at the time (a very 'fluffy' friend I might add). I spent the first semester of the school year hanging around with him, and when he left after that semester I started studying Wicca soon after he left.
I stayed Wiccan for a good couple of years, after leaving college, whereas I made the choice to to enlist and join the military. After I'd been in about a year, I came across a website called www.whywiccanssuck.com (It's a very good site; don't base your judgements off it's title) and I realized a lot of what the truth about Wicca is. The website helped strip away what I thought I knew, and revealed the real 'fluffiness' behind a lot of people who call themselves Wiccans. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I saw characteristics of my own beliefs and habits in what that website showed me.
Consequently, I decided to leave Wicca, but to stay in Pagan circles. Currently, I am still a Pagan, but I hold no particular religion or beliefs at this time. I'm in a class of my own, you could say. I've had to redefine and relearn many of the things I thought I knew about my beliefs and about magick. I'm happy to say I'm better for it though, but I'll never touch another book published by Lewellyn Press again.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| It's Not No Much Changed, As Become More Defined... ||Sep 30th. at 1:16:40 am UTC|
|The Storyteller (backwoods Arkansas) ||Age: 26 - Email |
My family was always some odd form of vaguely spiritual that wasn't christian, and I was left to my own devices to determine the way of the spiritual realm. I knew from the get go that I wasn't a christian, but deep in the bible belt was not a very easy place to go searching for answers beyond the norm. I wound up with a strong faith in Something, I just didn't know what the heck it was. Over the years I've tried on various lables (I know that labels are mostly irrelavant in the grand scheme of things, but they are rather convenient) to see if they fit what I was- Witch, Shaman, Pagan, Neo Pagan, Jedi, etc etc etc. None of them did of course, for in each case the dogma was too strict, too limiting, there were too many "Thou Shalt Not's", too many impossiblilities and it doesn't work that way's, when I had already seen and done them and knew they worked perfectly well, without nasty reprocussions (unless I was specificly directed not to by the powers that be).
so now I have taken to claiming my own deffinitions, and these fit me quite nicely- I am a Wizard, a Mage, an Adventurer, and just plain ol Me (which is an odd odd thing to be), and I'm gradualy becoming ok with being myself in a world that refuses to believe that something like me exists. A fairy tale, a myth escaped from some made up realm of fantasy, with the audacity to wander the mundane world as if I were Real. An outcast among even those weirdos who make up the pagan community (no offence, but you realize as far as most of the people in this world are concerned we're pretty darn weird, and so has it always been). It gets to me sometimes of course, that the only people I've ever run across who would dare to calim Wizard or Mage as their label (aside from One), are those poor pathetic losers who Everybody knows are full of complete BS.
I think as the pagan movement continues, the wiccans shall continue their odd trend towards mundanity and dogmatic rut, the Pagans and Neo-Pagans shall probably split into more defined new traditons and eventualy fall into the same rut as the wiccans, I think the movement as a whole will probably lose momentum once it fades as the "In" rebellion thing leaving only the true believers to carry along, the posers shall probably still pose and try to pass themselves off as Azriel the Dark Prince of the Seventh House of Zormandias, and I fear that the Lunitic Fringe is going to mount an assult upon the Veil of the commonly accepted paradigm of reality (which has already begun- Believe it or not folks, there's people doin' it, and more becoming involved, and it's scary and it's working)
anyway, that's my two bits.
| Pagan Can Believe In More Than One Believe At A Time!!!! ||Sep 30th. at 1:24:38 am UTC|
|miranda amber (MO) ||Age: 25 - Email |
i am been pagan for 13 yrs and i love it. i always believe in pagan's ways. i just learn the name its called. families need this in their lives. i can't live without it. it is the way of life for me. we will come back to save this world , we call today. i know that they need us to teach them the old ways when there is nothing left but ours ways of life!!!!
| "It's The Paths That Got Smaller...." ||Sep 30th. at 2:38:49 am UTC|
|David Nelson (Salt Lake City, Utah, USA) ||Age: 40 - Email - Web|
Not to paraphrase Norma Desmond too much, but I wonder if "It's the paths that got smaller...." I doubt that many followers actually change their beliefs, but, while furthering their studies, find new paths which better fit their beliefs. In my last 26 years, I went from Mormon (check the dateline) to briefly learning more about Judaism and Anglicanism to see if anyone had the corner on the revealed religions. They didn't. Next, I looked into Agnosticism, Atheism and finally, Pantheism. To this, I've added special attention to Gaianism, Paganism and Taoism (all significantly Pantheist).
I suspect the religious migratory patterns of most Americans is similarly evolutionary. With Paganism, I also suspect that it's true that many start with the biggest and easiest first step in Wicca and proceed from there without diminishing their beliefs, but expanding their experience of those beliefs.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Indeed I Did ||Sep 30th. at 3:40:56 am UTC|
|Aquila ka Hecate (Johannesburg, South Africa) ||Age: 42 - Email - Web|
My path has changed quite radically, I guess, seeing as how I started out as a Gardnerian initiate, and ended up an atheist!
Over the course of 16-odd years, some changes were perhaps inevitable, and I found myself becoming more and more eclectic with time.
However, sometime last year the process began whereby I totally deconverted from every beleif in gods, godesses, mysticism and anything of a supernatural nature.
I found naturalism to make so much more sense, and as I started actually thinking for myself, I also found that I had absolutley no rational foundation for any of my previously-held notions.
Today I call myself a secular pagan, and am very happy celebrating the seasons and taking great joy in life.
I have also found,almost paradoxically, a huge relief in knowing that no imaginary beings guide our lives.I have taken on much more responsibilty for myself and my actions.
Contrary to popular understanding, the secular life is beautiful, fulfilling and worthwhile.
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