The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 100 - 2/24/2003
Why Are You A Pagan or Heathen?
Why are you a Pagan or Heathen? What first attracted you to the Pagan/Heathen religion or path? How or where did you find out about Paganism?
How long have you considered yourself to be a Pagan/Heathen?
What is the most satisfying or meaningful aspect of the Pagan/Heathen religion, path or lifestyle for you?
| Reponses: There are 142 responses posted to this question.
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| Why Not, When Not? ||Feb 24th. at 8:31:54 pm EST|
|Allegra (Michigan, USA) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I sat in the car next to my mother staring at her long brown hair. Then asked her a single question, a question that has formed the fate of many, "Do you believe in god?" She smiled at me, I was 2 or 3, perhaps younger for I've always had a good memory, laughter seemed to dance in her eyes. Now before you get after me for my grammar let me explain why I spelled God with a lower case "g". When I was that young, I didn't know what "God" was. Of course her answer was long and detailed, making absolutely no sense to a toddler. In my confusion a quest for the or a divine had begun.
I talked to the tree's. Some times they talked back. I had 3 mothers in a sense, my Mom, my dog (doubling as a first familiar) , and mother earth. I spent as much time out side as most kids do sleeping, in fact so little time inside I was often though to be Hispanic from my skin color. (I felt honored, though I didn't really know what Hispanic was.) I never napped, there was too much energy in me.
As I got into upper grade school pressure was on from the community to be Christian. I read the bible, which I at the time thought was total fiction. (Parts of it surely are!) I couldn't believe that any one would kill each other over stories. Even so if some one asked I'd say I was Christian, after all I did believe in a sort of higher spirit. I guess not believing in Jesus, or there only being one god, or the devil didn't occure to me as non-Christian. I never believed it, so does that mean I never was? Trying then to remember the faces of little nymphs among the wild strawberries my heart feels a longing. I wanted to know what was REALLY out there.
I called to mother nature on the full moons, and on the non-full too, and asked her what there was out there. I took my staff, a gift from a spirit in our woods, and made doors in the air of which I'd step through to see the world in a different light. I once asked, "Am I the only one?" I felt that I was not alone. But how could I be Christian, I now saw that I never was, and never would be.
When I was 11, I over heard my aunt talking about a wiccan friend of hers. Curious, as always, I typed in those words. Well I'm not wiccan, I don't believe in two deities! Ah but then I hit a link to a definition of Paganism. Wow, you mean there ARE other people out there who believe the same thing I do?
So why not, I was already in heart and practice Pagan, might as well adopt the name for my self.
| It Just Makes Sense. ||Feb 24th. at 9:26:12 pm EST|
|Ali (Clearwater, Florida) ||Age: 18 - Email |
My parents always thought my beliefs were a bit weird. Since I was about 6 I have had such an interest in all sorts of mysticism. I remember watching TV when I was around 10 ... it was a show called "Beyond Bizarre", methinks. It talked about this family of Witches! How odd! I was amazed, and went around calling myself a Witch, and standing in the Goddess pose whenever I could. Then, I did not understand any of this Witch business, and quickly forgot it altogether.
2 years later ... a friend asked me if I knew what a Pagan was. I did not, and he explained. I was amazed, and we began to learn together. After being raised in a fairly strict, semi-religious home all of this seemed to fit. I actually felt the natural energies of Mother Earth. I could communicate with her, really communicate -- not sit on a hard wood bench and read words with no meaning. At the time, I went through a period of depression and suicidal thoughts, but I can honestly say that the Goddess helped me see. So, I have considered myself a Pagan since age 12. My parents still think I am crazy, but it's getting better. Now they sort of joke with me, asking me to cast a spell so we can win the lotto! Ha. Silly folks.
Anyway ... Gods, I don't shut up, do I? I find all of the Pagan paths to be amazing and truly spiritual. Nothing can compare.
| Wild Child ||Feb 24th. at 9:27:19 pm EST|
|Lillith Darkangel (Valdosta, GA) ||Age: 27 - Email - Web|
As a child, I was most often found up a tree, chattering with the squirrells. I grew up in the country, and a tomato fresh from Grandma's garden, or a piece of honeycomb from Grandpa's hives were considered great treats. I would actually fall asleep up in a tree most days, and would sing along with the birds. In the summer, I would run around in nothing but a pair of cut-off jean shorts, anyone who saw me would think I was just a little long-haired boy. To this day, my favorite place in the whole wide world is the wood behind Grandma's house. My family was Southern Baptist, and at 17, I was baptised in the Church of Christ, but I never really felt at home with either sect. When I was 16, I found a historical book about witches at the library which sparked my curiousity. I started reading everything on the subject of witches and paganism that I could get my hands on. At 18 I married a man that claimed to be Wiccan and said he would teach me, it turned out it was just another way for him to control. The marriage, though it produced two beautiful children, didn't last, but my fascination with the Craft did. I now, after loads of research, soulsearching, and dream-walking, consider myself a Solitary Eclectic Wiccan. I found something in Wicca that had been missing in my oh-so-christian upbringing; a sense of love and belonging, and a knowledge of unquestioning acceptance. I don't cast spells, and I only bring out my tarot cards when I really feel the need, but every day, and every moment, I feel the Lady's guidance in my life. I see her light when I look at my children, I feel her loving presense when I am sad, and I hear her laughter when I am happy.
| Wiccan ||Feb 24th. at 9:41:56 pm EST|
|Dawn (Ocheyedan) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I first learned about Wicca in high school. Before that, I really wasn't any religon, my mom used to take me to church, she is Jehovah witness, but at about 12 I stopped going. Its not that I didn't like it, its just that it didn't feel right for me. They were nice. For years, I had no real religon, I just believed what I believed. I thought, God knows I have faith, I don't have to be in a building to prove that. Then one day in high school, my best friends younger sister was talking about Wicca, at the time I had never heard of it. So she let me borrow a book she had. I read it and right away was intrigued. Then I promptly went out and bought about 5 more books on Wicca in one swipe. Then for some reason, for a few monthes, I stopped reading the books, I guess it was that underlying nagging from other religons that Witchcraft is evil, whatever it was it passed, by the time I was in my first year of college, I ran across one of my books and read it again. It was then I decided that Wicca was for me. At first I wasn't sure If I should tell my parents. I was a little scared, I knew my dad was open minded, but I had heard so much about peoples misconeptions that I didn't want to risk it. So I started slow, I first told him that I had "ran across" something about Wicca and asked him if he knew what it was. He did! He even knew the misconceptions. For a long while I talked to him about it in these terms then I finally took the plunge and told him I was Wiccan. He said, "Yea, I kinda knew that." I was like, "Oh." Now, I am open about it to everyone and I am not afraid to say what I am. My parents know, Grandparents, My fiance, and his parents, I talk to my future mother in law about Wicca and religon all the time. Even my fiances PASTOR knows I am Wiccan! He is cool. He is gonna marry us. The only people that don't know so far are my fiance's Grandparents, they are Cathlioc so we mutually thought it better to leave them out of it for a while. But most everyone I have ran across has been very understanding, and so far I have not ran into any problems. I have had to clear up the occasional misconception but thats about it. Well this got long so I better close.
In love to all,
| Mother Nature.. ||Feb 24th. at 9:58:53 pm EST|
|BewitchingKitty (kentucky) ||Age: 34 - Email |
I techincally have not beeen following the pagan path for very long. It is all very new to me but as I look back I see that I have been following the path a lot longer than I realize. I am an only child and growing up with both parents working I spent a lot of precious time with Mother Nature and all her friends. I saved earthworms from puddles on the sidewalks, collected rocks and twigs and still do to this day. I wept when I saw animals on the roadside dead and thought that storms and the weather were the best things ever and the moon was the most beautiful thing I ever saw. I was at peace with nature.
I went to church like all the other kids, but I was never really comfortable there. I was baptized because that was the thing to do, but I can honestly say I never thought that God ever spoke to me. I had so many unanswered questions and even though I tried I could never find anyone with an answer, or at least one that didn't revolve around read the Bible and you will see. Well, it is hard to read a book that gives you more questions than answers. I am by no means telling the "God-fearing people that they are wrong, but I do take offense to being told that I am wrong because my beliefs are different. Although, I don't preach back I listen intently until they are done and smile politely and nod. Then I go home and cook something and walk out to the woods and have a discussion with whatever part of nature that asks what is wrong. I guess I would call myself an Solitary Eclectic Wiccan, although my husband refers to me as a Mother Nature wanna be and my nephew calls me a kitchen witch and compares me to the witch in the Gingerbread house fairytale, although I am trying to redefine the defintion of that witch, I don't want to eat the children just fatten them up a bit... I love to cook.
As far as learning about my beliefs I started with a book by Scott Cunningham "Living Wiccan" and from there I am branching out to read everything that I can. I will learn and I continue an I will take what I need and leave the rest. Blessed Be to all and remember Speak with a smile upon your heart, because nice does matter.
| I Was Born That Way I Guess... ||Feb 24th. at 11:44:14 pm EST|
|Holli Shan (Leesburg, VA) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Ever since I was little, I have always had an admiration for wildlife and nature (I guess that's what happens when you grow up living across the street from a park) . I was always interested in all of that "psychic stuff" that would be read about or seen on TV.
In high school I had some friends of similar interests so we hung out and would work with a pendulum (back then it was "practicing how to bypass alpha waves" to see if we could make it swing clockwise or counter clockwise) .
I was raised Jewish - but going to synagouge held nothing for me. In my first year of college a friend introduced me to "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" and with that, my philosphy changed.
I believed we could become more then what others thought we could/should be. I attended a seminar on crystals at the local New Age Store's owners house and partnered up with a woman (who is one of my closest friends to this day) for doing various meditations.
When I asked her what she did, she replied "Oh, I'm a witch." My jaw dropped in awe of this woman who was what I would have loved to be. She showed me this black book called "The Witches Bible Compleat" by Janet and Stewart Farrar.
As I read through the philosophies about how we are all interconnected, I said "this is how I have felt all along!". After that I read books and talked with as many people as I could.
That was in 1988. In 1990 (or thereabouts) I began to wear a pentacle and to consider myself a witch.
Time passed on and the books could only take me so far. Then I took a Wicca 101 class with a group and loved it. I liked it so much, I'm continuing my studies with them. I have learned alot and know there is a lot more to go -
but what a great journey it has been!
What I love most is the learning and the belief that spirituality is so much more then just "saying pretty words", or "going to that place with the pretty windows." The Spirituality is learning how to truly LIVE, and to live in tune with
the land, the elements and the ethers. Its knowing that our words/thoughts/mantras when spoken with careful consideration can make a positive difference in our lives.
What's more is that I have the validation that this path is right for me, as it always has been.
| Pagan Me :) ||Feb 25th. at 1:27:16 am EST|
|SylverShadow (Perth, Australia) ||Age: 14 - Email |
I became Pagan when I was 12.I never accepted myself as being 'Christian' nor did I believe in God and I'll admit at first I thought it was really bad to not believe in god so I went on a self discovery journey on alternatives to being Christian.The first time I ever confessed to someone about not believing in God, they said I was most probably an Atheist, as they were.This however, as I later found out was not true.
I developed a keen interest in Witchcraft having watched the movie 'The Craft'.At first it was just a fantasy to me but after a year or so here I am.I'm an Eclectic Wiccan. :) It was probably the hardest thing to accept myself as being different to other people but most people know I'm Wiccan and they totally accept it.
The thing I love about being Wiccan is that there is no right or wrong way to it.Your free to discover it how you want to and unlike most other religions we see deity as both male and female.
| Never Seen The Broomcloset From The Inside ||Feb 25th. at 5:36:52 am EST|
|Kyara (Duesseldorf/Germany) ||Age: 31 - Email - Web|
I first came across witchcraft and paganism when I was 14, 15 years old. I had always been looking for my spiritual home, from the point in time that I was about 10 years old, ever since Christianity never made any sense to me. A good friend of mine, who I consider to be something like a little brother to me, knew about my quest and handed me a book with the words: "This is completely you. You HAVE to read it!" So I read the book which was written by a couple of witches, about their beliefs, their concepts of the world - and realized, that every page I read brought me one step closer to my home.
Ever since I call myself a witch, trying to live up to its meanings, wearing my pentagram openly so people can see and sometimes even ask (even though the most popular questions are: "Oh, you are Jewish?" or "Oh, you are a satanist?" ;o) ) - I never wanted to hide in a broom closet, but living my faith freely, without the chains of secrecy. Of course people are likely to think that you are a harmless nutter (ever since some 16 years ago, not very many people here had heard about Neo-paganism or Wicca) - but sometimes they get deeper into it, feeling their horizons broadening as well, and maybe find there a part of themselves which they had been looking for for a very long time. I think it is important to spread the word (without doing missionary work - just informing people so they can judge themselves) - for if they know about it, and what it is about, prejudices have no ground to grow on any more. And why should I hide, why shoud I conseal my faith? If I cannot live up to it in each and every area of life, what would it be good for? To hide my faith would mean to me to deny my faith - to treat my faith faithless (which clearly is self-contradictory) . And:
Wicca is my home. Wicca is my shield. It heals me and protects me, it fills my life with a sense and helps me to endure and understand. It frees me and inspires me; Wicca is all of me, and I can find myself in every part of it. I am proud to be witch, for pride won't stop me from helping or from connecting to others. To me, Wicca is the essence of the world - or at least my world. It is the bridge between the worlds - it is the great cobweb connecting all and everything. It is the sense. It makes sense, is all crystal clear. No quest or questions anymore. Just answers and the knowledge that whatever happens makes perfect sense - even though it might take sme time until it is revealed. But I know that it is good. I can live in perfect love and perfect trust - for I know the Gods are watching, the Nornes are spinning, and the wheel is keeping on turning.
| It's Just One Of Those Things... ||Feb 25th. at 6:51:54 am EST|
|Silver Raven (Jo Marriott) (Nottingham, England) ||Age: 20 - Email - Web|
I first became interested in the Old Religion, as I like to call it, about 5 or 6 years ago, through watching 'Sabrina The Teenage Witch'. Sad, I know, but true. That programme inspired something in me, which, I have realised since I began practising a year ago, was always there. I have always had an affinity with nature - I love animals (and they love me) , I clearly have a similar relationship with plantlife, as I'm a whizz in the garden, (though I never did any more than cut the lawn at home!) and I'm a pretty good cook, even though I never did more than fry chips at home. All this, I feel, is in my genes, as my mum is an avid gardener and wonderful cook - could that mean that generations ago, a maternal relative was a witch? Who knows.
I found out properly about Paganism through the local library and on the internet. This occurred just over a year ago, and I have been studying and practising ever since.
I feel at one in this religion, that is the most important aspect for me. I was brought up as Church of England, and there is nothing more frustrating than being told: "Do this, don't do that." The joy of the Old Religion is that, quite simply: "An harm ye none, do as ye will." There are basic guidelines on things like the magical properties of herbs etc, but other than that, there is nothing set in stone, telling you how to live your life. As long as you care for everything around you, you are free to make your path - free to be unique.
| Was There A Choice? ||Feb 25th. at 7:47:49 am EST|
I guess I am Pagan because I was born that way. I never felt comfortable in a church (any church) . Of course after reading the Bible several times and then again using different versions I just felt I could not believe anything in it. At 17 I attended my first Pagan gathering and found that I understood where everyone was coming from, No one believed things the same way and that was OK! I have always felt closer to the deity while outside than anywhere else. I find the most wonder when out in the woods or while gardening. So I guess I was always Pagan I just never knew what to call it. At 51 my mom found out she was adopted and we learned more about our real heritage which is Lituanian and Russian. My great grandmother was a Pagan, and though I never got to know her in person I know her through a cousin and through her writings and such. My mom is basically Pagan as well. She does not call the deity any one name and refuses to buy into the male written Bible. So the question for me is are we born Pagan??? cat
| I'm Another Of Those "Grandmother Taught Me"-girls... ||Feb 25th. at 8:54:51 am EST|
|Tammipuu (Helsinki, Finland) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I've been a Heathen most of my life. Since about three years back, on one of the sunniest days I can remember, I bought my first Pentagram. I could probably give you an exact date, but that, I think, is irrelevant. My grandmother just smiled contently, when she saw it on me for the first time.
So, I have been Wicca for three years now. Of course there was the compulsory time before, when I searched for "The Deeper Meaning" of it all. It lasted for about six years. My religious education can be called somewhat confusing. I was baptised into Catholicism, my confirmation at age 13 was Lutheran. Two years later I finally settled with Wicca. It just klicked into place in my life, -and I have never doubted my choice.
I hate to admit such a cliché, but my grandmother is about as Heathen as anyone can be. She never tried to convert me, though. I just received some silent support and teaching in herbalism. I know at age 18 more about healing plants and of their use, than most people ever. My other inheritance from her is a perfect sence of weather. I can probably foretell a storm more accurately than any metheorologist (you wouldn't like it, it expresses itself as a form of sometimes severe migraine. There is evidence that my mother has the same ability, but hasn't learned to control it or "turn it down" when needed) . It is also no surprise, that "Mummi" gave me ny first and dearest Tarot cards...
My grandmother is nowdays weak and slowly dying. She has accepted Death, while I think it is a shame, for there is so much to learn from her. Not things you can read from books. Books could in the old days be found and used against people, she knows everything by heart. She has the best sort of first-hand knowledge about living a Pagan life in a society, which in her youth still considered Witchcraft a crime. I am going to miss the strong but often delicious scents from her huge pots and cauldrons in which she prepared the herbs we collected on our long forest walks. There is still some knowledge I have that I will eventually pass on. And I will add new knowledge to it whenever I can.
At this point in my life I have a bright future. I have my entire life in front of me. Only Time can tell what becomes of me. One thing will always remain: My beliefs in the Gods, Nature and my love for them.
| Like Comfy Jeans ||Feb 25th. at 10:57:23 am EST|
|squib (oregon) ||Age: 33 - Email |
I started down my path in my late teens. The order of Thelema vs the chaos of the world was very attractive. I've done some shifting around since then, but the core belief is essentially the same.
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