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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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| 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.
| It`s Been Tough... ||Feb 25th. at 11:09:01 am EST|
|The Horned One (Antigua, Guatemala) ||Age: 27 - Email |
I grew up with a conception of a christian god that watched and waited to count all your sins as most brown people do. I lived in poverty in downtown L.A. and all that was bad in life was acceptable because I was human, and I was born a sinner. My grandmother was a rabid pentecost and was probably the first to ingrain the idea of Hell into me. I lived in fear of this place for many years.
I had my "rebelious" phase late in life. I went through a period where I studied anything that had to do with religion and/or spirituality. I began to follow Mithrianism for its hard-line, soldier attitude. I became the Anti-christian. My culture has been decimated thanks to this religion and its followers and so I began to build a hatred for it. When I turned 21, I became a Satanist. I think I did it more for a statement, rather than to worship Satan. I wrote elaborate papers on how "god" is jelouse and insecure and needs to keep everyone oppressed to keep his power. Satanism wasjust the other end of the spectrum and I went from fearing this "hell" to wanting to reside in it.
I have always had a elevated view of womyn and have understood the term "oppressed" from a young age. I came across a book one day that talked about a female based religion. A light went off in my head! I began to read all and any Wiccan books that I could get my hands on. They were not very good, just the standard mass produced kind, but it opened up a whole new world to me, one that fit me so well.
That was four, almost five years ago. I have been a solitary for most of this time but I have met many amazine people. I will always remember my first conversation with a real Witch (not someone that thought they were, but the real thing!) .I will alway remember my first ritual and my first festival, ect.
I almost lost faith in Wicca when I became more involved with it and discovered tha various schisms in it. It began to resemble these other religions that I had a distaste for. I found Ceremonial Magick and the Cabbala as a result. I studied eastern thought and Theosophy and even so-called New Age material, but I never lost my thirst for a Goddess. Most of what I was involved in still seemed to have a patriahtical flare to it. And it seemed to me that it was not very close to Nature, for I spent most of my time looking up into the sky for my deities.
I have been led into a third world country and I have come back to Her. I recently became a Dianic (I love this!) and I have never been so close to Nature in my life. I have found my Path, one that exalts the Goddess, that is committed to uplift womynkind and to fight those that continue to opress the Goddesses amongst us. So I guess the answer to the question is that I have been a Pagan for about five years, but it feels like I should have always been.
Blessings to all,
The Horned One
| Raised This Way...? ||Feb 25th. at 11:32:33 am EST|
|Rilana (Tacoma, WA) ||Age: 28 - Email |
Well, I was raised in a fairly non-religious home. My parents could not agree within their religions and chose to raise my sister and I free of religion and having the poower to make a choice when we grew up. My father is Pagan and has been as long as I can remember. He taught my sister and I so much about weather, nature and respecting the earth. We did not discuss the divine though. So, I guess in a way I was always Pagan.
| Born That Way, Too! ||Feb 25th. at 12:01:20 pm EST|
|Kat (Kentucky, USA) ||Age: 38 - Email |
I have always been inclined to the spiritual and the mystical. I was raised in a Christian culture (of course, what American isn't?) . But Christianity never fit me. Even when I was a little kid, I'm talking second grade here, I knew that I was a pagan (of course, I didn't know there was a word for it) . I feel such an intense connection to the land, the universe, my fellow travelers on the Life Path. So, I first decided I was a witch when I was 8 years old. Then, I came and went on the Wiccan path, sometimes feeling devoted to the religion, sometimes ignoring it all together, but "hearing" it in the back of my brain. Finally, at the age of 38 I rededicated myself to the Goddess. My life has been so good since then. I am much calmer, more at peace with myself, more accepting of others, more willing to take career- and education-related risks (as well as other types of risks) . With the help of the Great Mother, I am even making a move to another state to take up writing full time. The meditation and ritual that are inherent in Wicca have led me to be more focused, more trusting of myself. I have become a better, less selfish "seeker".
| Born That Way ||Feb 25th. at 12:39:51 pm EST|
|Siara (Annapolis, MD, USA) ||Age: 42 - Email |
I'm another "born that way".
Spirituality had always been very important to me, but my family's beliefs (Christianity) didn't work for me. It was like there was no connection between the universe as I personally perceived it, the universe I learned about in science classes, and the spiritual structure in which my family believed.
I still remember the first time I stumbled upon the Pagan movement. I was surfing the net and there, on a web site whose address I don't even remember, were many of the things I'd worked out on my own. The whole room seemed to become lighter-- I realized my pupils were dilating in an effort to see more.
Of course, when I talk about "things I'd worked out on my own" I don't mean the legends of the specific belief systems. But the general concept that the natural world was a reflection of the spiritual world and vice versa has always been central to my understanding of reality. I hadn't realized that someone like me could share the pleasure of sharing sincere philosophical beliefs. What a joy.
It makes me wonder, though... how can someone be *born* with religious beliefs so firmly intact?
| The Right Harmony ||Feb 25th. at 1:00:05 pm EST|
|Anjie (North Dakota) ||Age: 20 - Email |
Why am I a wiccan? It seems lots of people are asking that question lately, or maybe I've just been noticeing it more. I won't get into the whole long story of events that led to me becomming a wiccan. I'll give you the shortened version of it. I loved magic. I learned every trick I could, but it wasn't enough. I wanted the real stuff. I wanted what I now call "instant gratification magic".
I was in a book store one day when I found the book "Witch: a magickal journey" by Fiona Horne. I got it and read it by flashlight at night, when I wouldn't be disturbed. I knew my fairly strict Lutheran parents wouldn't like this book. It took me all of a week of nightly readings to read the book from cover to cover. I was facinated. It didn't give me the instant powers I had dreamed of, but it gave me something far better than "pick a card, any card". The ideas in this book spoke directly to my inner logic. This religion fit my "inner song".
Let me explain my "inner song". I'm a musician and an artist (not an extreamly good one of either) , and see myself and others in a mixture of song and color. It's wierd, but that's how I see them. For myself, I see my colors change with my age and my moods, but my song is much slower to change. My song, as I see it, explains my world, and the logic that governs it. Anything that fits in with my logic, and thus my world, has a song that is in harmony with my inner song. (I hope that that makes sense) .
The religion that I read about in this book had a near perfect harmony with my song. I changed to it privately, and have heard a richer song ever since. Unfortunately, I am a broom-closet witch, and have been for about a year and a half now. My family is fairly strict in their ways, and I don't think they're ready yet to accept having a witch in the family.
| Choice ||Feb 25th. at 2:16:04 pm EST|
|The Sweeper (OK) ||Age: 48 - Email |
I am what I am by birth and by choice.
I have no control over the factors of my birth.
I selected neither my failings nor my gifts.
However, how I chose to overcome these failings and how I chose to use these gifts of birth is mine.
I could hide, cowering from the vengeful God of Christianity, terrified by his mysterious ways.
I could refrain from fulfilling my purpose in life because in his eyes I am evil.
Or, I could consider what makes this particular God better and more real then any of the others in our Deity strewn History.
I have concludes the answer is quite simply, better public relations.
When I looked past the public relations I see just another God, and I saw the truth.
The truth that, I could look into myself, I could find the center of my spirituality.
And find Her there.
And once I found Her there, I found Her everywhere.
And with Her I find Peace.
| Pagan/ Heathen ||Feb 25th. at 2:40:54 pm EST|
|Star Devil (Glendive, Montana) ||Age: 22 - Email |
When I was 14 I was introduced in the world of pagainsm. The kids at my high school who were my friends thought it was cool and wanted to learn how to "levitate" and to "cast spells on people." Well, while they had their ideas I went and picked up a book call Wicca: A guide for the Solitary Practioner. I loved it and I realized that the things that they wanted to do and their preconceived notions on paganism were wrong so I started to read more and more. Well 8 years later I consider myself to be Pagan (solitary ecletic witch) . It has been not only a religion or an art but a way of life. I incorporate the ideals into how I take care of myself, my son, my husband, and how I treat others. It has helped me deal with deep seeded issues of my own and helped me learn more about myself as well as the world around me. Regardless of the constant critcism and the fact that my parents still believe that it is "a phase" I finally found something that I can believe in that helps me believe in myself. Love and Light to you all...
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