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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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| My Strange Journey! ||Sep 30th. at 9:44:28 pm EDT|
|Deidre (Michigan) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I've had an interesting journey and I'm sure it's not over yet. Unlike most Neo-Pagans, I was raised an Atheist. So I always questioned all religions and spirituality. I still do. Sometimes I feel like I question them too much in fact. I should just give it a rest sometimes!
Anyways, I was Atheist for a good portion of my life. I was a funny little girl. I remember when I was about 9 my friends would talk about God and I would retort, "There's no such thing. We're all made of atoms." You should have seen the faces of their mothers! I was Atheist until age 12.
I admit this next phase was pretty stupid. But hey, we all usually have some stupid phase in childhood we cringe (or laugh) at remembering! I met a guy that was way older than me. And he was the town "Witch". Everyone knew him and feared him. It being a little town and all. We quickly made friends and he tried to get me into Witchcraft for awhile. At first I was VERY skeptical. Thinking it was pretty stupid. But I did see all the attention he was getting and figured might as well play with it. So he started "teaching" me. He was an Anton LaVeyian Witch. So I started out reading Anton LaVey's work. Hehehehe! I still laugh at the thought of a little 12 year old reading Anton LaVey. Of course, I didn't understand it until I read the "Satanic Bible" over and over again for about a year. And then I realized that my "friend" was pretty stupid. He claimed he was LaVeyian.. he really had NO clue about Anton LaVey and his work. So I was a Laveyian for a little bit of 12 and all of age 13.
Then at 14 my father expressed his beliefs to me. Which really shocked me. My father had raised me Atheist but he was actually a Daoist! So he told me a lot about "God" which he calls the "Source" and even about energy play. It was then that I turned Pagan. I didn't want to be Daoist because I couldn't understand it as much as I could Paganism. Besides, I was more into the physical human nature (Anton influence talking) than the Daoist selflessness. However, Paganism still held true a lot of what my father taught me. I was also critical of the Wiccan religion. I thought it was pretty stupid! I didn't agree with their ethics. For some reason I thought ethics were for the weak (funny, even LaVey had ethics!). Not to mention their fishy history.
Well finely I arrived to where I am now! I am Wiccan. Gak!!!! How the heck did that happen right? Hehehehe. It happened pretty fast within this year(my 18th). All this time I had been studying Paganism I was studying Wicca on the side. I'm not even sure why except that I knew that's what I would become. But the more and more experience I accumulated the more and more I realized my beliefs were more Wiccan than anything! Plus, I've excepted that the history of Wicca doesn't even matter. It's evolved so much from when Gardner "invented" it anyway. I still tell people I'm Pagan, however. I'm especially worried about my fiance. He thinks Wiccans are um ehem, *questionable*. Probably because I got to him when I was still a Wiccan hater lol! Talk about coming back at ya! So I have yet to come out of the closet all over again! Sorry for the extremely long post!
| A Time Or 40 ||Sep 30th. at 10:53:40 pm EDT|
|MegLyn (Kansas) ||Age: 50 - Email |
it all started with LaVey but that barely lasted thru his book.... next on the better witch bookclub best seller list was Paul Huson's "Mastering Witchcraft".. this was late 69/early 70... i was eventually initiated into a Huson spawned coven.... from there into a myriad of paths that lead thru most Asian philosphies to Thelema, Vudoo, Shamanism, you name it i tried it.... i think that was due to the early exposure to Crowley... 'master them all!!' and in the end, i have came back to witchcraft.... this simply proves the circle.... and having started so it ends....
| Whew! What A List ||Sep 30th. at 11:16:36 pm EDT|
|Matt ( MI) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I was always interested in Witchcraft, ever since I was a wee little boy. I had the pleasure of sitting on the lap of Gundella (Detroit's most famous Green Witch) listening to her stories when she would visit the costume shop my mom worked at. I was raised Lutheran, but after a while my mom figured that bringing her kid to work to be hugged and loved on by a witch wasn't a good idea. Then in High School, long after I had forgotten about Gundella, I had to do a report for my Religion class about Wicca. I have been hooked ever since! :)
I have studied a billion or so religions, mostly Pagan/Heathen in nature, but I can't say that I ever really left Wicca for them; it was more like an interested learning about what is out there. I did participate in many a Blot though!
| My Path Is My Life ||Sep 30th. at 11:23:16 pm EDT|
|Two Crows (Ohio) ||Age: 37 - Email |
It took me a very long time to realize that my path was my life, and I mean that in no sense of thoughtless dedication to a third party construct which I refer to as religionism, credentialism, or traditionalism. In essence the growth and learning of my life’s journey came to be, after painful struggles with the attachment of my ego to all sorts of beliefs, all the initiations that I would ever care to invest my spirit in. This decision was not easy, for as you all well know it matters little what choices you make in life, there is always someone who hates you for it, thinks of you as the paragon of evil, or sets up their own identity in opposition to it. There is simply no shortage of people willing to tell us what is the right way, charge us for training in it, satisfy their own ego’s need for followers, or punish us in all sorts of subtle ways for not towing the line of established normality. Even non-conformists have their own stigmas for those who are not non-conformist enough, and learning this was a very painful lesson for me. It was an initiation that could have come from no blindfold and scourge, or standing naked before a priest and priestess in a hidden lodge. No, in fact it took place before the whole world that offered me alternately blindfolds and strokes from the scourge, as I stood naked before them in all my shame, indignity, and vulnerability. What a glorious initiation it was, and I wear it proudly, and care little who thinks it makes me equal to, or lesser than, they. The self-proclaimed adepts are no longer seekers, they have found what they were after in their jaded forgetfulness of origins and the pride of their accomplishments, but the sincere seekers yet remain, and in ever growing numbers. Some of them are even old hands in the world of Paganism, who realize that seeking never ends.
Being a seeker today is a frightening experience for the new to the Craft, no matter what tradition we dress it up in. It is filled with all sorts of do’s and don’ts, sidelong glances, and outright intimidation. Some wonder why so many come to their first face to face meeting with other Pagans, their first steps into the magickal community, with trepidations, pale silence, or phony airs. Perhaps its because they sense that they will get no attention if they don’t, or that to appear weak and uneducated is a fatal mistake among the overly initiated who seem ever eager to harshly correct them, or put them under a critical and scoffing eye. This uneasy regard that newbies and old-timers cast towards each other has swelled the ranks of the solitaries, driven up sales of self-initiation books, and put a gulf between the new blood of future generations and the true elders of the community. In fact I’ve even witnessed true elders quietly endure the foolishness of those who are more concerned with the smell on the fire hydrant than in the precious magick that only the young and innocent can carry, that wide-eyed awe that so many have lost forever.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Never Knew.... ||Oct 1st. at 12:15:31 am EDT|
|Moon and Stars (West Virginia USA) ||Age: 33 - Email |
When I was 14 I read a book about Witchcraft...I started to think and then practice it. I knew then I was not like the others that went to the local churchs. ( my bother episcaple, my sister was non-denominational holy-roller and my Dad Morman/cath. and my mother was Luthern, My mother always believed in the right of religion and every sunday my dad drove us to our own little churches....yea it was a trip and a half) But I knew then that I had way to many questions about things with the bible even at 10 or 12. When I stop going to church (which was non-instrmental chuch of chirst) Mom asked me why. I told her that I felt that I was a witch and I didn't feel that was the right place for me....I then asked her how she felt about that and she said that she felt I was going through my hippy 60's theme and I would get over it. I didn't go through a phase. I found myself and have known since then that I am one with my religion. I don't think of me as Wicca per se' but I do know I am Pagan all the way. I use what I need at the time of need and freely talk with Mother and Father about everything...I am Ecle. as they come and have more insight about what to do than the first 14 years of feeling guilty as hell that someone died so I might live.
During this past Ostara my mother asked me why I had a silver and gold candle place on what is my alter. I smiled and told her "Mom when I told you I was a witch when I was 14 I didn't lie." She kinda didn't know what to say but asked if I was happy and at peace....when I said yes...she stated that is all any parent could ask for....knowing their child is happy. I have always been a firm believer in that everyone is their own religion. It is within you. Love and Light to all
| Oh My No! ||Oct 1st. at 11:50:37 am EDT|
|Ted Peter Smith (Stillwater, OK) ||Age: 48 - Email - Web|
Oh my no, my grandmother, after discovering a vast disinterest for witchcraft in my two older sisters settled for me. At seven I could have cared less that I was her third choice. She was an incredible woman who I loved intensely. Those early years of challenge and love imprinted upon my spirit and are a deep part of me. She helped me discover who and what I am and helped me take my first step on the path that has the strength of my life. My path may twist and turn a bit, but is always there in front of me.
| Get Ready To Laugh. ||Oct 1st. at 12:22:32 pm EDT|
|Eric (Pennsylvania) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I'm a Christian. I just happen to think it is completely immoral to tell someone that they are wrong about something when you don't know what their position is. And I can't really rationalize the phrase "all-forgiving" with a God who sends you to Hell for not believing in Him. So when I researched religions and found that 95% of the world's population are decent human beings, I had to look more in depth at things. So, here I am.
| An Interesting Path ||Oct 1st. at 12:41:36 pm EDT|
|Diana (Connecticut) ||Age: 55 - Email |
As I continue on my path I do not waver. No path is ever straight or without stones or roots to cause one to have to regroup. Have I changed? I would rather say my beliefs evolve. I came upon the realization that I am a witch only a few years ago. I embrace the name as I hold that words are things and in order to change the definition used by most people I choose to be known as a witch. I am Dianic and feel very comfortable with that "title" as I feel I spent 50 years of my life with a god...now it is time for Goddess. Oh yes...I am a Libra and that balance issue is just not one for me.My spirit and Goddess and I have worked it out.
My life has been blessed by meeting such a wonderfully varied community of women and men.
"One must allow chaos in ones life to give birth to a Dancing Star...Nietzsche"
| Change,Evolve,Twist,Curves, Whatever You Wanna Call It ||Oct 1st. at 1:56:41 pm EDT|
|Joshua Wilson (Van Buren,Arkansas (aka HELL)) ||Age: 14 - Email |
Of course, At first I thought wiccan was the only one so i clung to that, then i dug deeper and found it wasnt right for me. So I was just pagan then. Then druidism,astaru, celtic, and greek shouted at me, So I started at the top. And worked down. I am still changing, like my friend says "Youre a padlock, you spin around till you find your way or password" So I think I will change soon, since none of them capture me fully. But I think eventually I'll have to review see if I've changed so much I need to follow a path I've already turned down, but more liekly maybe I'll need to create my own and go backpackign through the lands of the universe.
| Evolution ||Oct 1st. at 2:54:23 pm EDT|
|Olwen (Brampton, Ont) ||Age: 45 - Email |
I think that rather than change, I've evolved. Coming suddenly as I did from a fairly fundamentalist Christian worldview, the idea of all God/esses = one God/ess was comforting. I've learned a lot since then, about myself, my world and my Gods, and have, in the process, become a hard polytheist following a Cymric path. (Note, I was always drawn to a Celtic path, although I didn't know which one, exactly.) It didn't happen overnight, it wasn't necessarily easy, but it did happen. Nor is it right for everyone; that much can only be determined by the individual.
I think now that I've found my place, although as I continue to grow, I expect my practice will change somewhat, and perhaps even my view of the Gods, as my experience continues. And that's okay, too. I'd hate to be stuck in one view the rest of my life.
| Confusion ||Oct 1st. at 4:02:00 pm EDT|
|Ashleigh (aka Jaded Moon/Miss Jade etc) (London (England)) ||Age: 16 - Email - Web|
This takes a bit of introduction but bare with me!
Just over a year ago I went on a Jewish Summer camp (as both my parents are Jewish and at the time I believed in Judaism) in Wales. I came upon a cute little New-age shop and decided to buy a Dowsing Crystal. Now two of my friends from Summer camp already had been Tarot Card readers for many years and using my Dowsing Crystal I managed to start out by feeling Tarot Cards using my Crystal.
Just after camp, Me and another girl decided to learn from my two Tarot-Card-reading-friends to Tarot read... and so we did and bought each other our first packs (mine was "The Tarot of the Moon Garden"... BEAUTIFUL PACK!!!!!)
Flash forward to a few months ago. Im starting question my Jewish beliefs and starting to not believe some areas of it... and so I decide to no longer call myself a Jew by religion and started just saying I was Jewish by Culture.
Now to the present: Very recently I have been introduced (through yet another friend) to other Pagan beliefs (specifically Celtic/Druid.) The nature of the Goddess and other key beliefs such as "If it harms none, do what you will" seemed to make sense and I have recently been calling myself Pagan. However, I have not started practicing Majik (although I intend to) as a Tarot Card reading and Dowsing session has informed me to not go-it-alone and wait for someone to invite me to a Grove or a Coven before I attempt any form of Majik
So as a Summary I have gone from being a Jew, to being completely anti organised-religion to being some kind of a Pagan (and being confused!)
Ash (aka Jaded Moon)
PS. please feel free to contact me on this subject... In fact I would be most grateful!!!!
PPS. The link is to see the pack that I own... I feel the type of Tarot Card pack you have is a window to the soul
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| You Read My Mind. ||Oct 1st. at 6:09:36 pm EDT|
|Manda (Memphis, TN) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Actually, my path is currently going through a big change. Now, everyone's path evolves a little, as the person grows and learns, but there have been some significant changes around here.
I started, as most people who come from a Christian background, in Wicca. Honestly, in my newly-introduced-to-alternate-religions mind, the words "Pagan" and "Wiccan" were interchangable for a while. *cringe* I know... I know...
Since then, in participating in the (limited number of) events that go on around here, I've come to realize that there are a thousand different flavors of Pagans out there. I've also come to realize that I'm not really much for the ceremonial magick... I'd rather putter in my garden and kitchen than plan huge elaborate rituals.
Lately I've been ditching ceremony for feasts that even my Christian friends can participate in, I've been reading books and finding my self voicing disagreements to my husband, and I've been listening to my heart and the wind a little more than I've been listening to the people who are screaming "but this is the way it's ALWAYS been done!!"
So, for now, I label myself as a kitchen witch.
As for people that switch paths: wonderful! If it brings them closer to Spirit, then that's great.
As for Wicca remaining the dominant Pagan "denomination" ... I don't know. Possibly, since it IS very popular currently, and being passed down throughout families. Then again, maybe not, since there are many other wonderful paths out there.
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