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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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| All My Life ||Feb 25th. at 10:38:46 pm EST|
|Brenna Ce'Dria (Savannah, GA) ||Age: 20 - Email - Web|
For as long as I remember, the Moon mesmerized me. I worshipped it from my window at night when I was in kindergarten, and stared in awe nearly every moment I got for year upon year. When I was in fourth grade, I got in trouble for asking why we were supposed to pray to Mary when the 10 Commandments said to pray only to "God" (I attended a Catholic school that year, since that's what religion my former stepfather was) . When I was scolded for the question, I decided that Christianity as a group wasn't for me if they couldn't at least give me a reason for the contradiction (I wish I knew the word 'hypocryte' at that age) . By the end of 5th grade I was writing my own spells, however childishly they were worded (one of them I still use, only barely modified, for everyday workings) and during the three years of middle school I learned that there were other, non Christian/Jew/Muslim religions I could choose from. Now, years later and one brief and mistaken conversion and baptism in a *gasp* Baptist church, I know that I knew where I belonged all along, and have 'come home' so to speak.
My mom doesn't like my choice, but she doesn't argue too much; she just pretends she didn't hear when I say anything to do with it and continues with conversations as if nothing happened. My stepdad doesn't agree, but it's a source of legit conversation and he discusses and debates for fun occasionally (he's easily one of the best Christian's I've ever met) . The only person important to me that doesn't know is my boyfriend of nearly three years, he knows that I don't agree with institutionalized religion but hasn't persued (sp?) the matter. When he's ready to ask about it, I'll tell him; right now I just try and hint at it and ease him into the idea.
Easily the most satisfying thing I've encountered is feeling the change of the seasons, the year, and even the weather. The only high I've ever had (I've never smoked anything, tobacco or otherwise, and I'm not a heavy enough partier to even get a buzz) is the rush of a thunderstorm, and the power in a gust of wind. I've yet to find what path I follow, but I'm starting to feel that the Lady doesn't care, as long as I love Her creations.
| The Universe Made Sense ||Feb 25th. at 11:05:17 pm EST|
|Bryony Ravenwillow (Kansas City MO) ||Age: 34 - Email |
My first exposure to paganism came in Jean Auel's Earth's Children books. I remember reading 'The Valley of Horses' and the author's descriptions of Jondalar's Mother Goddess religion and thinking, 'That makes sense. Too bad nobody believes that nowadays.' HA!
I met my first Pagan when I was 21. We had many, many conversations about what she believed and why she believed as she did. While I didn't really feel a call to 'come home', the seed had been planted.
I didn't begin seriously questioning my Christian faith until my mid-20s, but the real catalyst for change was my father's death in 1997. I didn't find solace in the teachings of the church I had been attending. By this time, I had more Pagan friends than I did Christian ones, and they were the ones who helped me through my time of grief. It was also during this time that I seriously began studying Wicca and Paganism. The more I read, the more the universe 'made sense', and the more I felt that my dad was indeed in a better place.
I've been a practicing Pagan since 1998. Technically, my path is eclectic Wicca, but I feel the time is coming when I will find a group to learn even more from. I can't wait!
| Pagan ||Feb 26th. at 12:59:28 am EST|
|TheHollow (Vancouver, Canada) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I am definitly a pagan. My family has always been along the path of pagan spirituality (an ancestor of mine in the 17th century was stoned to death in England for being a witch/ my great aunt is an expert tarot reader and active pagan/ my mother has a vested interest in the occult and spirituality) . I was drawn to the celtic goddess Brigid in my teenage years and always felt the need to keep an altar of some sort. I can't say anything definitive happened that drove me to paganism, it just seemed right. Paganism always fit my life, my thoughts, and my lifestyle. I have to say I have always been a pagan, but probaly didn't start thinking hard about until I turned 13.
The most satisfying aspect of the pagan faith is a feeling of connection with my goddess and the world. I also get the feeling that I know truth that those who subscribe to other Abrahamic religions may be missing. I also find it satisfying that my religion does not seek to confine my activities and lifestyle. I find paganism to be flexible and personal. I cannot imagine my life without pagan faith.
| Why? Blame The Mountains... ||Feb 26th. at 2:20:50 am EST|
|Jennifer (Tucson, AZ) ||Age: 20 - Email |
No, really. Blame the mountains. I grew up in Arkansas, but every summer my family would take a camping trip to somewhere in the Western US. The way Nature has shaped the land into so many different, hauntingly beautiful, and ancient yet fragile just took my breath away.
Why am I Pagan? I can watch sunbeams playing across the mountains and feel the power it all holds. I can pick up a piece of an ancient rock and feel connected to it. I can be a part of Nature instead of its master.
What attracted me? The fact that I am allowed to honor Nature and all the gods. I can work beside them, _with_ them. I don't have to fall down on my knees and worship a 'God' I cannot see. I can worship anytime, anywhere, and my gods will hear me. I can honor them as I wish and they will be there. I don't have a 'loving' God telling me I'll burn if I don't accept him. The life I live is one in tune with Nature and the gods, one where all are deeply connected.
I first found out about Paganism via a fluke. I was a Baptist at the time and had just been through a very hard six months. I'll spare the details, but this period of time changed me forever. One of many things it did was shatter my view of my own religion. I felt like I was following a lie and began searching for what I believed to be the truth. I had been researching all the religions I could. After reading "The Crucible" in English, I wondered what real Witchcraft was, so I looked into it. If my break with Christianity was a punch in my stomach, my discovery of Paganism was like a nice strong hug. It felt right. It matched the feelings I had deep inside, feelings I'd buried because they weren't Christian.
I'd say I've had Pagan beliefs and values for most of my life, say about fifteen years or so. I always questioned why people thought of the earth as a thing. The earth isn't an unliving thing that can be cut and carved to meet whatever plans men have. It isn't property. In a blink of an eye, something peaceful can become something violent. Sturdy soil can liquify. The ground can move. Nature is a never-ending cycle of change, life and death, creation and destruction. It is a cycle I am part of, and I'd like to honor that connection for the rest of this life.
| Dance Into The Light ||Feb 26th. at 3:59:24 am EST|
|Cassandra (Australia) ||Age: 18 - Email |
When I was very young, my father sent me to Sunday school along with the other kids. He wasn't devoutly catholic but it was the done thing... I didn't really know what it was all on about and so I went. The religion presented to the kids at that school doesn't have a lot to do with God and more to do with cutting out and pasting little pictures of Jesus to things...
In the due course of stuff in general, we spent a bit of time in the church and I saw a poster there one day that destroyed any chance the catholic church ever had of winning me over to a 'loving God'... in all honesty I've never been able to forgive them for this one thing...
From across the room I saw a poster that had a picture of a little girl, maybe 5, and she was obviously malnourished and poverty stricken. On the table infront of it was a little tin you could put change in, you know the kind. I thought it would be something like 'give money to feed her' or clothe her or educate her... something like that...
When I got up close to the poster and read the words I nearly died. It went something like 'This little girl has never heard the word of God, and as such, she's condemed to hell without chance for salvation. Please give generously so that this girl can have a bible and be taught the ways of God'.
I walked out of the church and refused to be a part of it ever again. After that I went looking for something that was the opposite of all that. A way of thinking that was incapable of saying something like that about a little girl... I wanted to have faith, but I also wanted to be grounded in reality, I hated the idea that someone could get so caught up in their faith that the real everyday things just melt away until you find yourself allowing children to starve while you read to them from a book.
In Wicca I found something grounded. I can have my faith, and celebrate it openly and wholeheartedly, with no fear that the Goddess or God will demand that I choose some musty old book over my stomach.
| Why I Am A Pagan ||Feb 26th. at 4:48:34 am EST|
|Garry "Animal"Pursell (Doncaster, South Yorkshire) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I am a pagan because I believe that there is a spirit guiding us and all the searching I've done through the Christian Church has not led me to this spirit. Also I have known for a very long time that I have been reincarnated in the past and that this life I am living is merely another to be enjoyed. I have a bird form as well, I am raven.
| Aether ||Feb 26th. at 11:06:43 am EST|
|Candice Christiansen (Coventry, RI) ||Age: 19 - Email - Web|
I am a pagan because I have believed in the spiritual order of things long before I knew what jesus or christianity or the pope meant. I remember a time before knowing of christianity and I "knew" that the things around me were alive, in a sense that a power pervaded them. As a child that was never rooted out of me, simply because no one knew it was there. As I grew older, I began to find things in my local library about spells and witchcraft. I was eleven years old the first time I cast a spell. It worked. I was skeptical of church from then on. It had never seemed natural to me.
| Why... ||Feb 26th. at 12:20:12 pm EST|
|Uruloki (Bozeman, MT) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I began Identifying myself as pagan in junior high (not an easy time to do that) But I think I was one long before that. It was just that I had finally found a name for it. I had several family members and friends that tried to Help me "find the light of jesus" but I always felt that christianity didn't give me enough answers. I think it may have been the fact that I grew up without any imposed belief systems that allowed me to find my own path.
| My Pagan Ways ||Feb 26th. at 3:40:26 pm EST|
|Stormwind (Canada) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I was raised Lutheran, and my greatest struggle was never so much feeling that the faith was "Wrong" so much as lacking the connection to Deity that I sought. In church or at youth group I had to struggle to keep my mind on the service. I thought that worship and religion should be about interacting with Deity, not about watching someone else do it.
Meanwhile, I dreamed of the future in my bed at night and saw my dreams come true in my waking hours. I talked to the animals and the trees and the horizon and the night sky. I carved sigils in wood and built altars--for as long as I could remember.
I started practicing folk magick, like candle magick and mojo bags, before I became Wiccan. Magick helped make sense of those practices I'd been doing and things I'd been experiencing instinctually. A lot of the books were about magic and Wicca both, so I began to learn about Wicca as well.
In the end, I didn't so much stop believing in the Christian God so much as realize that the Christian view of Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary are only one of many aspects of God and Goddess. Rather than stopping one faith and starting another, I felt my vision expand. I had always accepted an idea of Deity that was both male and female, nor had had I agreed that people of other faiths went to a hell. I feel that Pagan is a more accurate word to describe me now, and have called myself that for...hm. My dedication was a year and a half ago, I was following a Pagan path for over three years, and have been one with the world all my life.
| Pagan To The Core! ||Feb 26th. at 3:53:22 pm EST|
|Ravencroft (Hammond) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I am a Wiccan (neo-pagan) because it was what called to me. I found the Christian faith to be bogus and an affront to rational thinking. I have attened many churches since I was born on a military base. My grandfather was of pagan blood and he taught me when he recognized the fammily witch traits. My parents were fine with this, since they'd witnessed the same signs. I have always known I was different, It wasn't until I was about 7 yrs. old that I could actually put a name to it.
I have considered myself to be a pagan for years, even in the eyes of the "church" I was one, since I always refused to be baptised and I argued with the preachers. These were seen as major No, No's.
The most satisfiying part of being a witch is being able to be myself and worship as I see fit. No man-made dieties, only nature.
| Cute Lil' Goddess ||Feb 26th. at 6:53:25 pm EST|
|StarrFyre (Richmond, VA) ||Age: 19 - Email - Web|
I've been a Witch for five years, come this year's spring equinox, and love it. Back when I was in the 9th grade, I met a few witches at my high school (basically just a Goddess Worshiper, and a Kitchen Witch) , and it was they-and neopaganism-that sent me into studying Witch Craft. Now, however, I do not consider myself to be a neopagan. I concern myself more with the ancient aspects of Witch Craft and paganism, as well as Goddess Worship. I am a big fan of celticism. I love being a Witch!!
| Mother Mary ||Feb 26th. at 8:12:25 pm EST|
|Opiate Adore (Washington DC) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
I was raised a devout Roman Catholic by a devout Roman Catholic mother and a fanatical father. Throughout the years of attending mass and learning about the sins I would one day be punished for, and the path I would have to take to validate my life to God, I found the most comfort in the stories of Mary. She was the mother of God, the giver of divine life, the sacred vessel from which salvation had come forth. And yet despite her obvious involvement in the very foundations in a religious movement, she had been demoted to nothing more than a side figure in the consciousness of the masses. This not only made her seem, in a sense, irrelevant to followers of this path, but also made it seem as if women were irrelevant in the very process of creation in itself.
I began studying Mary more. The lack of information about her drew more further in, like the fringes of a black hole into a point. Reading other texts not only enlightened me on her evolution (From Isis and Horus to Mary and Jesus) but also brought me upon other women whom had been so unfairly turned out in a world they too built. Lillith, Artemis, Brigid, Macha, all goddesses whom had been lost in patriarchal rhetoric. How could I follow, in good conscience, a religion that deemed women as second rate , and in some cases evil, compared to men.
Egyptology led to Stregria, Stregria to Wittan and in Isis I saw Brigid's smile, and in Brigid, I saw Mother Mary's smile. She led me to her past and guided me through my future and I know she smiles on me now, just as she did when she was first named.
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