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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 14,776,698  

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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. Reverse Sort 

Goddess Oct 1st. at 8:12:56 pm UTC

Diama White (Wayne, MI USA) Age: 46 - Email

I was going to write in there that I have never, nor have I ever thought of changing paths. The plain truth of it is that I have on so many occasions that I laugh now as I sit to write this!
All in all, it's all the same to me. We all worship in one form or another, just at some points we change styles or ideas. Ideas change to me, but not my ideals or morales. The path may be long and winding, with hidden agendas: but the path always leads the same way.
Diama White

Well... Sorta... Oct 1st. at 9:17:22 pm UTC

Hadriel Stoneroot (Massachusetts) Age: 15 - Email

i am an eclectic wiccan, and really, i just follow the horned one and goddess... i am interested in bardic traditions, and right now i am making a mandolin to help me in my path toward bardism... it is considered a religion by some, but to me it is a way to express my love of the Lord and Lady. i have for some time considered myself a druid in fact. but recently, i decided that i follow my gods, and nothing else has to matter to me... so... to answer your question, yes, yes i have many times.

Old Thoughts New Stratagy Oct 1st. at 9:24:16 pm UTC

Jo (CO) Age: 23 - Email

I've been going through a huge change in the past year. I've been pagan since before I can remember, but I didn't know it. I was raised Catholic and all. Anyway, when I finally gave up on the "I can pretend to be Catholic while believing what I believe," I was pretty angry at the Catholic Church. I already knew what I believe now, I'm just alone. I read tarot, use energy, and have my own specific beliefs regarding the universe. Anyway, in the past year I've been finding that I'm starting to be drawn toward the Goddess. I guess you could say I'm not changing my belief so much as adding to it.

Once Oct 1st. at 9:31:05 pm UTC

Eric (Mechanicsburg PA) Age: 18 - Email - Web

I converted from Lutheran Christianity to LaVeyan Satanism. Mostly, I tend to think this was because Christianity had been shoved down my throat. I believed it, though. I was forced to. But, gradually, I began to think and came up with the usual questions. "How come God doesn't answer prayers?" "Why doesn't God ever show Himself so He proves to nonbelievers that He exists?" "Why aren't there any miracles anymore?" "Why do I keep having to be tested?" "How did all those inconsistencies in the Bible get there?" etc etc.

I did some research on the occult. I first came across what I now believe was Dianic Wicca. I moved away from it because it seemed to "fluffy" at the time (though I didn't know that word...I actually referred to Wicca in general later as "fuzzy bunny"). I found out about Satanism and figured it was to my liking. At the time it seemed like the imagery was harsh, it was dark, it was the anti-"fuzzy bunny". I had found Wicca too much like Christianity. Satanism contains a liberal dose of anti-Christian mongering. I liked that at the time.

I gradually fell away from practicing it over a matter of years. I kept to the philosophy, I just ignored the stuff about magic. I then managed to actually get my hands on a copy of "The Satanic Bible"...and I thought it was ludicrous. I figured it must have been one of the most poorly written books I had ever read. I disagreed vehemently with what LaVey said about magic (by this time I had gotten over my lingering dislike for Christianity and I had no negative attitudes toward Wicca because of the occasional resemblance). I was very much against some of his philosophies...I'm not a utilitarian.

As fortune (and I now believe, other forces) would have it, I picked up Aleister Crowley's Book of Lies at the same time I got The Satanic Bible...and I was mesmerized by what I read in Crowley. I learned more about him and Thelema, I am.

I'm Probably The Odd One Here. Oct 1st. at 10:30:12 pm UTC

Etain (Ohio) Age: 31 - Email

I was never christian and was never told witchcraft was evil. I grew up in an eastern religion with no idolotry. I come from a long line of witches.....although they don't call themselves witches. They are what they are...they revere the earth.

I look at the god/goddess as a faceless, but powerful energy, but with a duality to it. I don't necessarily call them gods because, to me, that's too much like christianity. Paganism & witchcraft became very interesting to me because it's something I've always felt linked to, but couldn't put a name on it. It feels like home. The non-proselytizing, the elementals & divas, the energy work, the respect for the earth and the celebration of the year are just a few things that make paganism welcoming to me.

I still have my eastern beliefs and my native american beliefs (yes I'm that too) and feel comfortable going to circle with my friends. To me the gods aren't going to strike me down if worship them in a church, a temple or nature. They know what I know..... it's all the same, just a different avenue, a different way of expressing a belief that no one else can make judgement upon. It's a very personal thing. You and your divine expression.

I never understood christians and their craziness. They're so hung up on the small stuff. It almost becomes a pissing contest of who's right and wrong and who can quote the bible best. I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind.

Although, there will never be a name for what I "believe" in, I kind of like it that way. It's who I am. I'm a mixture of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions.

Peace, blessings & namaste.......

Necessary Labels? Oct 1st. at 10:58:35 pm UTC

Mydnyte Blue Moon (Johnstown, PA) Age: 27 - Email

When I first got into Paganism, the first books I read were the Witches' Bible, and a guide by Jan and Stewart Farrar. I think what a lot of us don't realize is that we can be a Pagan, a Witch, a Heathen, whatever the case may be, without any of the pomp and regality of Wicca, or any of the other Earth-based religions practising with rituals and tools.

At first I told everyone I was Wiccan, because I believed that a Witch and a Wiccan were one and the same. Now that I know better, I choose to call myself simply a Witch. I use herbs to heal, may light a candle every now and then, but what makes me a Witch is a very simple few things. I live by the Rede of 'Ye harm none', I hold everything in Nature in highest regard, and I believe in the concept of positive and negative energy being the source of all life in every form, Earthbound, Ethereal, and otherwise.

So, have I changed? Only when I decided to question my Christian roots. And only then, was it my label, and a few misconceptions that changed. For I have always been a nature lover, and practised things considered by some to be abnormal, or paranormal.

The bottom line for me is this: No matter what you call yourself, you are what you are. If you do not live by the very simplest of the laws of nature, then you are nothing to me. If you profess to be a Wiccan, or a Pagan, or a Witch, yet cast to hurt others, litter, poison the earth, eat things unecessary for survival, use resources beyond what you need, then you are not what you profess to be. Simply put, before you label yourself, please be ready to practise what you preach!

Always The Same Oct 1st. at 11:45:21 pm UTC

Panther (Beliot,Wi) Age: 36 - Email

I have baeen in the Santeria pATH FOR OVER 20YRS. I have studied other paths but this is the one that is right for me.I still have contact with many Wiccans and I learn a little fron all.

Not Really Changed But Refined Oct 2nd. at 12:53:07 am UTC

Reba Witch (Columbus Grove Ohio) Age: 37 - Email

I have been on the Wiccan path for just over 18 years now. I was first introduced by a Woman who was very Celtic. As I was introduced to more people in the pagan world, I picked up more and more beliefs and adapted their rituals to my needs. I am probably by all rights an Eclectic Pagan, but I still hang on to my Wiccan roots.

So to answer the question have I changed? OF COURSE, I've matured over the last 18 years and with that comes an inner peace and better understanding of what is going on around me. I no longer feel a need to 'do it right' and follow the rituals as if they were a step by step receipe, but blend what I've learned and know that the outcome will be even better if I'm comfortable with the ritual.

My Two Cents Oct 2nd. at 1:57:30 am UTC

Branowen (Mesa, AZ) Age: 19 - Email - Web

Well, I don't have anything profound or lifechanging to say... but it seemed like everyone else was putting their two cents in, so I will too. My practice began six years ago, living with my non-religious family. I had a series of traumatic events happen to me, and thanks to my bible-thumping Grandmother I thought Christianity was the only religion in the world. So I picked up a copy of the Bible and got myself saved and *POOF* I was Christian. I never believed a word of it, though, and never did accept the concept of the almighty God. I guess I figured that if everyone accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, he wouldn't be so personal anymore. At age 12 I began having dreams (the first I can remember) of Goddesses and the spirits of the elements. These were my first impressions of "God", so I worshipped the nature spirits for over 2 years, happily oblivious to the name of my practice. A really freaky teen moved in across the street who practiced witchcraft, and I made friends with her. She suggested I study witchcraft and then moved away again in a matter of months. I began to learn and study and my practice evolved into a religion - Wicca. It seemed that everything that I had been practicing and everything I believed was all wrapped up in a neat little package. For two more years I called myself a Wiccan and was happier than I'd ever been. In the next two years, I began to develop my own religion, borrowing from other cultures and other religions the ideas and concepts that made sense to me. From this study evoled the religion I have today. I would call myself Pagan, not strictly adhering to any tradition or sect, but practicing the way it best suits me. I know this will change in another two years, because nothing is constant - everything is connected in that great big wheel of change. It will always change for the better, I know, because I have always followed my mind, my heart and the Goddess. I suggest everyone give themselves room to grow and evolve; because no one is ever done learning, and that knowledge will take you to amazing places. Love & Light.

Prefer No Titled "religions" Oct 2nd. at 2:03:18 am UTC

Rayvn (Lakewood, WA) Age: 22 - Email

I found Wicca when I was 9 yrs old. I knew that I didn't believe all of the Christian beliefs. As I studied all I could on all beliefs, I realized I agreed with a little bit from most of them. So, now as an adult, when asked what religion do I follow, I have to sigh and explain that I don't believe in titled religions because every one of them has rules to follow. I don't have a problem with rules and all but I don't like being told that to be part of this religion or that, these are the rules I have to follow. Wicca (Old Path) & most Native American beliefs coincide with what I have found to be true. I do believe that the Bible is a good lesson book but that those who follow it word for word are fools. It is a book that has been hand written by man for thousands of years. I know I've used up plenty of erasers in the past! I also know it's human nature to embelish a story the way one personally remembers it or would like to remember it to be.
Anywho... I refuse to take up so much space that this becomes a boring novel on my personal opinion. Suffice it to say that I follow no ordered religion but follow my own personal, ever evolving magikal & scientific path. :)

I've Done The Rounds, Now Settled Oct 2nd. at 2:44:15 am UTC

Frater Priapus (Birmingham, UK) Age: 57 - Email

I started off at the age of 11, discovering Wicca and nature-spirits for myself. I would come down into my back garden at night and get my kit off, communing with the elementals. This progressed to walking sky-clad to a nearby park to feed the ducks at around 1 a.m. Then over the course of the next few years I had a growing interest in the LHP, through Denis Wheatley's novels. Joined and was initiated into the Luciferian traditions, which is where I've stabilised at. But in between I've got very attracted by other faiths and pathways including Protestant Christianity (Church of Scotland & Methodist), Islam, anti-Christian LHP Satanism. Now back where I feel I belong in the Luciferian tradition. I can still see SOME truths and merits in all paths. Now very eclectic. I miss the stirring hymns of the Methodist/Church of Scotland tradition; I enjoyed the POWER of Islam including the profound experience of the Lesser Hajj (Umra) and praying with a congregation of around 250,000 at the Bait Ul Haram in Mecca. Perhaps I've just realised that all paths, like the spokes of a wheel, start at the periphery and reunite at the centre. All going in different directions but returning to the same unified spiritual source.

Considering New Perspective... Oct 2nd. at 5:53:05 am UTC

Catherine (New Zealand) Age: 19 - Email

My first place as a pagan was with Wicca when I was 16, because friends of mine practised it and books were readily available on it. Not many people in my small town practised it, or were not willing to teach me, so I muddled about with a couple of books by myself. Three years later, having started university and minoring in Gender and Women's Studies, I'm having a rethink. I've also started attending a Shamanic Circle, which has given me an opportunity for exploring inwardly, and is much easier for me than meditation and visualisation, and joined a pagan network of the university, which shows me other paths and options, and is useful for discussing ideas.
After almost a year of Gender Studies, the binary male/female God/Goddess with masculine/feminine essences doesn't seem as 'natural' or 'right' to me anymore as it once did. While Wicca does offer an equality not found in other, patriarchal, systems, I believe that female and male can BOTH be nurturing and caring and fierce and spiteful and passive and many more things all rolled up into one, so limiting certain traits to one or the other sex, even though they are seen as equal, that being portrayed as OPPOSITES is a hindrance to that equality.
I have yet to find what suits me, but something where God and Goddess have all aspects, and interchange roles, flexible and liberated. Where women can be fierce and aggressive one minute, and gentle and nurturing the next, as the mood takes me, and the same can be allowed for men. Where limits to behaviour aren't given by the physical sex of the body, but can be developed for each individual as they wish it. Basically, I'm wanting a faith and a pantheon that reflects the way I would like my personal relationships (and the greater world) to work - each individual being free to create themselves as they are, possibly even the distinctions between male and female being of no consequence to their personality and actions.

Perhaps thats why the 'darker' goddesses have a lot of appeal to me now - Hecate, Kali, the Morrigan - goddesses that aren't afraid to be angry and sexual and fierce (oh so fierce) are my personal rolemodels. Maybe I'm angry, and would like to be free to take control of my life, not to be dictated to by society as to how I am to act and look.

But if anyone has any ideas as to where I can find such a thing, I'd live to hear...if not, I'll mix up something of my own...

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