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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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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| Necessary Labels? ||Oct 1st. at 10:58:35 pm EDT|
|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 EDT|
|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 EDT|
|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 EDT|
|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 EDT|
|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 EDT|
|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 EDT|
|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...
| Back In The Saddle Again. ||Oct 2nd. at 6:14:46 am EDT|
|Jadesilk (NWArk) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Up untill I was 13, I was force fed Catholicism. Then I refused to go to Mass. At that age and before, I had always had a deep respect and awe for Nature. I also had an almost rabid obsession with Native American Folklore, Greek, Roman, and Nordic Mythology. When I was 18 and met my first husband, he introduced me to the black arts, or I should say what he thought the black arts were. He gave me my first Tarot Cards. He introduced me to Crowley, LaVey, and ritualistic black magick.
None of it sat quite right with me. I left him and begin my journey which brings me here today. I have a respect for all religions. I have a respect for those who have faith and belief in their religious dogma, God, gods, Goddesses, what have you. I have no respect for those who use their religion as a crutch or excuse to be narrow minded. In the 18 years that I have been a naturalist, I have come full circle many times. I have grown and matured and come to understand and respect the responsibility that comes with truly being one with the earth. I have been called many things throughout my journey, the least of all being... evil, demom, succubuss, heathen, atheist, Pagan, Bruja, Strega, Witch. I have been all of these things, yet I am none of them. I am a solitary practioner of the Wiccan Religion.
| Changing Paths ||Oct 2nd. at 10:42:31 am EDT|
|Raine (Cobourg, Ontario) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I used to be hardline Wicca, but over the last 5 years, it has stopped seeming soimportant to identify with the label of wiccan, if asked nowadays, I simply state that I am pagan. I use more eclectic rituals now, because it doesn't seem as if I'm not 'wiccan' if I dabble in other kinds of religious rituals. I guess it'sa sign thatI'm finally comfortable with my true religion. Raine
| The Solitary Path ||Oct 2nd. at 11:54:22 am EDT|
|udjat (Atlanta, GA) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I was an emerging Wiccan only a few years ago. It was so comforting to me to actually find a faith that I felt comfortable with, even "rooted", so to speak... But I lack guidance and was never able to find anyone willing to offer support. Yes, I know there are local Pagan groups that meet, but after even contacting a few of them, I never received any replies. So what to do?
Since then I have given up and continue as a solitary practitioner of the Wiccan Religion. I know I still lack guidance, but feel my place is here. However, little by little, I seem to be loosing my way. As I am still practicing ritual, my practices are becoming more and more infrequent. My love for the religion has not changed, and I will continue to practice solitary. I just wish I could be made to feel there was room for at least one more....
| Evolution From Within ||Oct 2nd. at 1:31:55 pm EDT|
|Moonshadow (Los Angeles CA) ||Age: 32 - Email |
There is so much to wicca/ paganism/eath religions/ the God and Goddess/ the Universe etc. For me I feel I would be cutting myself short if I didn't let myself explore and evolve
on this journey.
I was brought up a pretty open and mello sect of Christianity. That only seemed to skim the surface though. I needed more. So I got involved in a Christian Funtamentalist group as a teenager. It was actually good for me at the time ( not to mention it was the only other religion available to me) but soon I could see the transparancy of it.
Discovered Wicca after college. I knew this was it! I had a hard time making the transition from worshiping one God to a God/Goddess duality. I needed to get to know them in a whole new way. I had a hard time juggling the two. What felt right at this time was just to focus on the Goddess. Hense Dianic Wicca.
A few years later after reading more and attending open circles and taking classes I began to let the God back into my life. It was time for me to deal with my male/ God power issues. I was now an ecclectic although I always reallycalled myself one.
The next step my journey involves Flower Essences( which are truely amazing) and working as a partner with nature spirits. My path ahead was brought about By Machelle Small Wrights co creative concepts ( which don't call themselves pagan/ wicca but seem to embrace similar concepts ) found in "Behaving as If the God in all Life Mattered"
I was distressed that I was no longer a wiccan. My new guru didn't proclaim herself a wiccan. Yet her concepts revolve around nature. So I guess I 'm just a nature loving pagan
| Back To My Roots. ||Oct 2nd. at 1:32:40 pm EDT|
|Beau (Monessen, PA) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I was raised as a child pretty much as a non-practicing Catholic. My dad would take me to church every now and again, and I did enjoy going, if only for the ritual. I still think that there's nothing more beautiful than a well-preformed Catholic Mass, it's magical. But a lot of the dogma didnt really sit well with me, so I decided to get away from it. I started on my path away from Christianity around age 12. A friend of mine, who was the new kid at school, got me introduced into Ritual magick, though I didn't really realize that's what it was at the time. I just thought it was Catholicism's dark side, what with all the ritual and all. Plus I was a pretty nieve little kid. But anyway, he moved away a couple years later and I began studying Wicca. This made a whole lot more sense to me, with all the living in harmony with nature and the male/female aspects of diety, plus it had the ritual that I liked. For the longest time, all through high school and the last couple years I became sort of the "Token Witch". Everyone knew about it, and I never hesitated to answer questions about my faith. I'll admit, I was kinda fluffy for the first couple years, but I don't think I ever mis-represented the faith. But lately I've been studying my family heritage (My mother and her family moved here from Germany when she was a child), and reading up on Norse mythology and history, and their religious practices. This resonates with me deeper than anything else I've followed. It's in my blood, the faith of my ancestors. So now I proudly call myself an Asatruar. It's been a long and winding road, but I finally feel like I am where I need to be.
Sorry for the long post, just though I'd finally chime in after lurking for such a long while here.
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