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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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| 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.
| The Story So Far ||Oct 2nd. at 3:11:01 pm EDT|
|Amber Heathen (Cornelius Oregon) ||Age: 22 - Email |
When I was about 13 years old I did the oh-so-typical "Christianity sucks! I don't want to be one anymore" thing. (I was raised Baptist.) So at that point I decided I was an atheist. I also decided that I was going to be so rabidly anti-Christian that it's embarrassing to even think about now. Around my freshman year of high school a friend of mine started reading about Wicca. I read a little bit and thought, "Well, at least it isn't Christianity." She introduced me to a couple of her other friends who were also into Wicca and we all started hanging out together. I'd started reading about Wicca too and was at the time actually considering it as a religious option. Then my friend started acting all screwed up, to get attention mostly. She'd come to school with poison oak rashes on her arms and legs and spout off very matter-of-factly that the "pixies" led her through poison oak. At that time I started thinking to myself "Hmmm, I think I'll go this way now...." And the two friends she'd introduced me to were druggies anyway, and I don't like associating with those kind of people anyway. So for a few years I didn't read about Wicca at all. My first impression of it wasn't a good one for the above reasons, came across as flakey.
During my senior year of high school I decided to give it another shot. I started reading about Wicca again. However it didn't take me too long (only about a year, year and a half give or take) to realize the more I read about it, the more I realized it totally was not my thing. Now at age 22,I just consider myself an eclectic dark pagan witchy something or other. I've tried so hard to find at least half decent books on Witchcraft that *aren't* Wiccan. All the books I've ever bought are just sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust fluff-bunnies. Apparently, I don't fit in anywhere. Fine by me. I'd prefer to be solitary, considering anytime I've happened to run into anyone else who is Pagan all they wanted to talk about is how awful those darn Christians are. I'm not bothered by Christians at all anymore, which is good since most of my friends and relatives are Christians. I'm still waiting for that beautiful day when someone will finally write a book about Witchcraft from the point of view of a non-Wiccan. Whenever a Wiccan writes a book about it they use the words "Witch" and "Wiccan" interchangeably, giving the uneducated reader on the subject the popular misconception that they are one and the same. And by gosh if someone doesn't write it soon I will and it won't be nice! LOL
Life is a learning process, and religion is a part of life so I will always be learning. If any yahoo ever walks up to me and says "I know everything there is to know about paganism and witchcraft" I'll know they're either lying or crazy. And I'll wonder if the pixies led them through poison oak too.
| Ch Ch Ch Changes ||Oct 2nd. at 3:46:55 pm EDT|
|Greenfae (florida) ||Age: 42 - Email |
In my time I have found that being a witch is on of the most rewarding and interesting things to have in your life. On the way of finding this out I have changed many times. Not so much in the fundenmetal things. But learning and growing in my belifes have caused me to reevaluate alot of my pre learned thoughts and feelings. There has been things that I found were not true to what I really believed. Also there were things that I had to embrace knowing them to be true in my heart. When I started I wanted to have as many deities as possible. Now I see them all as one. The only real diffrance to me is the area which they deal with. When I think about that I have to remember in myself I have lots of chances every day to be many diffrent people. But no one limits me aside from myself. Who am I to limit a dieity. But then that is one of the things that has changed in me. I am sure lots of us have changed and will contuine to change.
Thanks for the read,
blessings and peace to all,
| Unknown Change ||Oct 2nd. at 3:48:09 pm EDT|
|Andrew Smith (Atkins, AR) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Well...as most people here have posted, it seems that most have been brought up as a Christian one way or another. I, like so many others, was brought up the same way. I was a Chatholic until the age of 13 when I moved to live with my father who disliked the Chatholic belief and tried to make me Baptist. It is then that I met an atheist. This being a new concept to me confused yet intriqued my thoughts. Puzzled how one person could drop the belief in God was hard for me to conceive. It didn't happen over night. But rather a couple of years. I opened my mind to the possiblites of evolution and many other possiblities no matter how far fetch. Then it happened. I lost my faith in God. I do not hate nor dislike any religion but I do not believe in the Christian god. Then when I turned 18 I started reading into Wicca. Believing in nothing has been hard and somewhat scary with my grandfathers cancer and my other grandfather falling ill due to diabeties. I do not like the idea of them becomind nothing. In fact I fear it. But I cannot just pick up faith. I have been reading for sometime the Wiccan beliefs and I very much like the ideas and concepts it delievers, but the fact remains that I do not yet believe in an omniponent or highly evolved being that watches us even if it doesnt interfere with our daily activities. That still requires some sort of leap of faith. I will continue my research into the wiccan religion. I hope that I can achieve some sort of spiritual awakening that I have yet to incounter. I hope that this partakes somewhat to the question. More or less, I just wanted to be heard on my thoughts like many others. Thank you for your time.
| Changed For The Better ||Oct 2nd. at 6:24:41 pm EDT|
|Aislynn (Puerto Rico) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
Well, in my childhood, I always felt attuned to nature and magick, but naturally like every ignorant Christian child, I thought it was rebellion and Satan was involved. Into my teens, I began studying more about the truth and became a "witch", following Wicca. Now almost out of my teens, I am studying the ancients dieties and following Isis, Pele, and Thor with a blend of the ancient ways to worship with some of the modern ways.
| What Can I Say? ||Oct 2nd. at 8:12:18 pm EDT|
|Alex (Massachusets) ||Age: 16 - Email |
i am a pagan practiceing alone and learningt what i can but it is hard to find what i need for imformation at times. i satarted out my life a christian but over time i began feeling more and more attuned with things out side of the chrchs explenation. i was told thing that i was talking about thing the devil did i knew that wasn't true but i looked on one day i found a friend who showed me to the pagan path she taught me almost all i know with her help and encouragement i have expanded my afinity to nature and my abilitys to read minds see the future to a degree and also trasmit and recive energies after learning all this i knew that i was ment to fallow a pagan path and science then i have been doing that to the best of my abilitys. i now know things that allow me to live happier and mor in tune with my surroundings. please feel free to e-mail me comments i'm always looking to talk to another pagan.
A lone pagan
| Switching Paths? More Like Changing Lanes ||Oct 2nd. at 8:37:41 pm EDT|
|David Aquarius (Renton, WA) ||Age: 44 - Email |
In eight short months, I will be celebrating 30 years since I made the conscious choice to follow the Pagan faith. A copy of Sybil Leek's "Diary of a Witch" (I'm not alone in this) started me on my journey to witchcraft and Paganism. How ever, I lived in a very remote, very small town in a very conservative part of WA state. I could not find the materials needed to advance my knowledge, and witchcraft was not shaping up to my young expectations. In my three decades of journeying, I have sampled a good many Pagan faiths; trying some, staying clear of others, and in the end, just walking the path that speaks closest to my Spirit
I was raised by a non-religious father and a devout Catholic mother, with seven siblings to add chaos to the mix. My dad was a logger and took every opportunity to bring us into the woods to learn the ways of the forest. Safety, respect and necessity were his motives but he also imparted a love and affection for these places deep within me. I was also raised with Native neighbors, a reservation was almost in my backyard. I knew their families, always playing with the children. Thus I was exposed to the culture of the First People.
As I sit here composing this answer, I have committed my life and soul to the Spirit of the Earth, Gaia for want of a better name. I am considered a shaman by my clan, a brother and friend to those who live and thrive in the wild. I am not Native and do not sing their songs or dance their dances, but I was taught to use their methods in search of my Celtic ancestors. They taught me how to drive but I have to get my own car.
I find that we don't really change paths, merely change lanes on the great spiritual highway. Even those who choose Paganism after years of being Christian are just following their true muse at long last. Our Spirit already knows what path we should walk, it just takes courage and a good sense of self-inquiry to get there. I think, in the end, we all go the same direction. We just choose to go there in very different ways. And that is the way the Goddess/Creator meant it to be all along.
| I Fine Tuned My Ideas... ||Oct 2nd. at 11:54:03 pm EDT|
|Luineannon (Belleville, IL) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I started out not sure what I was just knew what I believed... Then I learned about Wicca. I then started learning about Celtic Wicca, mostly... but it still didn't seem to cover it all. I felt as though I had my own version of what worked for me, that I would never be able to describe without sounding like I didn't know what I was talking about. One day I was in a book store and I picked up one of the Wicca Dictionaries and I looked up the types of Wicca. I found that I am easier labeled as Eclectic Wicca (is that spelled right?hehe) Well, since then I feel as though I finally have a place that I belong, but I have yet to come across someone else so titled.
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