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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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| The Whys And The Wherefores ||Feb 27th. at 8:24:34 am EST|
|clio (York PA) ||Age: 30 - Email |
My Pagan/Wiccan journey has been a long and rather convoluted one.
The seeds were planted in my mother and father's divorce when I was ten. That was a traumatic event, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. To make a long story short, my mom let me be what I wanted to be and she let me figure things out for myself, for which I am grateful. I turned away from Christianity, the religion of my family, for a couple of reasons. The intense patriarchy made my feminist sensibilities nauseous, and I saw, and still see, a lot of hypocrisy in a lot of the Christian theology.
I was first exposed to Wicca in the early '90s. Two of my best friends at the time were practicing Solitaries and I browsed through a lot of their books. I didn't start seriously practicing and learning the Wiccan Way until just about three or four years ago (1999, 2000-ish) , as I went through a long phase of anti-religious sentiment--ANY religion was included. I dabbled in a lot of studies in the five or six years in between, but finally I took a look at what I was doing. At that moment, I realized that I was on a superficial Wiccan Path already--following the Wheel of the Year and talking to the Full Moon. I then decided that the time was right to acknowledge what was already there and continue learning and strengthen my beliefs (and I have been doing so ever since) .
What about Wicca attracted me? Well I was drawn to the respect for Mother Earth and all of Nature. That was a natural extension of the environmentalism that my dad instilled in me when I was little. I was also attracted to the concept of Lady and Lord, Goddess and God. Discovering the existence of the Goddess was a freeing realization for me. I could escape the patriarchy.
The most satisfying part of my journey? As a Solitary, I can study as I choose and set up my rituals the way I want to. Only one person can tell me what to do and how to do things and what to believe and that person is me.
| I Am What I Am - Blessed Be. ||Feb 27th. at 9:45:04 am EST|
|Selena (Ohio) ||Age: 44 - Email |
I was born and raised a strick Roman Catholic. Refirmed my confirmation, was re-baptized and reborn. I almost joined the order, but I had issues. The big one was a psychic ability that I did not know how to handle and neither did the church. The best answer I received was from an elderly priest who said, "It is either a gift from God, or the devil." It was up to be on how to use it. (I think it scared them more than it did me!) . I felt like a caged tiger. Pacing back and forth, impatient for release. The power within, always felt like it was ready to explode! So I kept to myself, gritted my teeth and bidded my time.
Then I started researching religions for a romance novel I was going to attempt to write. I always loved to write and was half-way decent at it. I figured channeling some creative energy would help release some of the bound up energy within. I researched all the way back to the legendary, mythical Atlantis. What I found astounded me and brought me a large measure of peace.
Pagan, yes, I am pagan; but I am also so much more. I am a child of the universe, looking forward to becoming one with the engery that surrounds and flows through all of us. I am old, but yet I am so young.
I still am learning how to deal with the tiger within, but now, she's not so restless. Learning to how to ground that engery helped, learning how to send that engery helped even more. I chuckle when I think back to almost becoming a nun. I would of missed so very much of what actually happens around us. To me, they have a very narrow view of a very wide exsistence.
Yes, I wear a pentagram ring and pendent and when someone is courageous enough to snidely remark; "Oh, you're a witch?". I just smile and say, "You have no idea!"
(Oh, yes, I'm still writting that book. Entitled "In The Moment Before Twilight". I'm now on ch.15, and a previous english professor, who I mail the chapters to proof read, keeps after me to finish the dang thing and get it published! But there isn't a wide market for this genre - yet.)
| Several Reasons ||Feb 27th. at 11:24:07 am EST|
|amy (southampton, england) ||Age: 22 - Email |
My parents brought me up with no religion but sent me to a Catholic primary school, where I found out about all the contradictions in Christianity. By the time I was introduced to Witchcraft I was drifting about looking for the right path for me. I'd already rejected Christianity and I felt Buddhism was too pessimistic. For me, Witchcraft addresses the feminine divine, is tolerant and inclusive, and shows an understanding of the sacredness of this world as well as the world of the spirits.
I heard about the Craft 5 or 6 years ago from a friend in 6th form. Once I'd got hold of some good books I was in, and it did feel like I was at home. Strangely, my cousin, to whom I am very close, came to Witchcraft about the same time, without either of us being aware. I think this consolidated things for me a lot more.
I am not sure what it is about the Craft that is most important to me. I certainly feel inspired by the tolerant yet responsible ethics, and the room for further debate, exploration and evolution. For me, the monotheisms are very limiting, and the Craft is liberating in comparison.
| My Pagan Path ||Feb 27th. at 12:05:09 pm EST|
|Shay (Joliet) ||Age: 39 - Email |
I consider myself a pagan, and although I've been studying the Craft and participating in some circles and classes, I still consider myself "new". My journey on my path began when I found a book called "Practical Solitary Magic". It was purely accidental (or was it?) as my husband and I were in a bookstore in Bloomington, Ill that we did not have in Joliet. The title just grabbed me as I had always thought a witch had to be in a coven. I devoured that book, and from the bibliography found more, and more. Then a shop we had been going to for stones and crystals had an introduction to Wicca course. I signed up, and learned more. What was taught about the Goddess and the God just made perfect sense to me, like it was a link that had been missing in my spirituality. Then I read "When God was a Woman" by Merlin Stone, and it just blew me away. When I was young I had read every type of mythology I could get my hands on. And despite having gone to Catholic grammar school, most of the books I found were in the school library. The stories always seemed real to me. I would dream about the goddesses and the gods, Mighty Thor was my favorite afterschool cartoon. The moon always seemed like she was watching me as I did Her. Then there were the movies, as much as they always portrayed witches in a negative light, I somehow always knew that it wasn't like that. Unfortunately at that time, I didn't know where to go or how to find out anything. I'm fortunate that I have a very supportive husband, who while he chooses to remain Christian, has had experiences with at least one goddess and a few animal guides. He also accompanies me to circles on Sabbats (when we can get to them) and participates wholeheartedly. I am just getting to the stage where I am starting to consider spellwork. I felt it was more important to focus on honoring the Lady and Lord first. After all, spells are prayers with props (tools) . It's been just over two years now, I still have a long way to go on my path, but I've taken the first steps. Blessed be, everyone. May you find your path and know within your heart it's the right one.
| Pagan Why Of Course, What Else Is There For Me To Be? ||Feb 27th. at 12:06:35 pm EST|
|Farrah Skye (Gales Ferry, Ct) ||Age: 25 - Email |
Yes I am witch, a pagan. One of many masks. I celerat the passing and comings of the seasons and the times. I have always been. I was that child that never quit fit in. So I would go for walks by myself and "talk" to the trees and other living things around. I found trees espally comforting to me. When I "found" witchcraft" I was still in high school. But I wasn't as much as a change as it may have been for others. It was only a name of where I come from. I have since learned of other ways, besides what I first did. I am now a mixed bag of different things that I do and come from. Native ways for example really are my heart way also, I've found. So for me there is no other way. The mother is behind our feet. Her heartbeat is ours. The drumbeat is alive and well in us all. It is just how you use that engery.
Morning Star Farrah Skye
| Something Old, Something New.... ||Feb 27th. at 12:28:55 pm EST|
|Elf (cornwall, england) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I was brought up in the countryside of Cornwall and felt very isolated from society for years. When I reached the age of 16 I left my loving parents, which upset them deeply, and went to live in a city 25 miles away. It was a shock to me and I had to learn a lot in a very short space of time. During that time I wanted nothing more than to get away from the boring countryside which I felt imprisoned me.
However, during my time in the city, at the age of 17 I met the man who i feel is my soul-mate and life partner. It wasn't long before I longed to leave the city. It was ugly, I felt cut off from beauty and I felt suffocated. I would try to get away to the park to feel the land but I couldn't feel a lot there, it was too trapped itself.
One day I went to the moors and was wandering around looking at plants etc. like I often do, and I found some small mushrooms which I knew to be hallucinogenic. I ate quite a lot, which I wouldn't recommend because they can be dangeorus. However, I knew the dosage and it felt right so I decided I was willing to risk it and deal with whatever came.
What came, fortunately was an experience which changed my whole way of thinking forever. I felt the pulse and power of the planet, I heard the birds chatter and as I laughed they mimicked me. I went to this amazing level and felt the power of it. It was overwhelming, deep, intelligent, pure power. Animals came and sat near me and watched me, I could feel myself ommiting light. Then it went up a level and everything exploded into millions of eyes, except they were all one eye. She looked right into me.
I wasn't sure what to do but I thought, I couldn't bow before her I just had to let her look into me and hope she liked me. Seeing as now I know I am part of her, as we all are, it was ok. It just took my breath away. I knew then that everything feels, as one - everything is connected. There is this huge intelligence, the Goddess and we are part of it as is everything, like one beautiful creature. We are just a form of her consciousness.
What could I do after that but love Gaia, worship her in her different aspects. I am interested in magic, although I don't know much about it. I am very respectful of these magic plants as they are very powerful. You may not print this but I wrote it because I feel the mushrooms are a source of knowledge which the earth makes available to us. They must never ever be abused - they are hard work and not for fun. However, they are there, they are of her body and they are there for a reason. Since then I realised that my beliefs were of a pagan type and to me the most satisfying aspect of paganism is simply being part of this beautiful dance, watching the way she changes with the seasons, and knowing that life is pure magic and I am part of it....
| Why Am I Pagan? ||Feb 27th. at 2:41:49 pm EST|
|Nichole (Canada) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I like so many others was raised as a Roman Catholic. I have always been interested in "WitchCraft" but my family told me that I was just trying to be something greater than a normal human being. I am a very new Pagan, but I continue to learn as much as possible about the religion, and hope to meet others involved as well.
My sister and I have shared the same "Psychic" ability from the time that we were very young, but it wasn't something that we were allowed to talk about without being ridiculed, so we fell silent. Now I have broken out of the silence, and I talk freely with my immediate family about what it is I do.
I have been practicing now since (Ironically I tried my first successful spell) October 31, 2001. I plan to continue on my path, and fill myself with the love, compassion, and peace that is wiccan.
| Why I'm A Pagan ||Feb 27th. at 3:43:55 pm EST|
|Llewelyn Raven (England) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I was raised a Christian like many people have, yet when I looked at all the beauties in the world I could only imagine it to be created by a female and since finding paganism, i have been blessed.
I have been a pagan for 3 years now
| Born & Raised ||Feb 27th. at 4:18:32 pm EST|
|Lunae (rural STL area of MO) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I was born in a family still following the Old Ways. No there's no secret handshake. Matter of fact, some Wiccans I know have told me my beliefs are invalid as my family accepts the view of *any* religion's prescribed God as approachable for us too. In other words, if I like, I can talk to Yahweh or Mary or whomever I feel like. We're animistic in our views and I don't see how that can't apply to Mr. Smith's God.
In short, I find it amusing to hear Neo-Pagans and others refer to followers of mainstream religions as "blind followers who are just doing as they were taught."
Yup, lil ol' Pagan me too! It's not to say I don't question what I was taught nor haven't experimented w/ turning my back COMPLETELY on the Divine, let alone for a time wondering if all the Xtians who were beating me and bringing me up for charges of "endangering minors" w/ my beliefs (I, too was a minor) . Gee, & I thought I was fairly secretive! I have gone through growing pains and returned to the world of my childhood. If you ask me "why?" on quite a lot though, sorry friends:
I was taught that way. It works for me. And that's all that matters...to me.
Follow your bliss!
Kerridwen (aka Lunae)
| Why I Am Pagan? ||Feb 27th. at 4:22:03 pm EST|
|Hnyswtdl (Sacramento, CA) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I was raised christian like everyother bot on the block. Don't question what the good book says. Of course, "god" created the bible...not by ordinary men...who wrote about another ordinary guy who claimed not to be so ordinary. Needless to say, I was always getting into fights with the fellow church goers about how beautiful and serene life really was...and how it must have been created by a female diety...Or how if they're god is only love and devotion, then why does he make so many feel pain. I found the Pagan path by 16 and I read all I could get my grubby little hands on...I read the "teen" books (boy were they just a poser publication) and The cunningham books (cunningham was great!I highly reccomend them) . I researched all I could...and then I told my family. I was Pagan...and years later, I still am proud to say those words, "I am Pagan". And everyday, the pagan world expands...We are doing great things out here, for our community and fellow humans...I hope it continues, and I do hope to hear more say "I AM PROUD TO BE PAGAN"!
| Happy Heathen! ||Feb 27th. at 4:30:23 pm EST|
|Alithea Luna (Atlanta, GA) ||Age: 24 - Email |
Ever since I was a small child I've been talking to spirits and ghosts. I could always communicate with animals. I could get assistance from the Elements. I even began astral travel when I was 8 years old.
This path isn't a new one for me, or for my family. There's always been a witch somewhere in the ranks. Granted, most of my family is Christian. But there's no rule stating that a witch can't be a member of a mainstream religion. I'm the break from the pattern. I'm not Christian, but simply because it doesn't feel right to me.
The most amazing part of my path is the direct communication with the Divine and with Nature. I don't need to be in a particular building or have a certain person present if I need to address the Divine. It's as personal as close friendship- and what could be better in life than that?
| Why Am I Pagan? ||Feb 27th. at 6:54:00 pm EST|
|Cathy (Issaquah Washington) ||Age: 38 - Email - Web|
I was brought up strict southern Baptist, and while I went to church loyally every week I never felt comfortable or at home. I always believed there was so much more then what I was being taught. As a teen I began to learn things about nature, spritual things that was deemed evil by the church, I became so much more empathetic that I could never explain how "I knew things" but always was made to try to explain them by leaders at the church that I really never wanted to go anymore. And eventually I stopped. I started somewhat practicing ritual, and did not even really have a clue what I was doing, or why, what I did know is that it felt right, good, and just normal. After learning that on both sides of my family we have varies and sundry types of magical peoples I just figured that it was my heratige and I was doing what had been given to me by my family.
I never feel the need to explain myself, however, I never have a problem educating folks on my beliefs in I need to either.
I am pagan not only becuase of heratige but because I choose to be. I am at peace with my beliefs. I think that should be the intent of any religion, to find peace, harmony and balance. I achieve that with my beliefs. My prayer is that all people will.
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