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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: 20,416,913  

Vox Q Stats

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Reponses: 110

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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 

No Yet Oct 3rd. at 2:11:48 pm EDT

Stratyllis (Seattle,WA) Age: 19 - Email

I haven't changed my path yet but I have been thinking about it. I am currently Wiccan. I think I want to look into Strega and Dianic traditions.

Beyond Spellbooks Oct 3rd. at 2:33:06 pm EDT

Julie (Mesa, AZ) Age: 32 - Email

Yes, I have changed paths. I consider myself Pagan and a New Ager but also a philosophical Taoist. The rest, as they say, is subject to change without notice.

I also can say, "I was Wiccan before Wicca was cool." I found my way into Wicca in 1991, and began to seriously practice it in 1992.

I come from a very loose Protestant family, where my spirituality was my choice. I made all the choices about what my religion was when I was a kid, I simply stuck to Christianity because my parents were Christian, and I didn't know there were choices beyond the mainstream religions.

I began to look elsewhere for spiritual fulfillment after an especially BAD year, emotionally, and during/after the Harmonic Convergence in 1988, found Tarot. I learned Tarot, then found my way to Crystal work, and eventually New Age thought. From there, I found magick and Wicca.

I'm an 'old school New Ager'.

New Agers get universally bashed these days, and that's a sad thing, because when I began my New Age studies, words like "White Light" and "fluffy bunny" weren't used to refer to practitioners of religious or spiritual thought. While I am one of the first to admit that the New Age has been recently commercalised and turned into an easy way to make money off of gullable people, it wasn't always like that, and many other things have been homogonized into more socially acceptable 'bite size' packaging, not just the New Age and Wicca. I was a telephone Tarot reader as a profession, for instance, before "Miss Cleo" and the "Psychic Network", back when the readers actually used their own tarot cards, and didn't have cheat-sheets and computer Tarot programs.

Over the years, I have studied Paganism, and have read Cunningham, Buckland, Ravenwolf, the Farrars and many others. I have studied a lot of alternative religions from Kemetic Orthodoxy to Asatru. Wicca was never the 'exact fit' it was supposed to be, for me. Thus my seeking. Through this I continued to call myself "Wiccan" primarily so that I had a 'label' if I ever needed one. (Although when I was admitted to the hospital the two times in my life, I was classified as "Other" or "Unknown" even though the first time I put "Wiccan" and the second I put "Pagan")

It is also harder to move away from Wicca than one might think, especially for Solitaries. Many books labeled "Paganism" are actually Wicca. There is very little Pagan oriented information available that doesn't have Wicca as it's basis. This is probably why many people who have found their way into Paganism through Wicca continue to call themselves Wiccan even though they don't feel innately that they identify with this religion.

Those that do decide to look beyond Wicca and Paganism-Wicca are usually finding themselves studying the Eastern Philosophies like Taoism, Buddhism and Zen, or are embarking for completely uncharted territories in personal spirituality.

I suppose I can call myself a Mystic as well.

But I don't call myself Wiccan any longer. It's not me.

Pagan Taoist New Age Mystic

Didn't Change Much! Oct 3rd. at 2:49:19 pm EDT

Gregg A Manor (California) Age: 27 - Email

I haven't change all that much. I call my self a wiccan to most people I talk to. However, I came into the religion for the simple reason that most of the beliefs were my beliefs. I've only changed the name.

I Have Changed As I Have Learned Oct 3rd. at 3:40:42 pm EDT

Arainnon Niamh (Portsmouth - England) Age: 18 - Email - Web

When I first identified as a Pagan I was exposed to mainly wicca and as a very young Pagan I was exposed to a very eclectic form of wicca. As I have learned and grown my beliefs have not changed as much as my practices have. I am learning about many Pagan traditions, in order to widen my knowledge but I am now identifying as a Dianic Wytch. A short time ago I had a small crisis and realised it was the Goddess alone I wanted to dedicate my life to. So I guess I would say the only thing that has changed for me is what I call/name myself, nothing else has. I believe my change from eclectic to Dianic Wicca has helped me connect with the Earth better as a Pagan. I think everyone changes at some points in their life, I just think its up to them how they adapt to it. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

Change Is Inevitable With Growth Oct 3rd. at 4:29:18 pm EDT

Uruloki (Bozeman, Mt) Age: 20 - Email

As I have grown older I have incorporated many of the things I have learned and feel are true into my own personal path. I believe that all must change inevitably.

I Have Changed And Settled. Oct 3rd. at 4:42:54 pm EDT

rayvenmoonshadow (catoosa ok) Age: 32 - Email

Yes I have changed from the first path I learned.Since I am a self taught witch I have no access to outside thinking and developed my our path.The first one I learned was a mix of Starhawk and Silver RavenWolf.Then I started to look into female only paths and now I am in the Celtic path following the Dianic I developed.I was called and now feel at home.

I Have Evolved Oct 3rd. at 5:00:05 pm EDT

Myrddin (wisconsin) Age: 55 - Email

A person's life evolves as it matures and brings new insights to the mix.
Early on, I was much imbued with Christianity. At the age of 14 or so I thought there would be nothing finer than becoming a Protestant minister. Funny thing though, mid-teen years often mean finding out your heroes have feet of clay, things arent always as they seem, disappointments and disenchantments occur as you truly evolve into a thinking person instead of learning by rote. The rest of your life is spent in gaining the wisdom to recognize things as they are, and accept them when appropriate, knowing when NOT to accept something, when to rebel, when to stand firm, when to support and when to fade into the background.

That being said, the same applies to our religious or spiritual growth. Some accept blindly. Some analyze and experiment. Some seek paths wherever they take them. Some find what they are looking for and never waver. Some find bits and pieces of the puzzle here and there and incorporate them into their core beliefs.

My core belief is that all religions spring to being in man's attempt to be a part of everything around him, instead of a victim of his surroundings. Religions spring to being as a way for mankind (generic usage here you Dianics, no downplaying of the importance and magic of the female side of the equation meant) to answer the questions his inner "soul" asks. Each religion, whether it be organized and established, or New Age, or Old a path to those ends.

I began as Christian, then in the early 70's become a devout Wiccan. It seemed Gardner et al had it more right. Gardner's claim of having "found" the true Old Religion carried much weight in the argument. Today, I now accept that his group rather "invented" his purported "Old Ways" from an amalgam of things...Masonic lore and ritual, anthropological thoughts, popular concepts, etc etc
and was just one group's idea of what the Old Ways MIGHT have been.

I think, these days, the eclectics have it more right. Take what feels right from each and incorporate it into your belief system with the major crede of "and it harm none, do what you will". I do like to subscribe to the God and Goddess structure, as it is easiest for me to view things in the male/female context of all things being composed of parts of both, and the need for both aspects in a well ordered world. Both equally regarded, both equally important to the scheme of things, with neither dominant or "better than" the other.

My basic views these days are respect for all religions NOT perverted by institutional myopia or oppression of other views.....and incorporate that which makes sense and fulfills my inner seeking into a basic structure composed of Wicca. I wish the old Druids and wise women, the old witches and seers could come to life and instruct me - teach me - just what their structure, beliefs and arts were back then.......lacking that I do the best I can as do we all.

If it fulfills you, "and it harm none" and gives you inner peace and answers to the deep questions your inner self asks......then it is good.

That's where I am at these days. Still seeking, still incorporating. On a basic structure.

Christian, Zen, UU, NeoPagan. Oct 3rd. at 6:47:17 pm EDT

Ackadia Seawind (Palm Coast Florida) Age: 40 - Email - Web

My first Neopagan Path has been my only Pagan Path. I joined a CAW Nest in 1996, and have never looked back. That does not mean that I have not grown and changed. Far from it! I have evolved and grown both in my Philosophy and in my pratice. I love the mix of Intellectualism and Tactile interaction; the unification of Pratical Ethically Living with Religious Devotion.... It is just too cool an experience to change. Link to More info related to this post -- HERE

To Ignore Change, Is To Ignore Life Oct 3rd. at 6:56:25 pm EDT

Aspen (North Carolina) Age: 25 - Email

I am going to break the questions down, and answer them initially, and then give my conclusion.

>>Did you perhaps start out as a Wiccan and now follow a different Pagan or Heathen path/religion?

Yes, I sure did. I started out in the Wiccan religion, and became "super pagan." What do I mean by "super pagan" you might ask? I mean I was the type of Wiccan who truly exuded "fluff", and by "fluff" I mean fundie. I wanted all the power, and thought I had all the power. In less than a year, I was proven very wrong! I even fell out of religion for many months and declared myself atheist, but soon found my path back "on track."

>>Have you changed from self-identifying as a 'Witch' to something else?

Yes, once again, I sure have. I am not just a "Witch"; I also follow a Druidic ways of life now. I am not focused so much on the "religion" or "tradition" so much as I am in knowing my days are walked with my path, not for it.

>>If you have changed how you self-identify under the Pagan/Heathen umbrella, why did you change?

I changed because I evolved, as all life does. Being a true blue Gemini as it is, I am the epitome of change. To go against this nature of myself, and of life period, is to go against the grains of the Universe. Being in the path I am now, in following a Druidic Witchcraft manner, I know my life is as natural as the universe can offer to me right now. I walk my days as balanced as a human can attempt to achieve. Even though I go off balance in life at times, I know these "unbalances" are merely life. Life has peace and chaos, and I recognize this.

>>Did your beliefs change?

Very much so! In the beginning of walking my life in a Pagan manner, my beliefs were very much that of the "Pagan Fundies" that I abhor today. I believed that the Pagan movement needed respect given while I gave none in return, simply because I felt defiled. This is not the case anymore, for I know that to get respect, one must earn it. This takes time, and I have learned that the Pagan ways are not easy ones. They teach us patience, honor, and to earn what we receive. We just do not get it because we scream, pout, and preach that we deserve it simply because our ancestors were burned at the stake. Every culture and every religion has their share of people being burned at the stake, even Christians burning Christians. We are not any more different than anyone else of any other religion, belief, or culture.

>>Did the Pagan/Heathen community change?

I do not know if the Community has changed, but I sure have; therefore it looks different to me. I find more power hungry Pagans out there now than I ever did before. I give credit to myself for this because of how much my perspective on life, religion, and history have changed, and mellowed out.

>>What do you think of folks who have switched?

I commend them! I actually think it is needed. I think those who do not change, or back it up, wind up stagnating and suffocating themselves; and in turn, the Pagan community at large. Change, evolution, and movement are all a part of life. To go against this, is to simply say to life, "you stink, I rule, poo on you! " Yeah, this kind of attitude really gets people somewhere in life! But in all seriousness folks, without change, life would not continue. Without change, we would not grow. Without change, we would not live.

>>Is there currently a real shift into more diverse or selective Paths/Religions within the communities?

I still feel in my opinion, that there is not. I see about 75% of the Pagan community out there on the net, and in real life, have a head strong attitude toward keeping "tradition" alive. Fine, keep tradition, but also know tradition understands and embraces change and movement. Tradition takes us to new places, new horizons, and new cultures to learn about and from. Tradition is not there to pigeon hole us, it is there to offer us foundations to build and grow upon. Not to do what many people do these days, and focus primarily on what their version of "old traditions" are; in turn, sticking only to these ways, while ostracizing the rest of the changing community for being "uneducated" and "un-powerful."

>>Will Wicca remain the dominant Pagan religion that it now is? Why or why not?

Pardon my french here, but HELL NO! Wicca is only opening the doors to the Pagan community in general being known more to our society. If Wicca were to remain a (or "the") primary religion for Paganism, the Pagan community in general would suffer. People would begin to identify Pagans simply as Wiccans (which is all ready happening right now), and the broad scope of Paganism would be misunderstood if one proclaims they are a Druid or otherwise. I truly believe if Wicca became the "primary" Pagan religion, it would pigeon hole Paganism and Pagans period all over the world. This is not what the Pagan ways teach. There is no "one" way in Paganism and Wicca sure as hell is not the religion to truly show what the Pagan ways are alone. All paths of Paganism need to be looked at to truly respect Paganism as simply a natural way of life, living the best we can in harmony with nature and our environment.

All in all folks, some of you may totally thrash my words about because I may say things that, oh my goodness may dare expose the possible underlying truth? I only speak my mind and my opinion, and these opinions are always apt to change. But this change happens over time, and to against the forces of change and try to force too much grounding in ones life, truly keeps a person from growing to know the spirits of themselves, and the spirit of nature and the universe. This life was given to us as a gift, though it seems like a curse sometimes. This life is a testing ground, a means to educate us. We are given tests daily to see if we will pass, and the more we pass, the more we become aware of ourselves as spirits. To ignore this, to turn your eyes blind to this fact of life, is to trun your eye away from the universe and what you believe in deity wise.

I truly look forward to more responses with the weekend coming on this issue. This is truly a good one that Witchvox chose! ;)

Take care and be well all!


Sure Have! Oct 3rd. at 7:08:49 pm EDT

Elrih Gailnorn (Tennessee) Age: 23 - Email - Web

Yes, I have changed my path. My overall views have changed, as well as the ways that I express my appreciation to the powers that be. My name hasn't changed, though, I still call myself a solitary practicioner of Green Witchcraft. I have mearly evolved my views to match my accumulated wisdom.

Yes And No Oct 3rd. at 8:27:56 pm EDT

Jyll (kamloops, bc, Canada) Age: 21 - Email

Originally i started this path as a wiccan then recently i have been reading a lot about buddism and i find the teachings to be inspiring and really not all that different from those i have been following on my wiccan path, there isn't really a change in my beliefs just an expansion of knowledge and inspiration. i continue to lead my life as a wiccan, i love it but i've just incorporated a few new ideas to my own ideology.

Evolution Oct 3rd. at 9:40:00 pm EDT

Candie Arnold (Sand Springs, OK) Age: 49 - Email

I began by thinking of myself as Wiccan, and as I learn more I become less able to use any particular label. My core beliefs have become better defined in my own mind, and they haven't changed, but the ways in which I phrase them to others have changed. I may not be a Wiccan, but I AM a witch! Autumn blessings!

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