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Pagan Perspectives

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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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Responses: [2,666]

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112. Elders: Who Are They and Do We Really Need Them? - [74]

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 22,077,814  

Vox Q Stats

Times Viewed: 32,767

Reponses: 142

Lurker/Post Ratio: 230 to 1

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. Reverse Sort 

Sacred Contact Feb 28th. at 9:08:39 am EST

Cim Roesener (Manhattan, KS) Age: 47 - Email

I was primarily lead to paganism because it is a spiritual practice in which any devotee is allowed to contact the sacred. Rather than simply watching a priest, minister, deacon or rabbi as he communes with that which is sacred, pagan ritual actively includes all participants. I my particular circle, everyone has a part in planning ritual, and everyone takes a primary role in each ritual.

I Love & Respect Nature & The Fact That We're All Connected Feb 28th. at 9:22:06 am EST

October's Autmn Child (Canada) Age: 32 - Email

Growing up I hated being made to feel ashamed of my feelings and thoughts.Being
told I was bad because I questioned mainstream views on life choices and death.
I was considered a bit odd while growing up since I had a tendency to do and say my own thing.
I respect life and diversity.Growing up in a racist area, I never seemed to fit in as
even as a child the hate expressed by others seemed to upset me in a profound way.
I hate to be preached to!!!And found high and mighty hypocrites left & right,
which just pushed me farther off the main stream.
I've always held Nature in high regard and ecology , we are all connected , ya know, and only discovered the word Pagan about 4 years
ago.There's so many wars being fought today, trying to convert or irradecate others.
It just all seems so foolish.My motto:"I'd like to buy the world a Coke and live in harmony!"
Someday we might get there folks....Peace

Why Am I A Pagan? Feb 28th. at 10:08:20 am EST

Tabitha (Oklahoma) Age: 18 - Email

Why am a Pagan? To me thats like asking me why I'm white, or why I have brown hair. I just am.

Beware A Sharp Tongue, You May Cut Your Own Throat Feb 28th. at 10:35:18 am EST

Ravenna (Renton, Washington) Age: 22 - Email - Web

I guess I've always been a pagan. When I was younger (9 yrs. - 11 ys.) I didn't really go to church to learn, I went for the social interaction with my school friends. I'd always found an attraction to nature, and I considered myself a big mythology buff. At 12, my Sunday school class decided to teach us about the evils of the occult. Imagine my surprise when they told me that there really were witches (of *course* they served Satan you know) , but from that moment, I had to know more. It started a lifelong fascination with paganism, witchcraft and finally, I felt like I had come home. I officially started studying Wicca at 17, and I haven't looked back since.

Ravenna Angelline
Renton, Washington

Why Am I Pagan Feb 28th. at 12:12:28 pm EST

Firewind (Kentucky) Age: 33 - Email

I am Pagan because I was born. I went to church as a child and although I was not uncomfortable there I found out that Paganism has been in my family through many generations. I was told to be careful of the "fine line" and that many Pagans in my family had converted to Christianity because they were scared of crossing the line. I did not choose to be Pagan I just am.The most satisfying part of being Pagan is that I don't feel obligated to fit in to society by judging others and thier religions, I get to be closer to "the Higher Power" by worshipping in a natural environment (nature) , and I have the satisfaction of being a good person no matter what other people think or feel. If all religions actually practiced what they preach then there would be no controversy over something that is supposed to make us better people. Blessed Be to All!

My Path Feb 28th. at 1:39:45 pm EST

thornflower (New Mexico) Age: 22 - Email

I am pagan because I am a free mind able to choose for myself. I use the word pagan only because people need deffinitions of things. I am a child of the earth and wish to live in balance with her and her other children. If by other's deffinitions that make me a pagan then so be it. I grew up in the church and found it severly lacking. It was not until I studied the pagan teachings in deapth and then embraced them that I found the peace I have searched for my whole life. It is not an easy path, but that is why it is so fulfilling to me. I know now that I have always walk this path and always will.

my motto "you've got to dance like no one's watching and love like it's never gonna hurt."

Wiccan Baby Feb 28th. at 3:49:58 pm EST

Rain (Rochdale, MA) Age: 20 - Email - Web

I'm a Wiccan because I love nature. I love the sun, the moon and stars. I love the way the grass feels when it lurks between my toes, when I run bare foot in the field while having a picnic. I love the wetness of the rain when it hits my face, and when the moon light tans me with night time blackness. I love the Goddess and God, I love the animals and plants. I love the energies emerging as I chant or do a ritual under a full moon. I love the silent voice of wisdom that I get from my altar. I love using magick to make needed change in my life. If I'm ever feeling down on for any reason-I just close my eyes and ask the Goddess and God to give me strength to make me feel better. I love Wicca!

Grovelers Need Not Apply Feb 28th. at 3:55:57 pm EST

Kraven Archer (the mountains) Age: 30 - Email

I am what I am. What I believe doesn't fit anything else. I don't have to grovel before anyone's god, nor does anyone grovel before me. I like that.

Why Am I A Pagan? Feb 28th. at 4:01:10 pm EST

Peregryn (Las Flores) Age: 25 - Email

It all started off rather innocently, a young devout christian child who asked way too many questions of her elders... When my pastor started to be unable to answer my questions and even tried dissuading me from asking them that I knew I had to look elsewhere to find the spiritual path I was meant for. I think every young girl is drawn to the mystical at some point during her transformation from child to woman- I simply started younger than others. I devoured everything I could get my hands on with regards to "fantasy" :celtic history and 'mythology', ghost stories and faery stories alike. I didn't realise until a few years later I was simply following my bloodline (thank you great grandmama!) From my father's lineage came the interest in Norse history and customs. By the time my poor parents realised what was going on, it was too late. My childhood belief in faeries and unicorns, dragons and all other unseen races had been solidified into certainty. And of course, my familial religion did not support those beliefs, could not believe the creatures I had seen and played with as anything other than minions of darkness.
So I struck out on my own, and after a few years of research I have found my way to wicca. *sigh* A difficult road but worth it.

How long have I considered myself to be pagan? *grin* since my church pastor told me that even though anyone who asked God for forgiveness would receive it, Satan couldn't because he was the devil (forget the whole prodigal son parable and his being the first of all angels prior to his fall) . And then refused to baptise me. At that point I realised my concept of divinity and the nature of power would never coincide with my parents' beliefs and by extention, those of the christian church.

The most meaningful aspect? Reaching for the divinity without and hearing an answering cry from the divinity within.

I Can't Imagine Not Being One Feb 28th. at 4:03:38 pm EST

Bran (Minnesota) Age: 24 - Email

Why am I a Pagan?

Because I wanted a spiritual path that acknowledged both the maleness and femaleness of the Divine - both the external Divine and the Divine within myself. Heck, I wanted a spiritual path that acknowledged that there *is* divinity within myself.

Because I wanted a spiritual path that let me embrace *all* parts of myself.

Because I could never bring myself to believe that we are all sinners and therefore unworthy of the love of the Divine.

Because I wanted a spiritual path that taught love of the Earth rather than subjugation of it.

Because I wanted to stop having to hide the fact that I believe in magick.

Because at the first ritual I ever attended I was swept with the most wonderful, spine-tingling chill, as of the Mysterious Ones running their fingers down my spine, and I sighed, sat up straighter, and said, "This is where I'm meant to be."

Why Am I Pagan ? Feb 28th. at 4:20:14 pm EST

Tara (Mass) Age: 13 - Email

Well im not officially pagan. I am not initiated yet. I practice paganism, more exactly, wicca, because its a religion where I feel i fit in with more that I do christianity. I, m a nature-person and have always been fascinated with magick. When I meditate or do a ritual I feel close to the Earth and goddess. Wicca is very comforting to me. I love meeting other wiccans and learning knew things from them. I've been practicing wicca for 3 years and I've learned alot in that time, how to respect the Earth and all things on it, How to be myself and not being afraid of who i am, and how to be a good person. I don't think I would be who i am now if it weren't for Wicca. So, I guess I am pagan because it made me a better me. : )

How Did I Discover I Was Pagan? Feb 28th. at 4:35:34 pm EST

Rhiannen (Atlanta, GA) Age: 38 - Email

As far back as I can remember, my preferred quiet or private spaces have always been outside, my preferred company animals rather than people. Something about the old "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" commercials (remember those?) struck a chord in me when just a little child. I _really_ wanted to know this "Mother Nature" a lot better, but how? Considering the times and the small Jim Crow Southern small town I was raised in, there just wasn't a lot of information readily available. The libraries and bookstores there did not dare even bring any seditious "devil worship" writings into their halls, let alone place such dangerous material onto their shelves.

Perhaps the "saving grace, " or arguably maybe the main problem, for me was that it was a college town and so, to attract professors and family, many more denominations and mainstream religions had a presence than is typical in the Bible Belt. Hungry for something, but not really knowing what, I visited all available. Although many had certain aspects which were appealing, and I met a (very) few wonderful, gentle and caring people scattered amongst the congregations, they all left me feeling ... undernourished, incomplete. I couldn't just accept their pat answers, especially since they contradicted each other in varying degrees from subtle to dramatic. They simply raised more questions. At one point, I even sincerely believed that I "got saved" (there is a fascinating study in human psychology and the powers of suggestion and fear there, but that's another subject.)

During adolescence, it became clear that I didn't believe like those around me did, that I was more than just a little "different", that I questioned everything too much for comfort. So, after being a member of one denomination's Christian youth group for years, and graduating from another denomination's Christian school, and being asked and then told to quit asking such unseemly questions, I withdrew from society to continue my own search. Knowledge and research have always been vitally important to me, so I read and I read and I read. Buried in history, in Thoreau, Emerson, Lovelock, Zen, and whatever else I could find, patterns started to emerge, edges started to blend, years faded by. But the emptiness, the separation was still there. I tried filling the bottomless pit with drugs and alcohol. (BTW, that doesn't work.)

A series of events helped guide me towards the path I'm now on. My sons' started growing up. My marriage was falling apart. I didn't know who I was anymore, but I knew I wasn't who I'd been pretending to be all my life and that I couldn't go on pretending anymore. I went back to school because I love learning, and technology and computers appealed to me. My drinking escalated logarithmically.

I found myself sitting in AA meetings and hearing something I'd never listened to before. I could define *my* view of "God" as however I understood the concept and it was ok. If I wanted "MY" god to be some bearded patriarch, or the pine tree on the corner, or a Voodoun doll, or the Universe itself, or the 'G'roup 'O'f 'D'runks sitting around the room, I could. Whatever and however *I* related to *my* concept of something beyond my own skin was ok. Spirituality is supposed to be personal. No-one could define *my* god for me except me. It was ok to question. I wasn't some horrible misfit. I was ok.

Wow. What completely mind-blowing concepts.

About this same time, HTML was taking off, the once text-only Internet was becoming graphical, and information and data were rapidly becoming much more readily available. School introduced me to this emerging researcher's heaven. Especially important (to me) was the information about other religions and seekers: Buddists, Shintos, Pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Heathens - you name 'em. Religions which embraced nature instead of abusing and conquering her. Religions which acknowledged the spiritual, the Divine, the Holy in all living creatures and/or in life itself. Religions which empowered people to make changes within themselves and their own lives instead of precariously floating on the whims of some contradictory peeping Tom. Religions which embraced the whole person, the feminine and masculine, the profane and the sacred, the mental and physical, emotional and spiritual. Religions and viewpoints which more closely corresponded with my own observations and opinions. I now had completely new fields of spiritual research at my fingertips, so, information ferret that I am, research I did.

It's been, oh, a few years (how they fly!) and I eventually moved to a much, Much larger city, which helps in it's own way. I'm still researching, and probably will continue to research for the rest of my time here. Although I now proudly call myself Pagan, I haven't settled on any one "right way" and most likely never will. Truth is found where it's found and it seems to me that where truth is, the lines dividing the beliefs begin to blur. Maybe for me the journey _is_ the destination. And that's ok. What being Pagan means to me is that I've finally come home, that "Mother Nature" isn't just some actress selling margarine, that Gaia lives. I believe we all have a journey before us, we all have our own paths, and we all find our paths our own way. Sometimes our paths parallel, sometimes they merge, sometimes they cross, and sometimes they veer off alone. And that's ok.

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