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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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| Spiritual Learning ||Oct 3rd. at 10:40:20 pm EDT|
|Sileas (Broomfield, CO) ||Age: 16 - Email |
I was 12 when I was first introduced to witchcraft. I, at that point, could only call myself a witch for I wouldn't find out about wicca for about another year and a half. Wicca for me was just a way for me to become better aquanted with paganism and living a pagan life, seeing as I'd been brought up athiest. Last year I got interested in Celtic paganism after reading Mists of Avalon. So now I am mainly learning about Celtic things (tree lore, myths) while at the same time I also believe in Buddhist morals, I meditate every night, believe in the 8 fold path, etc.
| Thoughts ||Oct 3rd. at 11:02:41 pm EDT|
|Vanessa (Buffalo, NY) ||Age: 18 - Email |
Ok, I would say that I did start out as a "wiccan". Although when I was younger I had a strong attraction to Egyptian mythology, but did not worship so to speak. As of lately, I've come to realize some things. I mean no offense to anyone else, but Wicca in itself really is nothing more than the ramblings and philosophies of a man that was heavily into S+M (Gardner of course). And he supposedly copied Doreen Valiente's book of shadows. Sure, this man has nice ideas, but I do not find him to be super respectable. Also, Wicca has become an utterly commercial market directed to children (Silver Ravenwolfe, shake your head in shame...TEEN SPELL KIT?! thanks for degrading us). Wicca is a beautiful idea. But, I myself cannot follow a path written by someone who's book is unbelievably rare. So, I really don't like to label myself, as I would just call myself very spiritual, and at my roots, Pagan.
| Well Geez, You Must Be Psychic ... ||Oct 3rd. at 11:24:50 pm EDT|
|Arachne (Mountainair, New Mexico) ||Age: 53 - Email |
... because, after 30 years of calling myself Wiccan, I am considering changing my spiritual handle to just plain old "Pagan." Wicca seems to be on its way to becoming a "capital R" Religion, which is something I'm not interested in: I like my spirituality small, personal, and, yes, somewhat elitist. (At my age, I'm not shy about being who I am, Witchy warts and all!) And I'm becoming increasingly eclectic in a community that seems to me to be growing increasingly codified and exclusionary.
The thought of leaving Wicca saddens me, as I've never stuck with anything (including my marriages) for as along as I've stuck with this Path -- it's been the Constant for me in a somewhat chaotic and murcurial life.
So, the jury's still out on my official spiritual title. But I thank you for this opportunity to hash some of this out in this forum.
In Perfect Love and Trust, Arachne
| Oh, My...where To Start.. ||Oct 4th. at 2:42:59 am EDT|
|Cailleach (Cadillac, Michigan, USA) ||Age: 36 - Email |
OK... well, I was first introduced to witchcraft at a very young age. My mother practiced, as did many of her friends (I don't know if any of them were Wiccan). I was taught to cast, to work with herbs, and read tarot and other forms of divination. I proudly called myself a Witch by age 11, and was actually quite in tune with the natural and supernatural. My mother, however, was not. She was also very negative. Her focus was primarily revenge on anyone she thought had slighted her or hers. She would have myself and my younger sister cast spells against many of these people, because we were more successful than her. When I was 16, a girl at school was giving my sister a hard time. My mother hounded me to cast a spell on her, until I finally did it, just to make her happy (please don't anyone ever take these things so lightly!). I didn't put much into it, just went through the motions, but the girl came to school the next day in a cast.To this day, I'm not convinced it was just coincidence. This scared me away from any forms of magick, and convinced me the people who were saying I was a "satanist" were right, for a long time. I spent the following 15 years in many Christian churches, trying to find where I belonged.
When I was 32, I started taking an interest in mythology again (a hobby of mine as a child) and happened to pick up a book I thought was just Celtic mythology. When I realised it was a book on Wicca, I can honestly say I panicked. I put the book in a drawer and wouldn't go near it. But, for some reason, I didn,t get rid of it. Afew weeks later, I opened it again, and began the healing process. Now, I think of myself as a pagan. I have a long way to go to proclaim myself a Witch again. Wicca isn't me. I belong to a faith that was introduced to me as a young child by some beautiful souls who I now know tried to protect me from my mother's delusions, and showed me something truly special, who I really am. That girl is still there, just a little older, and not much more the wiser. Please, everyone, don't let ANYONE take years away from your true self.
From dark, into the Light,
| Learn As You Grow ||Oct 4th. at 4:47:22 am EDT|
|Morrighan (Planet Earth) ||Age: 24 - Email |
I too started out as Wiccan, but I find its organizational patterns and so-called "leaders" to be conspicuously like the Christian traditions that I grew up around. "Our way, or the highway." I am a witch, plain and simple. I do spells, make potions, divine the future, etc. If I had pick a tradition title for my witchiness, I have to say Dianic.
Now, I know people have a problem with Dianics, because we may seem exclusive. However, we aren't. We love everybody. We just want women across the globe to have the same rights and priviledges as men. We especially work hard in our love towards women who are violently oppressed in the world. I like that. Its something I can connect to.
Feminism shouldn't be a pejorative. Men can be feminists too. Just believe that everybody is equal and deserves equal treatment and respect. We're really a bunch of nice, hard working gals and guys (even).
So, there you have it. I'm a fem-witch. I focuss mainly on The Goddess. To each their own, right? We're all good people, every type of witch out there. Just some of us have different focal points to our work. Mine is working with women.
| Now That... Is Complicated. ||Oct 4th. at 8:41:31 am EDT|
|Demo (UK) ||Age: 17 - Email |
Well, like pretty much everyone I started out Wiccan. But then, as I continued down my path, I discovered after about 2 years that it was not where I was supposed to be. I thought I was Wiccan, I was to begin with, but... no. It didn't feel right anymore. So slowly I started to turn away from Wicca. I dont know where I'm going right now. I dont think its any of the established paths. I know where I've been and I've learned a lot from it, but its not my path anymore. My path forked away and I cant see where it leads. So I'm trusting my instincts and learning what I need to learn. Eventually, I hope, I'll discover what I am.
| Switch Or Expand ||Oct 4th. at 9:16:57 am EDT|
|Lyssa Rainwolf (Madisonville, KY) ||Age: 32 - Email |
I started out trying to find what defined the spirituality that was in my heart all along. Wicca resonated with much of it... the reverence for Nature, the feeling of belonging to the Earth, the feeling that each of us is responsible for our own actionsa nd the results of those actions, the idea that all life is connected through the Spirit of the Universe. All these things I found in Wicca. My path has not so much changed as grown. As I searched for the spiritual path that best defines me, I have found that I don't fit neatly into one category or another. I am Wiccan, Buddhist, Taoist, Shaman... alll of these things combined. I find it better to describe myself as simply Pagan. I've never been good at staying inside the lines :)
| Always Seeking... ||Oct 4th. at 11:26:23 am EDT|
|Mountain Woman (Idaho) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Wicca is what introduced me to the pagan path...but as I progressed I realized that I was no more comfortable with a concept of God/Goddess than I was with a Father/Son/Holy Ghost (which I was raised with) concept. My view of religion (all religion) is that it is a human invention, created for the purpose of trying to make sense of the universe, and thereby control it. I am definitely a spiritual person, but I have no belief in a God/Goddess aside from a sense of Father Sky/Mother Earth. Not as beings, but as forces of nature that can alternately nurture and destroy human life at random. So much for controlling the universe, eh?
I call myself an "unapologetic heathen with Druidic and Shamanic tendencies." Druidic in the sense of feeling the spirits of place. Shamanic in the sense of taking "journeys" in what I call my "otherworld" in which I communicate with animals and one human guide. This seems to suit me for now. I'm always open to new ideas and new ways of experiencing the spirit world.
| Eclecticism ||Oct 4th. at 11:51:20 am EDT|
|RedRaven(Cindy) (Greensboro, North Carolina) ||Age: 50 - Email - Web|
I have been Wiccan for many many years, and I, like many of the posters, chafe at organization and "formalism". I belong to no trad, nor will I ever. That is of course my path, and I respect everyone else's as well. I feel most comfortable worshipping by myself, in a wood, with the trees singing there quiet song. I respect and love all life, (or really try too.... not easy when a spider is in the house! :-) I try to live my life by the Rede. Earth Mother and Father Sky seem to fit me well, although the Celt pantheon seem very much alive and present to me. I have been part of a Coven, and still am an H.Ps, but life as a solitary something or other appeals to me most. I can't really say that I have changed paths, but more found my niche. I am at peace, and I wish the same for you.
Blessed Be Well,
| The Same As Always For Me. ||Oct 4th. at 2:22:03 pm EDT|
|Scott Worley (Thomaston) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I'm a Wiccan. I don't call myself a witch because of all the "hang-ups" that go along with that word. I do now as when I started on this spiritual path keep the same core beliefs nothing has changed, and i don't persive it changing.
| Hubby Wanted To Be A Dianic ||Oct 4th. at 4:30:30 pm EDT|
|Lady Wyldbirch (Greenbrier County, West Virginia) ||Age: 49 - Email |
I started off as an Inititated Dianic Witch. Hubby became interested. He drove the HPS nuts. She did not think that he would make a good Dianic Witch. Thus I opened an eclectic Coven to include him. Now we are divorced and I am alone. My path is Appalachian Witchcraft. I often explain that Witchcraft is the European Counterpart of Native American Spirituality. Appalachian Witchcraft is the blending of the two and Wiccan is the ethics that I work within.
| Defined And Re-Defined ||Oct 4th. at 4:34:17 pm EDT|
|Dawn Blacksun (Minneapolis) ||Age: 29 - Email - Web|
I started out as a Wiccan in 1999. I joined a small teaching circle/coven for a little over a year. Then I found another group that was Hellenic Orthodox. It is from the pre-christian times of ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt. It also is strong in many of the Western Esoteric Traditions. As I learned more about what they studied and practiced, it appealed to me much more than Wicca. It seemed much more "hard-core" and focused on developing one's direct relationship with the gods than my experience with Wicca did. It also focused on developing one's own magickal potential and Will. I was also attracted to the age of the books studied, which include the Corpus Hermeticum, the Dionysiaca, Pythagoras, and other texts from 2000+ years ago. This was much different than Wicca, which didn't exist before Gardner.
I have found that giving people the label that they best would understand works well for me because many people (pagans and non-pagans) would have trouble understanding "Hellenic Orthodox." Some people I will simply say "Pagan" or "Witch." Christians who I don't think will be tolerant will be told "Ancient Greek Orthodox." At Pagan gatherings where people are more informed about the distinctions in traditions, I will say I'm "Hellenic Orthodox."
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