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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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| 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.
| What Else Is There? ||Feb 28th. at 5:24:54 pm EST|
|Toni (Texas) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I've always considered myself "different", but intelligent. I guess the two relate. Growing up in a Quaker home and going to Christian schools I soon relized how different and intelligent I was compared to my peers. I could never grasp the Christian/monotheistic religions, they seemed like such a joke to me, but non the less I would try and fit in. Scared and stressed all the time I figured I was on the wrong path trying to be something I wasn't and lost my "christian friends" coming out of the closet, if you will. But no worries I soon came to my senses and embrassed my heritage. Paganism was and is my calling, I feel free, relaxed, and happier then I've ever been. It's been 10 years now that Paganism has fulfilled my life.It's good to be home.
| Heathen All The Way ||Feb 28th. at 5:43:56 pm EST|
|Ms. Kuykendall (Bay Area) ||Age: 16 - Email - Web|
I am a Heathen all the way. Nothing attracted me to it this is just me and I can not help what I am because I cannot control the fates.
Since I was born I have considered myself this way.
I am able to be who I am that is what I enjoy.
| Why Am I A Heathen? ||Feb 28th. at 6:17:43 pm EST|
|Raven Harbringer (Hohenwald, TN) ||Age: 34 - Email |
Though I was introduced young, I knew the Christian world didn't apply to me. It was not about intelligence, but comfort. I could not find comfort in the Christian World. I had to comply, and conform to standards that even those who who did pronounced them did not follow. A path found me that fill my souls need for honor amongst those who follow a religious life, not a path of hipocracy. I am a Heathen, and I am Damn Proud.
Blessings of the Raiding upon your households,
| Found My Way Home ||Feb 28th. at 6:26:19 pm EST|
|Claire (Pittsburgh, Pa) ||Age: 15 - Email |
I consider myself Pagan. Wiccan, specifically. Being raised in a Catholic family, I always had to attend CCD classes. It's not exactly that I flat out didn't believe in the faith, it's that they would tell me something that Catholics believed and I'd ask, "Why?" They couldn't give me answer. I realized that I had no faith in Catholicism and that the years of CCD had brainwashed me into believeing whatever they told me, even if I didn't soully accept it. I searched for alternative religions and saw Wicca among the list. I knew very little about it, but I'd heard that it was similar to Satanism and was curious to find out exactly what evil practices witches follow. Obviously, I found that Wicca is one of the gentlest and most organic religions I'd ever met up with. That was about three years ago and I have devoted myself to the faith ever since, appreciating the freedom and individuality of the faith. I have often read that true witches at heart will "find their way home." I feel that my discovery of the religion is fate. The most religiously ironic moment? Still forced to present a Catholic appearance to my father by attending church, I was also required to be confirmed. This was totally against my wishes, but I am but a lowly minor. The bishop randomly calls on people to answer questions about Catholicsm; of course he picked me. The Question--Why is baptism so important? Answer--::Catholic facade:: It's to erase the original sin which all people are born with. ::Inner witch::Totally pointless, no such thing as origanl sin, evil? yeah right, incoherent mumbling...
| I Chose Paganism, And It Chose Me ||Feb 28th. at 7:53:12 pm EST|
|Jenne (Oceanside, CA) ||Age: 29 - Email |
I think I had the heart of a Pagan early on in my life, but was brainwashed enough through my Christian upbringing such that I didn't have a clue until I was able to explore on my own. Throughout my adolescence, I had a big problem fitting into the mold that everyone else in my life tried to put me in. This led to depression and thoughts of suicide.
Fast-forward into college, and there I learned what my spirituality was all about. That it was contained within *me*--not some building or book or song. That spirit flows through me, gives me life, and gives my life meaning. I did not have a religion per se after I left the warm safe haven of my parents' Christian home. I turned away from the Bible and its teachings--they held nothing for me anymore. It was a dark time for me, for even though I no longer belonged in a Church praying to Jesus, I also did not know what else there was for me to do. I knew there was *something* out there, and it called to me, I just hadn't discovered it yet.
My second year of undergrad, I visited a Buddhist monastery in Santa Barbara. I can still remember the chanting and the smell of the incense. It was such a peaceful place...and though the building that I was allowed to go into was empty, it was filled with a presence. I felt a peace there, within the hallowed space, set deep into the hills behind that seaside town. This was to be my first brush with a reliigion other than the one I was brought up in. While I didn't take it up as my own, it at least opened my eyes to the fact that there are other ways of believing that aren't wrong, but instead fit us as individuals.
Fast-forward again to my twenties, and I am still searching. Seven years ago, almost to the date, I found Paganism. I had read many books on spirituality, on finding one's own path, and on reincarnation. I read _Jonathan Livingston Seagull_ and _Way of the Peaceful Warrior_. Oh these books and what they did to me. I went online and found a whole community of people, real-live people, calling themselves WITCHES. Having always been fascinated with the iconic Christian "witch" (despite its negative connotations) , I was intrigued, and I started lurking on bulletin boards online. It was here that I learned about a way of life that is Earth based, seeking answers from the self and from Nature, as well as the Divine.
I can't begin to describe my joy at finding out I was *right*! There WAS somewhere I fit in--there was an individual path for me. I no longer needed to fit in a mold, I no longer had an empty slate. I belonged, yet, I set the pace, I decided the path. It brought appreciation rather than shame, joy in self rather than eschewing the natural, instinctive part of me, taught me that I had to deal with the consewquences of my own actions. *I* was my own Priestess.
In this sense, I chose to be a Pagan--chose this path and all the rocks, pits and furrows that I have dealt with while on it. But it also chose me, because there was nothing else until I found it.
Thank you for reading this far.
| I Was Always Pagan, I Just Was Unaware! ||Feb 28th. at 9:58:25 pm EST|
|Jessica Splaine (Torrington, Connecticut) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I guess it all started when I was about 15, but i didn't really think too much about it. My mother was having problems with her abusive ex-boyfriend. He kept threating our lives and nobody, not even the cops could do much about it. My mother ran out of ways to try to protect us, and she was about to give up hope for a solution when her friend from work told my mother that she was wiccan and if my mother wanted she would give her a protection spell. My mother is Christian, but fear outweight her beliefs at this point. Obviously, both me and my mother were clueless about magick, but we gave it a shot. We went to a favorite outdoor spot and preformed the spell. We were using a Coconut, and when we placed it in a stream to be carried away it wouldn't move. Although the current was moving quickly, the coconut was just bobbing in the water... It turned out we forgot an ingredent so i jumped in and retrieved the coconut. We tried over and when we dropped it back in the water the current eventually took it right out of our sight. After that the phone calls and threatining letters stopped. I was totally overwhelmed by the idea that the spell worked and i called my mothers co-worker with a list of questions. The first thing she said to me was that there's witch in all of us, even if you refuse to except it. It was up to me to decide if i wanted to learn and with her advise i locked myself in my room and read every book i could get my hands on. I was lucky that even though my mother is Christian she is very libral and told me at a young age that she would not influence me with her beliefs, instead let me choose my own path. Well i did and what a beatuful path it is... Thank you for reading my responce, and blessed be!
| Because Paganism Found Me Right When I Needed It. ||Mar 1st. at 2:41:01 am EST|
|Moonflower (Mississppi) ||Age: 19 - Email - Web|
Why am I Pagan, Wiccan to be more precise?
Because it found me right when I felt as though I had no where to turn to. Wicca came to me in the form of a girl, named Violet. I was in the 6th grade and in a horrible slump: No friends, no faith in the god I'd been raised to believe in, horribly low self esteem... Then Violet moved to town, and asked to sit with me at lunch one day. I was sitting alone and she thought I was new too. We began chatting, and soon became fast friends.
It was a month or so before I finally asked her about the small, discreet pentacle she always wore, and when she told me that she was a Wiccan, and that her parents were as well, I was floored! I'd always been a fan of fantasy fiction, Tolkien, Lewis, and anything else I could get my hands on, so to find out that my best friend was a real life Witch.. well, you can imagine my excitement. Upon realizing my interest in her religion, she began telling me about it, about magick, and the Goddess and God. I was completely enthralled, so she lent me some of her books to read. I completely devoured the material, and saved up my allowance to find more.
Soon, my world was full of magickal studies, and various Goddesses and Gods, and I spent many late nights working with energy play, and casting my makeshift circles of old and yon. With the help of Violet's parents, who I knew only as WindRaven, and Two Feathers, I grew more and more adept. With the consent of my mother, I spent the Sabbats and Esbats with the family so that I could get a feel for the holidays, and what they were about.
I can honestly say that Wicca turned my life around. I was happier, had more self esteem, and a new family in the Craft. So, that is why I am what I am. I'm happy, I'm spiritually, and emotionally fulfilled, and I really couldn't imagine how I lived in the Catholic world.
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