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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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
| 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."
| A Long Time Witch... ||Oct 4th. at 4:47:29 pm EDT|
|Edward Wedemeyer (Ava, Mo.) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I am a witch "and I don't use that name for shock value"and I also know far too many feel that there are too many bad "thoughts, energies" associated with that name but you are not suposed to be doing it for somone else. Even though it might sound cotroversial you should have enough integrity to realize you should find the wisdom within yourself to educate others who might have a problem with the name. After all we should have enough wisdom within,that will shine through so that the seekers may know you are true. After all is'nt the reson you started down this spiritual path is becouse you saw it was a wise path, and those that are afraid of wisdom might called foolish.
| Evolution Of Beliefs..... ||Oct 4th. at 5:05:04 pm EDT|
|Diana Silverbow (Mobile, AL) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
When I was 13 or 14, I started out as a very typical "store-bought Wiccan" (as I jokingly refer now to the teenagers who feel that reading one book will make them a Witch). Like most of them, I bought lots of tools and said lots of flowery chants, but was kind of missing the point. Finally, after a great deal more searching, reading, and praying, I became an eclectic Witch, deciding that the Path of Wicca was not for me, but I did consider myself a Witch-- not for the shock value, but because the religion of paganism appealed to me, and I truly enjoyed doing magick. It was another 2 years or so before I found the Path I am on now-- that of a Kitchen Witch! I went all around and ended up right back in the Kitchen my Southern Baptist Grandmother had taught me to love. It certainly makes me wonder where I will be on the Path 5 years from now....
| The World Is Round, And My Path Is Coming Full Circle ||Oct 4th. at 5:17:31 pm EDT|
|Robert Firewolf (NOB Norfolk) ||Age: 21 - Email - Web|
I am currently a Druid Bard here in Norfolk, but I didn't always be a Druid Tradition follower. I started with jokes and games, basically dabbling not knowing what the difference was. Later, I developed a system that I call being a Wolfmage. Using the six families of the Wolf (Wolf, Coyote, Dog, Dingo, Jackle, and Fox) as my pantheon, I studied in shamantic ways. Later, I began following the Druid path and have now seriously studied the ways of magick for about 13 years. Hard to believe, but I started young at the library. (Side Note: I didn't have a lot of friends, but then again I did. Just nobody except me could see them.) Anyway, I am recognized now as a Shamantic-Druid with a mixing of both pantheons.
All in all, the world is round, so that what ever path you walk will come back to where you started. Whether it is in the next life, or in this one makes no difference. The Tree of Life's branches reach high into the sky then dive deep down to become the roots of itself. One last, symbolic analogy: The Oroborus... need I say more. The circle is drawn and is never broken, "with no beginnings, and never ending." Don't get caught up with names and titles unless it helps to describe where you are, but don't expect it to stay the same as what works for one, won't always work for another.
| Partly Have ||Oct 4th. at 8:38:48 pm EDT|
|Eldritch Firedancer (Australia) ||Age: 21 - Email - Web|
I have in part. Most of what i follow is the same but some of it i have changed and now takes more of a mixture of Egyptian Majick and beliefs as well as my Druidic beliefs.
Bright Blessings, Eldritch.
| Change? More Of A Reform ||Oct 4th. at 11:28:19 pm EDT|
|Geoffrey (Santa Clarita, California) ||Age: 23 - Email - Web|
My path started out Wiccan, borderline ceremonial magician. I look back upon it now and wonder what I was thinking (no offense meant, of course, to any who are perfectly content in that very path). The ceremony was so important to me... making the circle, calling the corners, invoking the God and Goddess, etc. I had to have the right incense, the right candles, and all that lovely stuff.
I suppose the slow change out of that, however, was spawned by laziness. I was no less grateful to the Gods for what had been given to me. I'd adopted Wicca in the throes of drug addiction, and the strength that was lent to me helped me cure my addiction permanently. Afterwards, as I said, the ceremony didn't seem so important to me. I didn't really feel like finding a place to practice every sabbat (any of the out-of-the-way places in this city are illegal to be in after sunset, for the most part) and I didn't know of any groups that practiced regularly.
Then, over time, I realized what the point of the ceremony was for me. It was all symbolism, and it was never for the Gods, it was all for me. It was to put ME in the proper mindset so I could do what I needed to do.
I discovered music, around that time. Mainly, I discovered (Appropriately) folk music. I'd always been a fan of heavy metal and whatnot, but then I picked up a tinwhistle on a whim and started to learn a few Irish jigs, reels, polkas... then I picked up a set of highland pipes, a dudelsack, and a gaida (Bulgarian pipes). Wow! I found all I needed for that proper mindset was to climb a mountain and play until my diaphragm burned. It's quite a bit more work now, my path, it involves a good deal more walking, and a lot more practice, but I still toast to the Gods when I raise a pint, and still thank them when the last note of one of my sets of pipes echoes away amongst the hills.
| An Continous Evolution ||Oct 5th. at 1:34:25 pm EDT|
|Dakota Sky (North of Boston, by the sea) ||Age: 44 - Email |
I was blessed to grow up in our country's National Parks. (Gee, didn't everyone? LOL!) I sincerely thought everyone did! Well, at least until I was about 16. Then we moved to the suburban metropolis that is Washington D.C.
I feel that I've always been a "ancient celtic pagan" with a protestant upbringing. Religion wasn't a priority in our house but I think my parents wanted us to have a foundation to go on. Among my 4 siblings there is a Fundamentalist Lutheran, a Quaker w/ a Master's in Diviinty and a second in Theology, a Methodist, and a "sometimes" catholic. And then me the "pagan".
One memory I have of my early "pagan" (country-dweller) soul was the time a fire alarm sounded. I was maybe 7. My friend and I bolted down to the ranger station....the short way! Straight thru the woods, down hill! I remember it as practically "flying"...sailing over logs, ducking under branches, floating over brambles etc... Now that I write this, that IS my first knowledge of the path I would "change lanes to" (as David Aquarius so aptly wrote) as I got older. We usually attended congretational churches when we were little. The congregational church came about because of new western settlelments having a mix of protestant faiths that molded into one.
Thru high school I was very involved in a Lutheran youth group. Out of high school i started feeling that the structures of the Christian churches were confining. This I feel was because I had Mt Ranier, Muir Woods' Redwoods, Lake Superior, and the Colorado Rockies as my backyard. My altar. My church. Thus began my path. For the past 24 years I've used many different terms to describe my path. It's all been solitary for the most part I use "eclectic solitary practioner". I wear my pentacles with pride. At work or play. (Yes, I have a very liberal work environment. In fact on my THIRD interview the receptionist was wearing hers! Needless to say I TOOK THE JOB!)
I live in the Boston area so most people will assume that I am Wiccan. Also to use the origination of the word "witch/wicce"=Wise..then yes, I am a witch. To some I have said "I'm pagan...meaning a "pre-literate" religion, when ancient man did not have the knowledge of where the thunder came from, where the lightening came from...it was the gods or goddesses. Grandmother Spider or Brother Coyote. To some I will describe it akin to the Native American Spirit. I sincerely believe that I was in a Native American community or Native American in a past life.
So, I too have changed lanes on numerous occasions. I do want to study with a community. A friend, who is a Wiccan HP, is feeling that he needs to have students again. I will go with him if he does.
(He is also the one that I hugged about 7 years ago and felt like I had "come home". Or shall we say I finally felt I could come out of the "broom closet".)
My sister (the Quaker and the w/ the Divinty degree) feels that we should all have people to travel with along our paths. No matter where that path goes. It is time for me to do so. I'm sure , at some point, I may veer toward the ancient Celts again..but for now, I am "me". I am a vessel to carry the Pagan way of life outward into the community. I choose not to use a specific label. I want the ability to change lanes every now and again.
So the answer to the question is yes, I guess I'm changing lanes. It may be a four lane highway that goes down to a two lane road. But all roads lead a destination. And my road is, and always be, a Pagan Higway. After all, I'm an air conditioned gypsy!
Bright Blessing All,
| Similarity's Of Thought ||Oct 5th. at 3:34:16 pm EDT|
|Kiralae of the Bay (Central Michigan) ||Age: 42 - Email |
Actually origanally my beliefs were more Native American/Early Celtic,Druid I guess. I've become quite interested in WICCA as of the past year. I really don't see any changes in my belief system. In the studies I've done in the past, there really is not much difference within the belief system. The two are just accross the ocean from the other. Rituals and beliefs of the Female Earth and Masculine Sky are the same. Just as in faith's around the world today.
When I first found Witchvox I was searching for the elucidivy of the meaning of the word "magic". Quite a mundane thing, actually. I started reading what witchcraft is all about and realized that I've been doing just about all the things I saw on the screen and about flipped! I've known witches in the past (Wiccans), and said to myself, "Okay Universe, I'm listening." I have been doing my studing and more practising, and no things didn't get better right away. But, in the past year my husband got his long over due promotion and subsequent raise, and I could go on about everything else that happened for the Good, however, needless to say that I began to actually practice what I had not, since getting married. My beliefs in the God and Godess never really changed. Just what I call them, and even then the names get intertwined with the Great Grandmother's, and Great Grandfather's.
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