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Posted: Nov. 17, 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.
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| Finally Doing The Witch Thang. ||Oct 6th. at 4:32:01 pm EDT|
|Azi Vajravai (Oakland, CA) ||Age: 28 - Email - Web|
When I left Christianity and became a Pagan - I began this journey that entered through the General Wiccan ideas, and went into Thelema, Chaos Magick, Judaism, Asatru, confusion...
A lot of the groups I associated with looked down on Wiccans, and this had made it hard for me to realise that I really wanted to be a Witch.
Now, I have come to terms with it, but now I need to find a Coven or a working group to get into it with sincerity.
| Paths ||Oct 5th. at 10:44:30 pm EDT|
|Kat (USA) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I feel like my definition is evolving as I learn more, and it feels like a continuous process rather than a point of change. At first I defined myself as a seeker, and now I define myself as an energy worker and guardian. I like to find out about techniques from a variety of sources, including the martial arts, and apply them. My teachers are in the shamanic and feri traditions. But I feel like I have learned a lot from studying martial arts and theatre that has been applicable to magic. Even the leadership training courses I've taken have made me better able to visualize and follow through. So I feel like it has all fit together.
| Stepping Stones On The Pathway Of Light ||Oct 5th. at 9:30:49 pm EDT|
|MoonOwl (Egypt Lake, Florida) ||Age: 39 - Email |
My path has been ever-evolving ever since I came to realize there was more out there than Christianity. Since I was a child, Christianity just didn't seem to ring totally true with what I felt inside. I saw/chatted with spirits as a child, thou not as an adult (yet?). I couldn't wrap my mind around death as death. We come from the stars. Within the varied Pagan belief systems I find my self to be more normal(ha ha)and comfortable. It rings true to me. What I know can be contained in a thimble so I know my path will evolve. Everyday I feel closer to the Lord & Lady and more fufilled. By following my gut(I'm convinced it was Her voice)through heartache & pain, I was brought to my husband with whom we both agree we lived past lives together (Honestly I saw his face when I was 14). I have been healed upon asking (knock wood x's three) I was given a child (which I thought was impossible) since I've been on this path. Probably to teach me patience and unselfishness:)!! It has made me a better person all around. I cannot say enough of the peace and pathways it has brought to my life. I feel like a curious child just starting out again in this world. So much to learn and know and apply and it's only just begun.
In Love & Light!
| Things Change With Time ||Oct 5th. at 8:01:49 pm EDT|
|Starchaser (Alaska) ||Age: 45 - Email - Web|
I was raised in the Bible Belt, and during High School realized there's a lot more to offer in the world than fire and brimstone.
I began to study a lot of religions-at that time eastern philosophy had come into play. I finally realized that my "talents" weren't all that unusual in some circles, and began to explore even more.
I studied witchcraft for several years, Wiccan in the last few years, and everything in between. What I've found works for me is to write my own philosophy. Structured religion seemed to confining,
and lately I feel a certain connection with all life, and must celebrate that. I love rituals, don't get me wrong, it makes things seem a little more concrete. But I cannot brand how I feel with a name any more.
It's my own personal spirituality.
| 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.
| 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,
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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....
| 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.
| 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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