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Posted: Nov. 17, 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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| 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,
| 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
| 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.
| 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.
| Evolution ||Oct 3rd. at 9:40:00 pm EDT|
|Candie Arnold (Sand Springs, OK) ||Age: 49 - Email |
I began by thinking of myself as Wiccan, and as I learn more I become less able to use any particular label. My core beliefs have become better defined in my own mind, and they haven't changed, but the ways in which I phrase them to others have changed. I may not be a Wiccan, but I AM a witch! Autumn blessings!
| Yes And No ||Oct 3rd. at 8:27:56 pm EDT|
|Jyll (kamloops, bc, Canada) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Originally i started this path as a wiccan then recently i have been reading a lot about buddism and i find the teachings to be inspiring and really not all that different from those i have been following on my wiccan path, there isn't really a change in my beliefs just an expansion of knowledge and inspiration. i continue to lead my life as a wiccan, i love it but i've just incorporated a few new ideas to my own ideology.
| Sure Have! ||Oct 3rd. at 7:08:49 pm EDT|
|Elrih Gailnorn (Tennessee) ||Age: 23 - Email - Web|
Yes, I have changed my path. My overall views have changed, as well as the ways that I express my appreciation to the powers that be. My name hasn't changed, though, I still call myself a solitary practicioner of Green Witchcraft. I have mearly evolved my views to match my accumulated wisdom.
| To Ignore Change, Is To Ignore Life ||Oct 3rd. at 6:56:25 pm EDT|
|Aspen (North Carolina) ||Age: 25 - Email |
I am going to break the questions down, and answer them initially, and then give my conclusion.
>>Did you perhaps start out as a Wiccan and now follow a different Pagan or Heathen path/religion?
Yes, I sure did. I started out in the Wiccan religion, and became "super pagan." What do I mean by "super pagan" you might ask? I mean I was the type of Wiccan who truly exuded "fluff", and by "fluff" I mean fundie. I wanted all the power, and thought I had all the power. In less than a year, I was proven very wrong! I even fell out of religion for many months and declared myself atheist, but soon found my path back "on track."
>>Have you changed from self-identifying as a 'Witch' to something else?
Yes, once again, I sure have. I am not just a "Witch"; I also follow a Druidic ways of life now. I am not focused so much on the "religion" or "tradition" so much as I am in knowing my days are walked with my path, not for it.
>>If you have changed how you self-identify under the Pagan/Heathen umbrella, why did you change?
I changed because I evolved, as all life does. Being a true blue Gemini as it is, I am the epitome of change. To go against this nature of myself, and of life period, is to go against the grains of the Universe. Being in the path I am now, in following a Druidic Witchcraft manner, I know my life is as natural as the universe can offer to me right now. I walk my days as balanced as a human can attempt to achieve. Even though I go off balance in life at times, I know these "unbalances" are merely life. Life has peace and chaos, and I recognize this.
>>Did your beliefs change?
Very much so! In the beginning of walking my life in a Pagan manner, my beliefs were very much that of the "Pagan Fundies" that I abhor today. I believed that the Pagan movement needed respect given while I gave none in return, simply because I felt defiled. This is not the case anymore, for I know that to get respect, one must earn it. This takes time, and I have learned that the Pagan ways are not easy ones. They teach us patience, honor, and to earn what we receive. We just do not get it because we scream, pout, and preach that we deserve it simply because our ancestors were burned at the stake. Every culture and every religion has their share of people being burned at the stake, even Christians burning Christians. We are not any more different than anyone else of any other religion, belief, or culture.
>>Did the Pagan/Heathen community change?
I do not know if the Community has changed, but I sure have; therefore it looks different to me. I find more power hungry Pagans out there now than I ever did before. I give credit to myself for this because of how much my perspective on life, religion, and history have changed, and mellowed out.
>>What do you think of folks who have switched?
I commend them! I actually think it is needed. I think those who do not change, or back it up, wind up stagnating and suffocating themselves; and in turn, the Pagan community at large. Change, evolution, and movement are all a part of life. To go against this, is to simply say to life, "you stink, I rule, poo on you! " Yeah, this kind of attitude really gets people somewhere in life! But in all seriousness folks, without change, life would not continue. Without change, we would not grow. Without change, we would not live.
>>Is there currently a real shift into more diverse or selective Paths/Religions within the communities?
I still feel in my opinion, that there is not. I see about 75% of the Pagan community out there on the net, and in real life, have a head strong attitude toward keeping "tradition" alive. Fine, keep tradition, but also know tradition understands and embraces change and movement. Tradition takes us to new places, new horizons, and new cultures to learn about and from. Tradition is not there to pigeon hole us, it is there to offer us foundations to build and grow upon. Not to do what many people do these days, and focus primarily on what their version of "old traditions" are; in turn, sticking only to these ways, while ostracizing the rest of the changing community for being "uneducated" and "un-powerful."
>>Will Wicca remain the dominant Pagan religion that it now is? Why or why not?
Pardon my french here, but HELL NO! Wicca is only opening the doors to the Pagan community in general being known more to our society. If Wicca were to remain a (or "the") primary religion for Paganism, the Pagan community in general would suffer. People would begin to identify Pagans simply as Wiccans (which is all ready happening right now), and the broad scope of Paganism would be misunderstood if one proclaims they are a Druid or otherwise. I truly believe if Wicca became the "primary" Pagan religion, it would pigeon hole Paganism and Pagans period all over the world. This is not what the Pagan ways teach. There is no "one" way in Paganism and Wicca sure as hell is not the religion to truly show what the Pagan ways are alone. All paths of Paganism need to be looked at to truly respect Paganism as simply a natural way of life, living the best we can in harmony with nature and our environment.
All in all folks, some of you may totally thrash my words about because I may say things that, oh my goodness may dare expose the possible underlying truth? I only speak my mind and my opinion, and these opinions are always apt to change. But this change happens over time, and to against the forces of change and try to force too much grounding in ones life, truly keeps a person from growing to know the spirits of themselves, and the spirit of nature and the universe. This life was given to us as a gift, though it seems like a curse sometimes. This life is a testing ground, a means to educate us. We are given tests daily to see if we will pass, and the more we pass, the more we become aware of ourselves as spirits. To ignore this, to turn your eyes blind to this fact of life, is to trun your eye away from the universe and what you believe in deity wise.
I truly look forward to more responses with the weekend coming on this issue. This is truly a good one that Witchvox chose! ;)
Take care and be well all!
| Christian, Zen, UU, NeoPagan. ||Oct 3rd. at 6:47:17 pm EDT|
|Ackadia Seawind (Palm Coast Florida) ||Age: 40 - Email - Web|
My first Neopagan Path has been my only Pagan Path. I joined a CAW Nest in 1996, and have never looked back. That does not mean that I have not grown and changed. Far from it! I have evolved and grown both in my Philosophy and in my pratice. I love the mix of Intellectualism and Tactile interaction; the unification of Pratical Ethically Living with Religious Devotion.... It is just too cool an experience to change.
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| I Have Evolved ||Oct 3rd. at 5:00:05 pm EDT|
|Myrddin (wisconsin) ||Age: 55 - Email |
A person's life evolves as it matures and brings new insights to the mix.
Early on, I was much imbued with Christianity. At the age of 14 or so I thought there would be nothing finer than becoming a Protestant minister. Funny thing though, mid-teen years often mean finding out your heroes have feet of clay, things arent always as they seem, disappointments and disenchantments occur as you truly evolve into a thinking person instead of learning by rote. The rest of your life is spent in gaining the wisdom to recognize things as they are, and accept them when appropriate, knowing when NOT to accept something, when to rebel, when to stand firm, when to support and when to fade into the background.
That being said, the same applies to our religious or spiritual growth. Some accept blindly. Some analyze and experiment. Some seek paths wherever they take them. Some find what they are looking for and never waver. Some find bits and pieces of the puzzle here and there and incorporate them into their core beliefs.
My core belief is that all religions spring to being in man's attempt to be a part of everything around him, instead of a victim of his surroundings. Religions spring to being as a way for mankind (generic usage here you Dianics, no downplaying of the importance and magic of the female side of the equation meant) to answer the questions his inner "soul" asks. Each religion, whether it be organized and established, or New Age, or Old Religion.....is a path to those ends.
I began as Christian, then in the early 70's become a devout Wiccan. It seemed Gardner et al had it more right. Gardner's claim of having "found" the true Old Religion carried much weight in the argument. Today, I now accept that his group rather "invented" his purported "Old Ways" from an amalgam of things...Masonic lore and ritual, anthropological thoughts, popular concepts, etc etc
and was just one group's idea of what the Old Ways MIGHT have been.
I think, these days, the eclectics have it more right. Take what feels right from each and incorporate it into your belief system with the major crede of "and it harm none, do what you will". I do like to subscribe to the God and Goddess structure, as it is easiest for me to view things in the male/female context of all things being composed of parts of both, and the need for both aspects in a well ordered world. Both equally regarded, both equally important to the scheme of things, with neither dominant or "better than" the other.
My basic views these days are respect for all religions NOT perverted by institutional myopia or oppression of other views.....and incorporate that which makes sense and fulfills my inner seeking into a basic structure composed of Wicca. I wish the old Druids and wise women, the old witches and seers could come to life and instruct me - teach me - just what their structure, beliefs and arts were back then.......lacking that I do the best I can as do we all.
If it fulfills you, "and it harm none" and gives you inner peace and answers to the deep questions your inner self asks......then it is good.
That's where I am at these days. Still seeking, still incorporating. On a basic structure.
| I Have Changed And Settled. ||Oct 3rd. at 4:42:54 pm EDT|
|rayvenmoonshadow (catoosa ok) ||Age: 32 - Email |
Yes I have changed from the first path I learned.Since I am a self taught witch I have no access to outside thinking and developed my our path.The first one I learned was a mix of Starhawk and Silver RavenWolf.Then I started to look into female only paths and now I am in the Celtic path following the Dianic I developed.I was called and now feel at home.
| Change Is Inevitable With Growth ||Oct 3rd. at 4:29:18 pm EDT|
|Uruloki (Bozeman, Mt) ||Age: 20 - Email |
As I have grown older I have incorporated many of the things I have learned and feel are true into my own personal path. I believe that all must change inevitably.
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