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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.
|| Reverse Sort
| Changed For The Better ||Oct 2nd. at 6:24:41 pm EDT|
|Aislynn (Puerto Rico) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
Well, in my childhood, I always felt attuned to nature and magick, but naturally like every ignorant Christian child, I thought it was rebellion and Satan was involved. Into my teens, I began studying more about the truth and became a "witch", following Wicca. Now almost out of my teens, I am studying the ancients dieties and following Isis, Pele, and Thor with a blend of the ancient ways to worship with some of the modern ways.
| Unknown Change ||Oct 2nd. at 3:48:09 pm EDT|
|Andrew Smith (Atkins, AR) ||Age: 19 - Email |
Well...as most people here have posted, it seems that most have been brought up as a Christian one way or another. I, like so many others, was brought up the same way. I was a Chatholic until the age of 13 when I moved to live with my father who disliked the Chatholic belief and tried to make me Baptist. It is then that I met an atheist. This being a new concept to me confused yet intriqued my thoughts. Puzzled how one person could drop the belief in God was hard for me to conceive. It didn't happen over night. But rather a couple of years. I opened my mind to the possiblites of evolution and many other possiblities no matter how far fetch. Then it happened. I lost my faith in God. I do not hate nor dislike any religion but I do not believe in the Christian god. Then when I turned 18 I started reading into Wicca. Believing in nothing has been hard and somewhat scary with my grandfathers cancer and my other grandfather falling ill due to diabeties. I do not like the idea of them becomind nothing. In fact I fear it. But I cannot just pick up faith. I have been reading for sometime the Wiccan beliefs and I very much like the ideas and concepts it delievers, but the fact remains that I do not yet believe in an omniponent or highly evolved being that watches us even if it doesnt interfere with our daily activities. That still requires some sort of leap of faith. I will continue my research into the wiccan religion. I hope that I can achieve some sort of spiritual awakening that I have yet to incounter. I hope that this partakes somewhat to the question. More or less, I just wanted to be heard on my thoughts like many others. Thank you for your time.
| Ch Ch Ch Changes ||Oct 2nd. at 3:46:55 pm EDT|
|Greenfae (florida) ||Age: 42 - Email |
In my time I have found that being a witch is on of the most rewarding and interesting things to have in your life. On the way of finding this out I have changed many times. Not so much in the fundenmetal things. But learning and growing in my belifes have caused me to reevaluate alot of my pre learned thoughts and feelings. There has been things that I found were not true to what I really believed. Also there were things that I had to embrace knowing them to be true in my heart. When I started I wanted to have as many deities as possible. Now I see them all as one. The only real diffrance to me is the area which they deal with. When I think about that I have to remember in myself I have lots of chances every day to be many diffrent people. But no one limits me aside from myself. Who am I to limit a dieity. But then that is one of the things that has changed in me. I am sure lots of us have changed and will contuine to change.
Thanks for the read,
blessings and peace to all,
| The Story So Far ||Oct 2nd. at 3:11:01 pm EDT|
|Amber Heathen (Cornelius Oregon) ||Age: 22 - Email |
When I was about 13 years old I did the oh-so-typical "Christianity sucks! I don't want to be one anymore" thing. (I was raised Baptist.) So at that point I decided I was an atheist. I also decided that I was going to be so rabidly anti-Christian that it's embarrassing to even think about now. Around my freshman year of high school a friend of mine started reading about Wicca. I read a little bit and thought, "Well, at least it isn't Christianity." She introduced me to a couple of her other friends who were also into Wicca and we all started hanging out together. I'd started reading about Wicca too and was at the time actually considering it as a religious option. Then my friend started acting all screwed up, to get attention mostly. She'd come to school with poison oak rashes on her arms and legs and spout off very matter-of-factly that the "pixies" led her through poison oak. At that time I started thinking to myself "Hmmm, I think I'll go this way now...." And the two friends she'd introduced me to were druggies anyway, and I don't like associating with those kind of people anyway. So for a few years I didn't read about Wicca at all. My first impression of it wasn't a good one for the above reasons, came across as flakey.
During my senior year of high school I decided to give it another shot. I started reading about Wicca again. However it didn't take me too long (only about a year, year and a half give or take) to realize the more I read about it, the more I realized it totally was not my thing. Now at age 22,I just consider myself an eclectic dark pagan witchy something or other. I've tried so hard to find at least half decent books on Witchcraft that *aren't* Wiccan. All the books I've ever bought are just sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust fluff-bunnies. Apparently, I don't fit in anywhere. Fine by me. I'd prefer to be solitary, considering anytime I've happened to run into anyone else who is Pagan all they wanted to talk about is how awful those darn Christians are. I'm not bothered by Christians at all anymore, which is good since most of my friends and relatives are Christians. I'm still waiting for that beautiful day when someone will finally write a book about Witchcraft from the point of view of a non-Wiccan. Whenever a Wiccan writes a book about it they use the words "Witch" and "Wiccan" interchangeably, giving the uneducated reader on the subject the popular misconception that they are one and the same. And by gosh if someone doesn't write it soon I will and it won't be nice! LOL
Life is a learning process, and religion is a part of life so I will always be learning. If any yahoo ever walks up to me and says "I know everything there is to know about paganism and witchcraft" I'll know they're either lying or crazy. And I'll wonder if the pixies led them through poison oak too.
| Back To My Roots. ||Oct 2nd. at 1:32:40 pm EDT|
|Beau (Monessen, PA) ||Age: 20 - Email |
I was raised as a child pretty much as a non-practicing Catholic. My dad would take me to church every now and again, and I did enjoy going, if only for the ritual. I still think that there's nothing more beautiful than a well-preformed Catholic Mass, it's magical. But a lot of the dogma didnt really sit well with me, so I decided to get away from it. I started on my path away from Christianity around age 12. A friend of mine, who was the new kid at school, got me introduced into Ritual magick, though I didn't really realize that's what it was at the time. I just thought it was Catholicism's dark side, what with all the ritual and all. Plus I was a pretty nieve little kid. But anyway, he moved away a couple years later and I began studying Wicca. This made a whole lot more sense to me, with all the living in harmony with nature and the male/female aspects of diety, plus it had the ritual that I liked. For the longest time, all through high school and the last couple years I became sort of the "Token Witch". Everyone knew about it, and I never hesitated to answer questions about my faith. I'll admit, I was kinda fluffy for the first couple years, but I don't think I ever mis-represented the faith. But lately I've been studying my family heritage (My mother and her family moved here from Germany when she was a child), and reading up on Norse mythology and history, and their religious practices. This resonates with me deeper than anything else I've followed. It's in my blood, the faith of my ancestors. So now I proudly call myself an Asatruar. It's been a long and winding road, but I finally feel like I am where I need to be.
Sorry for the long post, just though I'd finally chime in after lurking for such a long while here.
| Evolution From Within ||Oct 2nd. at 1:31:55 pm EDT|
|Moonshadow (Los Angeles CA) ||Age: 32 - Email |
There is so much to wicca/ paganism/eath religions/ the God and Goddess/ the Universe etc. For me I feel I would be cutting myself short if I didn't let myself explore and evolve
on this journey.
I was brought up a pretty open and mello sect of Christianity. That only seemed to skim the surface though. I needed more. So I got involved in a Christian Funtamentalist group as a teenager. It was actually good for me at the time ( not to mention it was the only other religion available to me) but soon I could see the transparancy of it.
Discovered Wicca after college. I knew this was it! I had a hard time making the transition from worshiping one God to a God/Goddess duality. I needed to get to know them in a whole new way. I had a hard time juggling the two. What felt right at this time was just to focus on the Goddess. Hense Dianic Wicca.
A few years later after reading more and attending open circles and taking classes I began to let the God back into my life. It was time for me to deal with my male/ God power issues. I was now an ecclectic although I always reallycalled myself one.
The next step my journey involves Flower Essences( which are truely amazing) and working as a partner with nature spirits. My path ahead was brought about By Machelle Small Wrights co creative concepts ( which don't call themselves pagan/ wicca but seem to embrace similar concepts ) found in "Behaving as If the God in all Life Mattered"
I was distressed that I was no longer a wiccan. My new guru didn't proclaim herself a wiccan. Yet her concepts revolve around nature. So I guess I 'm just a nature loving pagan
| The Solitary Path ||Oct 2nd. at 11:54:22 am EDT|
|udjat (Atlanta, GA) ||Age: 35 - Email |
I was an emerging Wiccan only a few years ago. It was so comforting to me to actually find a faith that I felt comfortable with, even "rooted", so to speak... But I lack guidance and was never able to find anyone willing to offer support. Yes, I know there are local Pagan groups that meet, but after even contacting a few of them, I never received any replies. So what to do?
Since then I have given up and continue as a solitary practitioner of the Wiccan Religion. I know I still lack guidance, but feel my place is here. However, little by little, I seem to be loosing my way. As I am still practicing ritual, my practices are becoming more and more infrequent. My love for the religion has not changed, and I will continue to practice solitary. I just wish I could be made to feel there was room for at least one more....
| Changing Paths ||Oct 2nd. at 10:42:31 am EDT|
|Raine (Cobourg, Ontario) ||Age: 17 - Email |
I used to be hardline Wicca, but over the last 5 years, it has stopped seeming soimportant to identify with the label of wiccan, if asked nowadays, I simply state that I am pagan. I use more eclectic rituals now, because it doesn't seem as if I'm not 'wiccan' if I dabble in other kinds of religious rituals. I guess it'sa sign thatI'm finally comfortable with my true religion. Raine
| Back In The Saddle Again. ||Oct 2nd. at 6:14:46 am EDT|
|Jadesilk (NWArk) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Up untill I was 13, I was force fed Catholicism. Then I refused to go to Mass. At that age and before, I had always had a deep respect and awe for Nature. I also had an almost rabid obsession with Native American Folklore, Greek, Roman, and Nordic Mythology. When I was 18 and met my first husband, he introduced me to the black arts, or I should say what he thought the black arts were. He gave me my first Tarot Cards. He introduced me to Crowley, LaVey, and ritualistic black magick.
None of it sat quite right with me. I left him and begin my journey which brings me here today. I have a respect for all religions. I have a respect for those who have faith and belief in their religious dogma, God, gods, Goddesses, what have you. I have no respect for those who use their religion as a crutch or excuse to be narrow minded. In the 18 years that I have been a naturalist, I have come full circle many times. I have grown and matured and come to understand and respect the responsibility that comes with truly being one with the earth. I have been called many things throughout my journey, the least of all being... evil, demom, succubuss, heathen, atheist, Pagan, Bruja, Strega, Witch. I have been all of these things, yet I am none of them. I am a solitary practioner of the Wiccan Religion.
| Considering New Perspective... ||Oct 2nd. at 5:53:05 am EDT|
|Catherine (New Zealand) ||Age: 19 - Email |
My first place as a pagan was with Wicca when I was 16, because friends of mine practised it and books were readily available on it. Not many people in my small town practised it, or were not willing to teach me, so I muddled about with a couple of books by myself. Three years later, having started university and minoring in Gender and Women's Studies, I'm having a rethink. I've also started attending a Shamanic Circle, which has given me an opportunity for exploring inwardly, and is much easier for me than meditation and visualisation, and joined a pagan network of the university, which shows me other paths and options, and is useful for discussing ideas.
After almost a year of Gender Studies, the binary male/female God/Goddess with masculine/feminine essences doesn't seem as 'natural' or 'right' to me anymore as it once did. While Wicca does offer an equality not found in other, patriarchal, systems, I believe that female and male can BOTH be nurturing and caring and fierce and spiteful and passive and many more things all rolled up into one, so limiting certain traits to one or the other sex, even though they are seen as equal, that being portrayed as OPPOSITES is a hindrance to that equality.
I have yet to find what suits me, but something where God and Goddess have all aspects, and interchange roles, flexible and liberated. Where women can be fierce and aggressive one minute, and gentle and nurturing the next, as the mood takes me, and the same can be allowed for men. Where limits to behaviour aren't given by the physical sex of the body, but can be developed for each individual as they wish it. Basically, I'm wanting a faith and a pantheon that reflects the way I would like my personal relationships (and the greater world) to work - each individual being free to create themselves as they are, possibly even the distinctions between male and female being of no consequence to their personality and actions.
Perhaps thats why the 'darker' goddesses have a lot of appeal to me now - Hecate, Kali, the Morrigan - goddesses that aren't afraid to be angry and sexual and fierce (oh so fierce) are my personal rolemodels. Maybe I'm angry, and would like to be free to take control of my life, not to be dictated to by society as to how I am to act and look.
But if anyone has any ideas as to where I can find such a thing, I'd live to hear...if not, I'll mix up something of my own...
| I've Done The Rounds, Now Settled ||Oct 2nd. at 2:44:15 am EDT|
|Frater Priapus (Birmingham, UK) ||Age: 57 - Email |
I started off at the age of 11, discovering Wicca and nature-spirits for myself. I would come down into my back garden at night and get my kit off, communing with the elementals. This progressed to walking sky-clad to a nearby park to feed the ducks at around 1 a.m. Then over the course of the next few years I had a growing interest in the LHP, through Denis Wheatley's novels. Joined and was initiated into the Luciferian traditions, which is where I've stabilised at. But in between I've got very attracted by other faiths and pathways including Protestant Christianity (Church of Scotland & Methodist), Islam, anti-Christian LHP Satanism. Now back where I feel I belong in the Luciferian tradition. I can still see SOME truths and merits in all paths. Now very eclectic. I miss the stirring hymns of the Methodist/Church of Scotland tradition; I enjoyed the POWER of Islam including the profound experience of the Lesser Hajj (Umra) and praying with a congregation of around 250,000 at the Bait Ul Haram in Mecca. Perhaps I've just realised that all paths, like the spokes of a wheel, start at the periphery and reunite at the centre. All going in different directions but returning to the same unified spiritual source.
| Prefer No Titled "religions" ||Oct 2nd. at 2:03:18 am EDT|
|Rayvn (Lakewood, WA) ||Age: 22 - Email |
I found Wicca when I was 9 yrs old. I knew that I didn't believe all of the Christian beliefs. As I studied all I could on all beliefs, I realized I agreed with a little bit from most of them. So, now as an adult, when asked what religion do I follow, I have to sigh and explain that I don't believe in titled religions because every one of them has rules to follow. I don't have a problem with rules and all but I don't like being told that to be part of this religion or that, these are the rules I have to follow. Wicca (Old Path) & most Native American beliefs coincide with what I have found to be true. I do believe that the Bible is a good lesson book but that those who follow it word for word are fools. It is a book that has been hand written by man for thousands of years. I know I've used up plenty of erasers in the past! I also know it's human nature to embelish a story the way one personally remembers it or would like to remember it to be.
Anywho... I refuse to take up so much space that this becomes a boring novel on my personal opinion. Suffice it to say that I follow no ordered religion but follow my own personal, ever evolving magikal & scientific path. :)
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