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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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| My Two Cents ||Oct 2nd. at 1:57:30 am EDT|
|Branowen (Mesa, AZ) ||Age: 19 - Email - Web|
Well, I don't have anything profound or lifechanging to say... but it seemed like everyone else was putting their two cents in, so I will too. My practice began six years ago, living with my non-religious family. I had a series of traumatic events happen to me, and thanks to my bible-thumping Grandmother I thought Christianity was the only religion in the world. So I picked up a copy of the Bible and got myself saved and *POOF* I was Christian. I never believed a word of it, though, and never did accept the concept of the almighty God. I guess I figured that if everyone accepted Jesus Christ as their personal saviour, he wouldn't be so personal anymore. At age 12 I began having dreams (the first I can remember) of Goddesses and the spirits of the elements. These were my first impressions of "God", so I worshipped the nature spirits for over 2 years, happily oblivious to the name of my practice. A really freaky teen moved in across the street who practiced witchcraft, and I made friends with her. She suggested I study witchcraft and then moved away again in a matter of months. I began to learn and study and my practice evolved into a religion - Wicca. It seemed that everything that I had been practicing and everything I believed was all wrapped up in a neat little package. For two more years I called myself a Wiccan and was happier than I'd ever been. In the next two years, I began to develop my own religion, borrowing from other cultures and other religions the ideas and concepts that made sense to me. From this study evoled the religion I have today. I would call myself Pagan, not strictly adhering to any tradition or sect, but practicing the way it best suits me. I know this will change in another two years, because nothing is constant - everything is connected in that great big wheel of change. It will always change for the better, I know, because I have always followed my mind, my heart and the Goddess. I suggest everyone give themselves room to grow and evolve; because no one is ever done learning, and that knowledge will take you to amazing places. Love & Light.
| Not Really Changed But Refined ||Oct 2nd. at 12:53:07 am EDT|
|Reba Witch (Columbus Grove Ohio) ||Age: 37 - Email |
I have been on the Wiccan path for just over 18 years now. I was first introduced by a Woman who was very Celtic. As I was introduced to more people in the pagan world, I picked up more and more beliefs and adapted their rituals to my needs. I am probably by all rights an Eclectic Pagan, but I still hang on to my Wiccan roots.
So to answer the question have I changed? OF COURSE, I've matured over the last 18 years and with that comes an inner peace and better understanding of what is going on around me. I no longer feel a need to 'do it right' and follow the rituals as if they were a step by step receipe, but blend what I've learned and know that the outcome will be even better if I'm comfortable with the ritual.
| Always The Same ||Oct 1st. at 11:45:21 pm EDT|
|Panther (Beliot,Wi) ||Age: 36 - Email |
I have baeen in the Santeria pATH FOR OVER 20YRS. I have studied other paths but this is the one that is right for me.I still have contact with many Wiccans and I learn a little fron all.
| Necessary Labels? ||Oct 1st. at 10:58:35 pm EDT|
|Mydnyte Blue Moon (Johnstown, PA) ||Age: 27 - Email |
When I first got into Paganism, the first books I read were the Witches' Bible, and a guide by Jan and Stewart Farrar. I think what a lot of us don't realize is that we can be a Pagan, a Witch, a Heathen, whatever the case may be, without any of the pomp and regality of Wicca, or any of the other Earth-based religions practising with rituals and tools.
At first I told everyone I was Wiccan, because I believed that a Witch and a Wiccan were one and the same. Now that I know better, I choose to call myself simply a Witch. I use herbs to heal, may light a candle every now and then, but what makes me a Witch is a very simple few things. I live by the Rede of 'Ye harm none', I hold everything in Nature in highest regard, and I believe in the concept of positive and negative energy being the source of all life in every form, Earthbound, Ethereal, and otherwise.
So, have I changed? Only when I decided to question my Christian roots. And only then, was it my label, and a few misconceptions that changed. For I have always been a nature lover, and practised things considered by some to be abnormal, or paranormal.
The bottom line for me is this: No matter what you call yourself, you are what you are. If you do not live by the very simplest of the laws of nature, then you are nothing to me. If you profess to be a Wiccan, or a Pagan, or a Witch, yet cast to hurt others, litter, poison the earth, eat things unecessary for survival, use resources beyond what you need, then you are not what you profess to be. Simply put, before you label yourself, please be ready to practise what you preach!
| I'm Probably The Odd One Here. ||Oct 1st. at 10:30:12 pm EDT|
|Etain (Ohio) ||Age: 31 - Email |
I was never christian and was never told witchcraft was evil. I grew up in an eastern religion with no idolotry. I come from a long line of witches.....although they don't call themselves witches. They are what they are...they revere the earth.
I look at the god/goddess as a faceless, but powerful energy, but with a duality to it. I don't necessarily call them gods because, to me, that's too much like christianity. Paganism & witchcraft became very interesting to me because it's something I've always felt linked to, but couldn't put a name on it. It feels like home. The non-proselytizing, the elementals & divas, the energy work, the respect for the earth and the celebration of the year are just a few things that make paganism welcoming to me.
I still have my eastern beliefs and my native american beliefs (yes I'm that too) and feel comfortable going to circle with my friends. To me the gods aren't going to strike me down if worship them in a church, a temple or nature. They know what I know..... it's all the same, just a different avenue, a different way of expressing a belief that no one else can make judgement upon. It's a very personal thing. You and your divine expression.
I never understood christians and their craziness. They're so hung up on the small stuff. It almost becomes a pissing contest of who's right and wrong and who can quote the bible best. I don't think this is what Jesus had in mind.
Although, there will never be a name for what I "believe" in, I kind of like it that way. It's who I am. I'm a mixture of different cultures, ethnicities, and religions.
Peace, blessings & namaste.......
| Once ||Oct 1st. at 9:31:05 pm EDT|
|Eric (Mechanicsburg PA) ||Age: 18 - Email - Web|
I converted from Lutheran Christianity to LaVeyan Satanism. Mostly, I tend to think this was because Christianity had been shoved down my throat. I believed it, though. I was forced to. But, gradually, I began to think and came up with the usual questions. "How come God doesn't answer prayers?" "Why doesn't God ever show Himself so He proves to nonbelievers that He exists?" "Why aren't there any miracles anymore?" "Why do I keep having to be tested?" "How did all those inconsistencies in the Bible get there?" etc etc.
I did some research on the occult. I first came across what I now believe was Dianic Wicca. I moved away from it because it seemed to "fluffy" at the time (though I didn't know that word...I actually referred to Wicca in general later as "fuzzy bunny"). I found out about Satanism and figured it was to my liking. At the time it seemed like the imagery was harsh, it was dark, it was the anti-"fuzzy bunny". I had found Wicca too much like Christianity. Satanism contains a liberal dose of anti-Christian mongering. I liked that at the time.
I gradually fell away from practicing it over a matter of years. I kept to the philosophy, I just ignored the stuff about magic. I then managed to actually get my hands on a copy of "The Satanic Bible"...and I thought it was ludicrous. I figured it must have been one of the most poorly written books I had ever read. I disagreed vehemently with what LaVey said about magic (by this time I had gotten over my lingering dislike for Christianity and I had no negative attitudes toward Wicca because of the occasional resemblance). I was very much against some of his philosophies...I'm not a utilitarian.
As fortune (and I now believe, other forces) would have it, I picked up Aleister Crowley's Book of Lies at the same time I got The Satanic Bible...and I was mesmerized by what I read in Crowley. I learned more about him and Thelema, and...here I am.
| Old Thoughts New Stratagy ||Oct 1st. at 9:24:16 pm EDT|
I've been going through a huge change in the past year. I've been pagan since before I can remember, but I didn't know it. I was raised Catholic and all. Anyway, when I finally gave up on the "I can pretend to be Catholic while believing what I believe," I was pretty angry at the Catholic Church. I already knew what I believe now, I'm just alone. I read tarot, use energy, and have my own specific beliefs regarding the universe. Anyway, in the past year I've been finding that I'm starting to be drawn toward the Goddess. I guess you could say I'm not changing my belief so much as adding to it.
| Well... Sorta... ||Oct 1st. at 9:17:22 pm EDT|
|Hadriel Stoneroot (Massachusetts) ||Age: 15 - Email |
i am an eclectic wiccan, and really, i just follow the horned one and goddess... i am interested in bardic traditions, and right now i am making a mandolin to help me in my path toward bardism... it is considered a religion by some, but to me it is a way to express my love of the Lord and Lady. i have for some time considered myself a druid in fact. but recently, i decided that i follow my gods, and nothing else has to matter to me... so... to answer your question, yes, yes i have many times.
| Goddess ||Oct 1st. at 8:12:56 pm EDT|
|Diama White (Wayne, MI USA) ||Age: 46 - Email |
I was going to write in there that I have never, nor have I ever thought of changing paths. The plain truth of it is that I have on so many occasions that I laugh now as I sit to write this!
All in all, it's all the same to me. We all worship in one form or another, just at some points we change styles or ideas. Ideas change to me, but not my ideals or morales. The path may be long and winding, with hidden agendas: but the path always leads the same way.
| You Read My Mind. ||Oct 1st. at 6:09:36 pm EDT|
|Manda (Memphis, TN) ||Age: 22 - Email |
Actually, my path is currently going through a big change. Now, everyone's path evolves a little, as the person grows and learns, but there have been some significant changes around here.
I started, as most people who come from a Christian background, in Wicca. Honestly, in my newly-introduced-to-alternate-religions mind, the words "Pagan" and "Wiccan" were interchangable for a while. *cringe* I know... I know...
Since then, in participating in the (limited number of) events that go on around here, I've come to realize that there are a thousand different flavors of Pagans out there. I've also come to realize that I'm not really much for the ceremonial magick... I'd rather putter in my garden and kitchen than plan huge elaborate rituals.
Lately I've been ditching ceremony for feasts that even my Christian friends can participate in, I've been reading books and finding my self voicing disagreements to my husband, and I've been listening to my heart and the wind a little more than I've been listening to the people who are screaming "but this is the way it's ALWAYS been done!!"
So, for now, I label myself as a kitchen witch.
As for people that switch paths: wonderful! If it brings them closer to Spirit, then that's great.
As for Wicca remaining the dominant Pagan "denomination" ... I don't know. Possibly, since it IS very popular currently, and being passed down throughout families. Then again, maybe not, since there are many other wonderful paths out there.
| Confusion ||Oct 1st. at 4:02:00 pm EDT|
|Ashleigh (aka Jaded Moon/Miss Jade etc) (London (England)) ||Age: 16 - Email - Web|
This takes a bit of introduction but bare with me!
Just over a year ago I went on a Jewish Summer camp (as both my parents are Jewish and at the time I believed in Judaism) in Wales. I came upon a cute little New-age shop and decided to buy a Dowsing Crystal. Now two of my friends from Summer camp already had been Tarot Card readers for many years and using my Dowsing Crystal I managed to start out by feeling Tarot Cards using my Crystal.
Just after camp, Me and another girl decided to learn from my two Tarot-Card-reading-friends to Tarot read... and so we did and bought each other our first packs (mine was "The Tarot of the Moon Garden"... BEAUTIFUL PACK!!!!!)
Flash forward to a few months ago. Im starting question my Jewish beliefs and starting to not believe some areas of it... and so I decide to no longer call myself a Jew by religion and started just saying I was Jewish by Culture.
Now to the present: Very recently I have been introduced (through yet another friend) to other Pagan beliefs (specifically Celtic/Druid.) The nature of the Goddess and other key beliefs such as "If it harms none, do what you will" seemed to make sense and I have recently been calling myself Pagan. However, I have not started practicing Majik (although I intend to) as a Tarot Card reading and Dowsing session has informed me to not go-it-alone and wait for someone to invite me to a Grove or a Coven before I attempt any form of Majik
So as a Summary I have gone from being a Jew, to being completely anti organised-religion to being some kind of a Pagan (and being confused!)
Ash (aka Jaded Moon)
PS. please feel free to contact me on this subject... In fact I would be most grateful!!!!
PPS. The link is to see the pack that I own... I feel the type of Tarot Card pack you have is a window to the soul
Link to More info related to this post -- HERE
| Evolution ||Oct 1st. at 2:54:23 pm EDT|
|Olwen (Brampton, Ont) ||Age: 45 - Email |
I think that rather than change, I've evolved. Coming suddenly as I did from a fairly fundamentalist Christian worldview, the idea of all God/esses = one God/ess was comforting. I've learned a lot since then, about myself, my world and my Gods, and have, in the process, become a hard polytheist following a Cymric path. (Note, I was always drawn to a Celtic path, although I didn't know which one, exactly.) It didn't happen overnight, it wasn't necessarily easy, but it did happen. Nor is it right for everyone; that much can only be determined by the individual.
I think now that I've found my place, although as I continue to grow, I expect my practice will change somewhat, and perhaps even my view of the Gods, as my experience continues. And that's okay, too. I'd hate to be stuck in one view the rest of my life.
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