Articles/Essays From Pagans
March 9th. 2014 ...
Healing the Witch Within
Discovering Wicca as a Young Child
March Pisces Energy: Pre-natal Memories and Standing Upright
March 2nd. 2014 ...
Lessons of Ostara: Six Ways to Move Forward
The Wiccan Priest - The Misunderstood Role
Which is Which? Am I a Warlock or a Witch?
The Secret Teaching: Selected Aspects
February 23rd. 2014 ...
Wicca or Traditional Witchcraft: Some Differences
Everything is Not Under Your Control: Making Sense of the Senseless
The Wonders and Gifts of Paganism and Community
What Makes Us What We Are
February 16th. 2014 ...
Death, Grief, and Psychopomp Work in Shamanic Healing
The Stones of Fear: Anxiety Relief
Spiritual Traveler: Form To Essence
Alternative Medicine – What Is It?
February 9th. 2014 ...
Words of Power!
The Allure of Glamour in the Apocolypse
Lunar Insight Planetary Preponderances: Year of the Horse, Imbolc and Mercury Grazings
February 2nd. 2014 ...
The Magick of Jewelry and Metals
Building a Magick Mirror
The Golden Bough: a Study Guide (Part 2)
January 26th. 2014 ...
Love of Self: The Hardest Thing To Do
The Golden Bough as a Seminal Work in the Neo Pagan Movement (Part 1)
13 Keys: The Mercy of Chesed
Lightworking In The Screen Age: Staying Connected
January 19th. 2014 ...
Open Letter to the Goddess
A Southern Girl's Guide to Hospitality
Social Conventions and the Pagan World
January 12th. 2014 ...
Never Once Was There a An Athame Near My Chalice: My Very Sheltered Occultist Upbringing
One Wiccan's Journey Through Depression
January 5th. 2014 ...
Religion vs Practice: Defining Witchcraft in a Modern Age
Traditional Apprenticeships: Training in the Modern Pagan Abbey
2014's Magickal Magnificent Manifestations!
Lunar Insight Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances: Wise and Wild
December 29th. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 3)
13 Keys: The Might of Geburah
Beyond The Season of Greed
December 22nd. 2013 ...
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 2)
December 15th. 2013 ...
The Hex Murder of 1928
My Top Ten Favorite Cauldrons (Part 1)
Lady of the Forest Mist (A Story of the Woods)
Lunar Insight Moon Musings: Hunting, Fires and Parting Shots
December 8th. 2013 ...
Help and Thoughts for Pagans New to the Journey
Using Your Wand in Reverse
Leaving a Group - Part 2: Leaving, Healing and Moving Forward
The Cry of the Soul
December 1st. 2013 ...
The Tarot as a Tool for Raising Consciousness
A Pragmatic Look at Neo Paganism
Leaving a Pagan Group – Part 1: To Leave or to Stay?
November 24th. 2013 ...
The Pagan and the Papacy
The Groovy Aquarian Christ: Jesus From a Pagan Perspective
November 17th. 2013 ...
For Love of the God
Which Witch? Philosophical and Psychological Roots of Wicca
A Threat to Religious Liberties?
November 10th. 2013 ...
Where did Aleister Crowley’s Influence on Wicca Go?
Thoughts on the Threefold Law/Law of Return
The Celtic Tree Calendar
Nine Creeds: A Statement and Explanation of My Beliefs
November 3rd. 2013 ...
The Mundane/Spiritual Mirror: What Does it Say About Your Life?
October 27th. 2013 ...
Thoughts On a Miley-Cyrus/ Robin-Thicke Society
On Being Wiccan: Some Unsolicited Advice
Pagan Religious Communities in your Area: Connecting With and Creating Them
Banishing, Invocation and the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram
October 20th. 2013 ...
Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition
Weather Magick: Who is Responsible for the Weather?
Broom Closet: In or Out?
On Coven and Claws
October 13th. 2013 ...
Destroying to Create: A Lesson from the Dead
Consume the Scorpion- Scorpion Energy Revisited
October 6th. 2013 ...
UPG and U: A Breakdown and Building Up of Unverified and Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis
Answering The Call from Spirit
Coping with the Loss of a Familiar
The Five-way Road: A Pagan Pilgrimage, Part 2 (The South)
September 29th. 2013 ...
Six Reasons Why Covens are Here to Stay
Priestessing and Titles: What's the Point?
Truth or Convenience? Questioning Motives for Spiritual Advancement
Speaking Up: The Conflict Between the Spiritualist and Our Human Experience
September 22nd. 2013 ...
Death of a Friendship within the Craft
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Growing Up Wyrrd
Article ID: 14980
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 723
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Posted: March 18th. 2012
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Most of us have at one point or another heard a story from a fellow Pagan about growing up in a Christian family, being disillusioned with the religion they were assigned to and later converting. These stories are one of the more popular personal narratives of NeoPaganism, but we are entering an era when many of the elders of the modern Pagan movement are old or dead and not only have children, but grandchildren who have been raised with their particular flavour of Paganism. I suspect the narrative of NeoPaganism is about to change when these people who grew up Pagan start to tell their stories; however, there is yet another narrative not talked about or told as much as the "I grew up Christian" narrative, and that is the "I just came home" narrative. The latter is mine.
Being a convert can be tough, no doubt about it, and it can be particularly straining on relationships with nonPagan family members, and equally as straining on the convertee, especially when it comes to worldview. Pagans have a distinctly different worldview (a fundamental cognitive orientation that includes one's views of society, philosophies, ethics, normative postulates, etc.) than that of Christians, who represent the majority narrative on worldview in the world. Many do not know how to deal with it, and many blanket Pagan terms over top of old Christian views they have internalised from being subjected to it for many years.
There are some of us however, who have never internalised the majority narrative, despite being subjected to it. Some time ago, I had the pleasure of reading Robin Artisson's Reclaiming the Pagan Worldview, which, I think, while it has its flaws (i.e., the rejection of science-I believe this discounts all our ancestors' work toward Academia) , is an indispensible tome of wisdom for the modern Pagan when it comes to thinking like a Pagan and being Pagan. I believe he is right when he speaks of "some people think that being Pagan is a matter of [...] making a blanket rejection of their original beliefs" and not much else. I think many Heathens know it when we see it, and know the importance of seeing the world in a Heathen way, especially the hard polytheists. It is a distinct way of perceptualising the world around you and your experiences and merely placing Pagan terminology over top of internalised perceptualisations can severely stunt your understanding of and experience of Heathenism and Paganism.
Heathenism is not compatible with the Abrahamic worldview, the worldview many of us have been taught since birth, and still more have had it ground into us, forced internalisation from everything from the basics of belief in the supernatural to our modern understanding of secularism and societal philosophies. I agree with Artisson that we need to reclaim that Pagan worldview if we are going to be Pagans. Our ancestors created rich cultures of Pagan philosophy, schooling, democracy and secularism from a distinctly Heathen point of view. Our contemporaries have spent years studying, collaborating and providing us with historical and archaeological references, texts and reconstructions of these rich cultures. Their worldviews have also changed how we see the days of the week, and even how we see time. A Pagan worldview encompasses everything from religious rites to our perception of language and how time passes. To not work toward reclaiming it is to do ourselves, our ancestors and especially our descendents are grievous disservice. This is where my narrative comes in.
I did indeed grow up in a typical "Christian household" but the beliefs were never consistent. No one seemed to be able to decide what, if anything, he or she actually believed. They had more internalised the worldview of their Christian society and feared letting it go, and stepping out of the cage. On the other hand, I grew up spending time at my best friend's house, whose mother was an Indigenous Wiccan. From my earliest memories I saw nature as sacred and in my dimmest, furthest reaches of childhood memory; I was an animist.
When my friend's stepmother told me about Paganism, at the age of eight, I felt I had "come home". Of all the attempts to scar me with Christian worldview, not a single one had succeeded to embed itself in my mind. My friend's stepmother's own syncretic views of religion had a much deeper impact and while I didn't end up Wiccan (I often saw Christian baggage being dragged in. Christians in Pagans' clothing, as it were, and I rejected it in favour of Reconstructionist paths) , today I still see the world in the same manner, and more so.
In my teenage years when I was just discovering who I was, I began to fear the constant press of Christianity both in the forefront and in my periphery and began to work hard everyday to affect my Wyrd and prevent me from ever internalising Christianity. While I no longer fear Christianity, at the time, my young mind felt it was a severely pressing issue. I sucked up the lore incessantly and constantly looked for patterns of Wyrd and Orlog in my everyday life. Indeed, discovering Theodism and Sinnsreachd and Celtic Recon even changed my views of what Heathenry was, and that not every Reconstructionist shares the same worldview, philosophies or ethics, despite the majority narrative within Heathenry being Ásatrú.
Discovering the concept of Wyrd opened my eyes to a way of seeing and understanding the world I had only the faintest, labelless, wordless glimmer of before. I discovered it in my grade 11 English class, reading a Michael Alexander translation of Beowulf. Beowulf became one of my most treasured tomes of lore for its attempt at interweaving an archaic Heathen worldview with a Christian one, and I felt what must have been the same conflict as did the Christian teller of the tale who added his own elements to what was otherwise a deeply Heathen epic. Christianity, in my natural and carefully cultivated Heathen worldview, was morbid, self-serving and deeply confused about its own ethics. They were too focused on death and on purposeful suffering, and indeed I saw all the Christians in my life suffering in ways I could not empathise with because I had never internalised the shame and the obsession with death that forced them into their continual fear and gloom. And this is often what I see in contemporary Heathens who espouse a distinctly Christian flavour coming from being a convert, or even the children of converts. I see it less so with the "came home" narrative, those of us who had a way of perceiving our world and only later found names for it.
I would advise studying the lore, the history and especially the philosophies of not just our ancestors but the ancestors and elders of all Heathen paths and I would advise deeply connecting it to our everyday life on a daily basis. Heathenry isn't a Sunday sacrifice, or merely posting on Ásatrú Lore once a week, it's a way of life, it is how you see the sun when it rises, how you drive to work on a Monday, how you effect your Wyrd with every choice you make. Heathenry is who a Heathen is. No one ever said it was easy, but it's certainly necessary.
Sharples, R. W. "Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics: An Introduction to Hellenistic Philosophy [Paperback]." Amazon.com: Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics: An Introduction to Hellenistic Philosophy (9780415110358) : R.W. Sharples: Books. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .
Artisson, Robin, "Reclaiming the Pagan Worldview." Scribd. Web. 29 Feb. 2012. .
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