Articles/Essays From Pagans
May 19th. 2013 ...
The Role of Identity in Magic
Talking Trash? It's a Dirty Subject but Waste Happens.
My Wiccan Journey
13 Keys: The Victory of Netzach
May 12th. 2013 ...
Pagan Studies I: How Should We Define Modern Paganism?
Nothing Special... Part Two
The Third Path
May 5th. 2013 ...
The Value of Multicultural Awareness
Put Your Back Into It (Our Lady of the Sacred Honey Badger)
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Red Lipped Bat Fish
April 28th. 2013 ...
Lessons from the Lessers: Iris
April 21st. 2013 ...
Taken By The Goddess: The Crescent Moon Tattoo
The Gods/Being Godbothered
To Be A Witch
The Archetypes are Gods: Re-godding the Archetypes
April 14th. 2013 ...
On The Inclusion of Children
'Wand Fun' With Grandson
Lessons from a Baby
Lessons of Freedom: On Divinity and Healing
April 7th. 2013 ...
Out of the Broom Closet... Sorta
A Journey Through the Witches Tarot
History and Science Behind Numerology
March 31st. 2013 ...
What is the Magickal Self?
Ethics and Numerology
March 24th. 2013 ...
Keystones of the Sacred Land
March 17th. 2013 ...
Why Some Pagans and Witches Still Hide
Witch Heritage 101: What Happens When Witch Haters Joke about anti-Witch Films
I'm Not a Broom. So What's with the Closet?
March 10th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Things I Did as a New Pagan: Part 3
Hunting for the Real Witch in Film
The Collective Shadow
Lies - The Opposite of Truth
March 3rd. 2013 ...
Grounding and Releasing Negative Energy
A Patchwork of Magick
February 24th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I Made as a New Pagan (Part Two)
February 17th. 2013 ...
Top Ten Stupid Mistakes I made as a New Pagan... Part One
Gardening with Crystal Energies
A Call from the Ancestors
Moon Musings, Planetary Preponderances and Black Water Snakes
February 10th. 2013 ...
We Are the Weirdos, Mister: A Completely Uncool Story of Origin
February 3rd. 2013 ...
"I'll Grind Your Bones to Make my Bread": Pagans and Animal Husbandry
The Role of Contemporary Culture in Magic
A Pagan Response to Endangered Earth
The Great Mother's Gift, Heinlein, and the Nature of Squirrels
13 Keys: The Glory of Hod
January 27th. 2013 ...
Why We Do Need Wicca
The Cosmos In the Coffee Shop
On Travel Spirituality and Magick
January 20th. 2013 ...
Beloved Backs and How to Save Them
Building or Burning Bridges?
Plants, Magic and Intuition
Plagiarism - How It Harms Our Community
January 13th. 2013 ...
Ramblings of a Pagan Guy: Stupid Clichés
The Magick and Power of Words
Aging Is Not Easy
The Riddle of Who We Are?
January 6th. 2013 ...
Wicca v Witchcraft
A Witch in the Closet
How Many People Can You Fit Under An Umbrella?
Gut Hunches, Mouse Dreams, and Pinkie Sense
December 30th. 2012 ...
Ritual "Cheat Sheet" Bracelet
Magick is All Around Us
Confessions of a Living Satyr
A Tiny Bit of Belly Dance History
December 23rd. 2012 ...
The Warrior Goddess and You.
World Change: A Message from Greece
What's the Meaning of Life, Anyway?
My Brother's Keeper
December 16th. 2012 ...
Keeping Christ in Xmas
Love is the Law
Listen to Your Heart's Wisdom
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Mixing Traditions: Have Your Cake and Eat It Too
Article ID: 14268
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: January 16th. 2011
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Have you ever noticed how humanity loves to label and categorise things? From bugs to the way we dress, all things have a label and a category they fit nice and neatly into, or so we would like to believe (wouldn’t it make life so much simpler?) . What is unfortunate and fortunate all at the same time is that nothing ever really fits perfectly into one given category. This makes things a little messier when you are trying to catalogue all the different types of fashion there are in the world, but also gives the world an endless and beautiful variety. The same happens with Paganism.
So we have this big ‘umbrella’ term ‘PAGANISM’ but can anyone truly describe in one sentence what Paganism really is? I bet you’re all saying no at the screen right now. This is because Paganism isn’t so much one big religious/spiritual belief as it is a culmination of many several different beliefs from all walks of life with a few general basics in common.
For example many, but not all, Pagan paths include the following: Witchcraft, working with the seasons, celebrating the Sabbats, viewing the divine as a God and Goddess Who also grow and change with the seasons, and having respect for nature; this is just to name a few. Without these fundamental bonds, there would be no such thing as Paganism. There would be a myriad of different religions, all different from the next.
I’m sure many of you who haven’t had a particular calling from the beginning of your journey, or followed a family tradition, have been troubled with the question of “Which Path do I choose to follow?” This happens all the time.
We have Joe Bloggs to the left of us going “I’m This Path and it’s awesome. I can read runes and we go into the woods to camp, drinking mead and swapping stories all night! Join us!” Then on your right is Sally Smith saying “I’m That Path; we’re all about empowering women and communing with the Goddess. Join us!” And now you’re stuck in the middle thinking, “Argh, but I like the sound of both of those!!” Well don’t despair, because in Paganism you can have your cake and eat it too!
The problem with the term ‘Path’ is that we imagine when we hear or read the word, one straight road that is rather monotone all the way, bushes to the left, bushes to the right and a dirt track in the centre. This is how I used to see it anyway. This is not the way it is supposed to be viewed at all! Your Pagan Path should be how YOU want it… with a rainbow to the left, Munchkins to the right and a yellow brick road to walk on if that’s how you really want it. Your Pagan Path should be a reflection of you and of what you hold dear and true to your heart. Your heart has no limits, so why should your Path?
It is healthy and, in my Coven encouraged, to not follow just one set of beliefs (unless of course this is what you find comfortable and works for you) . It can be so hard, even with how many different belief systems there are out there, to find one single system that completely works for you. I always find that you can fulfill your potential more if you branch out and find your own way of working that fits you.
I, myself, started with Heathenism. I put a lot of energy and time into learning all the Heathen ways, but I couldn’t follow it to the letter and traditionalist Heathens would have hated to work with me. After a while I thought I was ‘going off’ Heathenism as I became fascinated with the Celtic, particularly Merlin and the Morrigan.
However, it wasn’t that my Heathenism was just a phase; it was that there were areas that I needed fulfillment in that Heathenism alone couldn’t give me. So I mixed the two together.
Now, depending on your views you might be thinking “you can’t just mishmash things together how can all the Gods and Goddesses be real. You either must believe in one set of Gods and Goddesses or another.”
While as in some people’s views this may be true, in mine, it is not. I believe in what I like to call ‘The Diamond Theory’, in the way the books by Christopher Penczak describe it. If you think of one divine being or energy (conscious, primordial, unconscious, universal however you view it) in the shape of a giant diamond, the top half of the diamond is the masculine traits, the bottom half is the feminine traits and then each facet is an aspect of the masculine or feminine trait depending on which half of the diamond it is on.
Okay, so to break it down, let us use the Greek Pantheon as an example. Start with one divine in the shape of a diamond. Now the top half is all of the Gods and the bottom half is all of the Goddesses. In the top half, you will have facets to represent the war-like aspect (Aries) , the ruler aspect (Zeus) , the party-fun-loving aspect (Dionysus) and so on. In the bottom half, you will have facets representing the queen-like aspect (Hera) , the wise aspect (Athena) , the crone aspect (Hecate) and so on. Using this Diamond Theory, you can follow whichever gods call your fancy, whether they are in different pantheons or not.
This theory also opens the doorway to even broader thinking about the energy systems of the universe. For example, can there be a ‘Heaven’ and ‘’Reincarnation? Well why not? I believe that our souls/spirits are born into physicality, die, then after a while, come back again. Then again and again we return until we have learnt all we can from the physical realms, after which, we ascend into what we could call Heaven. I believe that the universe was created by divine will, yet I also believe in the Big Bang theory. This approach works for me because I see the divine as energy, flowing through all things and not as a bearded man on his lofty perch.
You will often find that many symbols, creation myths, systems, Gods and Goddesses from various Pagan religions are all extremely similar, if not the same, with different visual descriptions. As I said at the beginning, all the basics are generally the same in the various paths, which brings in this beautiful opportunity to mix and match without causing much conflict.
So before you start worrying “What path should I take?” I already have the answer for you. Your own! Tweak it. Mold it. Shape it as you see fit. It is no one else’s but your own! Always remember, nothing fits perfectly into any label or category.
[P.S. I would like to state that the examples of ‘This Path’ and ‘That Path’ I used above were purely stereotypical and I do not see these values to be solid truths in any religions.]
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