I Call Myself Pagan.
Article ID: 10676
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: May 21st. 2006
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I donít follow a specific tradition. Iím Eclectic, and I feel that if my personality can shift through my experiences in life, then my spiritual path should be able to do so as well. Sure, I get information on different traditions, but Iíve never found one specific one that calls to me.
I canít go Dianic; I respect the God far too much to go exclusive with the Goddess. Iíve looked into the Wiccan traditions, but have found myself feeling like something was missing. Iíve delved into different Reconstructionist traditions, but have found that there isnít any single culture that I can relate to. Eastern-based paths are too foreign for me to truly understand or appreciate. I care about the earth, but Iím just a little too conservative for the hippie-ish circles.
Am I complaining that ĎI canít find anywhere to belong?í NoÖ Iím just trying to justify why Iím pull from lots of traditions instead of following just one.
Should I have to justify myself? Shouldnít the fact that I worship the Goddess and God and revere nature and that I pull my beliefs from various Pagan traditions be enough to justify calling myself Pagan?
Look, Iím not trying to rant here, and Iím not trying to cause an argument. I can clearly see the reason for people not wanting to accept Eclectics into the big, leafy, already-complicated and misunderstood tree that is Paganism.
I see the teenagers doing it to rebel against their conservative Christian parents. But donít you think that theyíll either fade away from Paganism, or that theyíll actually start to get serious? I see the people who donít commit to one tradition because they just want to follow what they think is cool at the time. I see the people who try to be evangelical and holier-than-thou about what they believe. I see the people who donít want to go to a mentor because they canít admit to themselves that they arenít the all-powerful being that they think they are.
But the thing is, there will be people like that no matter what religion you look at. Itís inevitable. The only way to avoid that is to go completely underground and create secret societies, and make vows of silenceÖ But there is already so much information out, new societies and traditions will spring up above the surface anyways - so that approach still wouldnít work.
But even though there are those people that are Eclectic Pagans for the wrong reasons, that doesnít mean that you should think that every Eclectic is like that.
Iíll admit it right now: I havenít had any formal training in anything spiritualÖ unless you include the Pastor from my childhood Christian church. But that is not because Iím so arrogant as to believe that Iím too good to seek help. Itís because if I havenít found a path that suits me, I donít want that teacher to waste their time trying to dedicate me to something I know I canít follow, and I donít want them trying to make me think in a way that I donít want to.
I trust my heart and intuition when it comes to my spiritual path. I read books, and I experiment with different ways of doing things. Sometimes I find out that I already do things that a certain path follows, and sometimes I come up with my own ways that no one else has thought of. But I always make sure that it feels right.
Iíve tried to classify myself as one tradition or another. I used to desperately search for something already established to relate to; a circle to worship with. I doubted my own thoughts and ways of doing things and scoured books for the Ďright wayí of doing things.
But who came up with those traditions? Wasnít it just a human, guided by his/her intuition who did things in a certain way and had other people who decided to do things the same way? Why should I feel guilty for doing things the way I want to? Iím not going to try and establish my own tradition; I just want to feel like what Iím doing spiritually is doing justice to the Goddess and God within me.
All of what I do and believe stems from different Pagan traditions or thoughts; so itís not like Iím taking Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism and deciding to call myself Pagan. I revere Mother Earth, celebrate the Celtic Sabbats, praise Apollon and Demeter, do magical cooking, read tarot cards, cast runes, and I have a picture of Isis and Anubis above my statues of the Snake Goddess of Crete and a bulls head. I call the four quarters, and create a circle, and sometimes I invoke only Venus, while other times I invoke Mars.
This is not to say that I wonít ever find a path that suits me. There are far too many different traditions for me to say that Iíve looked at it all. If I find a path that interests me enough, Iím willing to go outside of my comfort zones to explore it.
But Iím not willing to put up with a religious path I donít follow to please people who have the wrong idea of why I (and lots of other Eclectics) do what we do. The Goddess and God love me whether I call the quarters starting from the East, or starting from the North. Theyíd even love me if I didnít call the quarters at all!
Think about it. The Divine isnít going to fret whether you believe that Lugh or Apollo is stronger. Theyíre not going to care about whether you think an athame corresponds to the East or the South. So why is there such a huge debate about it among us humans?
I think that people shouldnít judge people just on the basis that they decide they donít want to define themselves as one tradition or another. If they are one of the people who get interested in Paganism for the wrong reasonsÖ then by all means, scorn them. Go ahead. I do! All Iím saying is that maybe you should make sure that you know that theyíre doing it for the wrong reasons; donít just scorn them because you donít think they qualify as Pagan.
I have no formal training, and I pull from many, many different traditions. I donít think that the Goddess existed before the God did, and I donít think that men should be submissive to women. I donít think that you need to wear robes or jewelry when you hold a ritual. I donít think you have to be skyclad either. I donít follow anything that is already established as a tradition. But whether you like it or not: I call myself Pagan.
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