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.
Article ID: 15073
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 660
Times Read: 2,420
RSS Views: 21,210
Author: Jessica Marie Baumgartner [a WitchVox Sponsor]
Posted: May 20th. 2012
Times Viewed: 2,420
Paganism is one of the most spiritual and free ways of life that I have ever experienced. But everyone grows and changes within their belief structure as they mature and age. I converted specifically to Wicca years ago and allowed myself to get caught up in the motions. Wicca is a wonderful religion, but like all faiths, those who practice it can misinterpret it. Following the wheel of the year is a very empowering way to celebrate life, death, and the Gods, but if one allows oneself to get caught up in one way of celebrating only, it can be less emotional.
Every faith has rituals and holidays that are celebrated in different ways but many people get so caught up in the ascetics and the material that they often don’t enjoy the meaning of the celebration. Many of us witness this when Christians make their holy day of Christmas all about presents, and decorations. Of course, an altar faces a certain direction for specific needs and there are a number of oils, stones, and spells that work best during specific times, it just seems that a lot of us try to follow so many rules and specifics that we lose sight of the whole point: connecting with the Gods and the elements that they gave us. Yes, organization helps large groups of people to practice a faith together, but that’s what sets Pagans apart. We don’t need a hundred other people celebrating with us to feel that our faith is validated, and often times the most spiritual otherworldly connections are made in smaller more intimate groups. I specifically no longer consider myself only a Wiccan, but I am and always will be a Pagan.
All religions seem to put a label on someone, and once you let it be known what your faith is, it seems as if everyone has an opinion. That’s why so many of us don’t openly share our religion. And it is my belief that my relationship with nature and the Gods along with their elements is no one’s business but my own. Unfortunately, I have oftentimes been forced to reveal my beliefs when faced with bigotry, ignorance, and angry individuals. And it is often helpful to talk to others who are dealing with the same issues.
The boundaries and rules set into religion bind us to a degree; Paganism is so much more spiritual and allows one to explore their knowledge of the world while still holding onto a faith. The wheel of the year is very dear to me, but I no longer devotedly rush to set everything up perfectly. I oftentimes don’t even create a circle because spell work is not something I take lightly therefore I don’t often perform any kinds of spells. I trust enough in the Gods that they will protect my rites and often feel them pulling me when it is important to intervene with a spell.
Some will say that I’m not a true witch then, but do we really have to cater to stereotypes and allow our faith to be defined by spell work and secret rituals? I think not. My mother, for example, is still very much a Christian but she is more than welcome to celebrate Yule and Ostara or any of our other holidays. I myself believe that Jesus existed and that he did a great many things. He was a healer, could manipulate the elements, and accepted others for who they were; he sounds more Pagan to me than anyone. Do I believe that he was the only son of a male God” Well, no! We are all the sons and daughters of the Gods. The point is, that within each religion, the boundaries that we set up to close ourselves off from other beliefs only limits us.
Do I wish that more people could understand the beauty and power of nature? Absolutely! I have spent years creating a lifestyle with my husband that allows us to live at one with nature while still being able to fit into society, something that is growing harder and harder nowadays. Many of our friends and family see us as ‘the crazy people’ because we share a car and don’t own a dishwasher or a microwave. I make nearly everything from scratch. My husband and I share a cheap cell phone. We spend more time outside than in whenever possible and we don’t often run our air condition or heating. We allow our daughter to get dirty and play with bugs. We have more space in our backyard than in our cute little house. We have a compost heap and recycle nearly everything. If I find a bug inside the house, I release it outside. My husband and I pay extra for organic and cage free food because we understand that our meat comes from something that once lived and we believe that even animals that are killed to be eaten should live a happy life until it’s time for them to serve a greater purpose, and the list goes on. But are these really that extreme?
Once upon a time the majority of the world’s people worshipped nature and we lived at one with it. People did rituals yes, but they weren’t rushing from here to there so they could get to church on time or set a spell up just right to change something in their lives. Wiccan or Pagan, Christian or Atheist, Buddhist or Hindu, Jewish or Muslim, there is a more spiritual side to each belief that breaks through the rules and bounds of every faith to bring us back together so we can live in peace with nature.
Sure I’m biased; I believe that Pagans are much more accepting of other faiths because I have lived it. I’ve never met a Pagan who goes door-to-door trying to convert people or who puts up billboards and commercials about their faith. That seems petty and unrealistic to us because the people who allow a billboard to tell them what faith to choose are just a likely to bow down to lord Taco Bell someday.
All joking aside, even witches cater to stereotypes sometimes and we have to make a conscious effort to remember that our faith is so personal that every Pagan has their own take on the Gods and our deep connections with nature. Rules only limit us. Once I started creating my own spells and rituals, I found a greater sense of understanding and a much easier way to connect with people of other faiths. When asked about my religion, I now tell others that I am a spiritual Pagan.
Jessica Marie Baumgartner
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
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