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Here's an intro to paganism. I took a dip into paganism a number of years ago and really enjoyed it. But I discovered that I was more interested in the magic aspect than earth centered worship or deity worship. Moving through magical practices, picking and choosing what I liked and tossing the rest was liberating after being a Christian. :) There is no fixed dogma in paganism and solitary practice is very popular. You can create your own spiritual path from the ground up ... or pick a preexisting path. Someone wise once said that it was foolishness to try and explain their own personal pagan spirituality because nobody besides him/her would understand it anyway. Humorous and true, I think.

 

https://paganfed.org/index.php/paganism/introduction-to-paganism

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I remember that shortly after deconverting, my wife took me to a New Age crystal shop. I gravitated to the witchcraft aisle and the pentacle rug. No idea why, but it felt like home, rather strongly. I told the shop keeper that it felt like being hugged by mom. Since then I've been a lot more Earth/nature oriented.

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It's such a varied subject the best way to get a handle on paganism is to talk to pagans.  Most of us go a rather individualistic path.  Some emphasise the "magic" aspect but perhaps it's less common than is generally thought.  Some who identify as pagan are avowedly atheistic.  Categorisation is particularly difficult when there is no accepted doctrine.  Arguably, paganism is not a "religion" at all, but just a generic description of ideas and practices based (however loosely) on a modern interpretation and understanding (more or less historically accurate in any given case) of pre-Christian religious and philosophical concepts.

 

But let's not be unbalanced.  Pagans have their share of idiots and the prejudiced as well.  A smaller share, maybe, but they are out there.

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On 12/25/2017 at 3:01 PM, Fuego said:

I remember that shortly after deconverting, my wife took me to a New Age crystal shop. I gravitated to the witchcraft aisle and the pentacle rug. No idea why, but it felt like home, rather strongly. I told the shop keeper that it felt like being hugged by mom. Since then I've been a lot more Earth/nature oriented.

 

I know you posted this awhile ago, but I'm new here and wanted to respond. My story is similar to yours in that I also felt drawn to witchcraft and nature beliefs. I just started this journey, but I am finding that I am a much happier, more relaxed person since I accepted who I truly am.

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I'm still very nature loving (no so much hiking, but just being in it, gardening and feeding birds). I haven't done much with the witchcraft since then. I know a handful of people that are loosely witches, but more tarot readers, psychics, and mediums. I just tossed a bunch of books and incense stuff in a general house cleaning, because I wasn't using them anymore and no one seems to want books these days (and they all have too many of their own in this crowd). I still have quite a collection of crystals and minerals, but I don't do anything with them now. I am going to put some in our water feature for the beauty aspect of them, and just hang onto a few of the choice ones. I have an outstanding large celestite geode that is gorgeous.

 

I do wonder if I've "lost connection". I used to experience some powerful things when I was a believer, and I attributed them to the bible god at the time. Now I wonder what I was actually experiencing, and why I felt so at home among the witchy things. The shop owners said that I was standing over an energy vortex, which is why they had the shop there. I don't know. These days I don't experience anything noticeable in that realm, but I am far more aware of how my thoughts and emotions seem to be occasionally manipulated by what feels like another personality. So I have to make choices about what kinds of energy, thoughts, or emotions that I choose to embody, and make conscious consistent choices against some things and for some other things, based on what I want to be as a person. In the past I might have described that as temptation, but it is more subtle than that, more like something wants to use my being to play out its odd thoughts and desires, until I notice it and say No. I realize that sounds mental, but the witchy folks I know say it is common among those of us who are "sensitive" to other realms. They have all kinds of beliefs about what these things can be, and I'm not sure I ascribe to that, but it's interesting to know I'm not the only one feeling like something wants to use me as an avatar.

 

I've also been interested in the concept of Tantra and the kundalini power that is said to rise up from the base of the spine to make connection with the "god" or life from which all life comes, and then circles back down to fill the person with a tremendous sense of connection and a changed view of self and purpose. I have not pursued it much, but have friends who have experienced it.

 

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@Fuego, life is a continuous journey. I think our beliefs change as we grow. And we need to go where we feel drawn, even if some things change. From what I understand, a Wiccan chooses their own beliefs, they don't always follow everyone else (or other Wiccans). This is common with those who practice alone. Not sure about other groups or covens, since I am still learning. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, LoneBlueSky said:

@Fuego, life is a continuous journey. I think our beliefs change as we grow. And we need to go where we feel drawn, even if some things change.

 

 

 

Our beliefs change as we grow. I think that is a profound statement. I'm not sure why I would need to choose one belief and stick with it as my final conclusion. My life is in flux. Let my beliefs go with the flow.

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10 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

@VerbosityCat

 

You should be able to post now. 

 

 

Thanks!

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On 8/26/2018 at 2:36 AM, midniterider said:

 

Our beliefs change as we grow. I think that is a profound statement. I'm not sure why I would need to choose one belief and stick with it as my final conclusion. My life is in flux. Let my beliefs go with the flow.

 

This is part of why I decided not to do "organized religion". It's so easy to get locked into a fixed point of view and trying to commit to being "the most real version of that thing" when you probably don't actually agree with every thought or view in that path. And even if you do, you find there are about 11 to 11,000 different versions of that path and they all contradict and people spend all their time arguing about it. Better to just let your path be yours truly rather than try to conform to any set dogma, no matter how closely it otherwise fits you. IMO

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I agree. Can anyone really truthfully say they are in accord with all of a particular sect’s statement of beliefs? 

 

Probably not. People just pretend so they can eat that church potluck. 

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On another forum my electronic signature is a quote from a Greek poem that translates as "Always keep Ithaca in your mind.  Arrival there is your goal".  The idea behind the poem generally is that it's the journey that matters, and upon which we should spend our time.  Not being locked into one belief system, allowing yourself the freedom to question, challenge and change any orthodoxy (religious or secular) is all to the good.

 

In that sense, may we never arrive.

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On 9/23/2018 at 6:42 AM, Ellinas said:

On another forum my electronic signature is a quote from a Greek poem that translates as "Always keep Ithaca in your mind.  Arrival there is your goal".  The idea behind the poem generally is that it's the journey that matters, and upon which we should spend our time.  Not being locked into one belief system, allowing yourself the freedom to question, challenge and change any orthodoxy (religious or secular) is all to the good.

 

In that sense, may we never arrive.

 

For me, I start at the place of the stories and such of my ancestors. What I believe 'about the gods' (symbolic/literal/part of the ancestral soul/etc) may be ever changing, but there is a core set of values and myths/stories that are mine and that link me back to those before me. So that is what is important to me, developing those values, honoring that history and those stories, while not getting too locked into one fixed perspective on any of it.

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On 10/2/2018 at 12:06 AM, VerbosityCat said:

 

For me, I start at the place of the stories and such of my ancestors. What I believe 'about the gods' (symbolic/literal/part of the ancestral soul/etc) may be ever changing, but there is a core set of values and myths/stories that are mine and that link me back to those before me. So that is what is important to me, developing those values, honoring that history and those stories, while not getting too locked into one fixed perspective on any of it.

 

Beliefs evolve.  What we are is built on what we have been.  That's why I don't do regret, and why I expect not to be the same in the future as I am now - a process that will continue as long as I am here.

 

Your myths and stories may change over time as well.  After all, that was the basis, ultimately of leaving Christianity.  I have come across pagans on other fora who have, over time, swapped one mythological basis for another - not often, but a lot less painfully than Christian deconversion, and generally as a part of an acknowledged development of belief structure.

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23 minutes ago, Ellinas said:

 

Beliefs evolve.  What we are is built on what we have been.  That's why I don't do regret, and why I expect not to be the same in the future as I am now - a process that will continue as long as I am here.

 

Your myths and stories may change over time as well.  After all, that was the basis, ultimately of leaving Christianity.  I have come across pagans on other fora who have, over time, swapped one mythological basis for another - not often, but a lot less painfully than Christian deconversion, and generally as a part of an acknowledged development of belief structure.

 

Regret is a waste of time, I think. And if I start having regrets I may have to play the reincarnation card and tell myself, "I'll just do 'that thing' in my next life". (haha)

 

The great thing about being pagan is you roll your own beliefs. You dont have to deal with rabid fundy fruitcakes insisting that you'll burn in hell if you dont follow some prescribed behavior or thought pattern. The only person you answer to is yourself (at least as a solitary practitioner). So, yes, it would be less painful to have belief's morph over time as a pagan. Paganism is a casual thing for me.

 

My Gods and Goddesses are part of me and dont care if I worship them or not. :)

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5 hours ago, Ellinas said:

 

Beliefs evolve.  What we are is built on what we have been.  That's why I don't do regret, and why I expect not to be the same in the future as I am now - a process that will continue as long as I am here.

 

Your myths and stories may change over time as well.  After all, that was the basis, ultimately of leaving Christianity.  I have come across pagans on other fora who have, over time, swapped one mythological basis for another - not often, but a lot less painfully than Christian deconversion, and generally as a part of an acknowledged development of belief structure.

 

I highly doubt that. I am not into this neopagan "god shopping". My gods ARE my ancestors in my belief. My ancestors were primarily the germanic tribes including some vikings. Those are MY stories. It isn't about "stories I just like" it's about who my people were. Now within that my beliefs ABOUT the gods and ABOUT the myths and ABOUT all of how the world works and how I relate to it may change, but it's about an ancestral link to me not "what I think is cool" though I DO think the gods of my ancestors are cool. ;)

 

In the same way I'm not going to trade my family in for a new one, this is my larger ancestral family. While I like the myths and gods of other people, that doesn't belong to me.

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5 hours ago, midniterider said:

 

 

 

My Gods and Goddesses are part of me and dont care if I worship them or not. :)

 

My theory about this is polytheistic gods have their own god friends so they aren't all by themselves in an isolation tank obsessing endlessly about mixed fiber clothing and shrimp eating and other high crimes and misdemeanors of the little humans. :P

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6 hours ago, Ellinas said:

 

Beliefs evolve.  What we are is built on what we have been.  That's why I don't do regret, and why I expect not to be the same in the future as I am now - a process that will continue as long as I am here.

 

Your myths and stories may change over time as well.  After all, that was the basis, ultimately of leaving Christianity.  I have come across pagans on other fora who have, over time, swapped one mythological basis for another - not often, but a lot less painfully than Christian deconversion, and generally as a part of an acknowledged development of belief structure.

 

Also don't take what I said to mean other people can't pray to my gods. People can pray to whoever they want, but they are MY gods as in MY ancestors. When you pray to Odin if you don't have any ancestral connection to that, you are praying to another people's gods. That's just a common sense fact. I don't believe these gods just exist "out in the ether somewhere" but are part of the larger ancestral soul of a people. It's really not so much about "beliefs" about things as it is about a specific people's way of seeing the world and interacting with it. Many of my ancestors believed very different things ABOUT the gods and myths etc. What linked them together was that the gods were seen as their ancestors and reincarnation was seen as happening within a family line. It wasn't an "organized religion" because it was based on a people/family not creed/lists of dogma.

 

Having said all that though, if someone of a totally different ethnicity wants to pray to Thor and Odin I'm not going to have some shit fit over it. I don't care. Pray to who you want to. I mean my people spent centuries praying to a foreign desert god. But we saw the results of that. I think it's most healthy for people to seek spiritual fulfillment within the history of their own people, but barring that, they can do whatever they like. It's not my business.

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2 hours ago, VerbosityCat said:

 

My theory about this is polytheistic gods have their own god friends so they aren't all by themselves in an isolation tank obsessing endlessly about mixed fiber clothing and shrimp eating and other high crimes and misdemeanors of the little humans. :P

 

A 'supreme' being wouldnt give a shit about shrimp or polyester. But, as we know, Christians dont really give a shit about those prohibitions either.

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22 hours ago, VerbosityCat said:

 

I highly doubt that. I am not into this neopagan "god shopping". My gods ARE my ancestors in my belief. My ancestors were primarily the germanic tribes including some vikings. Those are MY stories. It isn't about "stories I just like" it's about who my people were. Now within that my beliefs ABOUT the gods and ABOUT the myths and ABOUT all of how the world works and how I relate to it may change, but it's about an ancestral link to me not "what I think is cool" though I DO think the gods of my ancestors are cool. ;)

 

In the same way I'm not going to trade my family in for a new one, this is my larger ancestral family. While I like the myths and gods of other people, that doesn't belong to me.

 

You may be correct and this will not change.  Then again, had you asked me 25 or so years ago whether I would ever be anything other than a Christian, I would have reacted with at least equal doubt.  "Never" is a word I try not to use these days.

 

22 hours ago, VerbosityCat said:

 

Also don't take what I said to mean other people can't pray to my gods. People can pray to whoever they want, but they are MY gods as in MY ancestors. When you pray to Odin if you don't have any ancestral connection to that, you are praying to another people's gods. That's just a common sense fact. I don't believe these gods just exist "out in the ether somewhere" but are part of the larger ancestral soul of a people. It's really not so much about "beliefs" about things as it is about a specific people's way of seeing the world and interacting with it. Many of my ancestors believed very different things ABOUT the gods and myths etc. What linked them together was that the gods were seen as their ancestors and reincarnation was seen as happening within a family line. It wasn't an "organized religion" because it was based on a people/family not creed/lists of dogma.

 

Having said all that though, if someone of a totally different ethnicity wants to pray to Thor and Odin I'm not going to have some shit fit over it. I don't care. Pray to who you want to. I mean my people spent centuries praying to a foreign desert god. But we saw the results of that. I think it's most healthy for people to seek spiritual fulfillment within the history of their own people, but barring that, they can do whatever they like. It's not my business.

 

I didn't take it that way.  Neither do I have any dealings with your deities, for that matter, but certainly I didn't think you were forbidding me to do so.  I'm not sure that I would agree with your idea of deity and ancestry, but it's a perfectly valid approach, and, as it works for you, good luck with it.  I rather suspect, however, that many of us are too much mongrels to be thinking about our "own people" with any great accuracy or coherence.

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On 10/7/2018 at 6:56 PM, VerbosityCat said:

Also don't take what I said to mean other people can't pray to my gods. People can pray to whoever they want, but they are MY gods as in MY ancestors. When you pray to Odin if you don't have any ancestral connection to that, you are praying to another people's gods. That's just a common sense fact. I don't believe these gods just exist "out in the ether somewhere" but are part of the larger ancestral soul of a people. It's really not so much about "beliefs" about things as it is about a specific people's way of seeing the world and interacting with it. Many of my ancestors believed very different things ABOUT the gods and myths etc. What linked them together was that the gods were seen as their ancestors and reincarnation was seen as happening within a family line. It wasn't an "organized religion" because it was based on a people/family not creed/lists of dogma.

 

This does make a lot of sense. Of course people like to take on foreign traditions, like westerner's subscribing to Buddhism or Hinduism, but many don't seem to realize that worshiping a middle eastern desert / mountain god is really no different. It's been deemed socially more acceptable to chase after the jewish mountain than setting up shrines to the Hindu pantheon, but it's really no different either way - a foreign tradition is a foreign tradition and it is what it is. 

 

In the west we've allowed ourselves to get mowed over by a foreign tradition, bottom line. And now here we are rejecting it thousands of years later. 

 

This has been happening in the Muslim world too. Persian descendants have began to look at what Islam did in the same type of way. Some of them have wanted to bring back the old Zoroastrianism. They resent what the Muslims did by emulating what the Jews and Christian's before them did to the so called "pagan" religions. There's a feeling of resentment welling up in some places. And the same happened over in Hawaii. The missionaries tried to purge their ethnic heritage out of them. But it eventually backfired and ethnic revivals based on bringing back and preserving tradition eventually rose up again. A rejection of the foreign religion began to take shape for the zealots of ancestral tradition. 

 

In a way, we may look at this fiasco as putting right where once went wrong - not unlike Quantum Leap, except doing it in the present and future instead of the past. 

 

 

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On 10/7/2018 at 9:03 PM, midniterider said:

 

A 'supreme' being wouldnt give a shit about shrimp or polyester. But, as we know, Christians dont really give a shit about those prohibitions either.

 

Yep, true. I've said elsewhere that I personally find a lot of the NDE research quite compelling and out of thousands and thousands of case studies all over the world with people from all different religions everybody who "meets God" in their NDE says basically the same shit: God is not the god of any conventional religion. Is all loving, not angry, not judging, etc. So the "follow my club or burn stupid" thing obviously isn't a real thing.

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On 10/8/2018 at 5:40 PM, Ellinas said:

.  I rather suspect, however, that many of us are too much mongrels to be thinking about our "own people" with any great accuracy or coherence.

 

All my ancestry is Northern European. It's a mix of what would have been Norse and Germanic Tribes with some vikings thrown in there. (ALL these groups prayed to the same gods.) And then I also have a little bit of celtic in there. I identify more strongly with the Norse/Germanic gods though the celtic side had a lot of similarities spiritually. So it's not a giant chasm.

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On 10/8/2018 at 8:35 PM, Joshpantera said:

 

This does make a lot of sense. Of course people like to take on foreign traditions, like westerner's subscribing to Buddhism or Hinduism, but many don't seem to realize that worshiping a middle eastern desert / mountain god is really no different. It's been deemed socially more acceptable to chase after the jewish mountain than setting up shrines to the Hindu pantheon, but it's really no different either way - a foreign tradition is a foreign tradition and it is what it is. 

 

In the west we've allowed ourselves to get mowed over by a foreign tradition, bottom line. And now here we are rejecting it thousands of years later. 

 

This has been happening in the Muslim world too. Persian descendants have began to look at what Islam did in the same type of way. Some of them have wanted to bring back the old Zoroastrianism. They resent what the Muslims did by emulating what the Jews and Christian's before them did to the so called "pagan" religions. There's a feeling of resentment welling up in some places. And the same happened over in Hawaii. The missionaries tried to purge their ethnic heritage out of them. But it eventually backfired and ethnic revivals based on bringing back and preserving tradition eventually rose up again. A rejection of the foreign religion began to take shape for the zealots of ancestral tradition. 

 

In a way, we may look at this fiasco as putting right where once went wrong - not unlike Quantum Leap, except doing it in the present and future instead of the past. 

 

 

 

ANd Christianity had to be seriously Germanized before people would go along with it. There is SO much pagan in Christianity, particularly Christianity as practiced in Europe. In America the Christian tradition is highly influenced by the Puritans who were basically purging ALL pagan elements from it. But really most christians ONLY like the pagan elements. Like Christmas in the west? About 95% of the holiday is really Yule. That's MY tradition. I mean again, not going to throw a shit fit about other people having a "Christmas" tree but, like all this shit originates with a specific people, time, place, context.

 

The whole Christian way of seeing the world is "anti-values" It's anti-family. Anti-freedom. Anti-everything western culture actually stands for. Anything awesome that came out of Europe after Christianity hit was IN SPITE of Christianity not because of it. It's just too much mental backflips to have to go through IMO to even deal with this goober religion.

 

I think they should bring back Zororastrianism. I think everybody would be happier with their family gods.  Like I don't think Thor, Odin, Freyja, Tyr, etc... these older souls that are "that group soul" are "judging me" or demanding shit of me. It's been a very healing thing for me.

 

And yeah, when I get "angry" about Christianity half of the time it's about shit that happened a thousand years ago because I think we would be SO much better off with the old gods. And people don't even have to see that literally. It's just very healing to have YOUR OWN stories of YOUR OWN people. Not the foreign stories of a foreign people and a foreign god who chose THAT people and not you. I fundamentally don't trust a god who doesn't prefer my company to the company of another people. :P

 

And the thing is... this stuff came FROM each individual people. Whatever is rebuilt won't be exactly the same, but that's okay. It will be each people's real values and ways of seeing things. It's healthier.

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Lots of good points there. 

 

If we were all worshiping south Pacific gods instead of middle eastern gods rolled into (force fit more like) a single deity, that would seem quite strange. Why it doesn't seem equally strange for a lot of gentiles to be worshiping a jewish tribal god is very bizarre. It's only because it forced on everyone thousands of years ago and followed across the sea to the America's. But I suppose equally strange could be Japanese and Asian Buddhist's worshiping the Hindu pantheon re worked and re fashioned from Hinduism to Buddhism. In a way I've suspected that people were copying them in the middle east, because Hinduism was an ethnic religion which was picked up by Buddhism and transformed into a world religion, equipped with missionaries and proselytization. This was well under way by the time some people took Judaism, another ethnic religion, and re worked it into a world religion in like fashion, and then went out proselytizing in an almost mirror way to what had happened previously with Hinduism and Buddhism. 

 

So there's two obvious parallels of taking an ethnic religion out to the world trying to win converts, or force converts in a lot of cases. 

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