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> What Drew You To Paganism?
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DesertRose 
Posted: 12-Feb-2005, 10:57 PM
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Hi there! I have been curious as to what has brought some folks to paganism so I thought I would just ask. I have done some of my own reading on the subject in the past, but I would like to read your views and such as to what led you to that particular path. I have absolutely no intention of debating anybody's beliefs as I will admit that I am a Christian. I just want to read the responses and learn with an open mind and ask questions, if I may. Thanks in advance! smile.gif


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Shadows 
Posted: 12-Feb-2005, 11:16 PM
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Rose, I will say that the complete cycle of things from birth to death, the heavens and the earth being included in the grand picture is the main reason. Secular religions just don't seem to grasp the importance of ALL life and understand what constitutes life.


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One can not profess to be of "GOD" and show intolerence and prejudice towards the beliefs of others.

Am fear nach gleidh na h–airm san t–sith, cha bhi iad aige ’n am a’ chogaidh.
He that keeps not his arms in time of peace will have none in time of war.

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"Without food we are nothing, without history we are lost." - SHADOWS


Is iomadh duine laghach a mhill an Creideamh.
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MDF3530 
  Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 01:54 AM
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I don't really practice paganism, but because of bad dreams, I wear a Native American dreamcatcher to bed...

Also, I believe in karma, so I try to treat people the way I want to be treated. Whatever you do will come back to you in threes.

This post has been edited by MDF3530 on 13-Feb-2005, 02:00 AM


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Moon Child 
Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 02:37 AM
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CelticRose, here is my posting that I wrote in Philosophy, Science & Religion that I did awhile ago. It explains how I came about with practising the Wiccan religion. happy.gif

When I was growing up my step-father use to take me and my brother to Christmas mass at a Catholic church which was alright but I never really had any interest in religion as I was growing up. I knew that there was more out there then I knew I just didn't know what at the time. My mom never went with us because when she was growing up her family didn't practice religion either and she basically let my brother and I decide on our own which religion we wanted.

Up until about 4 1/2 yrs ago when I found the Wiccan religion I felt lost. Since I have been practicing it has made me a better person all around and I found myself for the first time in years feeling complete and an all around better person. I finally for once knew my life's purpose that I had been asking myself for so long.

I love helping people and even seek to make myself a better person. I don't practice magic to harm anyone and never would. I just couldn't choose to harm another person for my own personal gain!

One thing that I have learnt since I started practising is that we are open minded to other people's religion even though other religion's aren't so open to mine. But hey that's fine everyone is entitled to their own thoughts and feelings about different religions! Not every religion works for everyone, and that's what makes us all individual and unique!! cool.gif
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VetteGal 
Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 02:50 AM
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Well, let me start by saying that I was raised Lutheran, but I never felt it was right for me. For one, I could always feel the deities around me, and I knew they would hear me no matter where I was. I could tell that nature was the power that held the keys to my spirituality. I have always been drawn to nature, I feel comfortable outside. Plus, with my science background, all this talk of creationism just didn't fit with evolution. I have also very drawn into the occult. I read tarot cards, rune stones, prepare birth charts (astrology), and I am starting to learn herbology. I have been reading about Wicca for a while now and next Saturday will be Dedicated to my group, we call ourselves a Temple, but others might call a coven. I am really excited about this. I am planning on continuing my studies to be a member of the clergy. I will then be licensed to perform handfastings (wedding), wiccaning (baptism), funeral rites, and other rituals. I live my live by the Wiccan Rede, 'Do as ye will, but harm ye none'. I also believe in the rule of three as MDF mentioned, but in mine it also works that if you do good it also will return to you threefold. I don't tell anyone else how to run their lives, nor would I preach to them that what they believe is wrong, each person has their own beliefs and I respect that, I just wish they would respect mine and not tell me I was going to burn in hell for not believing in their god. Oh yea, one more thing, there is no hell and no devil either.


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Aaediwen 
Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 04:47 PM
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What drew me to study Wicca was a desire to know the truth about it. Hollywood always dresses things up, and society has stereotypes. I wanted to know the truth. I liked what I found smile.gif


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Sekhmet 
Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 05:22 PM
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I myself was raised Methodist. Baptized (twice, long story), dedicated to the church, whole nine yards. And when I was little I went to church and Sunday school and Bible camp and what all else, and it was fine. It wasn't that long after that, in my early teens, that I started thinking about all of the books that I'd read about mythology. All of those stories were of gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters, and when the connection was made in my mind that these weren't just stories, but someone's *religion*, I got curious.

Throughout my teens I read voraciously about other cultures, other beliefs, others' view of the world, and then looked for awhile at the church telling me that not only were these people wrong, but it was a sin to even consider it. Why? So back I went to the Bible, and I read it through, then picked up several other versions and read *those* through, and something was missing. And for a long time I had no idea what that was.

But I always knew some very basic things to be true, at least for me. It was ridiculous to dismiss thousands of years' worth of religion and belief, things held dear to countless people just as much as Christianity's beliefs are to Christians as "misguided", or worse. Hell, there was dissention amongst themselves as to what was "true" in their doctrines and what wasn't. So who was "right"? It was ridiculous to me that we must spend eternity in reward or punishment for a lifetime's actions that are a blink in the eye of the rest of time. I also couldn't accept that there was a demi-god out there who had nothing better to do with his time than to do evil for the sake of doing it. Smacked of a bad cartoon, frankly. So back I went *again* and kept looking. Maybe I was missing something.

Or was I? Pretty soon I had my own opinions in my head about how the world worked. Namely, I didn't think a god could die, so how could all of the other ones be "dead"? And who did the autopsy and pronounced them as such? If the cultures that worshipped this one or that one were gone, would it maybe be feasible that they moved on, took other names and roles? And who could put God in a box, saying he was male and not female, when one clearly cannot exist without the other? That was just the tip of the iceberg, and as the questions started piling up, the more restless I became. I was looking for *something*, and had no idea what it was.

I found Wicca shortly thereafter, and for awhile it answered the questions I had in a way that satisfied me for the time being. My own beliefs and notions have strayed away from the "doctrine" I was taught as a Gardnerian Wiccan, and while I have no qualms about keeping the role as a High Priestess, I finally came to the conclusion that there *is* no one right way to the Gods. Or God. Whatever. It doesn't matter. The relationship you make with them is yours, and not your husband's, your friend's, your mother's or anyone else's. Just yours. And that's one of the most private and wonderful things you could possibly have. When I finally settled into that, I was at peace with myself. And *that* was what I was looking for. Everything else came into place when that happened.

I am still categorized as clergy, even if I no longer lead a coven. That's settled into celebrating the holidays with close friends and enjoying each other's company. I'm still called upon rather often to lead rites, ranging from weddings (handfastings), holiday celebrations, full moon rites, formal divorces (handpartings), funerals, and every stop in between that you could possibly dream up. I still teach and counsel many as well. It's a very comfortable role, and one I worked hard at getting to.

I might've raised more questions than I answered, but hey...you asked. LOL


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celticdragyn 
Posted: 13-Feb-2005, 05:27 PM
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Growing up, my family wasn't really religious, but my mom was interested in non-Christian religions, especially Native American traditions and Buddhism to some degree. She raised my sister and me to believe in whatever we felt was right. Oddly enough, that was Wicca for both of us, though we practice different forms of Wicca. I don't even know if I knew exactly what Wicca was when I found my concept of how the universe worked, but as it turned out, my concept fit into Wicca. I still tend to have an eclectic view when it comes to religion. smile.gif


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DesertRose 
Posted: 14-Feb-2005, 02:26 PM
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Thanks so much for your replies! I have really enjoyed reading them and look forward to reading more. It is interesting to me how we all chose our path and why. smile.gif
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gaberlunzie 
Posted: 16-Feb-2005, 04:53 PM
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I have talked to friends about this question, Rose but never in public. I'm trying to do so, as I once told a friend:

This is going to be a long mail, so be warned!
I was raised Christian but I have been living in struggle with my Christian belief and God for quite a while now. I never knew anything else and was lead by my mother and church.
But I had had experiences which didn?t seem to fit in?and there have been elements like Jesus as a son of God and son of man ?and the restrictions Christian religion is giving, limiting man ?so I always felt like a sort of alien?
I have some gift of presentiment in the sense of a second sight. It has been running in my family for generations. My mother also has presentiments and dreams but they do scare her to death and so she doesn?t deal with it.
My step-father was and still is a hard and cruel man. He would have beaten the living daylights out of me if he knew about my skills and so I had to hide it carefully. I grew up in the conviction it was something ?evil? and tried to suppress it the best I could.
But after my life had changed so basically and far-reaching some years ago I felt I would never be the same again and I would never walk the well-known, familiar and usual roads again.
My spirituality became stronger in the same degree as I began to understand that all severities and hurts I have been through have been useful to make me strong and self-confident enough to go my own road now.
I opened my soul and now it is Earth Mother and the Great Spirit who is called by so many different names and is the same though are leading and teaching me.
I?m the sensitive, intuitive type and I can feel the energy in every single part of nature?in the wind, the rays of the sun, in the murmuring water but also in every leaf and rock?
When I?m talking to the Great Spirit I can feel him. I have an imagination of lying on the ground and looking up in the sky?it?s like Mother and Father and me between as if there wasn?t anything else?a wonderfully powerful thing. For the first time in my life I?m not feeling handed over or delivered but truly sheltered. And FREE. I have reached a state of inner peace. I am sure there is so much more deity (deities) of which I only need to know that they ARE?I do not need to worship them but I honor them all. Our creator wants us to experience him and to believe in the way we can believe?and it is man who makes it complicated.

I had several experiences that when I am talking to a person I suddenly can feel what is going on inside her/him. Also when I am not talking to someone in person but via internet?and without seeing her or hearing the voice. I was talking (typing ) to a friend. We were talking and joking and nothing, really nothing was different to other talks when I suddenly felt that something was wrong?I asked her if she was alright and she was surprised and asked how I knew. I could feel her hurt and when we talked I knew which question I had to ask or how to comment. I knew intuitively what her sorrow was?.
I was scared, too. It was overwhelming. In the meantime I had more of these experiences and sometimes it is as if I could read someone?s soul. It is not an intentional act?it just happens.
I think it is given for the good of man. To help and maybe to heal. This is how I understand it.
Presentiments and dreams are another case. I can feel when bad fortune is approaching. I can?t always say what it is exactly but I know it is coming and often I know who is concerned. Especially if it is a person who is near to my heart it is not easy to bear it.
I felt exactly when my grandmother passed away although I was hundred of miles away. Grandfather visited me after his death. He stood at my bed to my feet?all silent, all grey and he didn?t say a word but only looked at me. I was scared and turned on the light?nothing. I switched off the light?and there he was again?finally I talked to him, not aloud but in my mind and asked him why he was there. Suddenly I felt no fear any longer. I was all calm and told him that he could be all calm?all was alright and we did all things in the way he had wished after he had passed away. The family was respecting his last will and we didn?t have any arguments between each other. It was as if he became peaceful, too though he didn?t move at all. Finally I said, ?Go in peace!? and this he did.
I am dreaming of an eagle quite often. I do fly with him and sometimes during the day I can her him screaming. No fantasy, really not?it is as if he appears when I am in need of something and it always gives me peace and comfort?
I?m dreaming of a voice, singing sacred chants and I can smell the smoke of the fires and I can hear the drums. They sound like the heartbeat of Earth Mother. The amazing thing is that though I am German my dreams are in English! It is not only at night in my dreams, it is sometimes during the daily life that I have this?how would you call it?vision?



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"Now here's my secret", said the fox, "it is very simple. It is only with ones heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

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gaberlunzie 
Posted: 16-Feb-2005, 04:57 PM
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Part 2:

I see myself as part of all creation. Being a part all my actions do influence the whole and is affecting others. My responsibility is to do no harm. To respect each form of life . No matter if it is human, an animal, a plant, a rock?it all has a spirit which I honor. I?m praying to the Great Spirit to make my eyes clear to see and my ears sharp to hear?so that I could follow the path which is meant for me.
And this it is...meant for me. Without any doubt. I found my home.
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Shadows 
Posted: 16-Feb-2005, 07:15 PM
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gaberlunzie,
I could not have said any more plain and beautyfull...

I am reminded of the quote my Great Uncle the Jesuit always was telling me, from one of the books that was never included in the bible...

When Jesu was asked by his followers where this kingdom of his was he lifted a rock and pointed beneath it and said " here is my kingdom" he then pointed to his followers and said " and here is my kingdom" he then made a gesture that was all inclusive of the heavens and the earth and said " and here also is my kingdom....".

That one passage has helped guide my beliefs and I find it in direct agreement with the beliefs of those of Native American decent, the Celts, the Druids , and anyother belief from the fog of our beginnings as thinking beings.
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gaberlunzie 
Posted: 16-Feb-2005, 07:40 PM
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Shadows, this is a very enlightening quote. I now remember I have heard it some long time ago.
I agree. This is exactly what almost all "old" beliefs are following. Belief itself is so simple, isn't it? And as individuals we experience it in a very personal and individual way. This is why doctrine and dogmas never worked for me.
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Shadows 
Posted: 16-Feb-2005, 08:11 PM
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Doctrines and dogmas are meant to control the thoughts and actions of those who are so predisposed... spirituality, faith in what one believes, and the right to believe it are universal no matter what religion you follow and are between you ( and only you ) and your God. Do you ever wonder why there are so many different "Denominations " of Christianity all claiming to be the only way? Even there the beliefs vary and are not in agreement. I say respect the beliefs of others, who knows, they may be right!

One can not profess to be of "GOD" and show intolerence and prejudice towards the beliefs of others.
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Aaediwen 
Posted: 16-Feb-2005, 08:45 PM
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QUOTE (Shadows @ 16-Feb-2005, 08:11 PM)
One can not profess to be of "GOD" and show intolerence and prejudice towards the beliefs of others.

Amen to that! I see that as true for any religon I've studied. I honestly believe that disrespecting others while claiming to be of a religon (with the possible exception of Satanism), is hypocracy. Going against your own claimed religon. Of course, by the same token and by the same belief, I can't tell them I think they're wrong, because that would be disrespectful of them. They see things differently than I do, and I should respect that, just the same as I expect them to respect me. Interesting little paradox isn't it wink.gif

That's why I like to state this in a neutral environment. Easier not to sound hypocrytical myself, since it's easier not to sound like I'm accusing the person I'm talking to.
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