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Switch to Forum Live View What kind of Pagan are you?
5 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2009 - 9:36AM #51
Lypgen
Posts: 23
Hi y'all!
I'm a newbie round here...

Well, I'm also one of those who cannot really answer to this question; I consider myself to be a non-denominational neopagan since I don't entirely follow any specific pagan tradition.
I also have this belief that all religions (even if I don't aprove/like/believe them) are valid, and I also believe in Judeo-christian (since I was born Roman Catholic), Hindu gods (and other deities), and everytime I get to know a new religion I tend to believe in at least some or a little of what they believe, 'cause of course I don't believe in EVERYTHING, but I just can't fully reject or call a religion/faith wrong, though I've got to accept there are a couple religions I just can't believe at all. About my gods' issues, I think that all deities are like part or manifestation of a same god, but at the same time they've got their own... let's say, personality...

I'm very interested in magick and cartomancy (I read the Spanish deck and practice some folk magick), the supernatural in general intetests me; as well as the natural, I really love animals and don't belive killing them to eat them is right. You could say I'm very interested in preserving our planet...

Being a gay guy, I just can't see why some religions hate homosexuality so much.
I think all sexual practices and orientations (never pedophilia nor zoophilia and things like that) are wonderful and should be accepted as natural.

What kind of pagan am I???? Or am I wrongly considering myself a neo-pagan?
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 07, 2009 - 1:33PM #52
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Lypgen,


Modern Paganism (at least in the twenty-six years I have been one) seems to have only four commonalties. Individuals self-identify as such. Each self-defines what that means. Their validation is experiential as in only you can decide what is valid for you. Outside of established religions and groups that also identify as Pagan, most Pagans cannot agree sufficiently on what this defines in order to create a singular and shared recognisable faith that is called Paganism or Neo-Paganism. As a 'religion', Neo-/Paganism tends to be appreciated therefore either as an alternate name for an already named faith (like Wicca etc) or as the 'name' of an individual's unique faith that in turn provides the apprehension of belonging to a larger 'community'. There are some generalities I have also observed that are commonly but not universally found: a belief that nature is not irrelevant to one's spirituality; that the Divine is more reasonably understood as polytheistic than monotheistic; that learning is experiential - in the first person and that self-responsibility lies at the core of Pagan ethics, however else defined.


So on that basis, only you can decide if you are a Pagan (or Neo-Pagan if you prefer). The majority of self-identifying Pagans seem to be solitary by circumstances or preference. Others prefer to belong to a community or group and combine a consensus-based practice with his/her personal spirituality.


You might want to consider Eclectic if you ever feel the need for a more specific type of paganism to self-identify to. The term eclectic comes from an ancient Greek philosophical movement whose individual practitioners researched widely and respectfully wherever possible. They each would incorporate the best of what they found into a unique and personalised faith or philosophy by which to live. Sounds somewhat like what you described, doesn't it?


I trust that you realise that interest in or use of any form of magick and or divination tools doesn't therefore make anyone Pagan. These practices existed before and contemporary to any definition of Paganism, historical or today. The range of interest or practices amongst modern Pagans varies enormously as does their usefulness. Interesting to discuss though.


Curious as to why you position supernatural vs the natural. Isn't everything natural? Can anything exist outside of the natural? Could it be that some things are simply less commonly experienced by human beings whose range of knowledge remains limited at best?


Everything else you listed I would consider as personal choices and self-defined beliefs. There are no mandates or dogma for anyone self-identifying/defining as a Neo-/Pagan other than agreed upon by consensus that varies within established groups. And that consensus tends to leave things such as vegetarianism, politics and usually sexuality up to the individual.


Welcome to the boards by the way.


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 09, 2009 - 9:30AM #53
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,236
The convenor of my Pagan group refers to me as eclectic. I came via Bön.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2009 - 9:13AM #54
Goldeneagle
Posts: 5

Nov 5, 2009 -- 2:35PM, gorm-sionnach wrote:


"Pantheistic Witch" comes to mind, albeit not every religion/spirituality needs label itself in regards to its posistion on deity.


Though I assume your statement "I do not believe in Organized religion" is more of a statement on the propriety of religious institutions, rather than whether they actually exist, whereas your statement about deity is about whether they exist or not?


Any particular reason why you do not believe in the existence of specific deities?





Ah, shouldn't have used the same phrase in one sentence for two different meanings there - Yes, I meant I am not a fan of organised religion, and yes I am an athiest.


I tried to keep it short since my beliefs are rather convoluted, but since you asked for more details, here's something to keep you busy for a while Tongue out


...


To summarise myself in a few words: Pagan (eclectic), atheist (a rarity in pagan circles I think), witch (non-wiccan), med student & scientist.


Heavily Christian schooling, a scientific mind and an interest in learning about different faiths/cultures have brought me to a firm conclusion of atheism and antipathy towards organised religions. More recently, in my reading I've found many of my own beliefs identify very closely with the general principles of Paganism, and at the same time I found new things in Paganism which I'd not come across before but made perfect sense to me. However, there's not any specific 'sub-type' of Paganism which I fit into, and I also share various views with Buddhist and Native American cultures.


I think the most significant to me is the general Pagan way of life. I celebrate the turning of the seasons like most Pagans, with the 8 festivals. Being a country girl, I’ve always felt very in tune with nature and love that feeling of a new season beginning – whether that’s the first winter frost, or spring shoots, or autumn mist. It is wonderful finding ways in which to celebrate this, finding the meanings and significance of each festival, and shaping life around these, reflecting the cycles of nature.


My perception of The Divine is one of an overall life-force/energy, which is present in everything, linking everything together, and provides the means for things to happen the way they do. Everything has individual properties and energy, which mean reactions take place, which drive everything.


(Anyone for a particle physics discussion? Perhaps not...)


I believe that this quality/energy is what is personified as Mother Nature/Goddess/Gaia/Great Spirit/God/Allah/Jehovah/Zeus/Thor etc... So I reckon everything which takes place in the universe (and beyond?) all happens as a result of this "god-like" force.


Simply, I believe the divine is nature itself, doing its own thing, driving its own cycles and reactions, as a whole. Therefore unlike a lot of Pagans, I do not believe in any personal deity(ies), however I share the same idea behind it - in that The Divine is found within nature. The other side of the same coin, so to speak.


I believe that this overall nature/divine life-force/energy has a multitude of different qualities, which can be interpreted and represented in different ways, e.g. characteristics of the Elements or different deities.


This is where Witchcrafting comes in. I’m quite the traditional healer/herbalist/wise-woman. I am a big believer in subtlety. To me, crafting is all about learning the different characteristics of things (herbs, spices, plants, stones, trees, time of year, moon phase, foods, colours, etc); finding how to work with and focus their energies to create a favourable combination of factors; so circumstances are more likely to lead to a certain desired outcome. Basically, aligning with the existing patterns and energies of nature, and then going along with it. There's also the fact I've now done 5 years of medical school, eventually wanting to specialise in maternity. Interestingly, I chose my University course before I came across this path - suits very well though!


Anyway, that’s me in a rather large nutshell. Congratulations if you've got to the end without falling asleep!

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2009 - 11:16AM #55
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Goldeneagle,


I doubt anyone's eyes will glaze over your short post....not after one of my long-winded ones anyway.Innocent


Many Pagan Witches are non-Wiccan although all Pagan Witches are influenced directly or indirectly by the modern re-definition of witchcraft that evolved in the 20th century out of that equally modern Religion of Witchcraft. This includes the mythos around the 'traditional healer/herbalist/wise-woman', whose roots trace back only as far as 19th century fiction, the Romantic Movement and Victorian revivalism.


So having contributed my usual historical snippet...your definition of Witchcrafting obviously fits within the diversity of the Craft (modern Pagan Witchcraft) and how that may or might be defined. You might also fit into the modern 'Traditional' definition with emphasis on correspondences, no deities and working with nature. Although since you don't use either spirits or elementals (from your description anyway) as is part of the Traditional wisdom walk, perhaps Eclectic Tradition might be closer. Not that anyone needs a label to practice as a Witch, of course. I'm just happen to be one of those Witches that consider words and especially nouns to also have correspondences that subtly focus one's energies and shape one's Crafting.


I'm curious as to what you see as suiting a path within modern Western medicine to that of Witchcrafting. There is much that is antithetical between these paths although I can certainly speculate on what might align. Just wondered. You also just reminded me (medicine, correspondences) that they have re-issued Culpepper's book again.


I'm also curious from a Witch's perspective as to whether you accept correspondences as they are provided or you test, adapt or discard them as needed. In my teaching, I emphasis the latter approach as correspondences also have a history comprised of successive agendas, cultures and perspectives. Particularly those commonly found in modern Paganism, which are almost always a mishmash or rehashing from many discrete sources.


C.H.


(not meaning to derail the thread off topic....just curious)

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2009 - 1:55PM #56
Goldeneagle
Posts: 5

Ha, just shows why I said in my first post, that I'm generally not keen on labels!Beliefs are such complicated things, it's so difficult when things overlap or have to be explained and clarified in minute detail, or when things can be interpreted in different ways...


Gorm - perhaps you're onto something in saying "pantheist", though this of course depends on the exact definition, which can vary depending on viewpoint - there is huge debate over whether pantheism is classed as athiestic or not.  I don't view the "overall life force" as god, since I view it having no direct or sentient control - rather, I view it in place of god, negating the existence of, or need for deity. Oh well, however it may be labelled, I know what I believe anyway!


CH - it's always good reading your historical points. Regarding elementals, I think I touched on this, though perhaps not clearly enough (probably because I was trying not to waffle too much). Like my perception of the divine, I view the elements/elementals in terms of energies of certain characteristics, which can be channelled and worked with, according to relevence to the task in hand. I may sometimes refer to these as, say, the 'spirit' of water, or whatever... However I define that 'spirit' as an energy with the essence or character portrayed by that element, as opposed to an actual spirit entity. I hope that makes some kind of sense. This does make a rather good example of your point about the power of words, and care must be taken to be very clear and not mislead by poor writing.


Regarding correspondences, I'm 100% trial-and-error. Ever the scientist, I'll do my reading, and then test the hypothesis. I look for information, try to find a general consensus on whatever it is, and then see if that works for me too. If it does, then great. If not, I'll faff about and try something else until I find what does suit. I find it's vitally important to make Crafting personal. Things have to feel right.


So as not to divert this thread off-topic, I'll perhaps start a new one about medical stuff & healing, as there are probably quite a few people with things to say on that topic.

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2009 - 7:32PM #57
gorm-sionnach
Posts: 1,663

Nov 10, 2009 -- 1:55PM, Goldeneagle wrote:


Ha, just shows why I said in my first post, that I'm generally not keen on labels!Beliefs are such complicated things, it's so difficult when things overlap or have to be explained and clarified in minute detail, or when things can be interpreted in different ways...


Gorm - perhaps you're onto something in saying "pantheist", though this of course depends on the exact definition, which can vary depending on viewpoint - there is huge debate over whether pantheism is classed as athiestic or not.  I don't view the "overall life force" as god, since I view it having no direct or sentient control - rather, I view it in place of god, negating the existence of, or need for deity. Oh well, however it may be labelled, I know what I believe anyway!


CH - it's always good reading your historical points. Regarding elementals, I think I touched on this, though perhaps not clearly enough (probably because I was trying not to waffle too much). Like my perception of the divine, I view the elements/elementals in terms of energies of certain characteristics, which can be channelled and worked with, according to relevence to the task in hand. I may sometimes refer to these as, say, the 'spirit' of water, or whatever... However I define that 'spirit' as an energy with the essence or character portrayed by that element, as opposed to an actual spirit entity. I hope that makes some kind of sense. This does make a rather good example of your point about the power of words, and care must be taken to be very clear and not mislead by poor writing.


Regarding correspondences, I'm 100% trial-and-error. Ever the scientist, I'll do my reading, and then test the hypothesis. I look for information, try to find a general consensus on whatever it is, and then see if that works for me too. If it does, then great. If not, I'll faff about and try something else until I find what does suit. I find it's vitally important to make Crafting personal. Things have to feel right.


So as not to divert this thread off-topic, I'll perhaps start a new one about medical stuff & healing, as there are probably quite a few people with things to say on that topic.




How pantheism is defined is of course going to be important, though I would not lump it with Athiesm, as these are two different words, with different meanings (otherwise they woudl be the same theism). From my experience, Atheists generally dismiss the notion of any kind of deity at all, even a "universal source". But that is my experience, Atheism it seems is broadening its general purview.

Truth in our hearts, Strength in our arms, Fulfillment in our tongues.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 10, 2009 - 11:23PM #58
Lypgen
Posts: 23

Nov 7, 2009 -- 1:33PM, CreakyHedgewitch wrote:


Lypgen,


Modern Paganism (at least in the twenty-six years I have been one) seems to have only four commonalties. Individuals self-identify as such. Each self-defines what that means. Their validation is experiential as in only you can decide what is valid for you. Outside of established religions and groups that also identify as Pagan, most Pagans cannot agree sufficiently on what this defines in order to create a singular and shared recognisable faith that is called Paganism or Neo-Paganism. As a 'religion', Neo-/Paganism tends to be appreciated therefore either as an alternate name for an already named faith (like Wicca etc) or as the 'name' of an individual's unique faith that in turn provides the apprehension of belonging to a larger 'community'. There are some generalities I have also observed that are commonly but not universally found: a belief that nature is not irrelevant to one's spirituality; that the Divine is more reasonably understood as polytheistic than monotheistic; that learning is experiential - in the first person and that self-responsibility lies at the core of Pagan ethics, however else defined.


So on that basis, only you can decide if you are a Pagan (or Neo-Pagan if you prefer). The majority of self-identifying Pagans seem to be solitary by circumstances or preference. Others prefer to belong to a community or group and combine a consensus-based practice with his/her personal spirituality.


You might want to consider Eclectic if you ever feel the need for a more specific type of paganism to self-identify to. The term eclectic comes from an ancient Greek philosophical movement whose individual practitioners researched widely and respectfully wherever possible. They each would incorporate the best of what they found into a unique and personalised faith or philosophy by which to live. Sounds somewhat like what you described, doesn't it?


I trust that you realise that interest in or use of any form of magick and or divination tools doesn't therefore make anyone Pagan. These practices existed before and contemporary to any definition of Paganism, historical or today. The range of interest or practices amongst modern Pagans varies enormously as does their usefulness. Interesting to discuss though.


Curious as to why you position supernatural vs the natural. Isn't everything natural? Can anything exist outside of the natural? Could it be that some things are simply less commonly experienced by human beings whose range of knowledge remains limited at best?


Everything else you listed I would consider as personal choices and self-defined beliefs. There are no mandates or dogma for anyone self-identifying/defining as a Neo-/Pagan other than agreed upon by consensus that varies within established groups. And that consensus tends to leave things such as vegetarianism, politics and usually sexuality up to the individual.


Welcome to the boards by the way.


C.H.





Thanks A LOT for answering!


I'd just like to say that I know magick does not equal paganism.


I also want to admint that you're right by considering everything to be natural (I'm talking about the part of me being interested in the "supernatural", I do consider it natural too but I guess it's a common mistake to call it different.


I don't belong to a pagan community or tradition (obviously nor to a coven) because there are none in my city, but I'd be glad to join one and learn from them...


As a pagan (wiccan, right?) everyone'd call pagan, would you consider me a pagan?


(Thanks for the welcoming too :D)

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5 years ago  ::  Nov 11, 2009 - 10:07AM #59
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Goldeneagle,


"CH - it's always good reading your historical points."


Thanks. It is at times a reflexive dash to the lecture podium for me as well as part of how I view the world.Foot in mouth


"Regarding elementals, I think I touched on this, though perhaps not clearly enough (probably because I was trying not to waffle too much). Like my perception of the divine, I view the elements/elementals in terms of energies of certain characteristics, which can be channelled and worked with, according to relevence to the task in hand. I may sometimes refer to these as, say, the 'spirit' of water, or whatever..."


Your original description was very open so I wasn't sure. Classic definition of elementals at the intersection level however so again, thinking Traditional Witch here. Innocent


"However I define that 'spirit' as an energy with the essence or character portrayed by that element, as opposed to an actual spirit entity. I hope that makes some kind of sense."


It does. The 'traditional' Traditional Witchcraft definition of spirits is closer to the actual spirit entities but each Witch must self-define the Craft as he or she enacts it. That includes which of the nuts and bolts are in or out.


"This does make a rather good example of your point about the power of words, and care must be taken to be very clear and not mislead by poor writing."


I agree although one can be not clear and still be writing well. Half of what we write is in our heads, (said being a writer for decades) and it is a stringent discipline at times to be able to determine if one wrote enough to get what one 'sees' across to someone else. I was also referring to the inherent power and empowerment of nouns (labels) and in this case, how embracing a descriptive noun for one's Craft Tradition shapes and filters one's wisdom walk as a Witch. This is a powerful and subtle shaping that is little spoken of or appreciated.


"Regarding correspondences, I'm 100% trial-and-error. Ever the scientist, I'll do my reading, and then test the hypothesis. I look for information, try to find a general consensus on whatever it is, and then see if that works for me too. If it does, then great. If not, I'll faff about and try something else until I find what does suit. I find it's vitally important to make Crafting personal. Things have to feel right."


An excellent description of what I try to teach. I usually sum it up as 'Try it. If it works, keep it. If it doesn't, find something else that does." To which (as one of my Craft Trads is Vocational) I add, "if you don't have a practical use or need to do it, try it once for experience and shelve it somewhere."


"So as not to divert this thread off-topic, I'll perhaps start a new one about medical stuff & healing, as there are probably quite a few people with things to say on that topic."


That sounds like a good idea. We do have Witchcraft boards as well, if that helps.


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Nov 11, 2009 - 10:33AM #60
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Lypgen,


You are welcome. Yes, I would certainly consider you a Pagan. However Pagan and Wiccan are not synonymous, if that is what your brackets indicated. Wicca or one of the Religions of Witchcraft is considered part of the modern Paganism Movement. However while the pagan religion with the most press, Wicca is still just one religion amid others these days. There are many self-identified Pagans that are not nor have ever been Wiccan. Including myself, for that matter.


I wasn't sure if you were aware of magick does not equal paganism, so I sorta asked indirectly. Innocent


I think using the term supernatural fulfils other purposes, if I may ruminate broadly and generically here for a moment on that word. Like all words, supernatural and how it may be used has layers of meanings below the surface. How we use it may reveal self-knowledge about ourselves or what some of our filters are or where we are at this moment of our wisdom walk. Consider the following. If one uses the term supernatural with the implication of vs the natural, this might indicate that life is seen to come in two flavours. The mundane everyday life and something that is 'super', more, special, above or beyond the mundane. That in turn brings up how one really defines what it is natural and why, wouldn't you think? How events etc are sorted out between these two flavours may also indicate how one underpins one's UPG (unverifiable personal gnosis). Supernatural can also be perceived as a word that has a glamour about it relating to things that are mysterious. Or things that are so special that they set those who resonate to it or experience such apart from the mundane 'ordinary' folks. The 'vs' can bring up scads of contemplation on why some things are ostrasized into the supernatural rather than the natural. Sometimes supernatural vs natural threads in the theme of 'me against the mundanes' as in "how dare they demonise the supernatural (and me) just because they are afraid of it?" Mind you, there are a lot of things that get swept into the term supernatural that one should be afraid of but blanket statements rarely get down to that level of granularity.


As you can see, words fascinate me and I'm always digging around their roots. A friend recently joked that I should start a new Tradition called Word Witchcraft. Tongue out


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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