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4 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2010 - 4:32AM #1
Kristenmichel
Posts: 1

Hi, I'm at a point in my life where I am questioning my faith. I am curious about paganism/Wicca. Most of the stories I've heard have come from people who have left LDS for Wicca. I am looking for those who have left fundmentalist Protestant faiths as I have. Why did you leave? Was it hard? How do you deprogram some of the things that you were taught? Just some questions. I haven't converted to another religion yet because I am just looking at the aftermath of all of this. Any thoughts, experiences, or pointers to resources would be great. Thanks!

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4 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2010 - 9:43AM #2
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244


Kristenmichel,


Welcome to the Paganism boards.


I cannot speak from the perspective of one who left LDS or a Christian faith as I have never been either. All that I can offer is from the other perspective as one who has been Pagan for more than 25 years.


Leaving any faith, for whatever reasons, is never easy. Unless one’s experiences were merely at the surface, there will be, as you put it, deprogramming to be done. Spirituality or even the absence of such touches all points within one’s life.


You are also wise in that you have not rushed into another choice simply to fill a spiritual void. Until you understand the baggage that you may carry from experiencing a previous faith, that will continue to inform and limit your spiritual growth in other directions.


Envision what you are on having stepped upon a wisdom walk, where you alone must define what is wisdom and what that walk entails. It is an old cliché but the journey is what is important upon a wisdom walk rather than reaching any particular destination. For you in time, your wisdom walk may lead you to step back upon a well-worn shared road of a religion or you may end up walking parallel to such or head off into unknown paths.


Right now, you tread upon a path unknown to you that may or may lead you further into the rather convoluted landscape of what is known as Paganism. That convolution is why no two Pagans or even two Wiccans will have the same perspective on their faiths. I understand Paganism best as a modern spiritual Movement rather than as a singular faith shared by many. In the last quarter century, I have found only four commonalties, that individuals self-identify as Pagan. That each self-defines what that means to him or her. That validation is experiential, in other words, first-hand experiences. There are no revealed sacred texts, only second- and third-hand sharing and often of the author’s first-hand experiences. Finally, that other than the name chosen by small autonomous groups or individuals or as an alternate name for a religion such as Wicca, there is not sufficient consensus to define Paganism as a singular shared universalistic faith. There are also at least four generalities, often but not always found amongst Pagans. Self-responsibility (the buck stops with me) is the widest spread ethical principle. Learning is experiential, you can’t learn what you don’t actually do/practice. For many Pagans, the Divine is more reasonably understood as polytheistic rather than monotheistic. And nature is not irrelevant to one’s spirituality though that can take myriad forms.


The Religion of Wicca is only one of the established faiths within Paganism, albeit the best known these days. Even there, what is labelled today as Wicca or wicca may or may not be recognisable as relevant to the original faith that was conceived circa 1930’s in Britain by Gerald Gardner. There are many traditions (unique practices built around core beliefs) within Wicca so everyone’s experiences again tend to differ.


Here are two older threads that might be helpful or at least engender more specific questions you could ask. The first on the usually recognised core beliefs for a practice of the Religion of Wicca. The second is a Witchcraft 101 thread, which covers off (at least from my perspective) the broader backdrop. It also includes some book suggestions.




www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.as...


community.beliefnet.com/go/thread/view/3...



 As you take each step along your wisdom walk, take the time to look around at the ‘sacred scenery’. Stand in strength. This means understanding you are on a journey that will change you yet right now, this is what you stand for, what you believe in. Test whatever comes your way to see if something resonates for you and will fit into what you currently believe. Yet never be hesitant to politely disagree with someone else. Above all, do not let anyone else dictate what you should believe and why. You may choose to surrender that choice to someone or something else but until you do, it is you who stand on your unique wisdom walk, not others. (sigh...sometimes the formatting around here...ick)


Hope something in all that is useful. Please be welcome to stay and ask whatever questions you might have.


C.H.
Community Host
Paganism Boards
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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4 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2010 - 9:45AM #3
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


 


..Embarassed and also Host of the Wicca Boards, which is where I thought I was a moment ago...seems my memory is as creaky today as my hands usually are.


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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4 years ago  ::  Feb 14, 2010 - 2:27AM #4
TIA
Posts: 8

I was brought up in a Catholic setting.  However, I always questioned things and wondered if there was something more.  For example, I asked my teacher if it was possible that God was like the President of a company and had VPs (Jesus, Mary, other gods/goddesses) to oversee certain things for people around the world.  So, back then  I was thinking of Wicca and the many Goddesses and not realizing it.  It was just something that 'clicked' when I made the transition to study more Wicca.  It was different at first because I did not know what to expect and to change one's way of thinking after so many years feels so uncomfortable.  But, in the end, I became more comfortable with my self and I am gradually letting people know about me focusing more on Wicca.  I still study the lives of saints, etc.  but I am more involved with Wicca.

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4 years ago  ::  Feb 24, 2010 - 6:07PM #5
Kindred322
Posts: 80

Jan 24, 2010 -- 4:32AM, Kristenmichel wrote:


Hi, I'm at a point in my life where I am questioning my faith. I am curious about paganism/Wicca. Most of the stories I've heard have come from people who have left LDS for Wicca. I am looking for those who have left fundmentalist Protestant faiths as I have. Why did you leave? Was it hard? How do you deprogram some of the things that you were taught? Just some questions. I haven't converted to another religion yet because I am just looking at the aftermath of all of this. Any thoughts, experiences, or pointers to resources would be great. Thanks!




I was raised strict southern baptist, in rural texas. I had the bible poured into me since before I could walk. Funny thing is, since I was a small child I was strongly connected to nature and a Mother goddess figure...I remember some stern punishments for praying to a "girl god". Anyways, suffice it to say the environment wasnt conducive to spiritual exploration. It was Jesus' way or Hell.


After a while, I guess I started believing and became quite zealous...TBN evangelical type. I preached at people to trust God and if bad things happened it was because of lack of faith or unconfessed sins etc. The turning point for me was at the height of my "faith", when I put faith into practice, I was let down. Nothing happened. No divine intervention. NO peace, No healing, NOTHING. This shook my foundations. For the first time I took a hard look at my beliefs and realized they werent MY BELIEFS, they were my parents, my towns...I was following the crowd...doing the socially acceptable thing.


It was during this time I was borderline and suffering from extreme pangs of guilt, shame and depression that I started asking myself what I believed. I started stripping down the beliefs I grew up with and questioned them all. My prayers were merely to find meaning and truth as I can understand it. To strip away all preconception.


IT was during this time that I felt pulled back to paganism and started reading. I started my hikes again. I started praying not to jesus but to whatever divine force there is. As I delved into readings on druidry and wicca I found reflections of myself. I felt...home.


Now, the more I felt at peace with paganism the more "convicted" I felt as a Christian. The more I felt I would be thrown into hell and punished. It was during this time that I started realizing how ridiculous this way of thinking is, IMO. How can god be loving and punishing, gracious and jealous, etc etc. The farther I went into questioning my old faith, themore I realized the less I wanted it.


I started praying to the Goddess of my childhood and to jesus. Asked them both to manifest in my life in a real way. I had a vision that evening of the Goddess standing taller than the horizon arms spread wide embracing the earth under a full moon. That was the real beginning of several important experiences with the Goddess. ..which never happened with me in Christianity.


So, long story short...how did I deprogram? Slowly, and with skepticism and with testing beliefs. See paganism is an experiential spirituality evidence comes via experience not from some sacred text or prophet (ie Revealed religion....Moses and the ten commandments). I also talked to many people Christian and pagan. I put beliefs to the test over and over...looking for validity and reliability. Then I realized, I have to make a decision..the decision wont make me. I felt peace in paganism...so, I leaped into it. I am still figuring out what that means but I have more peace now.


Listen to your heart, she will lead you to where you need to go. Dont confuse your heart with indoctrination...it can mimick your heart easily. Know yourself and your beliefs inside out. Self-define...over and over. Growth is painful at times. STick with it.


I hope something in that mess helps. I am in touch if you wish.


Many Blessings.

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4 years ago  ::  Oct 18, 2010 - 4:23PM #6
Affine
Posts: 4

If you were raised a certain way....with certain beliefs....you will probably retain some of those experiences that are endearing to your heart. Let me just say that being a true Pagan in correct definition means "of the country." It was a living connection to the land. Wicca, on the other hand, encompasses many aspects of differnt faiths now. Do Not tell people you are be-coming "Wicca"......just say you would like to experience spirituality in different directions! I have silently prayed with the Quakers....I have read and loved Issac Pennington. I have read books about LDS that were given to me by the Bishop......that does not mean I am not Strega.I have spent 4 years with the Native Americans......the only thing I know for sure is that 10-20% difference in these other belief systems donot resonate with me. I enjoy the Circular living of my heritage. Alot has been lost due to violence.....but the one thing I can tell you is this: Being one with all of life is a skill that improves all life. You may find words that make your mind spin, and you may want to examine what concepts are similar or confusing. the biggest problem I have ever encountered in all other beliefs is that "I" donot put anything or anyone above the Earth! 'Now, remember, I said "I". Many other wiccans, witches, pagans, ect. may not hold this belief.


So be kind to yourself, and don't try to mentally accept concepts that seem to make you hold your breath! It is the "feeling" you get when you connect......not the mental images! )O(

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3 years ago  ::  Oct 22, 2010 - 3:22PM #7
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496

Oct 18, 2010 -- 4:23PM, Affine wrote:


Do Not tell people you are be-coming "Wicca"...





If for no other reason than its bad grammar. 


 


This is what BTVS did to me!


 


Hey!  You there!  Yes, you, the people on the TV!  It's Wiccan.  You wouldn't say that someone was becoming a Christianity, would you?  So.  Stop it.


 


Sincerely,


sacrificialgoddess,


The grammar nazi

Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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