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Switch to Forum Live View Need help figuring out who I am
5 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2009 - 3:04AM #1
Jeffwarner0118
Posts: 6

First, I would like to thank whoever is looking here for allowing me some of their time :).  I was told of this website by a Wiccan friend of mine, and I was wondering if anyone could help give me a more solid idea of what my “religion” is.  I use the quotes because I don’t actually worship anything. These are just my beliefs.  I’m still trying to find myself religiously, and it would be useful to know what to tell people I am when they ask, if I decide to answer at all.


I believe that there is essentially a god for everything. I believe there are gods that are what people might consider "good" and others that are "evil". There are also gods that are neither, and prefer to stay neutral, like gods of nature for example.


Many smaller gods, like the gods for anger, fear, other "bad" emotions and whatnot, collectively make up bigger gods. I do not believe that the "good" and "evil" sides are at war; in fact quite the opposite, as good and evil could not exist without each other.


 I consider the embodiment of "good" to be the classical “Christian” God. The embodiment of "evil" I call Chaos, and the embodiment of the neutral gods is Gaia. When I say "embodiment" here, I mean that all of the evil gods put together allow the existence of one incarnation of them all. For example, Chaos could not exist without fear, anger, etc. This being said, those gods just mentioned could not exist without Chaos.


 I do apologize for my (probably) inadequate explanation, but I do find it quite difficult to put thought to word.  Feel free to ask if any clarification is needed.  Thank you for allowing me a portion of your time :).


 

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5 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2009 - 11:02AM #2
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

Welcome to the Wicca Forum, Jeff. Our community here is rebuilding and it is summertime so there aren't many Wiccan members right now around to respond to you.


Please remember that anyone who responds like me will be offering you his or her opinions circumscribed by their experience. I'm the non-Wiccan Host of these boards although I have received a decent outsider's education thanks to the Wiccans in my life. As I am in Hosting most days, I'll do my best to respond to your questions.


Based on your explanation of your definition of the Divine, I would suggest that you are more likely recognisable as Pagan than as being Wiccan. The latter is only one of the faiths that are included in the modern Paganism Movement although probably the one most people have heard about. You can be Pagan without being Wiccan but never Wiccan without being Pagan, if that makes sense.


I have no idea what you 'know' as Wicca. Let me use an analogy here using three circles to explain what I know as Wicca. Draw a small circle on a piece of paper. This represents the Religion of Witchcraft later known as Wicca that was conceived circa 1930's by Gerald Gardner in Britain. This faith was conceived as being a mystery religion celebrated within small intimate groups known as covens, each presided over by a High Priest (HP) and a High Priestess(HPS). Gardner claimed it was a revival of an ancient practice that he termed the Old Religion. Writers such as Jules Michelet (La Sorciere- 1862) and Margaret Murray's books used the concept of an ancient suppressed 'pagan' religion called witchcraft and labelled this "The Old Religion". When Gardner conceived his Religion of Witchcraft, he employed the same term on the belief that he was passing on something that was also ancient. The ironic part is that any previous religion within any culture might be termed the 'Old Religion' in reference to a newer faith. There is no substantiated research to date to indicate that any such ancient religion whether witchcraft or paganism was transmitted intact (secretly or not) down through previous generations. This religion however as a result has both a mythological and documented history, entwined and researched. Over time, what are called Traditions, unique and shared practices of the same core beliefs and structure evolved within this Religion. The oldest Wiccan Tradition is Gardnerian sometimes referred to as BTW, British Traditional Witchcraft. Alexandrian, which evolved out of Gardnerian is held to be the second oldest. Older Traditions are transmitted through lineaged oral transmission (teacher/coven to student) using oathbound information that could not be spoken of outside of one's Tradition. This oathbound info included the original pantheon of the Gods of Wicca as well as preparatory instructions to participate within the Mysteries of Wicca. All Wiccans are Witches, using not only Gardner's positive re-definition of witchcraft (known as the Craft) but more specifically as Wiccans a religious definition of witchcraft within rituals.


Though the definition for religion varies, I hold that a recognisable shared religion must have a non-negotiable core definition of the Divine or Sacred from which evolves a unique shared structure of practice that includes a sacred celebratory calendar, moral or ethical tenets and spiritual principles, mythologies and life passage rites. It may develop distinct Traditions that define recognisably unique practices of the same core and structure. A shared religion must be able to be passed down intact and coherently from teacher to student. An established religion has done so for at least two generations. Wicca does meet this criteria even when practised by a solitary practitioner.


Now draw a larger circle slightly overlapping the first circle.


From the 60's onward, the non-oathbound basics of this religion were written down and published eventually being exported to North America and in time to other English speaking countries around the world. The basics included the nuts&bolts of the Craft (as distinct from how it is practised in this Religion), the Wheel of the Year and other core beliefs. This thread created by the Wiccan Host of these boards' talks about these core beliefs and what other Wiccans look for to recognise someone else as also practising Wicca. www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.as...


A written statement by Gardner on which of the pantheon of the Gods of Wicca that he considered most important became the new book-taught definition of the Divine. As Gardner could not name Them (this being oathbound info), he simply referred to them as The Lord and The Lady. Having only generic titles to go by, newer non-lineaged Traditions as well as the many solitary book-taught practitioners who evolved often choose from a global pantheon to Name these Two. Throughout the 70's to today as the Paganism Movement became marketable both in books and on the Internet, authors as well as self-taught groups and solitary practitioners continue to adapt, change and alter what they believe, know and were taught as Wicca. Unfortunately this body of second- and third-hand experiences about an experiential religion also can promote a paint-by-numbers re-defining of the Religion of Wicca that can have little or nothing to do with how this religion was conceived or practised today. For those properly trained and knowledgeable about Wicca, as mentioned there needs to be sufficient core beliefs to be recognisable as 'whatever is defined' being a practice of this Religion. Recognition as belonging to a specific Tradition does remain more precise. Where recognition tends to not be forthcoming is when a Wiccan (practitioner or author) incorporates something into his or her personal practice claiming that this is now part of the entire Religion or has always been part of the Religion. Or that doing anything in particular (ritual, magick, divination, having a god/goddess) makes someone Wiccan by default. Nothing is copyrighted in these nuts & bolts, the Craft has many definitions and Paganism even more. Wicca remains only part of Paganism and is therefore is also described as Pagan Witchcraft. From the re-definition that conceived Wicca, there evolved numerous Pagan Witchcraft Traditions as well as solitary definitions of the Craft from the late 60's through to now that are only indirectly influenced by the Religion of Wicca. Some of these Pagan Witchcraft Traditions are religions, others are not. Some Witchcraft Traditions are solitary and unique, others are shared and agreed upon by consensus. There are generic names that indicate commonalties and to which Witches may identify such as Eclectic, Green, Kitchen, Dianic, Traditional, FamTrad, Vocational and so on. Various authors over the past hundred years have combined ethnic layering and historical claims with that modern re-definition to produce other religions of modern witchcraft such as Stregheria or Celtic Witchcraft.


Now draw one final circle, overlapping the second circle but not the first. This is Neo-Wicca, sometimes referred to as Wiccanesque. Essentially this is where the name wicca may indeed remain uncapitalized because wicca does not refer to anything recognisable such as the Religion of Wicca. Here, adaptation, personal preferences and prejudices and regretfully sometimes the naïve and unthinking acceptance of whatever is written, claimed or published as 'wicca' or 'Wicca' leaves little to no resemblance to how this religion was conceived or as it was meant to be practised. Angels, unicorns, white lighting (nothing dark or bad allowed), practising divination or being psychic in some way are some of the examples of what I have seen mis-labelled as being wicca. Most often, it is just a trendy phase that someone dabbles with and that doesn't stand the test of time. Anything resembling an enactable faith found within this circle tends to be uniquely personal, rarely defined sufficiently to be transmittable to others and often transitory in duration.


Now your eyes have probably glazed over by now with all this information. I know a fair number of Wiccans who would not agree with all particulars above, either due to having different experiences or sources/info that they consider valid. Like paganism, witchcraft, magic, even the Craft, Wicca as a term will continue to have numerous definitions.


I would suggest that you look at the linked older thread about core beliefs and see if anything sufficiently aligns for you. If you choose to identify yourself as a solitary practitioner of Wicca, you can essentially define what your religious beliefs are as you wish. Wicca is first and foremost about a relationship between an individual and the Gods, albeit the Gods of Wicca in this case. It is looking for recognition from others for how you define being Wicca that may be problematic. For example, the inclusion of the Christian God would remain problematic for most Wiccans. Some don't believe in Him at all, others acknowledge that He exists along with all other gods but that He is worshipped by others within the Abrahamic faiths. The concept of smaller gods rolling up into bigger gods may also be problematic as 'being Wiccan' except perhaps amongst some softer polytheists (some newer Traditions and authors who favour ubergod concepts). Hard polytheists (properly trained Wiccans) see their pantheon of Gods as distinct and unique while acknowledging many divine or semi-divine beings elsewhere.


The concept of evil and good is not mandated within Wicca that I know of although one hopes whatever is believed individually aligns to the core beliefs in this faith. In that first and parts of the second circle, it is generally recognised that 'dark' and 'light' cannot exist without each other and are neutral like magic or energy. Also that humans invented wars between good and evil for political or religious agendas. The prevailing belief I have encountered however is that such labels such as good and evil are essentially man-made and dependant to a great degree on the value system(s) being discussed. That tends to track back to the individual Wiccan's own value system as to how this sorts itself out.


May I suggest Jeff that you might want to consider a self-definition along the lines of being a Pagan-Christian? I include a second link here to a thread below I did notably on Witchcraft but there is a section on what being Pagan can mean. As you will see, being Pagan requires only self-identification, self-definition and is based on first hand experience for validation. Not being a shared religion in itself, this self-identification can be adapted as each person's unique 'religion'. You would still have to deal with everyone assuming their definition of Pagan is what you believe in until explained otherwise but the same thing often happens with being Wiccan.Smile


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


 I hope something in all this is helpful. You are on an amazing journey to discover your wisdom walk through life. Thanks for sharing that here. I'm in most days so I'm glad to discuss further. We also have Paganism boards too if you would like to participate there as well and I Host over there too.


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2009 - 11:04AM #3
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


...and in case you are confused by that last sentence, suddenly realised you were already on the Paganism boards...Embarassed


Thought I was still working my way through the Wicca forum....duh!


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Aug 30, 2009 - 11:38AM #4
Jeffwarner0118
Posts: 6

Thank you very much for the response :).  Some of this information I did know, but a lot of it was new to me.  I did know i wasnt Wiccan, but i do love to learn things about religion :).  Christian-Pagan hm?  Sounds very... ironic haha.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2009 - 1:45AM #5
ManzanitaBear
Posts: 946

Christian Pagan is how I self identify, for lack of better terms--if I self identify at all.  And to many, it is a contradiction.


But both are pieces of who I am, so why deny it?

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2009 - 8:17AM #6
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244

 


Any self-identification is a working definition. It will change and grow as you, your experiences and your knowledge all change and grow.


If you decide that Christo-Pagan or Christian Pagan is - right now in your life - the most appropriate working definition for your beliefs, then it would be the best label to use.


You do need to keep in mind that if you are not asked to explain what this means, the other(s) will be defining both terms as he or she knows them. This may or may not have any relevance to your self-identification.


Also please bear in mind that no one is obliged to recognise or acknowledge you as either Christian or Pagan or as both. The only way this lack of recognition or acknowledgement can affect your choices however is if you choose to a) surrender the right of choice and authority of validation to others or b) decide to change to align yourself to obtain such recognition and acknowledgement.  


As human beings, we all crave acceptance and belonging. For some of us though, the untrodden path through the forest calls at times more strongly than having a place by the campfire.


C.H.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2009 - 7:00PM #7
Jeffwarner0118
Posts: 6



Well I do know I’m more pagan than I am Christian.  The only reason I would actually call myself Christian Pagan is because I believe that the Christian god exists.  I in no way worship him (or her, whatever floats your boat lol).  And I know that differences in religion can cause major conflicts among people, but I’m ok with that really.  Personally, I don’t believe in pushing any sort of belief on anybody.  And I think the forest has always been more appealing than the campfire, assuming you don’t mind me taking your analogy :). 


 


Thanks for the responses :)


 

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4 years ago  ::  May 13, 2010 - 9:28AM #8
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,764

Try the Belief-O-Matic™ quiz.
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