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*Sigh* It Is Time...


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...to face my fears and ask the... 'noob'iest question I can.

 

Basically, I have my beliefs, but no solid foundation for them. Rather much like someone who believes in God going to Church for the first time, I know very little of the festivals, functions, etc.

 

I realise that it is all a very individual path, a very 'DIY' path but, so far, apart from a lot of senseless babble that contradicts itself repeatedly on the internet from know-it-all 15 year olds who say "All Pagans are Wiccan" (without good spelling and/or grammar) I have found nothing... conclusive and definitive to create a base.

 

I see it rather much like a Pizza. All pizzas have a base and that base is usually the same with some variation, so for example the base I have chosen is Norse (I'd say Filled Crust or Deep Pan, definetly not thin crust), then there are the standard toppings - cheese and tomato passata to keep the filling on, these would be the myths and legends associated with the Gods and perhaps the more important festivals. Apart from the Myths and legends (which I have a huuuuuge book of and am making my way through... drawing me deeper in each page) I am lacking my cheese... Then the topping is pretty much the rest. The 'crafts', the rites and rituals, etc. and all that comes with it.

 

I must say, I am rather interested in Runes, herbs and the application of (i.e. making incense, etc.) and... well, that's about all I know from my ex-girlfriend! (I knew more, forgot a lot)

 

Honestly, I would really like a list of what is considered "Standard Practice" and then personal touches people have added, their own personal little tweaks and so on. Really, I see it as a sort of "List of ingredients" on the "pizza menu" that I can pick to build up, then perhaps when the pizza is delivered I can add my own ingredients at home, pick it apart if I don't like some of it... If the pizza analogy works.

 

The only way I can learn what I like, what feels right... is to try. Right? So, apart from buying a load of books (I can't really afford it, not working atm) and the few I was given which are mostly on Wicca and damaged beyond reading (water from the previous owner).

 

Sooooo... If you could format it as say:

 

'General/Standard practice:'

- list (explanation)

- list (explanation)

- list (explanation)

 

'My personal tweaks/additives'

- list (explanation)

etc.

 

Many thanks,

Nik

 

 

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Oh gods, hun, I think you're asking the impossible to be honest - I've never come across anything which can be considered "standard practice" across all paths/for all Pagans.

 

I would say the obvious starter for ten would be "nature" but I know Pagans who really aren't interested in it at all and certainly don't honour or revere it.

 

I'd say "Gods" but we have plenty Atheists here who are Pagan.

 

I'd say "energies" but there's no agreement on whether these are abstract or personifications.

 

I'd say "following a cycle of the year and marking the seasons" but the comment on nature above refers.

 

I'd say "magick" but not all Pagans practice it and not every Pagan believes it exists.

 

I'd say "myths" of whatever pantheon you follow, but that brings us back to the point that there are Atheists

 

I'd say "many gods" but there are people here who believe that there is a single "One" of which all gods are aspects, others who believe in many distinct gods, others who think that there are two: male and female to represent the duality of nature, and of course, those who do not believe in any gods at all.

 

In short, unless you are there is no one-size fits all as your pizza base (nice analogy btw :D )

 

I'm afraid that you are the chef/creator of your own path and you get to choose the base, the sauce, and the toppings that go on it.

 

However, having said all that, if you're thinking that your base is Norse, then you do at least have more of a framework to start with. The same if you are tending more towards Druidry, Religio Romana etc.

 

Start small. There is a huge amount to take in and try and wade through, much of it total tosh and only you can really distil it into your beliefs. If you are drawn to a particular thing, then investigate that and see where it takes you :)

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Oh gods, hun, I think you're asking the impossible to be honest - I've never come across anything which can be considered "standard practice" across all paths/for all Pagans.

 

I would say the obvious starter for ten would be "nature" but I know Pagans who really aren't interested in it at all and certainly don't honour or revere it.

 

I'd say "Gods" but we have plenty Atheists here who are Pagan.

 

I'd say "energies" but there's no agreement on whether these are abstract or personifications.

 

I'd say "following a cycle of the year and marking the seasons" but the comment on nature above refers.

 

I'd say "magick" but not all Pagans practice it and not every Pagan believes it exists.

 

I'd say "myths" of whatever pantheon you follow, but that brings us back to the point that there are Atheists

 

I'd say "many gods" but there are people here who believe that there is a single "One" of which all gods are aspects, others who believe in many distinct gods, others who think that there are two: male and female to represent the duality of nature, and of course, those who do not believe in any gods at all.

 

In short, unless you are there is no one-size fits all as your pizza base (nice analogy btw :D )

 

I'm afraid that you are the chef/creator of your own path and you get to choose the base, the sauce, and the toppings that go on it.

 

However, having said all that, if you're thinking that your base is Norse, then you do at least have more of a framework to start with. The same if you are tending more towards Druidry, Religio Romana etc.

 

Start small. There is a huge amount to take in and try and wade through, much of it total tosh and only you can really distil it into your beliefs. If you are drawn to a particular thing, then investigate that and see where it takes you :)

 

 

Aha, I thank you for your reply. Maybe I should... re-word. What would you say is the most... important things? It can be personal opinion, of course... I was just under the illusion that, like most other religious/belief systems there would be some centralised tennets.

 

I mean, surely if I say I am following the Norse path, that means Land Spirits and Gods would be high on the list, how would I go about Honouring them?

 

Forgive me, I am a little bit tired and not functioning at 100%. I am truly greatful for your reply and apologise sincerely if I seem ungreatful, I am most thankful (and humbled), just slightly tired and fustrated (and ill lol) at the lack of available resources to help me establish a foundation... And no dial-a-delivery or Friday Special Offer on Religious Pizza, it's just not on. :)

 

Thank you again,

Nik

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Don't be daft, I don't think you sound ungrateful at all. Just as confused and bewildered as everyone here was and still is :D

 

Okay, if you're following a Norse path, then yes, there are commonalities and I'll leave it to the Norse amongst us to describe what these are likely to be.

 

It's just that between Norse and Wiccan, and Druidry, and whatever else, there are going to be so many variations as to make commonalities nigh on impossible to tease out. But within each specific path there is a far higher likelihood of common approaches and beliefs :)

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Don't be daft, I don't think you sound ungrateful at all. Just as confused and bewildered as everyone here was and still is :D

 

Okay, if you're following a Norse path, then yes, there are commonalities and I'll leave it to the Norse amongst us to describe what these are likely to be.

 

It's just that between Norse and Wiccan, and Druidry, and whatever else, there are going to be so many variations as to make commonalities nigh on impossible to tease out. But within each specific path there is a far higher likelihood of common approaches and beliefs :)

 

I thank you, I thank you and I thank you again :) your patience and understanding is an example of why I think I will be happy here.

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I would say that with any path, there is going to be a significant chunk of variation in what you look to even in one single path. I've been looking at leaning towards the Norse, mainly because of a feeling of being drawn to Odin, and there is so much that is disagreed upon!

 

There are Norse resource sites like sunnyway that concentrate heavily on runes and rune rituals, but there are whole communities of Asatru who believe that the runes were only ever an alphabet nothing more, and who follow a more reconstructionist path. There are Asatru and Heathens who disagree over whether both the eddas and sagas are relevant or whether they are mostly made up by Christians, and who argue over whether Loki was really a God in his own right or was added in by the Christians later. I know of at least one Heathen person online whose website defines them as a Northern-European Shaman, because the path they are drawn to whilst Heathen is in stark disagreement with many things commonly accepted by reconstructionist Heathens.

 

Some things do have a consensus, though. Blots and Simbels as celebrations of faith, for example.

 

All I can suggest is that you do roughly what I'm doing. And what you are already doing yourself. Find Pagan and especially Heathen-oriented forums, ask questions and lurk threads. Google everything, every new word or term you come across and read up on varying definitions. Look for books on the subject and rent them from the library. Read the Sagas and Eddas and then decide for yourself what you feel, out of all the mismatched messages you'll get. Build your own faith; your pizza analogy really is quite apt!

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I mean, surely if I say I am following the Norse path, that means Land Spirits and Gods would be high on the list, how would I go about Honouring them?

 

95% of all Intro-Heathen books are god-awful. (Myself I don't use the word "Norse" but then I'm far more into reconstructing the practice of what happened in England by various people of Germanic descent.)

 

The twin volumes of "Our Troth" are a useful starting point. They are large books which cover a lot of stuff. I disagree with 50% of it - which is a relatively high enough

figure for me to recommend them. You can get them off Amazon - but they ain't cheap.

 

Also here's my Heathenry on the cheap reading list.

 

eathenry on a tight budget (and relatively fluff free)

 

Here's a list of good starting material which is free of the worst excesses of new age fluff, has a fair amount of historical scholarship (without losing the fun) and every book is under 10 quid (and most are available for a fiver ...)

 

Lore

Crossley Holland K. (1996) The Penguin Book of Norse Myths: Gods of the Vikings Penguin

Realistically the Eddas are hard for a beginner to get into - eventually they need to be read and referred to - but perhaps not right at the start Holland Crossley provides a good starting point for our myths.

 

Sturlson S. The Prose Edda & Poetic Edda - various editions. Penguin has a version of each which I recommend.

Eventually you do need to read the Eddas

 

History

Ewing T. (2008) Gods and Worshippers in the Viking and Germanic World The History Press Ltd

Herbert K. (1994) Looking for the Lost Gods of England Anglo-Saxon Books

Both good solid historical research & very readable

 

Runes

Pollington S. (2008) Rudiments of Runelore Anglo-Saxon Books

OR

Plowright S. (2007) Rune Primer: A Down-to-Earth Guide to the Runes

I only mention because both are good and avoid the usual nonsense written about runes - there seems to be more nonsense on this than any other heathen topic.

 

Ritual

The Court of Gothar Odinic Rite (1991) Book of Blots: Ceremonies, Rituals and Invocations of the Odinic Rite Odinic Rite

Even if you don't agree with the ORs folkish philosophy, their book of ritual is one of the best researched collections on the topic & is available from the OR website.

 

I wrote the above a couple of years ago. I think I still agree with most of it ... The Japanese have a saying "If you believe everything you read: don't read"

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Trouble is people sometimes think the word Pagan denotes a religion, when it is more a description of a vast array of religions, practices, crafts, outlooks. The answers you have been given so far are great. I would simply add that it might be an idea for you to sit down and write a list of what you find important and what attracts you to paganism. If you get that straight in your mind then you have the beginnings of the pizza base you mentioned. You know there are lots of Pagans who don't do rituals at all or follow the festivals.

 

Mike

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Thank you all so much for the replies, they are most helpful in wading through the confusion.

 

The book list you mentioned, Marcus, I shall look into when I next get some money, thank you greatly.

 

Mike, your advice I shall hold close to heart, I never thought of it that way - it is almost the exact reverse of what I was doing!

 

BunnyMazonas, I thank you also, your input is valuable and... valued (I hate using words that have the same first three letters)

 

Thank you. Anything anyone else has to add, again, is invaluable to me.

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The book list you mentioned, Marcus, I shall look into when I next get some money, thank you greatly.

 

Also there's plenty which is free. This is a good starting point too - Bil Linzie's essay on Germanic Spirituality. I wish I'd read it many years before I did.

 

http://www.aren.org/prison/documents/Asatru/Germanicspirituality.pdf

 

Marcus

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The book list you mentioned, Marcus, I shall look into when I next get some money, thank you greatly.

 

Also there's plenty which is free. This is a good starting point too - Bil Linzie's essay on Germanic Spirituality. I wish I'd read it many years before I did.

 

http://www.aren.org/...pirituality.pdf

 

Marcus

 

Ah, downloaded, thank you greatly!

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Don't want to trash the pizza but I like the idea of the Olympic symbol. Each coloured ring represents a broad grouping of paths. The rings [regardless of number] make up a cohesive whole:

but

The rings on the extremities have absolutely nothing in common. [no overlap with the ring at the other end]

yet

Repeat - it still forms something cohesive that is brought about by the term Pagan.

 

Another way to find your position might be to take a number of scales crossing at zero in as many dimensions as you need.

You choose the attributes of your world view but I'd suggest for starters:

 

Religious to non religious.-10 to 10 [Alter scales to whatever you want.]

Atheistic to Pantheistic -10 to 10 [ That could be circular but it isn't for me]

Practical to Magical -10 to 10

Improvised to formalised -10 to 10

Local to Universal -10 to 10

Evidence based to Faith based -10 to 10

Solitary to Congregational - 10 to 10

etc. etc.

Don't shoot! its gone one after a good night out. Make your own scales but I hope you get what I mean. Once you know where you stand now you can recognise the right path when you stumble upon it.

Of course once you've traveled a while you might change your view or revise your position - great! No hell fire in Paganism just choice - that's Heresy for you!

Edited by Moonsmith
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Don't want to trash the pizza but I like the idea of the Olympic symbol. Each coloured ring represents a broad grouping of paths. The rings [regardless of number] make up a cohesive whole:

but

The rings on the extremities have absolutely nothing in common. [no overlap with the ring at the other end]

yet

Repeat - it still forms something cohesive that is brought about by the term Pagan.

 

Another way to find your position might be to take a number of scales crossing at zero in as many dimensions as you need.

You choose the attributes of your world view but I'd suggest for starters:

 

Religious to non religious.-10 to 10 [Alter scales to whatever you want.]

Atheistic to Pantheistic -10 to 10 [ That could be circular but it isn't for me]

Practical to Magical -10 to 10

Improvised to formalised -10 to 10

Local to Universal -10 to 10

Evidence based to Faith based -10 to 10

Solitary to Congregational - 10 to 10

etc. etc.

Don't shoot! its gone one after a good night out. Make your own scales but I hope you get what I mean. Once you know where you stand now you can recognise the right path when you stumble upon it.

Of course once you've traveled a while you might change your view or revise your position - great! No hell fire in Paganism just choice - that's Heresy for you!

 

Don't shoot? You, sir, have the brewer's wisdom! That is a very good analogy and, if you have had a drink I should imagine that the pizza analogy has either been eaten or discarded in favour of a kebab :lol:

 

I thank you for your reply, weighing up the options (pun not intended) is something... interesting. Something that will require some thought - sadly, for some of them, (i.e. solitary/congregational) it is a matter of being realistic - although I'd love to share with people and to partake with people, I am a loner and have... pretty much no friends so, such is life. Your post is extremely useful in this stage and I am thankful for it :)

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, I am a loner and have... pretty much no friends so, such is life. Your post is extremely useful in this stage and I am thankful for it :)

 

You are not alone, that profile fits a great many Heathens I have met, like ships in the night ... :o_beer: and is possibly one of the reasons it is harder to get an Heathen moot going than anybody would reasonably expect.

 

The Viking Society for Northern Research, of which I am a member, has made all its publications from 1893 to 2005 freely available for impecunious ragged trousered Heathens to read at their leisure.

http://vsnrweb-publications.org.uk/

Edited by davkin
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You, sir, have the brewer's wisdom!

I have nothing to add to these sage pieces of advice, but I am so using that line!! :lol:

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I shall read that more in depth myself and thank you for it, but I was particularly taken by this line

 

For an in depth discussion on the aspects of the northern soul...

 

:lol: :lol:

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