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Newbee Needs Help Finding His Path


Finn Mac Morn
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Hi all

 

I have known that I don’t subscribe to any of the mainstream religions since I was in my early teens. At first I considered myself an atheist, but soon realised that although I don’t believe in a “creator”, I do believe something.

 

About 10 to15 years ago I started to think of myself as a Pagan, and that is what I have said ever since if anyone asked me my religion.

 

But am I?? ….and if so, what type am I (I must admit until very recently, I didn’t even know that there were different paths of Paganism).

 

So, with your help I am hoping that I can discover which path is mine. I am going to describe the things I do believe, the things I don’t believe, and the things which fall somewhere in the middle.

 

Firstly the following are my beliefs and it is not my intention to undermine anyone else’s beliefs. Also, I apologise in advance if I am “all over the place” and dis-jointed….as I have never written down, nor discussed my beliefs before (not even with my wife) Its also likely that after writing down my thoughts they may contradict in some places.

 

I don’t believe in a god. I don’t believe that Jesus was the son of god. He may have existed (although there isn’t enough evidence to prove he did)..but if he did, I believe he was just one of countless profits of his time.

 

I don’t believe in ghosts, as in the previously living coming back as ghosts. But I do believe in spirits….I will swear (although I don’t know why) that my mothers spirit has visited me, often as a robin.

 

I believe that many things and places on this Earth have spirits….sometimes, in some places, I swear I can feel them.

 

I also believe in angels..no..dont laugh.. I was first visited by one during a Reiki meditation. And up until then I most definitely did not believe in angels. He even tore his wings off in front of me, (I assume as symbolic gesture for my disbelief) and I felt the intense pain in my back/shoulders.

 

I was going to put some more stuff, but decided it would be better to get the ball rolling.

 

Ask any questions you like regarding my beliefs..and I will try to answer them and hopfully between us we can decide where Ishould go from here.

 

Chris

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Well, you sound like a Pagan tbh. As you said, Paganism covers a myriad, a multitude of faiths and paths and beliefs and it's rare to find two people who believe the same things. Belief in god isn't a requirement of being Pagan, we've a fair few Atheist Pagans on the site - use our search facility to find the threads that discuss them :), and many folk here, including myself, believe in the spirits of the place, spirits inhabiting trees, lakes, mountains etc, or indeed, the concept that spirit is in everything and is everywhere. I don't think that your beliefs are specific enough to say that you sound like a Heathen, or wiccan, or whatever, but very few people do actually follow a defined path.

 

Have you read any books? I think that Pete Jennings Pagan Paths is a good idea, as is Vivienne Crowley's Beginners Guide to Paganism. If you fancy something more scholarly which talks about the origins of modern paganism, you'd be well advised to try and get your hands on Ronald Hutton's Triumph of the Moon (and indeed, any Ron Hutton book for that matter).

 

What is it that particularly interests you? That's usually the best place to start. Is it folklore? Local history? Natural history? Angels? Accept that you're never going to know everything and that you're on a continuing path where it really is all about the journey. But the fun is finding out about yourself along the way :)

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There are many Pagans who are Pagan in the way that you are. Some paths are trodden by many and some are trodden by few and not all paths have a defined name. So a lot of people identify themselves simply as Pagan and do not try to label their path any more definitely than that. That is what I do anyway. I suspect that is the term which best describes you at the present and this might always be the case or maybe in the future your path will be a more heavily trodden on and will have its own name. For me, and many others, simply Pagan is enough.

 

 

between us we can decide where Ishould go from here

 

You're a brave man! Letting yourself be guided by others in Paganism is likely to lead to you ending up in pieces all over the place (Ask three pagans about any given issue and you will have19 different opinions....... perhaps more depending on the phase of the moon). :) Perhaps you should try to stop seeing your difficulty defining your Paganism as something to be solved because open endedness in Paganism can lead to interesting thoughts and insights....... even though the natural urge is to have a nice solid label to cling to! Maybe freestyle Paganism is the way to go!

 

Mike

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Pomona

Ive not read any books on the subject, but I will check out the ones you mentioned. As for what interests me....now that I think about it...everything. But of those you mention I suppose folklore and natural history.

 

Fortuna

"Freestyle Pagan" ..I like the sound of that :D As I said, Ive never actually discussed what I believe with anyone before, so this is all new to me. I will enjoy reading the various threads and posts.

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Pomona

Ive not read any books on the subject, but I will check out the ones you mentioned. As for what interests me....now that I think about it...everything. But of those you mention I suppose folklore and natural history.

 

 

Do bear in mind that those suggestions were just very quick ones and by no means exhaustive :D One thing you mentioned in your post was an experience of spirit in certain places - I normally suggest to newbies that they start paying attention to those kind of places and to watch and listen and become part of the landscape :)

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After my recent attendance at Southern Camp and thanks to the wonderful discussions had with other Valley residents, I've just rebooted my Paganism and started afresh reading "A Witch Alone" by Marian Green - back to basics or what! LOL Anyway, there are some brilliant exercises at the end of each chapter to get things started. This has been a real "eye opener" for me and I will shortly be starting a blog to let you all know the totally fascinating things I have learned about where I live and how it affects my own path.

 

I'm finding it very useful in grounding myself and giving me a solid base to work from and would recommend it as a possible starting block for anyone unsure about what direction to take. :)

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About the only advice I have for you is reading to start with...and then keeping an open mind from there. My path has changed a lot over 30 years; I started out "not believing in" things and then I found that once said things got INMYFACE so many times I had to change my perceptions. Be prepared to be challenged by whatever Powers That Be take an interest - as you said you didn't believe in angels till one was right there in front of you. Be wary about saying "I do not believe in..." out loud! (not speaking from personal experience or anything *cough*)

 

Perhaps you might find alchemical work more to your tastes? Alchemy is only figuratively turning base things into gold...it's transformative. It also tends to work with angels and archangels with sigils and signs, so perhaps give that a look in. Here's a starter reference: http://www.levity.com/alchemy/

 

Good luck!

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I agree with OyasDancer. The trouble is that all your life upto now you have been brainwashed into what or what you can't achieve / believe in. This is not a straight Path, there many switchbacks but it is an extraordinary adventure.

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Pardon, but I didn't say anyone has been "brainwashed"; just that starting out by saying "I don't believe in..." has been in my experience a flag for all sorts of Powers That Be to say "Orly???"

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OyasDancer, forgive my poor grammar. I should have started a new paragraph after the first sentence.

My own thoughts follow.

Edited by Chiron
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Pardon, but I didn't say anyone has been "brainwashed"; just that starting out by saying "I don't believe in..." has been in my experience a flag for all sorts of Powers That Be to say "Orly???"

 

The thing is...I don't believe in probably 80% of what the people on this forum seem to believe in.

 

I dont believe in god(s) or magic/witchcraft or the supernatural ...I think some people have watched too much buffy or charmed to be honest.

 

I believe that everything on this planet works (or at least should work) in harmony. I believe that for all natural diseases and illnesses there are natural remedies somewhere on this Earth. I also believe that the Earth is sentient, maybe not in a way that we know as or would call sentient, but the planet is just a collection of the same or similar things that make up or bodies...so surely it follows.......

 

Still think Im a Pagan ??? I do, but I don't know what others would make of my thoughts and beliefs.

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Pardon, but I didn't say anyone has been "brainwashed"; just that starting out by saying "I don't believe in..." has been in my experience a flag for all sorts of Powers That Be to say "Orly???"

 

The thing is...I don't believe in probably 80% of what the people on this forum seem to believe in.

 

I dont believe in god(s) or magic/witchcraft or the supernatural ...I think some people have watched too much buffy or charmed to be honest.

 

Still think Im a Pagan ??? I do, but I don't know what others would make of my thoughts and beliefs.

 

I have no difficulty in believing you to be pagan, Chris and you are entitled to believe what you believe in the way that you believe it - that is inherently what most pagans allow! However, I take issue with your statement above "I don't believe in god(s) or magic/witchcraft or the supernaturual ... I think some people have watched too much buffy or charmed to be honest." Well that is honest but also misguided! You see, I have never watched buffy nor charmed nor any of the so-called fluffy bunny stuff. However, I am an initiated Gardnerian witch and a magician of over 30 years experience and I DO believe in witchcraft and magic, have practiced and seen it work, in some cases, spectacularly! So, please, be careful how you make generalisations on this forum or you might whirl up, at least irritation and at most anger :)

Edited by Naomi
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My statement was a bit sweeping and general..and I apologise.

 

You seem to be the perfect person to ask what you mean by "magic" and "witchcraft" ...maybe its my definition that is wrong.

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Pardon, but I didn't say anyone has been "brainwashed"; just that starting out by saying "I don't believe in..." has been in my experience a flag for all sorts of Powers That Be to say "Orly???"

 

The thing is...I don't believe in probably 80% of what the people on this forum seem to believe in.

 

I dont believe in god(s) or magic/witchcraft or the supernatural ...I think some people have watched too much buffy or charmed to be honest.

 

I believe that everything on this planet works (or at least should work) in harmony. I believe that for all natural diseases and illnesses there are natural remedies somewhere on this Earth. I also believe that the Earth is sentient, maybe not in a way that we know as or would call sentient, but the planet is just a collection of the same or similar things that make up or bodies...so surely it follows.......

 

Still think Im a Pagan ??? I do, but I don't know what others would make of my thoughts and beliefs.

 

Stoooooooooop! :lol:

 

I think there are a couple of beliefs you have which are causing you problems.

 

1....... When you say you don't believe what 80% of the folk on this site believes are you saying that those 80% of folks who believe in things you don't believe in share beliefs with each other? They don't! Two people might believe in deity, but I would say that believing in a single Mother Goddess and beleving in A God and a Goddess.......... or a whole Pantheon of Gods also presents us with a lot of differences. Then there are pagans who don't believe in Gods as such but might be Pantheist (its all a bloody God) or even Atheist (boy you think you don't fit in.... at least you think the Earth is sentient, you want to hear what some folk think of Atheist Pagans) :)

 

2....... Supernatural. Well what is the supernatural. Belief in the supernatural is not part of the definition of Paganism....... its more a case that Pagans just have a wider definition of what "natural" is. Do you consider the Earth being sentient to be supernatural? I doubt it....... I suspect you think Mother Earth's sentience to be part of its nature, but there are many out there who would consider your belief a dip into the supernatural.

 

 

Still think Im a Pagan ??? I do, but I don't know what others would make of my thoughts and beliefs.

 

3....... Er.... yes. I am not sure what you have said that would make you not a Pagan. You don't know what others would make of your thought and beliefs,......... well that is easily sorted. Ask them! I think a discussion on the sentience of the Earth would make a fascinating thread and you might be suprised at how much belief you do share with others.

 

And if someone decides you are not a pagan..... well so what? Fuck em :) (not literally of course), but Paganism is not a matter of meeting a set of criteria and there is no set of inquisitors out there looking to enforce Pagan orthdoxy. Paganism is broad...... and if it can include, Shamans, Druids, Heathens, Witches, Animists, Ceremonial Magicians, Wiccans and more solitaries and bog standard pagans than you can shake a stick at, I have confidence that you will fit in as a pagan quite nicely!

 

Stop worrying about it. You are what you are and you believe what you believe and the label you give it is not all that important anyway.

 

Mike

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Thanks for the reply Mike...both informative and funny :D

 

Im going to try to keep an open mind from now on. To be honest Ive had some rather weird experiences in my time, so I shouldn't be so quick to judge others.

 

I cant prove nor legitimise my beliefs, so its unfair that I expect others to do so with theirs.

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All I guess I was saying, Old Bean, is that when it comes to identifying as Pagan it is the impulses we have inside that count much more than dogma, definitions and acceptance by others. You sound emminently pagan to me! :)

 

Mike

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Chris, please stop worring about whether you are "pagan enough" you have come here to chat and ask questions. Chill out and let things develop for you at your own pace, it's not compulsary to believe in anything.

 

The beauty of paganism is that it is incredibly personal, and your own specific journey. But you are correct when you say you need to keep an open mind ! You don't know what may lie down the path you travel or whether you will even encounter it because of a fork in the road.

 

Your decisions, your pace and keep asking questions, most of all enjoy the journey, otherwise what would be the point, Jasmin.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi all .....

 

Its been about 8 months since I was last here. And as per the advice I was given back then, Ive been reading and reading and reading.

 

All the researching seemed to lead me to the Norse path...so I accepted that, but carried on reading and researching because I enjoy it. And then.. about a week a go, whilst reading various things I kept coming across a name that I didn't know.... Cernunnos. So I looked the name up.

 

And BANG ... it hit me... this is what Ive been looking for all this time. The Norse thing sort of crept up on me slowly over several months, but Cernunnos really has hit me between the eyes..... it just feels so right.

 

Its the whole Celtic connection (possibly even older?), the connection with animals and the land.

 

Without boring you too much, Ive had a pretty bad 12 months. My osteoarthritis is getting worse and a second hip replacement has done nothing to help my pain or range of motion. So as you can imagine Ive been very down, but since "discovering" Cernunnos Ive been so upbeat... even my wife has noticed . :D I feel stronger, both physically and mentally. I feel ..... fantastic.

 

So it looks like Ive finally found my path... but good information on Cernunnos seems to be a bit hard to find, so I would appreciate any links or recommended reading anyone has.

 

thankyou.

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Wikipedia is always a good start. Not only does it give an outline, they're generally quite good at listing references as other places to look into if you want to know more.
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thats a damned good piece of yours A...I was going to say run to almost any book by Miranda Green (Aldhouse Green as she is now) and you wont go too far wrong - but you beat me to it

 

there's an awful lot of new age wishful thinking stuff around not based on "intuition"and not on any archaeo-historical evidence - which in itself is remarkably slim

 

 

always loved the GUNDESTRUP Cauldron depiction

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I used to give a talk on Cernunnos, but I had to give that one up...it was based on the little evidence we have, and ended up stripping away people's favourite notions. that wasn't to be negative, but so they could distinguish between imagination and fact - and hopefully have a tool for judging UPG. Not that everyone welcomes that! :lol:

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I used to give a talk on Cernunnos, but I had to give that one up...it was based on the little evidence we have, and ended up stripping away people's favourite notions. that wasn't to be negative, but so they could distinguish between imagination and fact - and hopefully have a tool for judging UPG. Not that everyone welcomes that! :lol:

 

no..generally peoples cherished beliefs come before any evidence to the contrary...attack the beliefs then you attack them...and they don't like it, get defensive and then get hostile...not worth the effort usually

 

I knew there was a good reason for being anti-social - oops sorry mean Solitary

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Thank you, the articles and thread are all very interesting and hopefully helpful. I shall continue my hunt (boom boom :D ) for information on Cernunnos. Trust me to find a path with no signposts lol..... although I suppose it is much more than just a single entity path..... I think its time to switch my reading and researching to Celtic subjects.

 

It will be fun trying to sort the facts from the wishful thinking..........

 

oh... by the way ...what is UPG ??

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Unproved Personal Gnosis ... Unique Personal Gnosis ... what you yourself believe but have no proof to offer :)

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I shall continue my hunt (boom boom :D ) for information on Cernunnos.

 

Be careful, hun. In my experience, those who know him well, speak little of what they know; while those who don't know him, talk of him a lot. ;)

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Be careful, hun. In my experience, those who know him well, speak little of what they know; while those who don't know him, talk of him a lot. ;)

 

Very true in many other areas of life too :lol: :lol:

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