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Moonhunter

What Advice Would You Offer A New Pagan?

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Moonhunter

We all know that here, in the Valley, our one single refrain is respect for diversity and that each person is on their own path. So, apart from that, what advice would you offer a new pagan?

 

As OPer, I'll make the first offer. :) Just because you read "X" on any number of pagan websites, or hear it repeated as truth from a number of pagans, doesn't make "X" true. There are a huge number of pagan "myths" in circulation. I'm thinking stuff like 'The Burning Times' or 'druids built Stonehenge' or 'people in the Stone Age were goddess worshippers'. But there a very many more and a lot of pagans love to cut and paste. :rolleyes:

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Marigold

As a new pagan myself, I would say be open minded and don't be influenced by social stigma. Take the time to find your path, it can seem a bit crazy and you might want to try and find your path right away but be patient.

 

It's also a great feeling when you feel like your path is finding you :D

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Maeve

May I also just say, as I've said on here before, whoever you are, you are on your path already - it starts at birth and ends with death. It's the stuff along the way that makes your path unique to you - your upbringing and background, your friends, your education, what you read, what you do, where you go and what you believe! Any of those things that you bring into your life/your path, can change as you go through the years.

 

When it comes to looking into anything, careful research is all - and as Moonhunter says, do not believe all you see and read - anywhere - in books, on the internet, what people say to you - until you have tested it out to see if it works for you!

 

One of the best things about being here, is that you can bring these things to The Valley for comment and debate. Here, there are people of all paths, understanding, knowledge, belief and different levels of experience! In addition, there are the archived thread of well over 10 years' worth of debate and comment - and a simple search facility.

 

Members of this forum are truly blessed :) :wub:

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Ffred_Clegg

Agree very much with the above.

 

The first magical tool to acquire is a good bullshit detector.

 

The first incantation to learn is "what's your source for that?"

 

 

gwyn eich byd

 

Ffred

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Ellinas

Oooh Maeve - you seem quite moved...

 

Advice to a new pagan... It's very easy to be rather trite and, in reality, if I was talking to such a new pagan, I would try to offer no advice at all, at least until something pretty specific was asked.

 

But if forced to more general terms, I would say:

  1. Read;
  2. Think;
  3. Experiment;
  4. Decide what you believe for yourself;
  5. Reject anything that doesn't work;
  6. Don't be overawed by someone just because they've written a book or talk with confidence - there's a lot of self confident cr*p out there;
  7. Don't over-reach yourself - you'll know when you are ready to try something;
  8. Laugh - especially at yourself;
  9. Dare to dream. Seriously - you will know when a dream is worth attention;
  10. Most importantly of all - be yourself, rather than trying to live up to some image of yourself.

I'll probably think of some more at some point. At the risk of being rather trite...

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Moonsmith

^^^^^^^^^^^ This.

 

Except:

Decide what you believe for yourself;

 

Do this before you do anything. This is number 1.

 

Know yourself and your thinking.

If you adopt thinking that does not fit with what you REALLY believe, your Paganism might crack right when you need it most.

 

Please do not adopt a belief in order to "Join in."

Edited by Moonsmith
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TheCrowlady

First thing is Paganism isn't the easy option, it's very rewarding but requires a lot of soul searching as it isn't an open and shut religion, there are many different forms that all co-exist in harmony.

Only you will know what is right for you, what you believe in, how you feel. Have patience and your path will fall into place.

It's also okay to change your mind, if a path feels wrong to you, walk a different one.

I would say do some research into the areas of Paganism that interest you, be it Wicca or Druidism or another path, or maybe you're an Eclectic who who tailors their beliefs to their own personal path, don't believe something is the truth just because you read it somewhere.

Never be afraid to ask questions and learn.

Saying that you can only learn so much from books and the internet, some things need a more practical approach, if a God/ Goddess ( regardless of His/Her name) calls you, talk to Them!

If it's Nature, embrace Her, feel the earth between your toes, be silent and listen to Her song, feel the energy!

Eventually your path will fall into place.

Bright Blessings!

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Nomis

Be true to yourself. That's all.

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Fortuna

There is so much more out there for new Pagans than when I started out. My route into Paganism seemed to consist of folk music, reading my mate's Dad's Man Myth and Magic books and reading the Mists of Avalon!!! The internet has made a huge difference, but the blessings are mixed.

 

Generally I would say......

 

1) Don't be in a rush to define your path. It might feel safer to do so, but most Pagans alter their beliefs now and again.

2) Be discerning. There is nothing you have to believe. It is perfectly acceptable not to believe in Gods or magic, so long as you respect the rights of others to do so.

3) Do not trust anyone who claims to have ancient knowledge handed down to them. It is almost certainly bullshit.

4) Don't trust those who claim to be from a long line of Pagans. They are almost certainly exaggerating and making the fact that Aunt Edna read tealeaves into more than it is.

5) Reasearch by all means, but remember that the greatest expert on your path is you.

6) Embrace how little you really know and ever will know. The older I get the more I realise that I know next to nothing.

 

Above all, enjoy yourself! What is a path if it doesn't bring you joy and if it is not life affirming.

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Freydis

Read. Think. Read some more. Talk to everyone, but remember that what works for them may be very different to what works for you. And listen. To everything.

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Adelheid

There' some bloody good advice above! Some of the most sensible advice I've ever seen online, to be honest. So the only thing I can add, and it's something that worked wonders for me, is get out there and meet people. One of the best things I did was go to a moot. You may like some folks there, you may not like others. You may find folks who think the same as you, and you will find folks who are on a different path to you totally. But there's nothing like talking to other folks who sit under this big old Pagan Umbrella.

 

Just thought of one more thing, do put the books down sometimes and actually do stuff. Have a play, experiment, practise.

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Veggie dancer

 

1: Dont get hung up on names or labels. You dont have to box yourself neatly into a type. Explore what interests you and see where it leads you.

 

2: stay true to whatever it was that got you excited enough about being 'pagan' to decide to call your self that. If it was a connection with nature then focus on developing that, or if it was contact with gods or ancestors then develop that, whatever it was, dont get bogged down with what everyone else is doing, (though of course we can learn a whole lot from each other and be lead down new exciting paths) dont loose contact with whatever was your spark of inspiration, thats more real for you than anything you can read in a book.

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geoffp

My advice following my experience is, take it easy. Don't try and jump in feet first thinking this is my path lets crack on, read and research and give yourself the time to understand what it is your reading.

 

For me I found it frustrating that I was reading stuff but not seeming to take it in, and just as I thought I was starting to understand one thing, someone (moonhunter normally) would come along and throw a spanner in the works which sets me off at a diffenenrt tangent.

 

I guess I was certainly trying to run before I could walk. I didnt appeciate how much christian doctrine I had absorbed over the years and expected me to be able to absorb my reading and understanding quicker than the 50 years it took previously.

 

My final bit of advice would be to join UKP

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Ophidianoir

I think my advice would be take responsibility for your own actions, you do not need another between you and your inner self.

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Guest Rachmyel
May I also just say, as I've said on here before, whoever you are, you are on your path already - it starts at birth and ends with death. It's the stuff along the way that makes your path unique to you - your upbringing and background, your friends, your education, what you read, what you do, where you go and what you believe! Any of those things that you bring into your life/your path, can change as you go through the years. When it comes to looking into anything, careful research is all - and as Moonhunter says, do not believe all you see and read - anywhere - in books, on the internet, what people say to you - until you have tested it out to see if it works for you! One of the best things about being here, is that you can bring these things to The Valley for comment and debate. Here, there are people of all paths, understanding, knowledge, belief and different levels of experience! In addition, there are the archived thread of well over 10 years' worth of debate and comment - and a simple search facility. Members of this forum are truly blessed :) :wub:

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Guest Rachmyel
When it comes to looking into anything, careful research is all - and as Moonhunter says, do not believe all you see and read - anywhere - in books, on the internet, what people say to you - until you have tested it out to see if it works for you! One of the best things about being here, is that you can bring these things to The Valley for comment and debate. Here, there are people of all paths, understanding, knowledge, belief and different levels of experience! In addition, there are the archived thread of well over 10 years' worth of debate and comment - and a simple search facility. Members of this forum are truly blessed :) :wub:

 

There may be people of all paths offering advice but my advice would be to check before acting upon what you find here.This forum is ready to denounce and rubbish things on the web yet I have found more misinformation,unqualified advice and prompts to experience ritual and encounter energies clearly given by non-Adepts than on the web generally.Such misinformation is gleefully paraded here as 'fact' and though some of this has no real impact on those reading it,I have found countless examples of advice that will inevitably lead those taking it into error and in some cases,danger.

I do not cite irresponsibility simply because those offering the supposed facts and advice probably believe themselves truly authorised to do so.In other cases historical fact is distorted or reinterpreted to suit personal taste and the very concept of the term Pagan has been redeveloped on this site without caution regarding historical context or genuine practices.The message must be to proceed with caution and attempt to fully ascertain if the advice or instruction is being offered empirically rather than theoretically;There is no doubt the vast majority here are not Adept so question everything before deciding to commit to any path.Search the web as well and apply the same criteria.Look for works rather than books written by people who often have not experienced what they suggest you try.Stick to those who you feel sure can offer advice from a practical perspective and not pure theory.

You may also wish to examine the roots and origins of the path you feel drawn to and as Moonsmith says above do not be tempted to 'join in' something because your friends are into it.An example are the so called 'Nordic' Traditions.At first glance this seems to encompass elements of Heathenism,Ancestor adoration,old gods and inherent paganisms.Yet this whole Nordic Paganism has been challenged by scholars.If you look at Vikings you will find their beliefs have no source other than writers who tell us about them 200 years later.The mainstay of most subscribing to Nordic or other Scandinavian paganisms are the writings of a man called Snorr who was long accepted as an authority but his work related to and were constructed around politics in Iceland.Some scholars suggest he was also a forger.More to the point neo-paganism in modern times throughout Scandinavia does not exist in the way you may believe and in fact was formulated in Britain.

I am content to leave you with the summary of the worlds leading scholar of Norwegian paganism,Dr.Egil Asprem. Simply he found it to have grown out of the Death Metal neo-nazi music of the 1990s..Perhaps not a path you would be drawn to any more.

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Maeve
When it comes to looking into anything, careful research is all - and as Moonhunter says, do not believe all you see and read - anywhere - in books, on the internet, what people say to you - until you have tested it out to see if it works for you! One of the best things about being here, is that you can bring these things to The Valley for comment and debate. Here, there are people of all paths, understanding, knowledge, belief and different levels of experience! In addition, there are the archived thread of well over 10 years' worth of debate and comment - and a simple search facility. Members of this forum are truly blessed :) :wub:

 

There may be people of all paths offering advice but my advice would be to check before acting upon what you find here.This forum is ready to denounce and rubbish things on the web yet I have found more misinformation,unqualified advice and prompts to experience ritual and encounter energies clearly given by non-Adepts than on the web generally.Such misinformation is gleefully paraded here as 'fact' and though some of this has no real impact on those reading it,I have found countless examples of advice that will inevitably lead those taking it into error and in some cases,danger.

I do not cite irresponsibility simply because those offering the supposed facts and advice probably believe themselves truly authorised to do so.In other cases historical fact is distorted or reinterpreted to suit personal taste and the very concept of the term Pagan has been redeveloped on this site without caution regarding historical context or genuine practices.The message must be to proceed with caution and attempt to fully ascertain if the advice or instruction is being offered empirically rather than theoretically;There is no doubt the vast majority here are not Adept so question everything before deciding to commit to any path.Search the web as well and apply the same criteria.Look for works rather than books written by people who often have not experienced what they suggest you try.Stick to those who you feel sure can offer advice from a practical perspective and not pure theory.

You may also wish to examine the roots and origins of the path you feel drawn to and as Moonsmith says above do not be tempted to 'join in' something because your friends are into it.An example are the so called 'Nordic' Traditions.At first glance this seems to encompass elements of Heathenism,Ancestor adoration,old gods and inherent paganisms.Yet this whole Nordic Paganism has been challenged by scholars.If you look at Vikings you will find their beliefs have no source other than writers who tell us about them 200 years later.The mainstay of most subscribing to Nordic or other Scandinavian paganisms are the writings of a man called Snorr who was long accepted as an authority but his work related to and were constructed around politics in Iceland.Some scholars suggest he was also a forger.More to the point neo-paganism in modern times throughout Scandinavia does not exist in the way you may believe and in fact was formulated in Britain.

I am content to leave you with the summary of the worlds leading scholar of Norwegian paganism,Dr.Egil Asprem. Simply he found it to have grown out of the Death Metal neo-nazi music of the 1990s..Perhaps not a path you would be drawn to any more.

 

Dear Rachmyel

I take exception to the warning that you are posting in connection with my post on this thread! You have been here only a very short time, you do not know me, nor my experience - indeed nothing about me at all and yet you warn against what I have to say. In the Valley, we have a reputation for respecting others' views and personal opinions. I would like to know how, in such a short period of time, you are able to say, categorically, that the "vast majority here are not Adept ..." What exactly do you mean by that? There are people of many pagan paths here in the Valley, from the very experienced to newcomers. Some are more than adept in their chosen ways and well qualified to make the statements they make, not only from the studies which they have undertaken but from many years of experience. We also have here, experienced heathens - what do you believe are "Nordic Traditions" because I can say that, in the last many years I have been here, no-one is claiming such paths! And, I do have direct and personal experience on this point which I very much doubt you can claim.

 

Your attitude has made me quite angry - as a newcomer, I suggest you step back and watch, learn and inwardly digest before offering such arbitrary opinions based on such a short time here in the Valley.

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Moonhunter

There may be people of all paths offering advice but my advice would be to check before acting upon what you find here.This forum is ready to denounce and rubbish things on the web yet I have found more misinformation,unqualified advice and prompts to experience ritual and encounter energies clearly given by non-Adepts than on the web generally...I have found countless examples of advice that will inevitably lead those taking it into error and in some cases,danger.

 

Do you feel up to supporting your allegations? a few examples might help folks understand what has irritated you. :)

 

I do not cite irresponsibility simply because those offering the supposed facts and advice probably believe themselves truly authorised to do so.

 

Indeed. I expect they do. Do you claim to be different? If so, what is the basis for your claim?

 

In other cases historical fact is distorted or reinterpreted to suit personal taste and the very concept of the term Pagan has been redeveloped on this site without caution regarding historical context or genuine practices.

 

Oh? Care to give examples?

 

The message must be to proceed with caution and attempt to fully ascertain if the advice or instruction is being offered empirically rather than theoretically;There is no doubt the vast majority here are not Adept

 

Oh, interesting. How can you tell? :)

 

If you look at Vikings you will find their beliefs have no source other than writers who tell us about them 200 years later.The mainstay of most subscribing to Nordic or other Scandinavian paganisms are the writings of a man called Snorr

 

His name was actually Snorri. He wrote one of the two main texts Heathens base our religion on. Try this Wiki article. He was an historian and lawspeaker.

 

who was long accepted as an authority but his work related to and were constructed around politics in Iceland.Some scholars suggest he was also a forger.

 

He was a politician, yes. The office of lawspeaker was the leading politcal officer. I can't say I've come across any claims of him being a firger, and Google is proving no assistance on this. Do you know of any sources for this?

 

More to the point neo-paganism in modern times throughout Scandinavia does not exist in the way you may believe and in fact was formulated in Britain.

I am content to leave you with the summary of the worlds leading scholar of Norwegian paganism,Dr.Egil Asprem.

 

Please feel free to tell us which of Asprem's papers you are claiming to summarise. It's always much easier to read these things for oneself, don't you think? :)

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Pomona

I smell foxes. Another hero rising maybe?

 

 

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Guest Rachmyel

Maeve,this is from your profile:

 

High Priestess and coven leader, living in rural Norfolk, England. Married to the High Priest. Initiated long ago and walking with the eldest form of the Goddess and the God. Turning the Wheel of the Seasons in company of like-minded folk. More recently, in the company of deity from the Norse Pantheon, I have found my practice leaning more towards heathenry

 

 

Is this not Nordic?And what are the oldest forms of the Goddess and God?As a pair probably 20thC ! Sorry if you feel angry,please do not take it personally its just me pointing out things.We call it constructive criticism and I am simply adding to the thread of what advice one would give to new Pagans.

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Maeve

Maeve,this is from your profile:

 

High Priestess and coven leader, living in rural Norfolk, England. Married to the High Priest. Initiated long ago and walking with the eldest form of the Goddess and the God. Turning the Wheel of the Seasons in company of like-minded folk. More recently, in the company of deity from the Norse Pantheon, I have found my practice leaning more towards heathenry

 

 

Is this not Nordic?And what are the oldest forms of the Goddess and God?As a pair probably 20thC ! Sorry if you feel angry,please do not take it personally its just me pointing out things.We call it constructive criticism and I am simply adding to the thread of what advice one would give to new Pagans.

 

So? You may have your opinion but you may NOT tell me that I may not believe what I believe nor do what I do. Your criticisms of me are out of order - have you read the rules? I deem what you have written as a personal attack and that is not permitted. It does not only apply to me either as you have taken on some of the others. May I suggest that you sit on your hands for a while before launching into a criticism and consider how you may say something to the effect of "I don't agree with what has been written or what you (whoever) are saying, for the following reasons because I believe ...... " That attitude here, will have people listening to what you have to say and open a debate ...........

Edited by Maeve
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Guest Rachmyel

Moonhunter.I have already shown examples in my posts including your broad sweeping statement that witches were not burnt in England.A good example of your own advice not heeded by you in that do not believe all you read on the web.

Example of dangerous advice: "Hecate will not harm you,just offer bread and eggs"

I can tell non-Adepts from their advice/applied methodology and overall outlook.

Snorri(my typo was Snorr similar to your 'firger' which I take to be Forger)has for a time been suspect.Thus, while Snorri's euhemerism follows the early Christian tradition, the effect is not simply to discredit the divinity of the gods of a religion on the wane, but also (on the model of Virgil's Aeneid) to hint that the 'divinisation' was done in order to legitimize more recent Scandinavian rulers.This firstly indicates Snorri had a political agenda and illustrates scope for him to forge local documents.This has been a talking point among scholarly circles,as I said,some who believe him a forger.

Yes,modern Nordic neo-paganism grew out of grudge type music in the 90s.

 

https://www.academia.edu/237008/Heathens_up_North_Politics_Polemics_and_Contemporary_Norse_Paganism_in_Norway :D

 

I smell foxes. Another hero rising maybe?

 

What does this mean please??

 

Maeve,this is from your profile: High Priestess and coven leader, living in rural Norfolk, England. Married to the High Priest. Initiated long ago and walking with the eldest form of the Goddess and the God. Turning the Wheel of the Seasons in company of like-minded folk. More recently, in the company of deity from the Norse Pantheon, I have found my practice leaning more towards heathenry Is this not Nordic?And what are the oldest forms of the Goddess and God?As a pair probably 20thC ! Sorry if you feel angry,please do not take it personally its just me pointing out things.We call it constructive criticism and I am simply adding to the thread of what advice one would give to new Pagans.
So? You may have your opinion but you may NOT tell me that I may not believe what I believe nor do what I do. Your criticisms of me are out of order - have you read the rules? I deem what you have written as a personal attack and that is not permitted. It does not only apply to me either as you have taken on some of the others. May I suggest that you sit on your hands for a while before launching into a criticism and consider how you may say something to the effect of "I don't agree with what has been written or what you (whoever) are saying, for the following reasons because I believe ...... " That attitude here, will have people listening to what you have to say and open a debate ...........

 

I just said do not take it to heart.I did not dictate what you might or might not believe but exercise my right to debate beliefs paraded around wholesale.Personal belief I fully respect.Yes,the forum rules do not exclude me pointing out factual error in order to enlighten others.

 

I smell foxes. Another hero rising maybe?

What is this please??

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Moonhunter

 

I smell foxes. Another hero rising maybe?

 

What does this mean please??

 

It means the mods suspect that "Rachmyal" may be the latest in a long line that included Darkening Skies, Rising Hero and Foxhole. If you are he, I really preferred Rising Hero. Back then, you had a lightness to your mischief that made me smile. Foxhole was more serious and Rachmyal is just boring.

 

Good try, though. ;)

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Pomona

Shorthand for trollish behaviour.

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Guest Rachmyel

What the hell are you talking about? I object strongly to being cited as a troll.This is plain rudeness and ignorant.

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Maeve

What the hell are you talking about? I object strongly to being cited as a troll.This is plain rudeness and ignorant.

 

Charming, I'm sure - your posts so far have made it clear the sort of person you are! Better not take on the Mods, though :lol:

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Guest Rachmyel

I do not intend to as I have asked the owner to intervene concerning rudeness and ignorance such as the tone you employ above.Disgraceful.

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Maeve

I do not intend to as I have asked the owner to intervene concerning rudeness and ignorance such as the tone you employ above.Disgraceful.

 

Moonhunter and Pomona are Mods ..... :) And how we have reacted to you on here is not "disgraceful" in the light of your attacks and trolling ....

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Moonhunter

As this thread seems to have run its course, I'm closing it.

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