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Moonsmith

All or ..................

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Moonsmith

This is in Starter's Orders in case it interests an enquirer or someone unsure of taking an early step within Paganism.

First and foremost, there is absolutely no need to adopt any name for your belief at all.  Many, maybe a majority of Pagans just do their own thing.

 

Back at the turn of the century I stepped out of my Pagan isolation and attended a moot and for the first time knowingly met Pagans.

After some hiccoughs I became a regular attendee at the meetings and Gorsedds [rituals] of a Druidic group called Earthworks.  While they seemed pleased to see me and I was able to contribute I didn't call myself a Druid or even a druid.  I certainly did not want to adopt a course of study.  I had forged my own Paganism over a period of some thirty years, it was robust and worked for me.  Over about three years in which I read a lot of my own choosing, I realised that belief is a highly individual process, not just for me but for everyone.  My beliefs had sufficient in common with elements of many of the other members that I was indistinguishable from those around me in conversation about things spiritual.

I passed a form of Turing test.  A Witch, Shaman or Heathen would suss out immediately that I wasn't one of them but to Druids and others I'm a Druid.

Now:

I do not say all the things that Druids say.

I do not do all the things that Druids do.

I do not even believe all the things that Druids believe [if Philip Carr-Gomms book is to be believed]

I am what Druid is.

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Moonsmith

Oh this is a mess!

The last bit of the above was.......

So:

To what extent do feel that you need to conform in your thinking before you start telling people that you are a [..... insert belief here ]????

To what extent would you require that a postulate conforms to your thinking before recognising them as a member of your belief set [.............]????

Edited by Moonsmith

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Ellinas

Labels are convenient but, ideally,  flexible.

I feel no need to conform to anyone's thinking, but I sometimes find it helpful shorthand to be able to say "I am a ...." - it usually shortens the amount of breath required to explain a broad outline of one's position.

But there is never any requirement for a label, nor any rush to acquire one.  And, if the label starts to become a restriction in some way, it's time to ditch it.

Edited by Ellinas
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JohnMacintyre

Dear Moonsmith,

I hold beliefs, rather strong beliefs actually, but never felt any need to conform to the beliefs of other Pagans before publicly identifying as a Pagan. There are beliefs in Paganism but I've never felt Paganism is primarily about beliefs.

I'd be suspicious of anyone, postulant or not, who appeared to be trying to conform to my thinking in order to be recognised as something or other. Somebody who wanted to argue with me would probably be much more interesting. In presentations on Paganism, I sometimes joke that we tend to get uncomfortable if we appear to agree with each other too much. While  intended as humour, I think there's also an underlying truth there.

BB,

John Macintyre

 

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Moonsmith

Now you have surprised me John, and you may have shown up a fundamental flaw in my understanding.

Is it not central to Wicca to believe in a God and a Goddess?

To what extent must a Heathen believe in the Norse Pantheon in order to be accepted by other Heathens as such?  How important is Valhalla?

How significant is a belief in magic [of whatever spelling] to some belief systems?

These are some of the elements that I had heretofore thought of as requirements and which influenced some of my choices early in my Pagan life.

 

Edited by Moonsmith

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Moonsmith
1 hour ago, JohnMacintyre said:

In presentations on Paganism, I sometimes joke that we tend to get uncomfortable if we appear to agree with each other too much. While  intended as humour, I think there's also an underlying truth there.

That is one of the reasons that Druidry is so acceptable to me!:biggrin: Related image:biggrin:

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JohnMacintyre

Dear Moonsmith,

21 minutes ago, Moonsmith said:

Now you have surprised me John, and you may have shown up a fundamental flaw in my understanding.

Is it not central to Wicca to believe in a God and a Goddess?

To what extent must a Heathen believe in the Norse Pantheon in order to be accepted by other Heathens as such?  How important is Valhalla?

How significant is a belief in magic [of whatever spelling] to some belief systems?

These are some of the elements that I had heretofore thought of as requirements and which influenced some of my choices early in my Pagan life.

 

 

In my view "belief" is not central to Wicca. It's an experiential Mystery tradition, not a belief system. As a polytheist I believe in many Gods and Goddesses, and also many forms of divinity that cannot be so characterised. So I seem to fit into Wicca pretty well, because lots of other Wiccans think like that too. Many Wiccan rites involve the worship of a God and a Goddess. Across Wicca many, many distinct Gods and Goddesses are worshipped, but also across Wicca there are many, many diverse views of the nature of the deities and of the relationship between the human and the divine. I came into Wicca because I believed in the old Gods and Goddesses and sought to honour them in company with like-minded folk; not because anyone asked me to believe anything, still less to conform to something.

In Wicca, in modern Paganism generally, I've seldom heard anyone ask another if they believe in the Gods, and that makes sense because in the ways of thinking that seem very common among us, it would almost inevitably lead to a nuanced discussion of what we mean by the Gods, and by belief, rather than to any Yes/No answer.

I don't consider myself much of a magician but such experience as I have of magic suggests that there too, belief isn't really relevant.

It may be that you and I are meaning different things by belief here. Even as I child I simply could not grasp the Christian concept that there was virtue in belief/faith, by which they seemed to mean accepting things as true on trust from others rather than through direct experience. As a Pagan I've come to see "belief" simply as useful shorthand for the memory of experience.

BB,

John Macintyre

 

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Freydis
On 1/16/2018 at 4:00 PM, Moonsmith said:

To what extent must a Heathen believe in the Norse Pantheon in order to be accepted by other Heathens as such?  How important is Valhalla?

How significant is a belief in magic [of whatever spelling] to some belief systems?

These are some of the elements that I had heretofore thought of as requirements and which influenced some of my choices early in my Pagan life.

 

In answer to the first question - probably depends who you're talking to.  I'm primarily a polytheist who happened to be grabbed by a Norse god (followed by others - principally but not exclusively Norse) and found that she could identify as Heathen.  I've met Heathens whose "significant deity" is not Norse and who feel connected by other aspects - principally ethics and a moral code I think.  I've even met a couple of Heathens who are atheists.  I think it's up to them.  As far as I'm concerned if they identify as Heathen that's fine by me - I have no interest in laying down the law and making definitions.  Other Heathens may (do) feel differently.  :biggrin:  Whatever floats your boat.

I wouldn't say that Valhalla is very important at all.  Again, others may differ. :o_viking:

 

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