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Thread: Where did you start your path?

  1. #1
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Where did you start your path?

    When did you first *discover* paganism?
    Did you read a book, or meet someone that told you about it?
    How long did it take you to figure out that *this* (whatever the heck that *this* was for you) was what you were looking for?
    Do you still follow the same tradition?
    How have your beliefs changed?
    What (in your estimation) is the dumbest newbie thing you did or thought?
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    When did you first *discover* paganism?
    Did you read a book, or meet someone that told you about it?
    How long did it take you to figure out that *this* (whatever the heck that *this* was for you) was what you were looking for?
    Do you still follow the same tradition?
    How have your beliefs changed?
    What (in your estimation) is the dumbest newbie thing you did or thought?
    [/quote]

    1. I sort of discovered paganism when I was in high school I believe. So that was 4-6 years ago.
    2. This sounds stupid but I actually did a religion test in the internet just for fun (I considered myself as a Christian at the time with my own, quite non-Christian views though)... And the result of the test was "pagan". I read the description about the respecting nature, being in harmony with it, respecting your anchestors etc (you know, the common things they say are combining different pagan paths usually). And I was like "whoaaaa... why haven't I ever thought this before? Why have I been stuck with this Christianity thing even though my views differ so radically from the church's view points?".
    3. The search, or maybe defining, is still going on... but I think I've at least found quite many things I'm *not* during my search.
    4. see the previous answer
    5. I've realised over the years that things are not as black and white as they may seem at first. For example that magic(k) and ritual mean different things to different people. And that makes me feel more comfortable with my views.
    6. This one's hard.. Maybe that I thought at first that everyone who reads tarots and runes think they are predicting the future. Or the thing that I didn't realise that polytheism doesn't necessarily mean that you have to believe in many different personalized gods.

  3. #3
    Copper Member Dufonce's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    When did you first *discover* paganism? [/quote]
    Well I was interested in magic as far as I can remember, but at that point we're thinking TV Illusionists... but that doesn't change the interest... I started researching and practicing a bit in 6th grade... so I was somewhere at age 11 or 12?

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    Did you read a book, or meet someone that told you about it? [/quote]
    My mom wouldn't let me get books on it, so I had to use the internet... popped into a google search looking up magic.. found my way to wicca.. and became a fluffybunny wiccan... lol

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    How long did it take you to figure out that *this* (whatever the heck that *this* was for you) was what you were looking for? [/quote]
    not long at all.. I searched it out because thats what I wanted to learn about and what I believed in.

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    Do you still follow the same tradition? [/quote]
    Its much more refined now and I barely even call it Wiccan anymore because I've finally realized some of the structure within it and its not 100% my beliefs... still use wiccan for a word but i should probably just call it pagan.

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    How have your beliefs changed? [/quote]
    Uhm... a lot... was a long time ago and I was young, stupid, and not very educated all that well. and now I'm actually getting a more spiritual experience out of it.

    [quote author=thalassa link=topic=288.msg3008#msg3008 date=1287143440]
    What (in your estimation) is the dumbest newbie thing you did or thought?[/quote]
    Well lets see there was a time when I bound my soul to an amulet accidentally and gave it to someone else for protection, therefore allowing an evil spirit to almost take over me... (my soul was weakened but not gone, and I have lots of willpower, one hell of a fight...) until one of my friends, realizing what I had done, returned the bound part of my soul to me.
    "Sometimes bad things happen, and theres nothing you can do about it, so why worry?" ~ Timon

  4. #4
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    I grew up in an incredibly liberal Christian tradition (the United Church of Christ) with an extremely open minded family. I've always been interested in mythology, religion, history and the intersection of where they meet (though I wouldn't have described it as such at the time). As a kid, my friends and I, as various times, made our own version of The Egypt Game, we created a cardboard box and paper mache Stonehenge, and we even sacrificed a tomato to the Aztec gods...heck, we even had a Mt Olympus themed pool party, complete with togas (mine was Strawberry Shortcake) and "ambrosia" (my momma makes this awesome punch)---I admit it, we were BIG nerds. Eventually (it was bound to happen) I ran across mention of Wicca (which was total oversight over the fact that the mother of one of my friends was Wiccan)...intrigued, I found the only two books in the city library on the topic--Drawing Down the Moon and Spiral Dance.

    Despite the open mindedness of my family, I didn't really say anything because I had the feeling that might rock the boat too much (its one thing to think something abstractly, but its another for your child to smack you in the face with it)--my parents had just gotten divorce, my grandmother was really sick. For about two years I scoured the book shelves of the library for anything--the occult, tarot, mythology, ancient religions (this was still in the days before the library had public internet), and on the internet for the 45 minute my dad let me on his computer each time I visited him on his weekends. Not that there was much on the internet at the time--this was before the net was big, and there were only a small handful of Pagan websites (none of this everyone has a blog or a personal site business)...but I managed to use my babysitting money to buy a copy of Buckland's Big Blue Book from B. Dalton (are there even any B. Dalton's anymore?). When I was in high school I discovered the New Age/Pagan/Occult/Used bookstore/Gift shop just 5 blocks from the library...and that made things much easier.

    I went thru highschool as a serious but semi-fluffy Wiccan (this was still the time where it was acceptable to think that there was some great matriarchal past and that the Burning Times were *real*), I went to college and joined the campus Pagan circle and decided to scout out the local coven. Eventually I moved back home, and I started looking into other paths because the God and Goddess/Lord and Lady thing wasn't a realistic model for deity for me...and I was a bit disillusioned with in-person pagan dealings. I'd always been interested in botany and foraging, so I started getting more into herbalism and a more local, nature based path and working with the idea of the classical elements (plus the ideas of spirit/creation and void/chaos), gleaning wisdom where I found it, trying it out and trying it on, and discarding or trimming the pieces to fit.

    Today, I consider myself a Pagan, though neither of a established tradition, nor the conventional eclectic stereotype...but mostly I am a pragmatist, a panthiest and a witch...and a Unitarian Universalist (yeah, we drag the kids kicking and screaming to an awesome playground so we can go to "church"...lol).
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    [quote author=pihlaja link=topic=288.msg3012#msg3012 date=1287145116]
    1. I sort of discovered paganism when I was in high school I believe. So that was 4-6 years ago.
    [/quote]

    I have to correct myself a bit. I realised it was when I was still in the comprehensive school. Maybe last or second last year, which means I was 14 or 15. Though I didn't immediately start to look for more information, it took me couple of years to admit the change and get really interested in about the topic.

  6. #6
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    My first introduction to Paganism was when I was about 14. My dad was working a second job at a place that bought things that a shipping company had lost, returned to owners what they could, and then made a profit on the rest. I was vegetarian, and really into animal rights, and he brought me home a copy of Cooking Like a Goddess, by Cait Johnson, that he'd stumbled on. I devoured that book, and really loved how it tied cooking and emotions to being in tune with the seasons, even if I was rather worried for her sake that she was deceived enough to take it so far as to reverence pagan goddesses : Sometime around the same time, I stumbled onto a copy of Sacred Space by Denise Linn at the library--the silver feather on the cover caught my eye, even if it was with "bad" books. I loved it, too, and convinced my mom to buy me a copy.

    I then spent a lot of years feeling conflicted about the difference between the things that made me really feel something, like these books, classical art and music, and places that had been sacred to native peoples (I had several interesting experiences at sacred sites in Southern Utah and in Hawaii on family trips, where I briefly saw something else), and church, which was boring and depressing. By the time I was an older High School student, I firmly believed that it just meant that I was damaged goods...spiritually inept, and bound for hell. When Fiddly and I got married, I tried to put all of that behind me, and saw it as my chance to be redeemed, to be a good Mormon Wife and Mother.

    It didn't work out...I became deeply depressed, and lost all contact with the divine. For a while, I was pretty sure I was atheist or agnostic. During one of the harder points, when I was screaming inside, I found this site via a googling whim. The members here welcomed me, even though I was curious, but not really ready to leave the faith that was so painful for me, and asked me to start the first "Ask a Mormon" thread.

    Fast-forward more then three years, and here I am. This past summer, I began to take steps to permanently distance myself from the LDS church. I'm slowly trying to peel back the layers, figure out who "deseret" really is, before adding anything on top, but I'm more then a little suspicious that the Norse/Germanic gods have an interest in me.

    As for newbie mistakes...yeah, you all will probably be seeing a lot of those It makes me particularly grateful for how kind people tend to be on this forum. Right now I'm still just trying to get over the feeling that I'm going to get struck by lightening.

  7. #7
    Bronze Member Clive's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    When I was 14 I was introduced to an older girl at school who claimed to be a Wiccan Witch. She was a typical rebellious teenager type with something to prove - she introduced herself to me by holding up her pentagram ring and saying "Hi, I'm a witch!"

    Nonetheless, I was young and intrigued. I was an atheist at the time, for lack of a better answer than Christianity. The discovery that there were other paths out there was very attractive to me, as was the idea that magic existed.

    So, I looked into Wicca and witchcraft. I read web sites and a few books and the rest is history. Admittedly, I was very fluffy for the first year or two. I wore my pentagram necklace (over my shirt) every day and wanted everybody to accept me; my ethics and facts were mixed up, but I was "right." But I eventually learned to consider views other than my own and to continually mix things up and put my thoughts and beliefs in better order.
    Children love and want to be loved and they very much prefer the joy of accomplishment to the triumph of hateful failure. Do not mistake a child for his symptom.
    -Erik Erikson

  8. #8
    Sr. Member LuciaStar's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    I first discovered Paganism when I was 14-15. I was still in high school at the time. I was annoyed at Christianity, and the male-dominance. I wanted to worship a Goddess, instead of a God... to put it simply. So I googled and came across Wicca... and thought I was "home" per se. I reflected a lot on my childhood... like the fact I spend a lot of time outdoors, and that I saw God as the Sun. Though I was never really a day child, and more or less night child. I loved the night ((and still do)). However, as I matured more I slowly started getting out of Wicca. I moved on into an Eclectic Wiccan, and slowly moved into an Eclectic Pagan...

    ...I sort of accidentally got involved with the odd branch of Spiritual Satanism... 3 months later, I snapped out of it and have mostly repaired what was destroyed, so to say. (I rather not talk about it. >_&gt Came back into Eclecticism and have, relatively, stayed since... and have adopted some LHP beliefs... coming from Theistic Satanism (I've looked at sites such as Venus Satanas' and Diane Vera's site.) and some bits from Luciferianism... but my main beliefs are Pagan, and will remain that since Paganism was a huge part of my growth as a person, and the mistakes I have done were also a huge step in growing because now I do tons of research before making a huge decision lul.

    So... the only thing I haven't really answered in those two paragraphs is the dumbest newbie thing.
    The only one I can think of is... me thinking Wicca is being how you want it, so to say. Make it into what you want it to be and the usual newbie mistakes. I was quite the fluffy-bunny.

  9. #9
    Supporter Maulus's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    While i was growing up, we were never really religious, my Mother was very much open minded and let us both walk our own paths.
    When i was at Senior school, so about 14/15 years old, i made friends with one of the lads in my class and he introduced me to the Christian society at school. For about 3 months ( i think) i was a right Bible basher.. believing everything i was told.. what was good, bad etc. For a while i felt at home.. but then i started reading more, trying to learn a bit more, that gave me questions that i needed to have answered, just simple questions like what happened to Jesus' siblings ( i wasn't too naive to think that Mariam remained a virgin whilst married) and Why, if Mary Magdelaine was able to live with Jesus as one of his "favourites", why was she so reviled by the church.
    eventually i was erm, advised to leave the church/ society by the pastor, not really sure why.

    I spent years reading lots of stuff around religion, especially the history of the church and found, though i quite like the basic tennets of Christianity, i can't abide the church and what it seems to stand for. so i forgot about any kind of spirituality for a while.
    a few years later, an Iranian family, asylum seeker, came to live next to us and we made friends. They were of the Baha'i faith, which is why they were seeking Asylum at the time. All of my family became interested in the openness of their faith, and how close it seemed to be to the original Christianity. However, as intrigued as i was it still didn't feel right to me, but it opened me up to the idea of picking and choosing what i believed, rather than believing what i was told to believe.

    My Dad's Second with was into the fluffy Pagan stuff for a while at this time, crystals, tarot, divination etc and she loaned me a book called "Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition" which openend me to the Northern Pantheons and the idea of magic. i devoured the book, but it still didn't appeal to me, but i started to read more and more Mythology and History.

    University was another experience, being able to experiment with my beliefs and find what worked for me, what didn't and i found an attraction in nature, and the peace therein.

    I sort of paddled in the shallows, dipping my toes here and there, but not willing to declare, but i could feel a little, faint pull of my spiritual side. Only in the last couple of years have i seriously looked into the Pagan paths, the more i saw, the more it felt right to me, i loved the fact that there are so many different paths, all accepted in one "Church" if you will.

    Recently i found that i was leaning towards the Kemetic pantheon ( i always thought i would be Celtic or Norse) and in the last few months, I have felt an interest in me from some ( i usually refered to her as "Lady" before i knew who it was) and not too long ago, i realised that Bast was making her interest known to me (through one of my cats, while i was meditating- He was watching me and could see her in his eyes.... )


    My Rookie mistakes, still making them but feeling the need to belong enough to surrender myself to a cult ( the Christian Society totally brainwashed me for a few months, and i don't remember much of it!) Taking so long to realise that i don't have to follow every aspect of every belief that i like, i can pick bits from each that i like, as long as i honour my goddess, and thank her when i feel her hand protecting me and watching over me. And learning not to preach at people about my beliefs, not everyone needs to know what you believe.

    M
    In the end, only you know if you were right or wrong, so tolerate others beliefs, no matter how wrong, they may be right...

  10. #10
    Jr. Member Arrow's Avatar
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    Re: Where did you start your path?

    When did you first *discover* paganism?
    I grew up around the subject, learning from my granparents (mainly my grandfather), but back then I didn't really practice more than some family traditions and customs. I used to pay attention to certain spirits and left offerings for them, learned some folklore and spells from my grandfather, and so on. That was how it started. Currently I'm a Finnish reconstructionist with some family trad influences, and when I first really started to look into it more and consider practicing, I was about 13-15, I guess.

    Did you read a book, or meet someone that told you about it?
    Look at the previous question. My grandparents were to blame for the start, and from there I just researched the subject through books, school, internet, other people, whatever I had. : P

    How long did it take you to figure out that *this* (whatever the heck that *this* was for you) was what you were looking for?
    Well, I don't think I never had to figure out anything, since I grew up practicing some little things. It was always there, and always seemed natural to me. But... the transition from those little family customs to actually becoming a Finnish recon and actively practicing... I'd say it took about two or three years.

    Do you still follow the same tradition?
    Yes, I do.

    How have your beliefs changed?
    Wouldn't say they have really changed much. Evolved, as I've learned new things and made new discoveries, but what this all started with is still there.

    What (in your estimation) is the dumbest newbie thing you did or thought?
    Tough question. No idea. I can't remember anything particular, but maybe I've just forgotten all the embarassing things I've done... :P

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