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Thread: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

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    atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    so ive been atheist for over a year now since i left Christianity and ive been confident in my beliefs. the humanist part of me has been researching holidays and found that i dont agree morally with any of them! i thought i would just omit religious ones but i dont agree with holidays like thanksgiving and the 4th of july and i realize that i dont celebrate any holidays anymore but you know i want too because who doesnt like to celebrate? so since i have friends that identify as pagan\witches\wiccan (etc) i realize that i agree more with pagan holidays than with "normal" holidays. i have a deep appreciation and connection with the earth around me. when i got really bad with my depression last year my go-to remedy was to light candles and sit in the grass and let the earth cleanse me. so i feel connected with the earth in a way but i dont believe in pagan deities. i dont have a problem with pagans believing in them as opposed to christians\muslims bc i dont think its harmful in anyway, in fact i respect the people i now that do. but is it wrong for me wanting to celebrate pagan holidays or the solstices? i feel like im intruding somewhere i dont belong and im bastardizing the pagan beliefs if i do. i mean i believe in some aspects of the religion but when i apply it to myself its more of a philosophy per say? like laveyan satanism or something. like as far as spirits go, i believe everything has energy and when everything perishes that energy goes somewhere (idk where or what i still dont have everything figured out yet im only 17) and that we put energies into certain things by just living in an area or something similar like memories attached to a house. idk how i feel about spells or conjuring the dead but i dont believe in heaven\hell or "demons". as far as magick i think its just manipulating the energy around us and alot of mind manipulation like i believe out minds are so powerful and some people are just more intuitive than others and skills like seeing auras or seeing the future are capable by everyone its just that some people are more connected (or more willing to be connected than others) so like idk i dont want to offend anyone so i would like some input about your beliefs and any other opinions you want to grace me with, im open to all!

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by sinkingflower View Post
    so ive been atheist for over a year now since i left Christianity and ive been confident in my beliefs. the humanist part of me has been researching holidays and found that i dont agree morally with any of them! i thought i would just omit religious ones but i dont agree with holidays like thanksgiving and the 4th of july and i realize that i dont celebrate any holidays anymore but you know i want too because who doesnt like to celebrate? so since i have friends that identify as pagan\witches\wiccan (etc) i realize that i agree more with pagan holidays than with "normal" holidays. i have a deep appreciation and connection with the earth around me. when i got really bad with my depression last year my go-to remedy was to light candles and sit in the grass and let the earth cleanse me. so i feel connected with the earth in a way but i dont believe in pagan deities.
    You can absolutely have an earth-revering spiritual path while being atheist. The earth itself is quite independent from any deity and can be revered and 'worked with' without believing in deities or spirits. There are a number of ideas about the Earth, nature and local bioregions that tie them into a spiritual path... and it's completely possible to revere the Earth from an entirely scientific, biological, ecological, atheist viewpoint.

    I suggest you look into bioregionalism as a spiritual path. Most bioregionalists are animistic, anamatistic or hylozoistic, but it's possible to practice bioregionalism without any of that. It's a good place for you to start, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by sinkingflower View Post
    i dont have a problem with pagans believing in them as opposed to christians\muslims bc i dont think its harmful in anyway, in fact i respect the people i now that do. but is it wrong for me wanting to celebrate pagan holidays or the solstices? i feel like im intruding somewhere i dont belong and im bastardizing the pagan beliefs if i do.
    Neo-pagans celebrating these holidays is actually a bastardisation of several ancient European traditions anyway. The 'Wheel of the Year' as it exists now was never observed by our ancestors. What our ancestors did was a version of bioregional observations, where local weather and seasonal patterns facilitated a number of festivals to mark the passage of the year. The seasonal celebrations were different from one region to the next. They were not observed exactly on the modern Sabbat dates, and not everywhere observed the solstices and equinoxes. What we know today as the 'pagan Wheel of the Year' or 'pagan holidays' is a bastard system anyway, so I don't think you need to be concerned about borrowing it.

    But the best thing to do would be to spend a year observing your local area and it's seasons. When does the weather change? When do the local animals hibernate or emerge or mate or raise their young? When do the local plants flower or die off? That will give you an earth-based set of 'holidays' to observe and celebrate the turning of the seasons.

    The solstices and equinoxes are astrological dates... no one has a patent out on those. And no one has a patent out on the moon cylces either. Just because neo-pagans do it, doesn't mean they are the only ones who do or who have a 'history' which did. So feel free to observe whatever astrological phenomenon you like without fear of any sort of cultural appropriation. If you avoid using names, labels or cut-and-paste rituals from modern or indigenous religions, you're good when it comes to astrology and the passing of the seasons.

    Quote Originally Posted by sinkingflower View Post
    i mean i believe in some aspects of the religion but when i apply it to myself its more of a philosophy per say? like laveyan satanism or something. like as far as spirits go, i believe everything has energy and when everything perishes that energy goes somewhere (idk where or what i still dont have everything figured out yet im only 17) and that we put energies into certain things by just living in an area or something similar like memories attached to a house. idk how i feel about spells or conjuring the dead but i dont believe in heaven\hell or "demons".
    I suggest you do some research on concepts like pantheism, panentheism, animism, anamatism and hyolozoism. These are all worldview concepts that deal with things like 'everything has energy' in different ways. The first two are forms of theism, but instead of there being a 'god', it's more like an overarching animating force (like when people talk about Nature, or the Universe as opposed to 'God'). The others are independent of deity but have different beliefs about spirit, energy and 'life force'. You might find them interesting or you might find that you don't agree with any of them. Either way you'll come out of your research with a better understanding of your own beliefs.

    Quote Originally Posted by sinkingflower View Post
    as far as magick i think its just manipulating the energy around us and alot of mind manipulation like i believe out minds are so powerful and some people are just more intuitive than others and skills like seeing auras or seeing the future are capable by everyone its just that some people are more connected (or more willing to be connected than others) so like idk i dont want to offend anyone so i would like some input about your beliefs and any other opinions you want to grace me with, im open to all!
    You can absolutely practice magick and even witchcraft without believing in deities or spirits. You can even practice core shamanism without believing in deities and spirits, because core shamanism works with internal landscapes, the collective unconscious and psychological concepts. Many of the practices that are attributed to paganism can be adapted to an atheist worldview... and I think this is why so many atheists who have a 'spirituality' button end up in pagan communities even though they aren't theistic.

    Here are PF we have a number of atheists, some who practice forms of magick and others who don't. You'll see some theists here in the 'Atheism' board (like me, 'cos I tend to stick my nose everywhere)... but the whole function of this board is that you can discuss your worldview without needing to worry about offending theists. Any theist in here should know that this is the board the atheists can use to feel safe and secure in their worldview. So don't worry about upsetting anyone with your atheist worldview. As long as you aren't rude or offensive and abide by the PF rules you shouldn't need to worry about offending people.

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    Re: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    I used to identify myself as an atheist in the past. When I started on my current path I got very mixed up about what I felt I should and shouldn't believe in, I couldn't decide what was right and wrong, if a new concept was a contradiction to my current beliefs it was a problem, and a big issue for me was whether I was just convincing myself that I'm pagan because it's something new and unique, or whether I was actually so.
    I know that situation isn't exactly the same as what you're describing but it boils down to "don't stress hon, anything is ok", the only people that would argue your beliefs aren't valid are the type of people that wouldn't even consider what you're considering anyway. Don't let it bother you too much! Yes, be mindful of what you're doing in case you offend someone or another faith, and be aware of yourself and whether you feel what you're doing is right.
    But! The beauty of Paganism is that it is a wide and fluid system, nothing is 'official' to the point where if you modify it, you're wrong. As what Rae said neo-paganism isn't a carbon copy of past beliefs anyway, our ancestors could be turning in their graves the way we're twisting paganism with our modern beliefs (not that I think they are 0.o), so don't stress over changing it further, if it works for you it's perfect.
    It took time for me to get into the mindset that it's ok to practice aspects of a religion, whether you identify yourself with it or not, but I'll say this now, stop thinking about whether it's right to do something, you're friends will be behind you either way and that's what matters. Plus I still celebrate Christmas with church and carols yet I've never been Christian xP, as far as I'm aware no being has asked me to stop yet ;P
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    Re: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by sinkingflower View Post
    so ive been atheist for over a year now since i left Christianity and ive been confident in my beliefs. the humanist part of me has been researching holidays and found that i dont agree morally with any of them! i thought i would just omit religious ones but i dont agree with holidays like thanksgiving and the 4th of july and i realize that i dont celebrate any holidays anymore but you know i want too because who doesnt like to celebrate? so since i have friends that identify as pagan\witches\wiccan (etc) i realize that i agree more with pagan holidays than with "normal" holidays. i have a deep appreciation and connection with the earth around me. when i got really bad with my depression last year my go-to remedy was to light candles and sit in the grass and let the earth cleanse me. so i feel connected with the earth in a way but i dont believe in pagan deities. i dont have a problem with pagans believing in them as opposed to christians\muslims bc i dont think its harmful in anyway, in fact i respect the people i now that do. but is it wrong for me wanting to celebrate pagan holidays or the solstices? i feel like im intruding somewhere i dont belong and im bastardizing the pagan beliefs if i do. i mean i believe in some aspects of the religion but when i apply it to myself its more of a philosophy per say? like laveyan satanism or something. like as far as spirits go, i believe everything has energy and when everything perishes that energy goes somewhere (idk where or what i still dont have everything figured out yet im only 17) and that we put energies into certain things by just living in an area or something similar like memories attached to a house. idk how i feel about spells or conjuring the dead but i dont believe in heaven\hell or "demons". as far as magick i think its just manipulating the energy around us and alot of mind manipulation like i believe out minds are so powerful and some people are just more intuitive than others and skills like seeing auras or seeing the future are capable by everyone its just that some people are more connected (or more willing to be connected than others) so like idk i dont want to offend anyone so i would like some input about your beliefs and any other opinions you want to grace me with, im open to all!
    As far as holidays are concerned (and as someone who identifies as an athetist), I consider my particular affection for holiday traditions on Yule and Samhain (to name my 2 favorites) to be something pretty well to be cultural: "I'm from a part of North America where we tend to celebrate things like this ___________." My fondness for certain Christian hymns or ideologies are purely nostalgic at this point, but there's no denying the way I learned them. I realize that what I really appreciate is the 4-part harmony, but I'm still singing about God (and I dont GAF).

    And I like holidays. I don't have to believe in Santa, Krampus, St. Nick, or Jesus Christ to draw inspiration from any one of these stories about people being kind and giving to something greater than themselves: generosity, selflessness, family, love, friendship, unity, compassion, etc, etc, etc. Also since this time of year is about kindness, you're allowed to indulge in punishment of the cruel (AKA comeuppance) in the form of people being beaten with reeds, kidnapped and punished for misdeeds, and otherwise being brought to justice for dickish tendencies. That feeling is nice, it comes with egotistical pampering as well as divine retribution. :3

    As for LaVeyan Satanism, I always refer students to Medusa.
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    Re: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    So...there are actually a few Pagan paths that are atheist. Naturalistic Paganism is probably the most common moniker if you are looking for information on the web, and a good site for info can be found here. Naturalistic Pagans generally follow an Earth-centered path and celebrate the sabbats from a seasonal perspective, and are occasionally soft-polytheists from a Jungian perspective (meaning they see deities as archetypes). Some may have various other beliefs and practices--witchcraft, shamanism, etc...but generally speaking, they approach it as a psychological or natural perspective.

    (and I totally concur with asking Medusa when it comes to LaVeyan Satanism)
    “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

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    Re: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    Being an atheist means one thing. No belief in deity. The end. It doesn't define your spiritual closeness to nature and other such real world things. It doesn't define your enjoyment of other religious or spiritual or communal activities. Internet atheists seem to think it means they are all I LOVE SCIENCE! I'm PRO LIFE! I'm VEGAN! Or whatever it's cool to be. Alot of so called atheists attach way too many definitions to a one sentence belief. I can go to a church and celebrate Christmas Eve Mass with my(now deceased mother) and still be an atheist and enjoy the show. So rock on.
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    Re: atheist confused about pagan beliefs

    Quote Originally Posted by sinkingflower View Post
    so ive been atheist for over a year now since i left Christianity and ive been confident in my beliefs. the humanist part of me has been researching holidays and found that i dont agree morally with any of them! i thought i would just omit religious ones but i dont agree with holidays like thanksgiving and the 4th of july and i realize that i dont celebrate any holidays anymore but you know i want too because who doesnt like to celebrate? so since i have friends that identify as pagan\witches\wiccan (etc) i realize that i agree more with pagan holidays than with "normal" holidays. i have a deep appreciation and connection with the earth around me. when i got really bad with my depression last year my go-to remedy was to light candles and sit in the grass and let the earth cleanse me. so i feel connected with the earth in a way but i dont believe in pagan deities. i dont have a problem with pagans believing in them as opposed to christians\muslims bc i dont think its harmful in anyway, in fact i respect the people i now that do. but is it wrong for me wanting to celebrate pagan holidays or the solstices? i feel like im intruding somewhere i dont belong and im bastardizing the pagan beliefs if i do. i mean i believe in some aspects of the religion but when i apply it to myself its more of a philosophy per say? like laveyan satanism or something. like as far as spirits go, i believe everything has energy and when everything perishes that energy goes somewhere (idk where or what i still dont have everything figured out yet im only 17) and that we put energies into certain things by just living in an area or something similar like memories attached to a house. idk how i feel about spells or conjuring the dead but i dont believe in heaven\hell or "demons". as far as magick i think its just manipulating the energy around us and alot of mind manipulation like i believe out minds are so powerful and some people are just more intuitive than others and skills like seeing auras or seeing the future are capable by everyone its just that some people are more connected (or more willing to be connected than others) so like idk i dont want to offend anyone so i would like some input about your beliefs and any other opinions you want to grace me with, im open to all!

    Hello. Im exploring the atheistic worldview/origins and since you've found confidence in it...could I please ask you to help me understand the following that's been on my mind for a long time now ?? Thanks :

    Naturalism : Attempts to explain all phenomina by natural causes and laws.
    Questions : 1. Where did information come from ? 2. Where did Energy come from ? 3. Where did Matter come from ? 4. Where did Life come from (the very first DNA) ? 5. Where did Consciousness come from (reason, logic, will, love,etc...) ?


    Materialism : The Doctrine that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.
    Questions : 1. What about the Laws of logic ? 2. What about the Laws of Science ? 3. What about the Laws of Mathematics ? 4.What about the Laws of Morality ? 5. What about thoughts ?

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