Hi. I have a problem that I am trying to overcome when it comes to my spiritual life- which for me talking to anyone in my real life... well it's a struggle and i'm very uncomfortable with it.
Let me give some background- I came into pagan/wiccan beliefs after not believing anything my entire life growing up, then spending two years going to a pentacostal church and not understanding any of it. Well, I was going strong with Wicca for a couple of years but as I grew up (I was about 16 at the time and now i'm 28) I realized that I really didn't believe in any deity. I don't believe in a god or goddess. and I didn't feel right calling myself wiccan or pagan anymore.
I am torn from feeling I cannot be pagan or wiccan without actually being a believer in a higher power. Is it possible to be a Wiccan or Pagan Atheist? It's a stumbling block for me- because while I enjoyed meditation and magick and the spiritual feeling of just sitting in the forest or on the beach- I kind of feel like everything in the natural world is connected and divine in and of itself, without a higher power or creator. I don't know how to express this into my daily life or what to call myself and I feel like a fraud if I call myself either atheist or pagan. Would love to hear anyones thoughts on this - I feel like in my struggle to find a definition for myself I have completely neglected the spiritual side of me and now I need it in my life again.
You know I think the most enlightened people are those who believe and have faith but dont belong to a religon. Dont look for something to categorize yourself as or to 'fit' into just believe what you believe, and if it happens to relate to any other 'religons' then so be it.
I like to look at the teachings of Buddha who taught his pupils to only agree with what they thought he taught that was right - and nothing else.
this is sort of like me. it's not that i struggle so much to find a definition but everyone else does. i'm happy with calling myself nothing. or simply "spiritual", but most of the time for other people's sake, because they neeeeed a word, simply "atheist" will suffice.
why must we fit into a nice little box, a prewritten definition that someone can say "oh" and look in some book to see our tenets? grr.
i grew up southern baptist in alabama and i remember being a small girl and thinking "no way. doesn't make sense. no hellfire. no brimstone." i dabbled in wicca in high school, but then i started reading eastern philosophy and found a text that makes the most sense to me "Tao Te Ching". but i am not a taoist.
i don't believe in god, and i definitely don't have faith, i consider myself to have reason instead. but, atheist always implies something that i don't think quite gets at my core - Nature and Energy. kinda like agnostic sounds apathetic to me for some reason. just doesn't quite have the ring i am looking for.
so i have a degree in religion and for 2 years straight in every class people didn't even want to hear my opinion unless they could put me in a box beforehand. if i went to speak it was like, "hold up, hold up. wait. what are you?"
sheesh. what am i? like i can sum up the my philosophy on the existenece of life and a moral code in one word.
sooo i tend to have fun with people. change it up. if it is a true friend they don't mind delving into a conversation about my beliefs that lasts more than a word. but if it is someone that insists on holding me to 9 letters or so, i have fun with it. "satanist" or "toad worshiper" or honestly, "atheist" (this last i claimed a lot in alabama just to show people we exist and look 'normal' so to speak). or i try on different terms to see which fits if i am not looking to agitate. i like to refer to myself in different situations as "secular humanist" "heretic in good company" "pagan" "pantheist" and so on.
point is. don't think you have to find a word. and never stop your journey at a definition. and if you are looking for a term say, whatever the **** you want to say even "Pagan Atheist".
you know now that i think about it - the label is more for other people's comfort than my own. i guess when someone asks me directly- i feel about spirituality the way i feel about sexuality- you aren't going to like my answer so i'd rather not give you one.
I think I identify most with the dictionary definition of Pantheism. The definition- not the people who practice because then there are all these arguments over what's right and what isn't. Religion just turns me off! Nobody is right because nobody is wrong and people just can't let that go.
You can't just tell someone- I'm a pantheist because well most people don't know what that means. I rarely wear my pentagram because well- I'm tired of explaining to co-workers that are shocked to find out that i'm JEWISH that in fact I'm not. sigh. I freaking live in Eugene, OR people here should recognize a pentagram. lol.
anyway thanks for the support. I just am what I am and that's okay.
i think what has mostly brought this up is that i've been looking into going to a 12 step program to deal with some stuff from my past that never fully got dealt with- and well there is a lot about god in there and I have a hard time reconciling my spiritual beliefs with their demand for a higher power. i'd like to work through my addict behaviors but not if i have to bow down to a higher power.
i like pantheism as well. also, try telling someone you are a secular humanist. ha! they really don't know that one. too bad, cause the humanist manifesto rocks.
religion turns me off as well, lizzie. especially the "organized" part. more wars have been fought in the name of religion than any other name (okay, besides nationalism, but you get my point)...and it's continuing. when are we gonna get a clue? but yes, you are what you are and that's kosher. (get it? kosher? pentagram? jewish? ha!) okay.
sorry you're struggling with issues. if ya need any more support i have some leftovers.
also, don't mean to pry, but, i have had dealings with both NA and AA and well, if that's the 12 step which you are referring to, well, they're kind of cultish as well. if you find a good group there are those that let you call your higher power anything you want including "myself" but still want you to say the lords prayer. weird. they display other characteristics of cults. i think the intentions are good though.
I understand you completely liz. In fact, I had been trying to post this question myself. I think I land somewhere between Pantheist and Deist. All I know is I've always had faith but have never been able to abide organized religion. I love the members and very much respect their beliefs, I just don't care for the power structure and how those with the power use it to control the others.
I've also dealt with AA and found it almost acted and a religion. It wasn't supposed to be that way. But people get involved. Once they find a way out of the pain, they tend to believe their way is the only way. You notice how many different diet plans their are on this site. I feel their are at least as many ways to get to God/dess. It also seems that most people do their diets their own way too. Why can't it be that way with spirituality. Even Jesus didn't mean for The Lord's Prayer to be a standard, just a guide.
BTW, I live in Salt Lake. My DD has gotten away with her ankh w/o too much trouble. But if I wore a pentagram it would cause a holy war(they sure as **** know what it is here). I even keep the crucifix from my mom's funeral and my dad's rosary hung up in my room so it doesn't freak out my neighbors.
I think I identify most with the dictionary definition of Pantheism.
Yep, what you described certainly sounds like Pantheism to me.
You can't just tell someone- I'm a pantheist because well most people don't know what that means.
I have the same problem telling people that I'm a Unitarian Universalist. UU is a covenant fellowship - to join you agree to subscribe to a standard of behavior, not a set of beliefs. We have Christians and Buddhists, Pagans and Pantheists, Atheists, Humanists, Theists... It's about the most unorganized organized religion you can belong to.
I belong in a small group that's Earth Centered, but even then we're very inclusive. We chose not to be identified as Pagan so that we wouldn't exclude the Taoists, Christians, etc, who consider honoring and caring for the earth part of their religious expression.
I try not to knock peoples' religions. To me, religion is one side of a coin... with spirituality being the other side. Religion is what we do to connect to our spiritual side. Without religion, spirituality can be more difficult to sustain. Without spirituality, religion is hollow and meaningless.
I've explored too many religions to believe in just one - they all have good ideas and they all have some drawbacks or things I don't agree with so I can't subscribe to one only. I can respect other people's beliefs even if they are into something I'm not into -unless of course it involves hurting other people; racism etc.
I am attracted to earth based religions/philosophies a bit more than the others. Probably because I don't like being told what to do or having a leader etc. and I can be a solitary practitioner if I choose to.
I would say I am more of a kitchen witch than anything else. Certain things hold certain meanings for me, I do home blessings and small rituals and work with awareness and intent in my daily life. I also meditate, practice yoga and belly dance all of which give me a sense of spirituality.
Not sure if that makes sense to anyone but it feels right for me!
__________________ We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over
and let the beautiful stuff out. - Ray Bradbury
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Thanks so much for all the input! I think it's honestly just a matter of getting to know and be comfortable with me and who I am. Something I try not to think about much. I love hearing where everyone is coming from.
I had a pretty bad experience with organized religion and christianity. Of course everyone has a different experience and lots of people find what they are looking for there, and I haven't got anything back to say about it as a general whole- but I do know from my experience it's just not for me.
I love the term kitchen witch! I also think that UU might be interesting to check out. There are a lot of interesting people here in Eugene, you never know what you might find. I like the idea of making a promise to have a certain standard of behavior.
As far as recover goes- I was looking into going to NA. Now, I haven't touched a drug in 9 years and 24 days. I just feel like even though I no longer use, there are things that were never really addressed. I'm reading an NA book now and a lot of it makes sense to me and I think I could apply it as a whole to my life- regarding food, relationships, etc. But I don't know how I feel about going to a meeting, which of course is required, and the whole god thing just turns me off. I don't know. I am not in immediate danger by any means, but I do want to deal with my problems in a healthy way. I'm really torn on what to do as far as that goes and of course, any one of my "recovery" friends is going to tell me I need to go asap to join the group. i'm just not a joiner and i'm not a sit around and talk about my feelings type of person either.
...I had a pretty bad experience with organized religion and christianity. Of course everyone has a different experience and lots of people find what they are looking for there, and I haven't got anything back to say about it as a general whole- but I do know from my experience it's just not for me.
I love the term kitchen witch! I also think that UU might be interesting to check out. There are a lot of interesting people here in Eugene, you never know what you might find. I like the idea of making a promise to have a certain standard of behavior...
There are a lot of people in your "boat." If you're truly interested in more information about UU, the uua.org website has a great visitors section, including a search tool for local congregations.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and I have to say that compared to much of Texas, it was a great place to be unlabeled. This might be a good time to count your blessings.
Lizzie - Definitely sounds like you lean towards pantheism. I consider myself a pagan pantheist. I'm not religious at all, but this is how I describe my spirituality.
The pagan part comes from how I feel towards the seasons. I celebrate the solstices and equinoxes. Usually this is done through things like baking, gardening, whatever. A nice dinner usually ends the festivities. The celebration is private in my home and my husband (a hardcore atheist) enjoys an extra nice meal.
It took me many, many years to discover where my true beliefs are. Today I thankfully have come to the point in my life where I embrace my beliefs for what they are without trying to squeeze them into some box.
Like you said, most people don't know what a pantheist is and if you throw pagan out there many weird out. So to the general public, if someone asks, I generally just tell them I'm an atheist.
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy.