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barefootgrrrl 10-15-2002 05:45 PM

Calling All Pagan Alternachicks
 
I'd like to thank the Alternachick ( I forgot who!) posted the link to the witchvox site.

I've enjoy reading that site very much - but there is so much to learn!


I am confused between Pagans, Druids, Goddess Worshipers, Wiccans, Celtic Pagans, Spritualists, etc. etc. etc.


Would you mind posting a little about the branch or type of Paganism that you follow or practice so those who are interested can learn a little about the various differences between these groups?

Thanks much! Terrigrrl

Wildfire 10-15-2002 06:11 PM

I posted the witchvox link, terrigrrl. You're welcome. :)

I'll be back to answer your question when I have more time to reply.

mauvaisroux 10-15-2002 07:40 PM

Great idea Barefoot! It is a subject I have been interested in for some time but haven't got around to researching until recently.

Wildfire-I would love it if you would share some of your knowledge/experiences as well as anyone else who would like to share with us. :)

Wildfire 10-16-2002 08:11 AM

I'm at work, so I can't answer right now. This will take some thought, you know...it's like asking a Christian to summarize their faith. You know what it is and how you feel about it, but to actually put it in words so others can understand can take some doing. I can say this, every Pagan you ask will have certain mainstream ties that others will also describe (and you will see many similarities to North American Indian beliefs), yet often the similarities end there. For me, it is family tradition that led me to Paganism and many of the rituals and my beliefs stem from that.

Punkinseed 10-24-2002 05:42 PM

I'm sorry this sat out there for so long Terri, I meant to reply a while ago then decided to run back and forth to California... :rolleyes: Well, I'm back!

You said:
"I am confused between Pagans, Druids, Goddess Worshipers, Wiccans, Celtic Pagans, Spritualists, etc. etc. etc."

Ok, this is a relatively easy one to answer. Druids, Asatru, Wiccans, Buddhist, etc. are "Pagan" just like Baptist, Catholic, Assembly of God and Episcopal are all "Christian".
The definition of Pagan is any religious belief system that is NOT Christian. Pagans believe in either a singular or plural God and Goddess (or Goddess alone) but generally not in Jesus or God as the creator of all. Each has their own specific beliefs, but the basic common denominator is that they don't believe in the dogma of Christianity.
With Christians it's much the same - each branch may have different specific beliefs but their common thread is Jesus is the son of God who is the creator. Any faith that is centered around God, Jesus or Mary is considered Christian.

Now, defining each Pagan belief system is near impossible. I consider myself an ecclectic witch. Not Wiccan, that's something else entirely. If you ask 10 people who call themselves ecclectic witches what they believe, you'll probably get 10 different answers. Ditto for Druids, Asatru, Goddess centered, etc. It's one of the beauties of Paganism, that no one is right, no one is wrong. Basically what feels right in your heart and what ever brings you closer to the Divine is what you follow. There are a few who believe that it *must* be one way or if you do something *wrong* something either won't work or whatever - basically, there's fundies in every group whether they be Pagan, Christian, agnostic or athiest.

I think the best thing you can do if you're interested is to pick up some books - too bad you're not closer to me, I have a bunch of books on comparative religion. Get something that gives a synopsis of each religion, I can suggest a few if you'd like, then just start reading. One common thing you will hear among Pagans is that when they found their path they all had a feeling of coming home, or that whatever belief they discovered and embrassed felt like home or just "right" with them.

Hope this helps some. If you ever have any other questions don't hesitate to ask!

Terri :wizard:

mauvaisroux 10-24-2002 10:16 PM

HI Punkinseed-thanks for the info. If you could post or pm me and Barefootgrrl the names of some of the books you have read that would be great:) I have one I picked up a while ago and it seems to give a good basis. I saw one at chapters the other day that talked more about the philosphies rather than just giving spell "recipes". I have studied a lot of different religions and haven't found anything I felt comfortable with yet and I would like to learn more about this spiritual path.

Wildfire 10-25-2002 07:58 AM

I'm sorry....I totally forgot! I will contribute some information tonight, I promise!

Punkinseed 10-25-2002 10:29 AM

You bet, I'll get you a list of a few that I found particularly helpful.
The one that sticks out in my mind the most and is probably the easiest to find is "The Complete Idiots Guide to Wicca and Witchcraft" - I kid you not. It's very informative and pretty honest - not just a bunch of fluff-bunny garbage, misinformation and spell "recipies" (I've always believed that your spell/prayer should come from your OWN heart). I've loaned it to both of my non-Pagan friends.

Terri

SuchAPrettyFace 10-25-2002 11:00 AM

Cool link that I found today, that might interest some.

I just ordered a bumper sticker that says:

Things haven't been the same since that house fell on my sister.

ellis 10-25-2002 11:09 AM

Gee, those are cool wands! Is it okay for a Christian to have a wand? :D

Punkinseed 10-25-2002 12:59 PM

Yes, of course Christians can have wands!!!!

Here ya go... :wizard:

Terri

ellis 10-25-2002 03:41 PM

Thank you, Terri. :lol: Actually, I sort of wanted the amethyst one. It's SO pretty! I wonder if I dare...

I may be struck down dead for this by my god, but I found a couple of other wand sites. :D
http://www.realmagicwands.com/
http://earthspirits.org/wands.htm

I used to make smudge bundles... I'm going to go into my garden right now and collect some sage. They are delightful!

ps.. I like that you can wear the alter cloths as sarongs.

barefootgrrrl 10-25-2002 04:19 PM

Oh thanks so much for all this wonderful stuff !:D

In the meantime, I've been doing some more reading......I found a book on booksamillion.com- actually a good one - titled "Idiots Guide to Paganism" - it's like an overview from 30,000 feet, which is good for me because I am still on the trailhead of this path :) I can see I have more reading ahead, so I appreciate the recommendations.

The more I study, the more I nod my head...... it really *does* feel like an inward path toward home (ok, ok, I'm not weirding out on anybody here! he he) I am a skeptic and lone ranger at heart and have always had problems swallowing dogma of any kind - so the fact that each journey is unique is just beautiful.

I also found another good website: www.beliefnet.org

Some have suggested a good jumping off point is to consider your own ethnic or cultural origins and to study that history and mythology. As an example, my friend is Scottish and she studied the Celts and is now a practicing Druid.

As for me, my background is all over the place - English, Italian, German, etc. Somewhere back there exists a Native American great grandmother. I sense a connection there. I've always felt a spiritual bond to Native American teachings. That may be a place to start.

I am just enjoying the journey - now I need to find a wand!

:lol:

Thanks again - Love, Terri

PS - What is the "House Fell On My Sister" thing all about?

:wizard:

Punkinseed 10-25-2002 05:55 PM

"The house fell on my sister" would be a referrance to the wicked witch of the west's demise.

That's great that you found a book like that! Yes, you want something really broad to start out and I also agree that a LOT of people immediatly lean toward their heritage. I'm German, Swedish and Norweigan so I ended up with an interest in the Norse mythology and ancient ways.

The wand will come ;) Heck, I don't even have one - for that matter I don't have a lot of the gadgets of Paganism (I have an altar though) but it doesn't keep me from being a happy person who talks to animals, plants and the occasional volcano (we have a dormant one here that's coming back to life).

Enjoy your discoveries!

Terri

Wildfire 10-26-2002 09:42 AM

My story in a nutshell: (Or "How I Came to Paganism" :D )

I was raised as a Catholic - baptized, first communion, confessions, Sunday school, the whole nine yards. I was never comfortable with it. Nice story, but after all the years and versions and interpretations...who really knew what was true and what was not? (No offense to any Christians....this is just my opinion.) Then there's the whole birth control/abortion thing which really ticks me off, but I'm not going there because it's an argument waiting to happen and no one can win it. The whole organized religion thing, repeating the same verses of prayers over and over each week like mindless drones just bothered me. Anyway, when I was around 16 I started asking questions of some older relatives about my two great aunts. I'd never known them as they both died in a fire shortly after I was born. They had been known as the "village witches" in our community and were remarkable healers. One aunt possessed powers of telekenisis (the ability to move objects without touching them) and was famous for making the dining room table hover above the floor when guests were invited for dinner or card games. The other aunt had "visions" of things that were yet to happen, and apparently was very accurate in what she foretold. I've heard their seances were absolutely frightening! When they died, their house stood empty for 16 years until a couple from out of town who didn't know the history bought it, repaired it, and moved in. They still live there and have said it is haunted, but they have learned to live amicably with whatever else calls it home. When we were children we would walk by the house very quickly on the way to my grandmother's house because we'd heard the stories of it being haunted.

So, as I got older and really began to fight the Catholic upbringing, I eventually just put my foot down and said "no more!" No more Sunday school, no more weekly mass, just no more. This bothered the heck out of my mother who was very firm in her Catholic beliefs. I started finding out what my aunts were really all about. Were they really witches? Well, yes. But not the Hollywood version with pointy hats and shoes that ate small children on Wednesdays. They had incredible knowledge of herbs and how to use them, and they believed in a different religion....one that followed the cycle of the moon and the seasons of the year and revered nature and life and its cycle. The telekenisis and ability to see the future seemed to have been a random occurrence. No one else in the family has developed it, although there are a few of us who have "glimpses" or forerunners, but you will find such things in many families.

I began to feel a bond with these two women. Learning more about them and what they believed in felt more right than anything I'd ever learned or done. I felt like I had finally come home. It is an undescribable feeling, but I just knew that finally my life made some sense and I was where I was meant to be all along. I have never looked back, never questioned if what I believe or do is the right thing, because I know it is right for me. I've been through a lot of discrimination and name calling, and it doesn't matter. Small minded people fear what they don't know. I don't flaunt my beliefs, but I certainly don't hide them. I wear Pagan jewellry, attend Pagan celebrations, and openly discuss my beliefs with people who are genuinely interested. I do tire of having very young people ask (mostly online) if I can help them become a witch. One of the beliefs I hold is not to influence another's path, so while I sometimes provide access to proper information, I will not "teach". I've never really categorized myself, other than being a solitary traditional witch.

Some time after my mother died I was discussing this whole thing with an older aunt who told me that when I was born, the aunts looked at me and told my mother "She will be the next in our line." She said no one ever told me that because my mother was completely against it and perhaps that is why she was so adamant about the Catholic upbringing. Unfortunately, I'll never be able to discuss it with my mother.

I remember when I was about 17, my best friend and I were looking through my grandmother's attic and found a solid oak, hand carved witch board. (Ouija board) We smuggled it out and took it to my basement laundry room where there were no windows, lit a candle, turned out the light and began to ask if any spirits were there. The planchette began to move quite quickly, spelling out names. The names were people in my family, people my friend didn't know...some dead, some living. When I asked the spirit its name, it spelled out a three letter word. Didn't make any sense to me, but this spirit went on to call me "witch". My poor friend was totally spooked. We nervously laughed about it later, and my mother asked what we'd been up to. I told her and she turned completely white when I told her the name of the spirit....she said "that's what they called your great aunt"....her nickname was this three letter word. We told my mother the witch board was gone, but we'd really hidden it. We had a lot of strange things happen in the house over the next year or so, until I found the board again. I took it out of the house and stored it carefully in our tool shed, and the weird stuff stopped....doors opening and closing, things being moved or gone missing, laughter in the halls at night, knocking on the windows, cold drafts....typical stuff.

So, here I am 17 years into this journey. I consider myself Pagan. I believe that the male and female exist in everything. I worship the world around me and find great joy in the smallest things in nature, things that most people I know don't even see. I celebrate the Pagan holidays, but also the non-Pagan ones with my friends and families. The cycle of life and the wheel of the year never cease to amaze me, and I have been known to cry at the beauty of the full moon. I suppose I have one foot in the past, with the aunts and all those before them, but I like it that way.

"Spells" are really nothing more than prayers...rituals performed to ask for guidance or help or simply to celebrate one's beliefs. Nothing strange there....you'll find that in every religion, just done differently. I think it is difficult to neatly categorize those with Pagan beliefs. As Punkin said, many people lean toward their heritage and therefore classify themselves as Celtic, Druidic, Norske, etc. I lean toward Celtic and identify with their heirarchy because that is where my roots are.

So, even though I've babbled my brains out here, I probably still haven't answered your question. :) I, too, would suggest that you begin with your heritage as a starting point and select books that deal with it.


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