Being Pagan

Since Andy has gone and my daylight and nighttime hours are less energetic than a week ago, I have been doing some tinkering with this site. I have revised and edited my “About Me” section and have been working on some new pages which will appear shortly. I have also been doing  a lot of thinking, praying and meditation…

I wanted to write something here about my relationship with my matron deity Hathor (Het Hert). But then I realised it wouldn’t make much sense without some context on my beliefs and background as a Pagan and a Witch. But where to start?

pentacle image form celtic-tshirts.com

pentacle image form celtic-tshirts.com

In my heart I think I have always been pagan, it is as much a state of mind and way of being as it is a religion. It is a way of seeing the world and relating to it. However, I was not always a practicing pagan.

I was actually brought up as a Catholic. My parents were very lapsed catholics but they wanted me to learn about Catholicism and make up my own mind. And so I went to Catholic Sunday school and even part of my education was in a Catholic school. I don’t regret any of that. I learned a lot there and of course made some good friends. More significantly I think my attraction to Goddess centred worship was certainly inspired and fed by the Catholic veneration of Mary; although I was always much more fascinated by Mary Magdalene, Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and the children of Fatima.

I was happy at Catholic school but always the odd one out in some ways. I was very popular with some teachers and pupils and no doubt hated by others. I had the advantage that I loved learning and generally got good grades. For this reason I got away with things that some others didn’t. While I was generally polite and well behaved in class, in my later school years I could quite often be found  at the local cafe sipping coffee and smoking cigarettes rather than being in class where I should have been. And more and more often those secret escapes to the cafe would involve reading books on other religions and philosophies, paganism, witchcraft and the occult. By the age of sixteen I was already calling myself a witch.

While my interest in Paganism and Witchcraft never really waned, it took a back seat during my university years at which time I was more into Buddhism and in particular Taoism. In many respects Taoism still forms the backbone of my personal philosophy.

Another important factor in my route to paganism was the fact that I am psychic. I don’t claim to be spectacularly psychic, but psychic awareness has always been a part of me. To be precise I am an empath; I can read other people’s emotions and with certain people this extends to full on telepathy. (I am aware that some people don’t believe these abilities exist at all but it would be stupid of me to deny a fundamental aspect of my being and experience). These empathic abilities have been with me as long as I can remember, in fact I remember a moment in my childhood when I was quite shocked to discover that most people couldn’t read other people’s thoughts and emotions. I was even more shocked as the years went by to realise that my psychic abilities were often judged in a very negative way in Christianity.

There were several things which caused me to break with Christianity and the biblical view of psychic abilities and magic was the first. In Sunday school I was often confronted with bible passages that seemed to suggest that things I could do and things I felt were Satanic and evil. At times I just thought this was a silly view while at other times I was seriously concerned that I must be bad and that my soul would go to hell. (Not a very comfortable feeling at any age or stage of life). Yet I never really tried to lose my psychic powers and nor did I ever want to accept the view that magic was evil. To me the whole concept of magic was that it was something wonderful and awe inspiring, an extension of nature and a thing of beauty. It was Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, it was talking animals in Narnia, it was Santa’s Grotto at Christmas time and fireworks and witches at Halloween. It was in my soul and not something I would ever give up.

The second issue to cause me to diverge from Christianity in a major way was the negative way in which Christians often viewed homosexuality. Long before I fully realised that I was bisexual myself, I began to despise the nasty things some of my Christian friends and acquaintances said about homosexuals. By my mid teens I already knew quite a few gay people and I couldn’t understand why God didn’t accept them as they were. So again it seemed to me that either my views were completely wrong and bad or else Christianity was wrong itself.

And finally there were the doctrines of Christianity and the authority of the bible. Quite simply the more I learned and understood, the less I believed. Things came to a head when I was at university.

As I said before, by the time I was at university Taoism was my dominant in my spiritual journey, but I was still reading about Paganism and witchcraft and even calling myself a witch with a selected group of friends. At one point I made the mistake of opening up to a friend of mine who I knew was in the Christian Union. (I spoke about my doctrinal and philosophical difficulties with Christianity and also spoke openly about my sexual views and experiences which already seemed to be at odds with what a ‘good Christian was supposed to think and do). I was hoping to have a serious discussion about some of my problems with Christianity and Ithink I was even somewhat open to finding a way back into the church. What actually happened was that the Christian Union began holding prayer meetings to reclaim my soul from Satan. At one point they were even stationing people outside my door to pray for me night and day. In some ways it was quite comical, but it was also very unnerving and intimidating. Anyway the whole incident had the reverse effect of what the Christian Union intended. From that moment onward I immersed myself in pagan culture and practices. Not everything was right for me, I’ve made many mistakes, done a few things I am ashamed of but I am proudly pagan through and through.

In a way being Pagan simply means being myself. It means living in harmony with the world; following it’s rhythms and patterns. It means taking responsibility for my own actions and choices and for my own values and desires. It also means a new relationship with deity. I do believe in God and without using technical terms I believe that God is the creative force and essence of the Universe; and that nature itself is one of the ways through which God expresses itself. I believe God exists as a duality, which can be seen as male and female or ying and yang. (Not god and evil, which I believe to be purely human constructs). Most importantly, I believe deity is manifest in all the Gods of antiquity (including Jesus). In simple terms I think God is too vast to be bound up in human definitions, but becomes known to us through different personalities each one revealing specific attributes of deity and each one resonating with different types of  human personality.Hathor is my matron deity and I will write more about her soon.

Finally Paganism has allowed me to explore and use the gifts and powers that nature bestows, and that includes all the things that come under the heading of witchcraft. Being a witch is something I will write more about soon.

2 responses to “Being Pagan

  1. willowstryker7

    I am most impressed with your life’s tale. I have found that I have some of the same feelings as you have had. Though, I did not grow up Catholic, I was raised christain. I hated the thought that if I were to do anything wrong that I would burn in hell for it – even if I did not know at the time that it was wrong. I have only recently began the quest of reading the Pagan and Wiccan books, but all my life I have practiced the lifestyle unknowingly. I too and really good at reading people’s faces, and some times just the smallest thing will cause me to predict something to come. I am not able to do this at the drop of a dime, in kind of comes and goes – which is what got me interested in the Pagan and Wiccan religions in the first place. I just knew there had to be a place where I could really discuss all my thoughts and questions with a group of people and not be countered by people that don’t know themselves what the Bible holds or doesn’t holds. I would really like to know more about your journey and what you have found from this religion.

    • Thanks for your comments, I am glad you found my story interesting. Keep reading; there will be more! 🙂
      Meanwhile good luck on your personal path. It sounds to me like you certainly have some empathic ability which would be worth developing. A web site I often visit to discuss my views with like minded souls and people of various spiritual traditions is Mysticwicks.com You might find a happy home on the net there.

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