How to Be a Pagan Or How to Walk an Alternative Spiritual Path

Pagans are those who search for deeper meaning behind life's questions...they connect with the Earth and Sky on a level most might not understand.
Pagans are those who search for deeper meaning behind life's questions...they connect with the Earth and Sky on a level most might not understand. | Source

Becoming a Pagan: What is a Pagan, Exactly?

In this day and age there are multitudes of people in search for a deeper meaning to life...in search for a more authentic connection to their own spirituality and essentially to the world. This means that people are branching out from the old religious state of mind and moving towards a broader, more open-minded outlook on spirituality. They are looking at alternative paths of religion but more so they are looking for genuine spiritual enlightenment. One of those alternative paths is the path of paganism. Some are wanting to know how to become a pagan. This is easily answered...

But first let us define the term paganWebster dictionary defines a pagan as someone who follows a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome). Google's definition of a pagan is someone who follows a religion that isn't a part of the main world religions. As you can see, these could mean two very different things but I prefer to use Google's definition as pagan is now used as more of an umbrella term than ever before. And if we looked back to the Dark Ages we would see that the term "pagan" was used to describe the country-folk who were still following the "old religion"...those who hadn't converted to Christianity yet and were still following the old gods and old rituals set forth from ancient times.

Simply put, one is a pagan if he or she follows a spiritual path or religion that isn't a part of Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. As you can see, people's perspective of what makes a pagan will differ but this is the easiest way to look at it.

The Blue Heron brings a message to those who are willing to listen...
The Blue Heron brings a message to those who are willing to listen... | Source
Pagans see the beauty in the world around them and long to be outside communing with the trees and wildlife.
Pagans see the beauty in the world around them and long to be outside communing with the trees and wildlife. | Source

You might be a natural-born pagan if...

People might want to know how to become a pagan, but in reality if you feel the need to branch out from the normal religions and follow your own path you don't need to become a pagan...you already are a pagan!

You might be a natural-born pagan if...

  • you've ever thought that God might be both male and female, or neither, or both
  • you've ever wondered if there are multiple gods instead of just one
  • you've ever thought that the Universe is connected to us and us to it
  • you've ever felt a deep connection to nature, wildlife, etc.
  • you've ever felt like society has lied to you about man's origins, God, etc.
  • you've ever felt stifled by religion and wished you could create your own
  • you've ever questioned the main religions' approach to spirituality or lack thereof
  • you've ever felt a connection to the ancient world i.e. ancient Egypt, the Celts, ancient Rome, etc.
  • you've ever felt like there was more to this life than what society tells you
  • you've ever had the desire to just be alone in nature...to hear the wind blow through the trees, the birds chirping, and the beautiful silence
  • you've ever felt the need to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city-life
  • you've ever appreciated the beauty in a blue sky, a blooming wildflower, the caw of a crow

I could go on for hours about how one might already be a pagan, but the items above should provide you with some kind of affirmation. See? You already knew it in your heart. The great thing about being a pagan is that you don't have to follow a set of rules, you simply just have to be yourself and follow your own path.

A sunset can take on a whole new meaning to someone who is searching for a deeper connection to the world and to themselves.
A sunset can take on a whole new meaning to someone who is searching for a deeper connection to the world and to themselves. | Source
Two ladies at a pagan pride event in 2009. Even if you create your own form of paganism, you can still meet like-minded people at such events.
Two ladies at a pagan pride event in 2009. Even if you create your own form of paganism, you can still meet like-minded people at such events. | Source

Different Types of Paganism

Just as in any other religion or spiritual path, paganism is extremely diverse and has hundreds (probably thousands) of different paths of spirituality branching off of it. And because paganism is such an umbrella term and encompasses pretty much everything outside of the mainstream religions, this means that is also encompasses spiritual paths that are made up by the individual on a "solitary" path, so to speak.

To break it down into more simple terms, here are just a few of the categories of paganism being practiced in the world today:

  • Pantheism - the belief that the Universe is God and God is the Universe...that we are all part of the Universe and are therefore a part of God.
  • Neopaganism - (also called contemporary or modern paganism) a group of religious movements based on historical pagan pre-modern beliefs of Europe
  • Wicca - a modern pagan, witchcraft religion with emphasis on a God and Goddess made popular by the likes of Gerald Gardner in the early through mid 1900s.
  • Shamanism - an ancient healing tradition and way of life that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to travel to the "other" world(s)
  • Neodruidism (druidry) - a spiritual path or religion that honors nature and respect for all beings, some parts based off of what is believed to have been the druidry of ancient Celtic Europe

These are just a small few of the different forms of paganism, and within each of these there are multiple branches and traditions, too. Many pagans even blend these categories together and are commonly referred to as "eclectic" pagans. Some consider Hinduism to be pagan as it is a form of polytheistic worship, and others even consider Buddhism to be a pagan religion. To make it easy, just think of anything outside of the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) as a form of paganism.

Don't let the hundreds of types of paganism scare you off. This just means that you have so many options to choose from...and if you don't like one way of doing things, you can even make up your own way of doing things. That is the beauty in being a pagan...there are no limitations, no set of rules, no dogma (unless you let there be). Paganism gives you the freedom of making your own way to the Divine.

What if you still lean towards your past religion?

So let's say you're interested in being a pagan, as you know you are deep down in your heart. BUT you still feel like you want to keep some of your Christian outlooks or traditions. That's okay, too! Can you believe that paganism allows for the individual to even mix belief systems, if the individual so chooses. A term used for this is syncretism. This is why you might sometimes hear someone call themselves a Christian Wiccan or a Celtic Christian.

The point is to make your own way...to connect with your own spiritual path on your own terms and in your own time. You don't have to let ANYONE tell you how to find God or the Divine...it is totally up to you. You don't need to feel pressured to make decisions on what Church to go to, or what God to follow. You can try many different paths and change your mind on them every week if you want to! There is no judgment or guilt on a pagan path. And if another pagan tries to make you feel guilty or judged, move on!

Let's say you want to follow an earth-based spiritual path but still want to go to Christian Church services on Sunday morning...then do it! Like I said before, becoming or being a pagan is already within you and you don't have to explain yourself to anyone. You don't have to define or explain your spiritual path to anyone but yourself and God / Spirit / the Divine, etc.

Go outside and connect with Mother Earth...this is at the heart of paganism.
Go outside and connect with Mother Earth...this is at the heart of paganism. | Source

So you want to learn more about being a Pagan?

Now that you know the very basics of being a pagan, and that you most likely already are one...perhaps you want to learn more about each individual branch of paganism out there. Perhaps you want to explore your options.

Here's a list of some wonderful books and resources for you to look into:

  • The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers by Frank MacEowen
  • Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham
  • The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
  • Conversations with God by Neal Donalde Walsch
  • To Ride a Silver Broomstick by Silver RavenWolf
  • Awakening to the Spirit World: the Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation by Sandra Ingerman
  • Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth
  • Power of the Witch by Laurie Cabot

In addition to reading starter books on paganism, don't forget to check out old accounts of folklore from around the world. You might want to look into attending a drum circle in your area, or visiting a local new age or metaphysical shop. Sometimes these shops offer classes and holiday events to attend, if you would like to meet other people of a like-mind.

If you can't do any of these things, all you need to do is get outside. Connect with the world around you and with your own higher self / your own soul. It truly is as simple as that.

Some pagans use an altar to aid in the worship or connection with their gods, spirit guides, ancestors, etc. while other pagans forego the altar altogether.
Some pagans use an altar to aid in the worship or connection with their gods, spirit guides, ancestors, etc. while other pagans forego the altar altogether. | Source

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© 2015 Author Nicole Canfield

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Comments 18 comments

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 14 months ago from the Ether Author

Michaela - Didn't mean to offend. That's why I mentioned those are just a few of the subcategories under Paganism. :)


Michaela Osiecki profile image

Michaela Osiecki 14 months ago from USA

Awww, everyone always forgets about Asatru.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 16 months ago from the Ether Author

newbizmau - Thank you! I agree completely.


newbizmau profile image

newbizmau 16 months ago from Mobile, AL

I had to share this. The definition of Pagan in my opinion is widely misunderstood.


Christos Mentis profile image

Christos Mentis 20 months ago from London,UK

Very interesting and useful information.


Radical Rog profile image

Radical Rog 20 months ago from Plymouth

Compare he belief that the Universe is God and God is the Universe with a text from the Gnostic Gospel, Secret Book of John, who wrote Revelation but this was rejected by the Church. It describes the "'He' the invisible spirit of whom it is not right to think of as a god, for he is more than a god." The gods come later but start with the first, She, who is to be Mother of everything. Then come the other gods, including the spirit Yaltabaoth, who is the one saying "I am a jealous God and there is no God beside me."

Compare that to claim made in scripture by the god of Christianity, Islam and Judaism.

There is more truth within Paganism than in all the mysteries of religion.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 20 months ago from the Ether Author

Larry - Thank you.

Heidi - I am open-minded enough that I've realized everyone has their own path to enlightenment and their own form of spirituality...be it mainstream or otherwise. So I encourage everyone to follow their hearts and do what is true to them. Be it Christian, Pagan, Hindu or otherwise! Thanks for your support!

billybuc - Yes, agreed 100%! That's why I never go around asking people about their religion or personal beliefs...it doesn't matter to me as long as they're good people. :)

chef-de-jour - Very good points! I believe we are seeing an evolution of spirituality in the world today. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

Richard-Bivins - That's awesome! I believe you can mix whatever paths you'd like...and yours sounds fascinating.

Phyllis - We have a lot in common, which I've said before haven't I? Thanks for reading and sharing your beliefs. :)

WiccanSage - Yes, for the most part I have seen the pagan community be rather accepting of different paths. Unfortunately there are those who get too dogmatic and tend to judge others, but I believe that's with almost anything in life anyway. We should all be accepting of everyone's paths...whatever they may be. As long as they're not harming anyone and are improving upon themselves.

Kildare - Keep being yourself. Who cares what other people think...they are only holding themselves down by judging you for being open-minded and a seeker.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 20 months ago from the Ether Author

ignugent17 - Thanks and you too!


ignugent17 profile image

ignugent17 20 months ago

Interesting hub!

Have a good day. :-)


Kildare05 20 months ago

Great read Kitty! I have been fascinated by spirituality and metaphysics my entire life. However, I was raised in a Christian home and always felt I had to hide my interests or that they were somehow "evil". I pushed it away for so long but it always would draw me back. I've finally come to terms with the fact that spirituality cannot be contained within a box or doctrine. This is very freeing!

I still believe in the power of Jesus. I also believe in reincarnation, faeries, mother earth etc....My Christian friends don't understand. I think they are waiting for me to come around. Lol. My joy is in searching out the truths of life and the universe. It has taken me down paths I never thought I would take. I enjoy your hubs so much but I enjoy this one especially. It is nice to have at least 1 person understand the complicated union of Christianity and other truths. Thank you!


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 20 months ago

Great hub. Higgenbotham's book is one I often recommend as well, such a great resource. It's amazing, as different as the many different Pagan religions are, how much we identify with each other as one single community and are so accepting of each other's different take on spirituality.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 20 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

I am back - and really like your thoughts on what a Pagan is, Kitty. I have known most my life that I was not limited in thought, heart and soul to an organized religion. Several years ago I began thinking of myself as a Christian Pagan with a strong affinity to Native American beliefs. Your sentence: "That is the beauty in being a pagan...there are no limitations, no set of rules, no dogma (unless you let there be). Paganism gives you the freedom of making your own way to the Divine." sure rings true in my way of life.

Thank you, Kitty, for writing this hub, which will help many to open and embrace who they are.


Richard-Bivins profile image

Richard-Bivins 20 months ago from Charleston, SC

Great introduction to paganism. I've recently started on a formal metaphysics journey and it has opened a whole new world view for me. It all started as I became more interested in The Law of Attraction and realized that the dogma of traditional religion is too confining. We're taught that there are only 2 choices; conform or rebel. The important thing is, I don't see any contradiction in my Metaphysical journey and my Christian beliefs. Christianity is a religion of Salvation where metaphysics is a path to enlightenment. If it doesn't already exist, then I think I've created my own form of paganism.


chef-de-jour profile image

chef-de-jour 20 months ago from Wakefield, West Yorkshire,UK

Fascinating read, thank you. As the earth evolves so does religion - in all its guises - ancient and modern. However we connect to the spirit surely the bottom line is to keep it peaceful and meaningful - which is where we've gone wrong in the past and the present with the 'old' religions.

Paganism offers something different and is a valid alternative to the mainstream.

Votes and a share.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 20 months ago from Olympia, WA

Good information for the unenlightened. I only have one question to ask: are you a good person? If so, I'm not very interested in your religion or spiritual path. I like to keep things simple. :)


heidithorne profile image

heidithorne 20 months ago from Chicago Area

Happy Spring, Kitty! I grew up in a traditional Christian environment, but didn't find it to be the answer to my spiritual quest. Can appreciate these traditions that seem to be much more in tune with the natural and spiritual universe. But I don't begrudge those who feel connected to the mainstream religions. To each his own. Glad you've emphasized the blending and appreciation of traditions. Thankfully, this seems to be the way the world is going. Love your Instagram pics. Voted up, interesting, beautiful and sharing. A lovely hub for the dawn of spring!


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 20 months ago from Oklahoma

Very interesting take on things.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 20 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

Bookmarked as "Kitty Hub" to come back and read after lunch - I am starving. Hub looks very interesting, but tummy is throwing a tantrum !!!!

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    kittythedreamer profile image

    Author Nicole Canfield (kittythedreamer)1,897 Followers
    428 Articles

    Kitty has been following a pagan spiritual path for over sixteen years. Because of this she encourages others to follow their own paths.



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