What made you decide to follow a neopagan religion?
I apologize if "neopagan" is the wrong term. I am becoming curious about other religions and am anxious to learn. Everyone is always asking for the story of how and why a person becomes a Christian or a Buddhist. But I would like to know about the spiritual journeys of those practicing modern paganism.
My journey...I read the Bible...I studied...I found the inconsistencies...Top scholars (Fuller Seminary) told me you have to take it all in faith even though these passages state the contrary...I decided that I would look within from now on and look to the nature of things and my environment. I decided to listen to my heart and to reason.
I decided to love and accept people for who they were. I decided to remove the concept of an angry, vengeful and jealous Father G-d from my belief system. I decided to stop worshipping a G-d that commands the destruction of babies, the elderly and even animals. I decided to stop believing in a G-d that demands a blood sacrifice of an innocent. I decided to live free of guilt. I decided to LIVE.
Now I worship every aspect of G-d that I can become conscious of, particularly that between sound. That in the darkness, That found in the shadows. The darkness is delicious. The light is delightful. I encounter G-d where ever I actively look.
I'm not exactly the best person to answer - I am an atheist, but I weirdly identify partially as a neopagan as well. Mainly, because I am very spiritual, though I do not believe in physical gods (or supernatural). I consider myself two things: one, animistic, in a spiritual sense - there's a spirit in everything in the universe, we're all made from the same stardust. Second, pantheistic - I find the earth-centric elements of most neopagan paths to be refreshing and beautiful, and am drawn to the celebration of the earth. I don't "worship" anything, though, just feel the sort of awe and beauty that comes with furthering my understanding of the universe.
I used to identify more as a neopagan than an atheist, though I never physically believed in gods, I was into the idea that gods are man-made ideas that can give us spiritual strength. To some extent, I think that's true no matter the religion, it just isn't as important to me now. I read a lot of literature - I think the best book I read about neopaganism was "The Philosophy of Wicca" by Amber Laine Fisher. Her book is a bit more "liberal" and less literal, than many Wiccan groups, but it's beautifully written. I think I was first drawn to neopaganism because I was always interested in mythology and stumbled across a neopagan book by accident when I was looking for mythology. I found it really fascinating that people would take old concepts and revitalize them with modern philosophy.
I do know several more serious pagans, and I find they tend to have three things in common: earth-centric (pantheistic) spirituality, fascination with the ancient world and its gods (even if it's a more romantic view rather than historically accurate), and an imagination for magic (which they might or might not physically believe in).
Hope this helps.
As a student of history, I studied the wars that have plagued the planet and became disillusioned with paternal religions as a direct result. The countless millions that have been slaughtered in the name if this religious belief or that religious belief cried out to me from the pages I studied. But, I became a Wiccan as a result of one of my young daughter's wish to do so. I didn't want her to become a victim to some of the preditors that use Wicca as a way to hold power and influence over young men and women. In the beginning, we studied the craft and participated in rituals together. As she grew from teen to young adult, she slowly stopped practicing. While, I on the other hand, found something which spoke to my heart and I became a solitary practioner of the craft. For me, it is the love of life, the love of family (not only your immediate family but the family of this world) and total respect for the Earth, our Mother that has influenced my decision and action. Blessed Be.
I was raised in the Methodist church, but attended services from many different Protestant Christian religions in my teens and into adulthood. I stopped going because I realised I was getting nothing from those services except feelings of incredible anger.
I began questioning everything that I believed when I was in my early 20s. Over time, I began developing an internal set of beliefs that had no relationship to any religion.
One summer I happened to pick up a book about witchcraft, read it, and realised it fit those internal beliefs. I began a solitary practice and continued learning. In 1993 I was invited to join a local Wiccan coven.
I remained part of that group until 1998 when I moved to the UK. Before moving I was initiated as a 3rd degree High Priestess - and that plus £5 will get me a cuppa tea in nearly any cafe in England.
My religion is Paganism, and I am a practicing witch. I am raising my children as Pagans, but both know it is their choice what if any religion they want to follow when they reach adulthood. My eldest son (adult) has made the decision to follow a Pagan religion, of the younger two (not yet adults) one says he is atheist and the other says he is Pagan.
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