Different paths - one journey

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Different paths - one journey

Postby kit » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:25 pm

After our off-topic posts on the trick or treating thread, I think we should have somewhere where people can share their views and wisdom about the different traditions within what we loosely call paganism.

I personally don't subscribe to any one tradition and choose to follow my own path. I do what feels right for me and do this alone. I also tried to keep Stonewylde free from any particular branch, using artistic license and my imagination when creating Stonewylde's culture and traditions. However many people go much deeper into their spirituality and study a particular branch or tradition, and obviously this is what feels right for them.

It would be good if anyone with knowledge could post about different paths, and maybe provide some links or further reading for anyone interested in finding out more.

Without wishing to sound bossy, I would please ask everyone to be sensitive about this, keep an open mind, and not get upset in any way with others' viewpoints. We can all be quite sensitive about what we personally believe in, understandably so, and it's very important to remember that the Stonewylde Forum isn't a good place to get too heavy about anything. We're all friends here and many of you have commented on how refreshing it is to find a forum where you can relax, express your views and know that you will not be judged, criticised or bullied. I believe every active member of this forum is in tune with this ethos, but also sometimes the written word can be misconstrued and offence can be taken inadvertantly when none was meant.

Paganism is a very old but also a very new and fast-growing religion, struggling for recognition and acceptance in a world where once its followers were executed for their beliefs. We can study the past but we can also invent new things because we're not bound by dogma. Think of the awful wars and bloodshed that have happened over the millenia in the name of Christianity alone - often between different factions and sects because they believed their brand was the right one and wouldn't be open minded about others' beliefs. It would be such a shame if paganism were to go the same way because of in-fighting, so it's vital that we understand each other's viewpoints but keep it friendly. I'm aware that there are quite a lot of forum members who've never made any posts so we know nothing about them, and also it's an open forum so anyone can read the posts. The last thing I want is to start a war!!

We're all on a journey - there are many paths. So let's find out a bit more about some of them. :D
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Postby Ebany » Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:56 pm

A really good place to start is to read Pete Jennings book "Pagan Paths". He explains very clearly just what the different sides of Paganism involve and what they do or do not believe. Here is the link to his book page on his site: http://www.gippeswic.demon.co.uk/books.html

Oh, and Kit - you are one of the very last people that I would describe as being bossy!! :D
Gerthddyn, Chattering elf.
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Postby Greymalkin » Wed Nov 05, 2008 3:25 pm

I started my path many years ago as a Gardnarian Wiccan but soon became quite unhappy with the whole structure of Wicca - especially the Gardnarian variety.
I would now describe myself as a Traditionalist Witch. What that means is I try to imagine what our ancestors would have done/believed and (as much as possible) bring it up to date.
If you like, a path that probably would have naturally evolved if Christianity hadn't got in the way.
Does that make sense?
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Postby wherethewildrosesgrow » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:04 pm

I know very little about the ethic/dogma/teaching/practices of paganism. organised or otherwise - but I would still describe myself as one, as I have always (ever since I can remember) been drawn to the power, mystery and beauty of all things natural - running out into huge storms in the middle of the night and just LOVING it :lol:, growiing anything I can, being outside as much as possible, loving the changing seasons, always having celebrations and marking solstices/equinoxes - well just because! - very woolly headed I know, compared to so many of you wise ones - but very sincere :)
perhaps I am a woolly headed paganish hedgewitchy sort of person :roll: xxx

PS and am totally fascinated to find out loads more :P
where the willow weeps tears of diamond
and the oak bleeds pearls of dew
I have often dreamed there....
have you?

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Postby creature » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:14 pm

I just do what I feel in my heart and soul. Nature is very important to me, especially trees. Of which I do like to hug (a lot).

Being brought up in a very strict religion myself I feel passionatly about freedom and choices.

I love to love, care to care and do the best I can.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
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Postby Beantighe » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:45 am

I love to love, care to care and do the best I can.
----------------------------------------------------------


What a lovely way of putting it, Creature!

My first introduction to Paganism was via Gardnerian Wiccans too. I met and got involved with a coven here when I first moved down here, and it was a really bad experience. The HP was a manipulative bully who freaked me out, and I hated having to do ritual skyclad. I wasn't comfortable at all, especially when they invited this leery old - and I mean old - creep to join us. I tried to tell the HP (High Priest) that this man was making me uncomfortable, but he wouldn't listen. The creep had hands like an octopus, and it wasn't long before I got out of there as fast as I could. It was horrible! I was so frightened and upset, I nearly gave it up altogether.

Now I'm solitary - a bit too solitary,really. I tend to go back to my country childhood for my inspiration, when it was just me and the woods, fields, plants, animals, the weather and the seasons. I suppose you could say I was 'away with the fairies' most of the time, and I think you could say that in a literal sense, because my surroundings were magical to me, and as I had no human companions, the fairies were very real to the child I was then. This is the world I still escape to in my mind, because I was so free there - anything was possible, and I think it was the happiest I've ever been, until the real world came and burst my bubble.

I just love the simplicity of the natural path and following my own instincts. I hate to be tied down by rules and regulations and prescribed rituals made up by others, which leave me insecure and wondering if I'm 'doing it right'. I'm a spiritual wanderer, exploring where the mood and the interest takes me, absorbing bits and pieces from here, there and everywhere, just enjoying the journey. And if I come across a bit of like-minded company along the way, that's fine too.

Love Beantighe

And Greymalkin - that makes perfect sense to me!
May the Circle be open, but unbroken
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Postby Greymalkin » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:21 am

The problem I have found with many modern "pagans" is they have read far too many books and have turned something incredibly simple into something incredibly complicated.

Like the conversation that was had about Samhain wasn't seen as the pagan new year until the 19th century - I mean,..... who cares???
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Postby creature » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:17 am

I agree with you both.

I was at a Pagan Gathering recently which was great but some of the pagans there seemed cross that some people are solitarys, saying that they would miss out on 'the secret'. How rude!

Being a Pagan is not about a group but your own personal relationship with the deities and nature (and mead!). Dont get me wrong being in coven or group is wonderful if you have the chance but I have learnt more about my own feelings and cares whilst being on my own.

It would be nice to celebrate some of the sabbats with others. But in a relaxed, informal but respectful way.

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Postby kit » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:39 am

I have a horror of rules and organised things (as Creature has said on another thread) and as soon as something's set and organised, I feel this awful need to do it differently and be subversive! When the group leader (at any organised event - not necessarily a pagan thing) says something like, "Find a partner, and I want you to ..." I immediately start acting like the naughty kid at the back of the class messing about and not doing it properly. This applies to anything organised so I'd be useless at a group pagan event. I'd feel uncomfortable having to follow a set ritual that someone else had devised, and following something from a book would be even worse. I just have to do my own thing.

At the Gathering I promise there'll be no organised stuff like that, so all us free spirits can just join the fairies with Beantighe! You can see what I drew on when writing about poor Yul, can't you? Imagine having Magus there in charge of everything! Maybe that's why we all like Yul so much - we're all rebellious at heart! :D
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Postby creature » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:52 am

I must admit I dont mind structure within reason. Its the words 'you must' and 'you will' that instantly make me want to do the opposite (even if agree with the commands!)

Its like NLP. They teach that if you want someone to do something then you request not demand. Although this is for a work setting ie boss and staff. Not for a spiritual setting.

Also you are guaranteed to have more fun when you dont know what to expect. Nothing can ever be monotonous. (sorry not great at spelling).

Im sure the Stonewyle gathering will be perfect because we all sound rather naughty and careing(free).
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Postby Greymalkin » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:24 pm

creature wrote:I was at a Pagan Gathering recently which was great but some of the pagans there seemed cross that some people are solitarys, saying that they would miss out on 'the secret'. How rude!


OK, now listen to me.

I've been in enough (and kicked out of enough) covens in my time to know what I'm talking about.

15, maybe 20 years ago you did indeed learn 'secrets' within a coven. Closely guarded secrets that you could only learn within the confines of an established coven.
Nowadays I have seen every single one of these 'secrets' written in books or splashed over the internet.

Gardinarians used to be the last great bastions of secrets, and now everything they do is availiable in print.
You could quite easily learn everything you need to know about Gardinarianism and never have to go within 10 feet of a Gardinarian coven.

Any secrets that may still exist within covens are usually applicable only to that group and probably not worth knowing in the first place.

Poke your tongue out at them when they start going on about "secrets", it's all bunkum.
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Postby creature » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:34 pm

Thanks for that. I do feel a lot happier now.

Tongue well and truly poking out!!!! [smilie=msn_highfive.gif] [smilie=msn_highfive.gif] [smilie=msn_highfive.gif]
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Postby sea sprite » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:33 pm

I don't 'do' rules and orders either :lol:

A few years ago I lived in West Penwith and decided to try my hand at gig rowing. My boss was the cox of the gig, so he gave all the orders. We rowed across Mounts Bay and half way across he started shouting at me, so I shouted back :oops: :lol:

When we got to the other side of the Bay I refused to row back and got a lift back round instead :lol:

This thread is great for hearing about other people's experiences. I don't think I would like to join a coven (far too structured for me), but it would be nice to meet other people in an informal atmosphere and just chat about things. I suppose that you still might get people at those sorts of events who want to push their viewpoint on you though. :?
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Postby Greymalkin » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:33 pm

Don't get me wrong, coven's can be a rich and rewarding experience but the trick is finding one that works - and with everybody being an "expert" these days that's becoming more and more difficult to do.

I think covens (in the traditional sense) are dying out as people prefer to gather in groups or work alone.

The group I work with is in no way a coven. We share the jobs and the roles (although as I'm the only bloke in the group it usually falls to me to be HP) but everyone chips in and egos don't seem to be a problem.

That's the main problem with organised covens, the egos.
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Postby Moongoddess » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:37 pm

Being a solitary practitioner is far more liberating.....I can be what I want to be....do what I want to do and say what I want to say, without feeling like someone is looking at me and thinking......no thats wrong!!!!
The 1st organised ritual I went to.....the High Priest, decided that he wanted me to be his Priestess......having never been to anything like that before, I was like a startled rabbit caught in the head lights..... :shock: absolutely terrified I would say something wrong and make myself look a right idiot :roll: :roll: Needless to say, I've not been back :( which is a shame really.....as if I had been left alone to look on, I might have really enjoyed it and felt comfortable enough to make a contribution at a later date.
Now I go with my feelings and celebrate what I want to.....when I feel like it :D
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