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    How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?

    As a new Pagan that was a Fundamentalist Christian for most of my life I am really interested in knowing the differences. God and even Satan was thought to be able to know our thoughts, be everywhere at once, be all powerful etc. He demanded absolute obedience and gave in return his love and blessings like meeting your basic needs. Not very much in return I think...

    What are the fundamentals of the concept of god/dess as it relates to your relationship to your gods and goddesses?

    What do your gods and godesses expect from you?

    What do you do for your god/desses and what do they do for you?

    What are the ways in which you worship? serve your god/desses?

    I don't only want to know the basics, but include those and what a more advanced path would entail.

    These are probaby repetitive, sorry, I don't know anything.

    Maybe I should have posted this in the newbie area, so
    If it is in the wrong place, could you please move it?

    Thanks for your replies and your involvement in this thread.

    Love,
    Immortal
    Pagan/New Age Shaman wannabe, baby Druid, studying Wicca. I want to be an Interfaith Minister. I have been a Christian, a baby Buddhist and an atheist (kind of).

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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    What are the fundamentals of the concept of god/dess as it relates to your relationship to your gods and goddesses?
    I have a pantheistic, animistic, and polytheistic view of deities. In my personal perspective, everything in existence is part of the sacred universe. With the pantheistic view, the universe as a whole might have some variation on sentient understanding, but it's something that's probably beyond human comprehension. We're a part of it; it's a part of us. It has cyclical beginnings and endings. Perfection doesn't exist, and that's okay.

    As an animist, I believe everything has a form of spirit or person. However, a tumbled stone wouldn't have as much spirit as a tree or mountain, but it's there. It wouldn't have the same consciousness as a human. I try to respect that personhood as much as I can. I believe there is an afterlife, like some island paradises, as described in Gaelic lore. Reincarnation might also be involved, but choice might have a part to play in that cycle, too.

    With regard to deities, I tend to focus on Gaelic Polytheism, the gods tied to Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. I have an animistic view of Them, meaning They're represented in physical forces, emotions, attributes, and so on. However, They don't seem to mind being depicted in either an anthropomorphized or a symbolic manner. I predominantly focus on two gods, Brighid and Manannan Mac Lir.

    However, that doesn't mean I ignore the existence of other groups of gods and goddesses; I just don't really interact with them. They're there, but they're doing their own thing with their own devotees. That includes the God of the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran.

    Ancestors and land spirits are a vital part of my beliefs, but I'm still figuring that part out.

    I tend to take an approach influenced by the Tia Dalma quote, "Same story, different versions. And all are true." If it works for you, great. No need for drama.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    What do your gods and godesses expect from you?
    As for what is expected of me, it varies. I'm finding my relationship with Manannan Mac Lir is pretty casual. He seems to show up when he likes, as far as I know. My relationship with Brighid is that She is more at the center of my practice.

    Basically, I figure they expect me to learn, to think, to grow, to create, and to help others in whatever way that I can. Showing hospitality to Them is important, as well as showing it to others in need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    What do you do for your god/desses and what do they do for you?
    I talk to them, either through prayer or in my mind. I figure They help me out when and how They can, but it's not always a given. I'm in charge of my life; They value independence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    What are the ways in which you worship? serve your god/desses?
    As mentioned, I pray to Them. With Brighid, I try to pray three times a day in the morning, midday, and at night. With Manannan, it's more infrequent, but I try. I light candles for Them and make offerings. Some offerings might be creative projects, or they might be something like food or drink. Visualizing offerings is another thing I do. Learning how to grow in my spiritual practice is another way I honor Them. That could mean practicing meditation or doing divination. Taking classes and doing homework associated with things They're involved in is important, too. Treating my deities and people with respect/hospitality and helping those in need is important; that includes environmental activism and civil rights issues.

    I don't really know whether my path would be considered as a beginning one or something more advanced, but that's essentially how I show devotion to Brighid and Manannan Mac Lir. I may add things to my practice as it evolves, and other deities may show up or might not. I'm still learning, and I always will be.

    Pagan/Polytheist traditions have a lot of variation in belief, and some are more formal than others. That can also be influenced by how physically capable a person is. For example, if a devotee has a chronic illness or a disability, saying "hello" daily to their god/desses might be enough for them. It's really between the devotee and their gods to determine what their relationship entails.

    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    What are the fundamentals of the concept of god/dess as it relates to your relationship to your gods and goddesses?
    Given that there is no single definition or practice of Hinduism, or unified set of beliefs, if you ask 1 billion Hindus the same question you'll get 2 billion answers.

    My view of the gods and goddesses is that there is only one God (actually it's not an entity but om tat sat, "that which is" that manifests in myriad ways. What we think of as a Hindu god or goddess is a real being, manifested from Brahman (that one "God").

    What do your gods and godesses expect from you?
    Not a whole heck of a lot. They do their godly things, we do our things according to our dharma, our duty. They're very chill and undemanding. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it". He was once visiting the house of friends. The wife was so overjoyed to see him and offered him all sorts of refreshments, including bananas. She was so distracted because of her joy at his visit that as she peeled the bananas, she threw the fruit away and gave Krishna the peels... which he ate without a single complaint.

    What do you do for your god/desses and what do they do for you?
    We have worship rituals that we do at home, or participate in at temples. We make offerings and treat them as honored guests at home. When we visit a temple, we behave like proper guests in God's home.

    This is a puja being performed in a home for the family by a priest (pujari), apparently for a special occasion. Usually it's just the family or one member that does the home puja. Btw, not everyone's shrine is close to the floor. Mine is on a table.



    Whether it's in return or just what they do, they give us blessings, gifts, protection, guidance.Its not entirely reciprocal as in Heathenry. Often it's enough to continually think of a god or goddess and enjoy their blessings.

    What are the ways in which you worship? serve your god/desses?
    Nar seva narayan seva "service to man is service to God". The rituals I referred to earlier mostly consist of offering flame, incense, fruit, flowers, water, food, prayers and verses from various texts that praise the gods and extol their virtues. There is an elaborate ritual called abhishekam, which is a bathing ritual. The idol is bathed and anointed with several different items: water, coconut water, milk, yogurt, honey, sandalwood paste. When the bathing is done, the curtains of the sanctum are closed and the deity is provided new clothes. The attendees receive blessings of the deity.



    I really can't get more specific than that because there are so many different rituals and ways that Hindus worship and interact with the gods.
    śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
    śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
    Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
    Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - The Yajurveda

    "Anyone can pray to the Gods in whatever manner he likes." - Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson

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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?n

    Quote Originally Posted by Jainarayan View Post
    Given that there is no single definition or practice of Hinduism, or unified set of beliefs, if you ask 1 billion Hindus the same question you'll get 2 billion answers.

    My view of the gods and goddesses is that there is only one God (actually it's not an entity but om tat sat, "that which is"

    I really can't get more specific than that because there are so many different rituals and ways that Hindus worship and interact with the gods.

    Being that there are as many paths as there are pagans, I want to ask some more questions. Feel free to answer or not. Or answer one or two or just make a comment on anything you would like to.

    The two of you both seem to believe, as I do, in a concept of "All That Is" maybe as a god or entity or the Universe being more than just a collection of randomness ... I believe in the Multiverse, even, at times, so "All That Is" for me is still a huge a huge question in my mind... what all is there? Scientists say (don't ask me who, I am clueless, but there is a book around here I haven't read about it somewhere) Randomness/Chaos has a mathematical pattern that looks like a fractal.

    Do you believe in a version of "All That Is" or a god, or power, or force, or the universe in some way as a being or having some qualities that give it a form of sentience or something?

    "All That Is" for me, also includes all the things I don't like, things that hurt and have ill intent. That took a while for me to grasp. I don't believe in an absolute evil. I believe in unskillful beings that seek to hurt, etc. I believe everyone and everything has hope and was made in goodness somewhere and got twisted by their perceptions of their experiences and hurts. Some beings are so twisted they become what people call "evil" like demons, which I believe exist because I have seen and been attacked by them.

    I know how hard that is for people to believe. My Christian friends didn't believe me and they were always going on about demons and the demonic. That started the parting of my ways with Christianity. How could they preach what they couldn't accept was real, when they were so afraid of these beings that they talked about and did "spiritual warfare" against demons etc. unceasingly almost. It was worship god, warfare with demons etc. all of the time, but yet? Where were they when I needed them? I forgave my attackers. I came to the conclusion that even the unskillful choices demons make aren't their fault and I have hope for them. I would even pray for them, but I don't have what it takes to deal with them right now if I attracted their presence.

    Do you believe in evil? Evil beings? Absolute evil? What temperaments have the range of beings existing in your version of the Cosmos have?

    Do you believe your god/desses or spirits of any kind, nature spirits or ancestors, visit you randomly at times? Are they omnipresent? Are they only there when you call or invoke them?

    I have met spirits and god/desses randomly without calling them. When I am alone, I pray and express myself and ask questions out loud. I have learned that is a good way to meet a spirit or god/dess. Especially asking questions. Pose a thought out loud and begin asking questions about it. You might get an impression, thought, or words that you know aren't your own. Ask who it is answering you.

    Have you ever met a spirit or god/dess randomly? Have you been in contact with your ancestors? Any nature spirits? Any other spirits? Angels etc. ? On purpose or randomly? Do you ever talk to them out loud?

    I talk to my grandparents out loud, but I only got an impression of a big brown bird when I was talking with my grandfather. So I googled it and found the bird was a golden eagle. No such thing here, but I was on the lookout for one. When I went on a Shamanic journey, I saw one and knew it was my grandfather. And it was. It was flying with a bald eagle and I knew that was my grandmother but how, since she was at home, alive and everything? I just accepted it. Now that my grandmother passed away, I can talk to her still when I journey. We fly together! I want to meet more of my ancestors.

    I work with angels too, sometimes. I need to do it more. I can't communicate with them yet, except for Raphael. He is the first angel I met. For some reason I can understand him and Gabriel at times. Gabriel has never spoken to me, but during a Shamanic ritual she was singing my Shaman's powersong with me and crying for me... There are guided meditations on YouTube that I have done that were very powerful. That was where I went after I met Raphael. I wish I could find the one where the angels give you gifts. That one was great!

    Do you do guided meditations or visualizations in books? Do you consider them powerful? Do you do your own visualizations?

    I want to write visualizations. They are very powerful to me. I would like to record them and put them on YouTube, but I need voice lessons. I find people's voices on YouTube can make a big difference, they can be very distracting or very conducive to the experience. Right now my voice is very distracting. I used to work with a voice teacher when I was singing and my speech was much better and my speaking voice was much nicer.

    I am just starting the Dedicant's Path in ADF. Druidry is very new to me although I read about it, I haven't ever met a Druid. It may be silly of me to say this, being I have only just started, but I want to start a grove here. As far as I know there are no groves in Hawaii. I will do the clergy path. At least that is my plan now. About 3/4 of the members of the ADF are also Wiccan. Is it a "neo-pagan" thing? I am a solitary Wiccan too, just starting out. Like everything else...

    Are you a member of a larger group? What is your group? Does it have a name? An organization? What is your definition of what that group is or does? What is the name of your belief system? Can you give a short definition or overview of it here?

    I am half German, and part Irish and English and Spanish... and I live in Hawaii. That is probably part of what draws me to certain paths, or certain paths are already linked in some way with my spirit and I am being drawn to them.

    Does your heritage draw you to a certain path? Does where you live invite you to worship that path?

    Do you believe anything or any power is all powerful?

    I believe love is. Maybe prayer.

    Do you believe your deity can read your mind?

    I think the jury is still out.

    Do you believe in coincidences or synchronicity? What do you think causes that?

    When I can't hear something in the spirit, like I know there is a message for me, but I can't grasp it, I google it. I keep googling till I find it. I think synchronicity is involved there somehow. Every step I take I Pray about. I borrow tons of books from the library. I pray what I should borrow. When I feel it is time to read, I ask what book to read. I often am reading part of one book, part of another, part of another and googling all at the same time, and I think there is a lot of synchronicity going on when I pray my way through out.

    Do you do anything like that? Ask about what to do next? Then next? What sort of things happen?

    Is your path casual or formal? Usual or unusual? Here and there or extremely dedicated? Do you have times where you are extremely dedicated then you walk away a bit, get perspective, then walk back extremely dedicated again? Where would you fall on a continuum of kinda following pagan ways to an extremely dedicated Pagan? Why do you think that is?

    In whatever I do I am extreme. My husband says I do "deep dives." It is my new term for understanding what I do. I just thought about selling antiques in a shop. I was told there is a space in the shop downtown for another seller, by someone who sells antiques. They say they get all of what they sell at garage sales.

    So I am doing a quick, "deep dive" into antiques, for instance. I ordered about 6 1 cent books from Amazon and when I am not doing something related to paganism, I take a break by learning about the antiques business/world. This is kinda how I operate. The antiques stuff I am barely into now, so it is an okay break.

    I am always on a deep dive. Everything I do is very dedicated. Some last 30 years like Christianity. Some a few days like the antiques. This pagan thing is a very deep dive for me.... I gave an oath to paganism. Sort of like my Christian baptism was for me. I will always worship the old gods. I feel I fulfilled my duty of my Christian baptism and I am free of it. I lived as "sinless" a life as humanly possible. I expect this deep dive to last the rest of my life. My religion is always a very deep dive for me. My religion is the most important thing in my life. It is my number one priority. There are times I take a step back and look at it from a new perspective and chill, then I pick it up in a new way and dive some more.

    Do you do anything like that? How important to you is your religion or beliefs or faith? Do you bounce around or stick with one thing? Are you just starting out? How long have you been on this path? Do you expect to stay on it?

    What do you think of New Age stuff? My guess is that most pagans don't like it from something I read. What do you think is New Age? What makes it qualify as New Age to you? Do you think there are any similarities? What are the main differences?

    I became a pagan and a new ager at the same time, so it is all meshed together for me. I can easily walk in both circles I think. I think there is a lot of crossover.

    Is your family pagan? Do you belong to a pagan community where you live? Do you have pagan friends? How much support do you have? Do you belong to a certain pagan religion? Do they worship together or support you? How?

    I live with my husband and grown son. My husband is an atheist but is supportive of me up to a point. My son says he is agnostic, but I believe he is straight up atheist because I never see him wonder if anything besides atheist beliefs are possible. My other son is Mormon. My daughter just became a Christian. My other son has a tatoo of Odin riding sleipner on his back and three interlocking triangles on his chest, but keeps his beliefs to himself.

    I don't know any pagans. Or new agers for that matter.... what support I have I mostly get from my therapist, believe it or not. She gives me pagan books. I am looking all over for a book she gave me by a high priestess. I can't find it anywhere. If you want, you can pray i find it. It is very important to me. She encourages me to listen to my spirit guides, and to go on journeys. Someday I will ask her what her beliefs are, but not now. It isn't the right time I think. She wears evil eye jewelry.

    What is the best way to find support? If you moved to a completely new place and knew no one, how would you go about meeting someone with your beliefs? What if it was a rural area full of Christians? There might be a bookstore in a town near here. I remember when I was a Christian, seeing a bookstore with "weird" books in it and thinking, "I won't be going back there." I need to check that out. That is my only lead right now. They might be just what I am looking for.

    I am trying to find online communities that are worth spending my time getting to know. Do you know any good online communities besides this one that are active and vibrant and have nice folks in them that you would recommend? They can be overall pagan or anything specific like any particular religious organization, or any type of pagan practice...

    How important are the Holidays to you? The Wheel of Life? Do you always, sometimes or never celebrate them? Do you celebrate as a group or on your own? What type of things do you do that is your tradition? What other traditions do you keep?

    Are you a "traditional" pagan or do you follow a lot of your own ways that are very different? On a continuum from very traditional pagan (I know, whatever that is to you) to a very different kind of pagan where are you?

    How may god/dessess do you worship as a regular practice? How many others do you worship or work with as part of your practices? Do they come and go? Are there some practices you do with your god/desses you do on a regular basis?

    Do you ever worship as a group with other pagans? What is that like? Do you feel their presence?

    Do you think they are speaking to you in some way?

    Do you make your living as a pagan, by doing your practice? What do you do? Is it by doing something creative? Is it by helping others? Is it by providing a service for pagans? How did you start? Is it a tough road for you? Do you do a hobby that accomplishes these things or something that serves your community?

    Are you a religious leader or a leader in your path or community? How did you prepare for your position? Did you "feel a call?" Did you just fill a vacuum or vacancy or fall into it, or did you purpose to be that thing and train for it? What is your training and how did you train or learn what you neede to know?

    I have always been close to the leader of whatever I have done playing a very supportive role. I have a desire to be in leadership. Right now I feel I am in training. I always have been in training in one way or another, but I am the newbie as far as paganism goes. I don't expect to jump right into anything, but I don't know if paganism has really taken hold here in any way yet. I might be the blind one leading the blind.

    What basic things do I need to know about pagan leadership as opposed to other types of leadership? What qualities are respected in pagan leaders that other leadership areas do not necessarily cover or entail? What do you look for in a leader? What do you appreciate in your leaders of your paths or religions or practices?

    What things should I focus on as a new pagan? I think I know the basics, I mean beyond the basics? What qualities are essential in a "good" pagan? What knowledge is essential to a growing pagan? What are recommended websites? Books? Podcasts? Etc. Groups online that would really help a new pagan grow? Grow their practices?

    What do you consider an "advanced" pagan life to look like (for lack of a better word) I mean not a newbie? I know there are as many paths as pagans so this might be an impossible question... but what would make you think... Wow... s/he is really dedicated?

    What would make you think they are a "good" pagan? What would make you think I wish my pagan life were more like that? What would you think is your own ideal for your life? Are you living it? What would help you get there? What stands in your way? Do you care or is the whole thing completely off your radar?

    What do you wish you could do differently if you had to start over as a newbie? Would you skip something you got into? Would you do it all over again? Was everything a learning experience or did something just waste your time completely?

    What do you hate that newbies do?!

    Hopefully a few people will answer. I think it would help us newbies out a lot! Especially those coming from totally different belief systems like Christianity.

    Any comments are really appreciated!

    Love and thanks for listening and /or taking part in this thread.

    Immortal
    Pagan/New Age Shaman wannabe, baby Druid, studying Wicca. I want to be an Interfaith Minister. I have been a Christian, a baby Buddhist and an atheist (kind of).

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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?n

    Reply to my own post I just posted

    What kind of healers does the pagan community have?

    Thanks. Immortal
    Pagan/New Age Shaman wannabe, baby Druid, studying Wicca. I want to be an Interfaith Minister. I have been a Christian, a baby Buddhist and an atheist (kind of).

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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?n

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    Being that there are as many paths as there are pagans, I want to ask some more questions. Feel free to answer or not. Or answer one or two or just make a comment on anything you would like to.
    Hi -

    Just so you're aware, the questions being buried like this makes them really hard to spot, and there are quite a number of questions, many of which may take people a while to answer. (And the thread title is not going to make people think there are a much wider variety of questions inside)

    You might get better responses if you can break down the questions into a few different threads or posts (for example, maybe a set of questions about people's practices, one about whether people do things on their own or with others, or how.) But the current formatting's rather overwhelming, even if people might want to answer. (and especially at a time of year when people are sometimes more busy with other commitments / etc.)

    I'll also say that there are various other threads on many of the topics you're asking about on the forum, so if you're looking for 'varieties of how other people do these things' you might want to browse through older threads or try some searches on specific words or terms, and see what comes up. You can certainly ask people now too! Just, it's an option if you'd like more variations to look at.
    Last edited by Jenett; 15 Dec 2016 at 09:27 AM. Reason: Added sentence about thread title
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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?n

    Quote Originally Posted by Jenett View Post
    You might get better responses if you can break down the questions into a few different threads or posts (for example, maybe a set of questions about people's practices, one about whether people do things on their own or with others, or how.) But the current formatting's rather overwhelming, even if people might want to answer. (and especially at a time of year when people are sometimes more busy with other commitments / etc.)
    Actually, thinking about this a little more with my staff hat on - one of the things on my list of useful things for the Beginner forums has been putting together some threads where people can contribute to questions about practices and how they do things, that we can then pin and more easily reference. I have some ideas about how to do this, but I'll start a new thread about how that might work (given how my work day is going, probably this evening), and many of your questions might fit better into some of those.
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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    What are the fundamentals of the concept of god/dess as it relates to your relationship to your gods and goddesses?
    I am functionally and philosophically polytheistic in my worldview: I believe there are many deities, with a wide variety of interests, goals, origins, and powers.

    I also believe there are beings that are not human who are around: elementals, elemental rulers, guardians of the quarters and other similar roles, fae of many kinds, spirits of place, etc. etc. etc.

    I more or less believe that there is some greater divine force out there from which everything else comes, but it's a purely philosophical curiousity, and has no actual bearing on my practices other than being there (It's like saying I'm part of the universe. I am, but other than the universe existing, I am way more connected and concerned with stuff on this planet, and a tiny subset of stuff on this planet, and what's going on across the universe is way out of my scope of understanding.)

    I have a variety of deity relationships, but they mostly come out to:
    - Two deities of British origin (decidedly not Celtic) who I do not have names for that match up with historical record (I have usenames for them). These are my primary personal deity work. More about this in the next question.

    - An ongoing interest in Seshat, and I keep poking at ways to integrate her into my personal practice.

    - Two deities who are part of my tradition's practices for specific rituals, but since I'm not doing rituals in the tradition's mode in that way much at the moment, and haven't for about 6 years, this is currently in hiatus. (It's mostly relevant for group work in the tradition.)

    - Working relationships or series of interactions with a variety of other deities on a more or less specialist basis over the years.

    - "Hi, nice to be in the same ritual with you" experiences with probably a couple of dozen deities at this point.

    The one amusing and also interesting one is that every time I've been in a ritual focused on Brigid, her reaction has basically been "Hi, you are so totally not mine to talk to." (This has been consistent across at least half a dozen different sets of ritual practices, including at least three rituals which involved Drawing Down. My favourite ritual comment from one of those was her going "My, you're short." Which I am, but is not usually relevant in ritual.)

    What do your gods and godesses expect from you?
    M'Lady's explicit comment to me is "Reach out to those who thirst" with an explicit twist of 'knowledge/information/understanding' on the 'thirst'. I'm a librarian by profession and vocation, so this is not actually a terribly hard thing for me to do.

    It does mean that I treat my professional work partly as a religious vocation, and try to provide the best service I can to the people I help, not just what they're immediately asking, but when possible and sensible, ways to learn how to expand their knowledge in other ways. It's also a big part of why I have the Seeking site, and spend time maintaining it.

    What do you do for your god/desses and what do they do for you?
    I normally identify the relationship I have with her as 'handmaiden' in a fairly literal sense: I do things in the world she can't do easily (because I have physical hands, and a knowledge of technology, and so on.) A lot of the time, what she wants me to do is 'make knowledge available' which is obviously a big part of my day to day life. Sometimes I'll get a nudge to reply to something specific on this forum, or write something specific that comes from her, but that's maybe once a month, and often less frequent.

    In general, I often feel her general existence, but it's more 'longtime friend I rarely see or talk to frequently, but I know I can check in at any time'

    Himself, I'm his because I'm M'Lady's. I like interacting with him in ritual, but he doesn't ask much of me.

    Other deity interactions are a lot more contractual, either "You are a deity who cares about this thing, I have this question, here is an offering." or "I would like to work on this thing, here are some offerings, can we negotiate this?"

    In terms of what they've done for me: that's a bit like saying "What have your friends done for you?" Which yes, they do, but that's not the point, especially with M'Lady and Himself.

    I have had several major moves over the past decade and a bit, both personal life and physically, including two significant job hunts: I am quite convinced M'Lady helped ease the way so that each of those could work out as well as possible given various limiting factors. (There are lots of libraries, but most of them are not going to have openings, or openings for things I'm good at and want to do at a given time and there are *tons* of applicants for most open positions, many of whom are also awesome librarians and well-qualified.)

    What are the ways in which you worship? serve your god/desses?
    - Formal ritual (though the ritual is usually not solely about worship, but about seasonal ritual acts, divination, magic, etc. to which deities are invited, but worshipping the deities is not the whole thing going.)

    - Doing their work in the world. See above.

    - I mostly don't do Obvious Devotional Acts with one exception (below). I've occaisionally worn jewelry dedicated to M'Lady, but haven't done that in a while.

    My exception is that my toenails are always painted blue (some shade darker than a mid-royal, almost always.) I started doing this in 2002, so I've been doing it for approaching 15 years. It's my personal reminder of my dedication and her role in my life, while being something that is easily hidden in professional settings, not a big deal if someone sees it, and also something I see regularly (which might not be the case with a tattoo in many locations, for example.)

    I don't only want to know the basics, but include those and what a more advanced path would entail.
    When it comes to the interactions with a deity themselves, I don't believe that there's a 'more advanced' path, so much as 'more committed'. Someone who has an occasional context-based interaction with a deity is going to have a different interaction with them than someone who is a sworn priest/ess of that deity.

    (Just as my relationship with my doctor is different than my relationship with a friend of 20 years, or if I were married or romantically involved, my partner. All of those relationships are potentially really good things, but they're not the same kind of relationship. One is not more 'advanced' than the others. Just different.)

    However, the *methods* used to interact with a deity may be more complex or require specific advanced skills. For example, Drawing Down (where a deity speaks through a priest/ess to others) is a complex ritual process with some risks, and usually it's not worth doing (and much easier to abuse) outside of a group setting with some careful planning and consideration. However, that's not the only (and often not the most useful) way to interact with deity, and it's not necessary for meaningful deity relationships.
    Limen: Thoughts from a Threshold (my blog) :: http://gleewood.org/threshold
    Seeking (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism) :: http://gleewood.org/seeking

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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?n

    Quote Originally Posted by Immortal View Post
    Being that there are as many paths as there are pagans, I want to ask some more questions. Feel free to answer or not. Or answer one or two or just make a comment on anything you would like to.
    This is so huge it is basically unapproachable. I'm going to pick out a couple of things to respond to, but I suspect that its sheer scattershot massiveness will rather limit the potential for people to say anything useful.

    What temperaments have the range of beings existing in your version of the Cosmos have?
    People are people regardless of whether or not they have bodies. Expecting everyone out there to be benevolent and have one's best interests at heart is naive.

    About 3/4 of the members of the ADF are also Wiccan. Is it a "neo-pagan" thing? I am a solitary Wiccan too, just starting out. Like everything else...
    Neopaganism is large, it contains multitudes.

    http://sunsinherbranches.net/wp-cont...l-Soup-v.5.png is a chart I made; neopagan religions are in pale blue. You will have to zoom.

    ADF is slightly right of the centerline, near the bottom. The various Wicca derivatives are a bit up from there and to the right. The older-school druidries which are part of the creation soup of neopaganism are the cluster of bubbles to the top right.

    Do you believe in coincidences or synchronicity? What do you think causes that?
    Humans are pattern-making creatures. The patterns may or may not be there; we are not equipped to tell that reliably.

    What do you think of New Age stuff? My guess is that most pagans don't like it from something I read. What do you think is New Age? What makes it qualify as New Age to you? Do you think there are any similarities? What are the main differences?
    The New Age movement is a sibling to neopaganism, drawing on many of the same roots. (Bottom line of the graphical chart, on the left side.)

    A recent commentary of mine on the two of them:
    http://sunsinherbranches.tumblr.com/...eciliadavidson

    What is the best way to find support? If you moved to a completely new place and knew no one, how would you go about meeting someone with your beliefs?
    I don't think finding people who share beliefs is a useful way to spend my time; beliefs are comparatively trivial. Action matters. I fully believe (ha) that an overemphasis on considering "belief" critical is one of the the things that is easiest to have go septic in a religious culture, and that the focus on belief is ongoing and toxic beyond religious culture.

    Find people who do things that are effective. What they believe doesn't matter if it doesn't come out in doing.

    What do you look for in a leader?
    I don't. Most "leaders" in paganism, in my experience, want credit to accrue to them for the mere fact that they exist and call themselves leaders, and I consider that "dead weight in the way of getting things done".

    What things should I focus on as a new pagan? I think I know the basics, I mean beyond the basics? What qualities are essential in a "good" pagan? What knowledge is essential to a growing pagan? What are recommended websites? Books? Podcasts? Etc. Groups online that would really help a new pagan grow? Grow their practices?
    None of these questions have any meaning without speaking of a specific pagan religion or context. There are no generic answers. It's like saying "I've decided to listen to music! I think I know the basics, but what should I focus on? What qualities are essential? What knowledge is essential? What should I be listening to?"

    Unless you can provide some information about what music you are exploring, I don't know whether or not to talk about showtunes, modern classical music, metal, hip-hop, hip-hop showtunes, operatic metal....

    "We have both kinds of music here! Country and Western!"

    but what would make you think... Wow... s/he is really dedicated?
    A question for you: what value is there in thinking "Wow, that person is really dedicated?"

    What do you hate that newbies do?!
    Treat "paganism" as a single religion rather than a large heap of wildly differing religions emerging from a particular sociocultural movement.
    as the water grinds the stone
    we rise and fall
    as our ashes turn to dust
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    Peaceful Awakenings: Kemetic research blog
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    Re: How does the Pagan concept of god/dess differ from the Christian concept of god?n

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkhawk View Post
    This is so huge it is basically unapproachable. I'm going to pick out a couple of things to respond to, but I suspect that its sheer scattershot massiveness will rather limit the potential for people to say anything useful.



    People are people regardless of whether or not they have bodies. Expecting everyone out there to be benevolent and have one's best interests at heart is naive.



    Neopaganism is large, it contains multitudes.

    http://sunsinherbranches.net/wp-cont...l-Soup-v.5.png is a chart I made; neopagan religions are in pale blue. You will have to zoom.

    ADF is slightly right of the centerline, near the bottom. The various Wicca derivatives are a bit up from there and to the right. The older-school druidries which are part of the creation soup of neopaganism are the cluster of bubbles to the top right.



    Humans are pattern-making creatures. The patterns may or may not be there; we are not equipped to tell that reliably.



    The New Age movement is a sibling to neopaganism, drawing on many of the same roots. (Bottom line of the graphical chart, on the left side.)

    A recent commentary of mine on the two of them:
    http://sunsinherbranches.tumblr.com/...eciliadavidson



    I don't think finding people who share beliefs is a useful way to spend my time; beliefs are comparatively trivial. Action matters. I fully believe (ha) that an overemphasis on considering "belief" critical is one of the the things that is easiest to have go septic in a religious culture, and that the focus on belief is ongoing and toxic beyond religious culture.

    Find people who do things that are effective. What they believe doesn't matter if it doesn't come out in doing.



    I don't. Most "leaders" in paganism, in my experience, want credit to accrue to them for the mere fact that they exist and call themselves leaders, and I consider that "dead weight in the way of getting things done".



    None of these questions have any meaning without speaking of a specific pagan religion or context. There are no generic answers. It's like saying "I've decided to listen to music! I think I know the basics, but what should I focus on? What qualities are essential? What knowledge is essential? What should I be listening to?"

    Unless you can provide some information about what music you are exploring, I don't know whether or not to talk about showtunes, modern classical music, metal, hip-hop, hip-hop showtunes, operatic metal....

    "We have both kinds of music here! Country and Western!"



    A question for you: what value is there in thinking "Wow, that person is really dedicated?"



    Treat "paganism" as a single religion rather than a large heap of wildly differing religions emerging from a particular sociocultural movement.
    Thank you very much Jenett and Darkhawk. Sorry if I spelled your names wrong... I am so glad you answered. I had no idea what anyone would have to say. It really helps to hear your answers!

    I have been off the forum because I have been in a great time of healing from fear of Yahweh. I have been too scared to do devotions to my deities. I did some tonight which I feel bodes well for the new year, plus I did a tarot card reading from DruidCraft tarot which spoke directly to my fear and my starting a business I am working on directly. Christianity sucks... my gods have asked me to abstain from alcohol totally and so have my spirit guides. So after New Years I am done and my atheist hubby will abstain to support me! Crazy times...

    I will definitely check out your site, Darkhawk.

    Thanks again,

    Immortal
    Pagan/New Age Shaman wannabe, baby Druid, studying Wicca. I want to be an Interfaith Minister. I have been a Christian, a baby Buddhist and an atheist (kind of).

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