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Author Topic: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?  (Read 1544 times)

Altair

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What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« on: January 06, 2019, 06:20:09 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

For me: birding. As a nature-based pagan, observing birds in the wild is my main window into the natural world. It's not the *only* one--once you start paying attention to birds, you pay attention to their habitats, ecosystems, fellow fauna and flora, the weather...and in the last 15 years, gardening has also linked me to nature. But my interest in birds is the main thing that made me realize where my spirituality lies, and birding remains the passion through which I deeply connect to nature, making me more aware of the seasons, rhythms, and wild ways of our Mother.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Goddess_Ashtara

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2019, 06:56:29 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world?



There were many things.  But these books... as a child, greatly peaked my interest in the power, beauty and mysteries of nature, the cosmos and religion.

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Aisling

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2019, 08:27:45 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more holistic practice?

For me, it was dreams that first pointed me in the direction of paganism.  Or more precisely, it was trying to understand the extremely vivid, surreal dreams that I'd been having as long as I could recall - dreams of walking down a misty path with people who had died, of interacting with shape-shifters and tricksters, and of talking to crows. These were dreams that repeated over and over throughout my childhood and teenage years. 

The dreams have dwindled to a trickle as I've delved deeper into my practice. I think that might be because they were signposts pointing me toward the actual path.

 
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MamaThistle

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2019, 12:03:15 am »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

For me: birding. As a nature-based pagan, observing birds in the wild is my main window into the natural world. It's not the *only* one--once you start paying attention to birds, you pay attention to their habitats, ecosystems, fellow fauna and flora, the weather...and in the last 15 years, gardening has also linked me to nature. But my interest in birds is the main thing that made me realize where my spirituality lies, and birding remains the passion through which I deeply connect to nature, making me more aware of the seasons, rhythms, and wild ways of our Mother.

Hmm..I think maybe a fascination with faeries? Honestly though, I don't really remember a time where I wasn't interested in something related to paganism, whether it was astrology, tarot, oracle, mythology, witchcraft, etc. It just took me a long time to make it official. I to remember that I once I decided to follow this path my first real introduction was Wicca, however, that didn't last long.

Faeries are still a large part of my beliefs and path. Seems to also connect to my mother, she isn't pagan but follows a somewhat Celtic Christian path. However, she always encouraged my "quirky" beliefs and hobbies, from faeries to tarot. Even as a Christian, I felt very connected spiritually to the world, seasons, earth, and the sky, but also I loved churches, still do. However, now I feel like I can have that connection to spirit world whenever I want and it's totally normal.  ;D
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EclecticWheel

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2019, 01:37:27 am »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

For me: birding. As a nature-based pagan, observing birds in the wild is my main window into the natural world. It's not the *only* one--once you start paying attention to birds, you pay attention to their habitats, ecosystems, fellow fauna and flora, the weather...and in the last 15 years, gardening has also linked me to nature. But my interest in birds is the main thing that made me realize where my spirituality lies, and birding remains the passion through which I deeply connect to nature, making me more aware of the seasons, rhythms, and wild ways of our Mother.

While I do not identify as a neo-pagan, I am syncretic with the movement in many respects.  If it counts as Christian, which I increasingly identify as a group of religions rather than a single religion, I am an esoteric Christian in the sense of drawing inspiration from metaphorical interpretations and fringe voices within that movement.  (I boast no claim to having been initiated into secret teachings, thus the clarification: sometimes the term "esoteric" is used in a broader sense than that.)  Neo-paganism is a major source I continue to draw on, so I can probably go ahead and respond to this thread.

My search into alternative spirituality began at the age of 14 when I developed disturbed sleeping patterns and began having extremely vivid dreams involving past lives and alternate identities.  I am not a big believer in reincarnation, but that's how I got started into my search.  Right after the vivid dreams started I departed from the fundamentalism I had been indoctrinated into.

I departed for intellectual reasons only, but it is interesting that this coincided with such vivid dreams and other very lucid experiences.  The intellectual departure had been a long time coming, but I just couldn't handle it emotionally.  But when those experiences started, that gave me the fortitude to move onward.
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Riothamus12

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2019, 02:10:09 am »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

For me: birding. As a nature-based pagan, observing birds in the wild is my main window into the natural world. It's not the *only* one--once you start paying attention to birds, you pay attention to their habitats, ecosystems, fellow fauna and flora, the weather...and in the last 15 years, gardening has also linked me to nature. But my interest in birds is the main thing that made me realize where my spirituality lies, and birding remains the passion through which I deeply connect to nature, making me more aware of the seasons, rhythms, and wild ways of our Mother.

It's very hard to say when something of this nature begins. One could point to the fact that when I was very, very young I was already a very inquisitive, curious sort. Perhaps it was the collection of Greek myths I found in a library when I was around four or five. Perhaps it was simply wanting to know where the ideas for various things I saw in pop culture, particularly monsters, various character archetypes in video games, books, and other pieces of popular culture came from. Maybe there was some instinctive adoration for ancient artwork. I don't exactly know.

One could say it was my increasingly strong fascination with human history as I grew older. Likely it was a combination of these things. It may also have been the fact that I was raised to be proud of my Celtic heritage or that Christianity as it was presented to me did not provide me with answers to the spiritual questions I sought. My father is also an astrologer who reads tarot who had a deep fascination with western esotericism, Buddhism, and Hinduism.

I do know however by the time I was fourteen I had read Silver Ravenwolf's Teen Witch and say what you will about her and I think that the disdain for her is overzealous, but it was that year that I finally converted. Admittedly I do not think she is the greatest author on pagan things nor would I consider her work a primary influence, but her work was a catalyst, a major one for me. Her work was a jumping point that led me to study authors and sources which have had a much greater influence on me whether that's Crowley, T. Thorn Coyle, Orion Foxwood, Christopher Penzcak, Starhawk, Iamblichus, Ann Moura, Victor Henry Anderson or any number of others. I began as being sort of Wiccan, but I began forming my own theology because I felt a deep philosophical divide in other places. Either way, I am still a Pagan, albeit one of my own variety.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 03:11:58 pm by SunflowerP »
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Yei

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2019, 05:02:39 am »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

An outgrowth on my studies on Mexica religion and mythology. There was no single point where I decided to 'convert' or anything. As I read more and more about rituals, theological beliefs, and metaphysics, the more it made sense.

Altair

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2019, 07:19:11 am »
An outgrowth on my studies on Mexica religion and mythology

Off topic, but this reminds me that I've been meaning to post photos from my recent trip to Mexico City from their awesome Museum of Anthropology. (I know you must have been there many times, but I figured you especially would appreciate them, Yei.)

As I mentioned elsewhere, the first time I visited that museum--35 years ago!--was the gateway that started me on a very specific and important path in my paganism: my mythmaking. So I guess it's not so off topic after all.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Altair

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2019, 07:21:46 am »


There were many things.  But these books... as a child, greatly peaked my interest in the power, beauty and mysteries of nature, the cosmos and religion.

Maybe it's me, but the type in the picture is a bit too small and fuzzy for me to make out. What are the books?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Noctua

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2019, 08:17:49 am »
Maybe it's me, but the type in the picture is a bit too small and fuzzy for me to make out. What are the books?

It's the Time-Life series Mysteries of the Unknown. Funny enough when I went home for the holidays I found those (plus the related Enchanted Worlds series) on the shelf in my old bedroom, I know they weren't mine because I didn't have them growing up.

For myself, it's hard for me to pinpoint any one thing that tipped the scales for me. I came into Paganism late, I was well into my 30's before I started calling myself Pagan. But even from a young age, I remember doing and reading a lot of things that in hindsight I go "oh, no wonder". Like the conversation I had over the holiday when I met up with my childhood best friend, and we started talking about all the fun and imaginative (and weird!) stuff we did as a kid, like creating our own stories for the She-Ra dolls which included creating them tiny spell books filled with incantations in our own invented runic alphabet. Or my habits as a child of sneaking out of the house at night just to roam the neighborhood in the moonlight, which as I got older and more mobile turned into long solo forays into the various forest preserves around my home.

Funny enough, the witchcraft craze of the mid-late 90's that served as an entrypoint to Wicca and Paganism for so many turned me off from it for a long time. When I saw several people I went to school with who were suddenly "wiccan" because they saw The Craft I couldn't take it seriously as a belief system and instinctively dismissed it. It took me almost 20 years to actually look deeper and see what was there.

Ashmire

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2019, 01:48:42 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

There were probably a number of converging things---the need for a healthier path than those previously presented by my family was one, and also a friendly ghost encounter in an old house( there are also things in my childhood prior to that occurrence that make better sense with that as a framework that I did not have at the time), and my not particularly spiritual mother inexplicably deciding to gift me with a tarot deck (unfortunately that particular one was later stolen from me) really stand out as important experiences...However what was probably the clearest real catalyst was one that most people would view as a bad reason to get involved.  Essentially as a very immature-for-my-age 20-something, I got my heart badly broken in a relationship, got a little unhinged about it and started researching love spells to get the loser back.  In the process I met several pagans who talked me out of doing that and I found something ultimately far more valuable and important to me.

Sefiru

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2019, 07:13:09 pm »
even from a young age, I remember doing and reading a lot of things that in hindsight I go "oh, no wonder".

Same here. I vaguely recall being in grade 1 or 2 and a group of friends making a game of 'worshiping' a puddle in the schoolyard. I think the most concrete jumping-off point for me was reading the Chronicles of Narnia - that's what got me into speculative fiction, and the concept that things that aren't "real" can be meaningful.

As for the 'gateway' to my current path ... it's this very website! I remember that I was still vaguely agnostic/spiritual when I found TC. The resources and discussions here really helped me pull together a coherent practice.

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2019, 09:50:03 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

I'm pretty boring, really.  A friend lent me a copy of The Truth About Witchcraft Today.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

LadyBug

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2019, 10:10:40 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? For example, did your interest start with a curiosity about tarot, and then expand into more? Were you always fascinated with ancient mythology, and that drew you in? Were you attuned to the spirit world? Do you come to your paganism through a familial lens, handed down by a parent?...

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

My gateway to paganism was a team effort done by my two most influential role models. My mum (Jubes) and Auntie Marilyn (Absent) always told me bits and parts of different myths as a child. They encouraged me finding faith in whatever felt right and they introduced me to TC to get opinions from other people (when I was finally old enough of course)

If I were to pin it on a specific moment that I was definitively made curious about paganism it would be one night I had spent at Marilyn's, we had gone for a walk to collect pussywillow branches and she taught me to give thanks and give back to the plants we harvested from (we tilled coffee grounds and egg shells into the soil near the plant's roots). At some point during the walk I asked about clover flowers and she told me that they were Faeries favourites because of their nectar (then showed me how to get a taste of course :P )

They didn't hand anything specific down, they taught me how they do things and encouraged me to do what feels right for me. Though I do leave honey offerings for house sprites when things go missing like they do/did, and I still carry a baggie of egg shell and coffee grounds for when I harvest from plants.

Aster Breo

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2019, 02:43:54 am »


Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset?

(snip)

...and whatever that gateway was, does it still serve as your primary pagan pursuit? Or has it been displaced by something else, or been subsumed into a more wholistic practice?

Interesting topic!

For me, it was my attraction to Celtic art, especially knotwork and the twisting, winding, zoomorphic designs. That led me to Celtic mythology, which led me to Celtic spirituality, which led me to Brighid.

Now, it's the other way around. My primary focus is Brighid, and, while I'm still drawn to knotwork, etc, it's now more about how the art and its symbolism relates to Her and to spirituality.

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