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Author Topic: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?  (Read 1667 times)

Altair

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2019, 06:53:36 am »
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)


So in a way, The Cauldron was your gateway (or part of your gateway) into paganism. How cool!
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

Zlote Jablko

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2019, 11:24:16 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.

Honestly, it was probably runes. I remember hearing about them from fantasy books and getting an academic book on them from the library. Something kind of clicked. If you want to go back farther, then I was. Already a mythology lover back in preschool thanks to my mother.

I don’t follow Norse paganism, but it got me started on the idea that it was ok to explore mysticism or spirituality based on pre-Christian lore.

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2019, 03:13:27 pm »

A Reminder:
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LadyBug

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2019, 09:32:13 pm »
So in a way, The Cauldron was your gateway (or part of your gateway) into paganism. How cool!

Yep, in-real-life family and my online family via The Cauldron are my gateway to spirituality and more :)

It's weird to me to imagine not having this place to come back to and peek in on. I don't participate in a lot of the religious discussions but the conversations therin have given me a lot to think about over my time here

Altair

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2019, 11:06:38 pm »
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.

I forgot to mention you, Sefiru, for whom this website was specifically cited as the gateway to paganism. Apologies!

What I find interesting is that, yes, some of the "gateway" things mentioned are clearly somewhat pagan-leaning (tarot, runes), so no surprise they might lead someone on such a path...but with others (birding, an interest in mythology), plenty of people have a passion for it without necessarily turning pagan. One person's gateway is another person's utterly unreligious interest.
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

ehbowen

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2019, 10:32:05 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset? ...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?

Well, I'm obviously not a pagan in belief or practice, although (more than!) a couple of folks have called me a heretic. But my gateway into discussions of paganism was the former "Religious Convictions" discussion group on the old Fidonet BBS network, circa 1992. I was still very much a doctrinaire Fundamentalist at the time (not much has changed, really!), and I got into several deeply involved discussions with local pagans who accessed Fidonet through the "Inn of the Laughing God" BBS in Houston. Then as now, I was a man of strong convictions...but I wanted to discuss from a position of knowledge and not ignorance. So, one day, using my real name and answering all of the questions honestly I formally applied for membership on the Inn of the Laughing God board. The administrator, whom I had had numerous spirited debates with, was shocked, but I promised to behave myself. He granted me member access, and for the most part I lived up to my end of the bargain.

After the BBS scene died away I didn't get back online for quite a while...I was using an Amiga, and it wasn't until 1997 or so that I finally obtained a working TCP/IP stack. I was on Usenet for a while, and had some more spirited discussions back when I thought my Girlfriend was about to make an appearance Real Soon Now...but then I dropped out of most religious and philosophical discussion. I was moderately active for a time on ExWitch, but my personal beliefs weren't really a good fit either for the Christian admins or for the practicing pagan participants. So I went dormant again.

Until early 2008. I decided that I wanted to reopen discussions and at least get some of these ideas off my chest, so I did an internet search for "pagan discussion forums". If I Remember Correctly, I went directly to the #2 search result. I was honest and up front about everything again, and while here I've tried to behave myself. At least, for the most part.

There were a couple of stretches there where I dropped out for fairly long times. It wasn't that I lost interest; it's more that I felt my God urging me to pull back and let things ripen for a while. Which may happen again. But, at least for now...pleased to meetcha!
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

arete

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2019, 10:09:50 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?
As wine matures, so did my like for pagan Gods. A long road led me to paganism. It took me more than ten years to become a pagan.  :)

EmberHearth

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2019, 12:25:48 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?

Multiple ways.

1) My parents were Catholic Charismatic, and so they believed that the more-metaphysical gifts of the Holy Spirit: speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy were alive in the world today.

2) Star Wars.  I saw all the movies in theaters (although, honestly, my first in-theater memory of Empire is vague, and I probably don't have first-hand memories of seeing A New Hope for the first time.)

In my mind, the Force became linked to the Holy Spirit, and I went looking for more.

Unlike my parent's Charismatic path, though,  I was drawn to mysticism, and comparing & contrasting the mystic paths in all world religions.

3) Tolkien.  I first read The Hobbit in Third grade, and loved the series.

Eventually, at the library, I branched out to books about Tolkien, and learned of these things called Eddas.  I looked for them in the library, but had no luck.

This might have been good, since I was devoutly Catholic and my parent's were quite conservative.

The combination led me to have several spiritual / psychic experiences throughout my childhood, mostly in the Christian context - feeling power in the Mass, for example.

I went to University, and got into a local tabletop RPG group.  One of the GMs was publicly pagan (eclectic Wiccan).  I watched him for a year, listening to him talk about energy work.

Then I asked him to teach me about energy.

He never asked me to convert.  I stayed Catholic and regularly attended Mass for another 2 or so years after that.

Eventually, I started both going to weekly mass and weekly circle.

TheGreenWizard

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2019, 03:15:59 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.
For me - and this is slightly embarrassing to say - watching Charmed, The Craft, and other shows in that vein really served as a gateway for me. Keep in mind context: for me, from birth to 10 years old, I had little former religious education (a la the Christian variety). As my family moved around the nation, the mainstay for me was Nature and exploring her beauty to satisfy my curiosity as a child, and then going to libraries, zoos, museums, and such to learn more about Nature. When we came back to Buffalo NY (where my family is from), I was forced to do religious education once a week and it honestly bored the hell out of me and made no sense whatsoever, especially with how it was taught to be THE end all be all, no exceptions.
 However, about that time, I started watching Charmed with my mom, and really got into the witchcraft aspect. It made more sense to me that there is a Goddess and God (which connects with what I knew about the natural world at the time with regards to procreation) and it made more sense to me about how there is a divine connection between the person and Divine. That show - though super flawed - was my main gateway where I then got into witchcraft in general, and slowly learned about other religious systems (both outside and inside school).

I would say what spurred me to really go in this direction were several experiences. One was with Tarot, another was an incident with spirits, and lastly my experiences with my dreams coming true. Having these experiences pushed me into thinking about exploring other traditions and seeing what I could go into.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2019, 02:16:38 am »
OP

I was always interested in mythology, and little charms/superstitions, and nature and animals, but I think what technically got me into witchcraft/paganism was Harry Potter. My mom got me Sirona Knight's The Witch and Wizard Training Guide for Christmas when I was around 11, I'm pretty sure her choice was based in it being a neat companion for Harry Potter books, and that it would be something like those Dragonology/Wizardology/etc books but aged up a bit. Though almost definitely titled to attract Harry Potter fans, it was actually more of an introductory Wicca spellbook.

From there I started doing further research on my own, buying more books, and so on, and went through various changes in beliefs before getting where I am today (witch, soft animist, polytheist, technically eclectic).

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2019, 06:20:35 pm »
I was always interested in mythology, and little charms/superstitions, and nature and animals, but I think what technically got me into witchcraft/paganism was Harry Potter. My mom got me Sirona Knight's The Witch and Wizard Training Guide for Christmas when I was around 11, I'm pretty sure her choice was based in it being a neat companion for Harry Potter books, and that it would be something like those Dragonology/Wizardology/etc books but aged up a bit. Though almost definitely titled to attract Harry Potter fans, it was actually more of an introductory Wicca spellbook.

So Harry Potter really is a gateway to witchcraft (sometimes)!

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2019, 09:12:39 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset?

I was raised strict Missouri Synod Lutheran. My folks are still very involved in the church donating a lot of their time. I was raised that if you were having problems in your life it was because you weren't praying enough. I buried myself in the bible and extensive prayer.

In 99 I ended up with Fibromyalgia in a time period where most people thought it was fake. I was in bad shape and everything the doctors told me didn't work. Finally in 2001 I quit the medication and started practicing Chi Kung. Between the meditation, stretching, breathing and energy work I was in remission a couple of months later.

It started me thinking and by the end of the year I was studying Wicca and raising circles. My journey has had its twists and turns through the years, but I am very happy with where it has taken me.

Uneryx

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2019, 11:09:42 pm »
Is there one thing that led you to paganism at the outset?

So I've been gnawing on a reply for weeks, actually. I wanted to answer truthfully but everything I came up with was either somewhat embarrassing or not entirely accurate.

After some reflection though, I'm going to have to say that it was ElfQuest. It just took me several weeks to figure it out.

I grew up reading mythology - my academic interest in myths and legends was always encouraged as a child, and I still own many of the books I read. I picked up the D'aulaires myth books, read Ovid's Metamorphosis, and pretty much any fairy tale or myth I could get my little hands on. But I also grew up in a staunchly pentecostal church and never considered that these stories might be anything other than stories. And then I read ElfQuest and wanted to learn everything I could about astral travel, magic and hidden peoples.

What happened after that is a long and kinda upsetting story that I don't particularly want to relive RN, but my parents didn't react well to it and had they not reacted like they did I might have begun exploring paganism and magic in earnest. Instead I suppressed everything I felt about the occult (and dabbled in spite of myself, feeling guilty afterward) until 2014, when I finally gave myself permission to re-read it. And once I'd done that it was like the dam burst. I started checking out Astrology again, started exploring tarot, started trying to do astral travel/lucid dreaming... little by little until I decided to just go with it and switch religions.

Guess my parents were right to be worried, but OH WELL

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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2019, 08:59:22 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?

I've found this thread very interesting because though a number of people have pinpointed one thing, there also seems to have been just as many who have listed a series of things.

I'm in the latter camp.

I'd been drawn to several things which could be viewed as 'gateway interests' since I was a small child: history, certain periods in particular, along with mythology and pre-Christian religion here in my home country of England; visiting stone circles (as well as castles, and caves); nature, green spaces, animals and conservation of the environment; the paranormal.

In my teens I researched numerous 'new age' topics in my free time including the IChing(!), numerology, palmistry, tarot, dream interpretation, past lives, and more of the paranormal.  I still remain interested in some of these, mainly the latter.

Later, in my late teens/early to mid-twenties, I investigated pantheism, Shinto, Tao and Buddism (along with Feng Shui & Reiki) but again none of these paths felt exactly the right fit for me.  I became intrigued by crystals, and this is still the case (also essential oils and, for a time, things like homeopathic medicine).

I'd also come across Wicca/witchcraft and this seemed like something I 'ought' to pursue (but because it didn't feel the right fit for me I didn't pursue it very far).

And all of this time (even as a small child) my tastes in fiction, film and other leisure pursuits -games, art, that sort of thing- ran mainly to fantasy (with a bit of sci-fi).

I'd sort of formulated my own belief system over all this time and rather come to assume that it made me a distinct misfit, without realising that there must be others out there with similar outlooks - consequently, even with the burgeoning of the internet*, it didn't occur to me to pick up my researches again until fairly recently!  Call it a spiritual doldrums.  I'm happy I've escaped that doldrums now, and the danger of re-entering it is minimal.

Plus, it turns out that it's kind of a small world and there are fellow Pagans within, or sort of within, our existing social circles which I'd not really had an inkling about before.  So my local Pagan community appears to be gradually growing, or on the verge of doing so anyway.

(*The internet had existed in my early twenties, but not in it's current form and ease of use, not by a long way!)
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Re: What Was/Is Your Gateway into Paganism?
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2019, 12:00:07 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 beginnings began young. My mom is a spiritualist. Non denominational. When I was 4 - 12 years old I would sleep walk. Several times I was found outside and my mom would say 'the faeries must have wanted to play'.

I started making my own talking boards when I was twelve. Which bothered my step-father but my mother went to bat for me. So I was allowed to go down the rabbit hole.

I bought my first book, Celtic Magic by Dj Conway when I was 17 and soon after acquired Silver Ravenwolf's Raymond Buckland books. (Which are still in my bookcase today.)

I joined Witchschool back in 2004 and still take classes there to this day.

It has always been with me. It was a very fluid and natural transition. I think the fates guided me to my path.

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