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Author Topic: Hello from Pennsylvania  (Read 465 times)

antu

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Hello from Pennsylvania
« on: February 26, 2013, 02:59:35 pm »
Hello all! I'm a newbie on the forum. I'm also new to learning about paganism in all it's forms, though I've always had a deep interest in mythology and theology. I'm looking forward to exploring what everyone has to say and the conversations posted on here. I would appreciate any book recommendations, YouTube video links or... well any advice on where I can start learning more.

I haven't committed to a path just yet. My hesitation being that I'm a strict atheist. However, I do believe there are things and forces internal and external that can't be explained away and I want to deepen my understanding of them. Rational thinking has not led me to understanding them. That doesn't necessarily indicate to me that said forces are conscious. I'm not even sure human beings are conscious. Which is why I would like to burst out of logic and sense and get in touch with nature, and for the first time in a very long while, I feel myself open again to the possibility of something else.

I'm very much interested in Eastern philosophies like Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. I was raised Christian but rejected that faith over a decade ago and can't imagine ever going back. I'm currently interested in Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, and I want to find and explore even more belief systems. I'm into lucid dreaming, dreams and subconscious motives in general. Eventually I'd like to dabble in astral projection as a mental exercise. I haven't submitted to the idea of a "soul" or "spirit" but I still feel it would deepen my understanding of my own mind, which is all I'm really aiming for in everything I do.

Well, I know that was a lot to take in, but that's where I am right now and that's what led me to this forum. Thank you a ton in advance if you can recommend any next steps!

Sage

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 03:18:12 pm »
Quote from: antu;98579

I haven't committed to a path just yet. My hesitation being that I'm a strict atheist.


I was an atheist/agnostic for some of my Pagan career, and even now my polytheism is pretty skeptical. The great thing is that many forms of Paganism are orthopraxic (focused on what you do) over orthodoxic (focused on what you believe). How you experience divinity -- or whether you do at all -- is just one tiny facet of your overall religious experience. You can have a wonderfully fulfilling spiritual life without talking to a deity at all. :)

Quote
I'm very much interested in Eastern philosophies like Buddhism, Taoism and Hinduism. I was raised Christian but rejected that faith over a decade ago and can't imagine ever going back.


What denomination were you raised in? I was raised Baptist and then converted with my family to Prebyterianism in my adolescence before quitting God cold turkey. I spent a long time reading and researching, and I too was fascinated with the many religions of Asia. (Daoism is fabulous, man. :D) I've done a bit of academic study as well on Hinduism, and I definitely encourage you to keep looking at what interests you.

Quote
I'm currently interested in Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, and I want to find and explore even more belief systems.


I have some experience with eclectic and solitary Wicca -- definitely don't think of myself as a Wiccan anymore, but I did belong to a coven for about a year. Right now I'm an ADF Druid (ADF is the largest American Druid group, maybe 2000 members?) and mostly work in a Gaelic context. However, I've also had a long love affair with the Greek gods, and I have a separate fledgling Kemetic (Egyptian) practice as well. I could help point you in a few directions, if you like.
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

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antu

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 03:42:06 pm »
Quote from: Sage;98581
You can have a wonderfully fulfilling spiritual life without talking to a deity at all. :)


I feel that way as well, thank you for validating it for me :-D I feel like the ritual is important, that I need some way to connect with the unknown, even if the unknown isn't a god.


Quote from: Sage;98581
What denomination were you raised in?


I was loosely raised Catholic until I attended Catholic school from 6th-12th grade. When I was 14 I lost my faith and had to endure three more years of nuns and priests telling me what's what. I hated Christianity for a long time and enjoyed poking holes in it, but now I don't feel so resentful. I'd like to think I've matured enough to respect all beliefs. I still wouldn't go near it unless I'm attending a wedding or funeral out of respect for family. I also celebrate a secularized version of Christmas... it's really just an excuse to see my family, overeat and get/give presents.


Quote from: Sage;98581
I could help point you in a few directions, if you like.

 
That would be great! Right now I am leaning towards an eclectic/solitary approach like you mentioned... maybe not necessarily Wiccan though. I see me borrowing from a lot of different places and creating my own ways of doing things. I've read a lot about the Greek gods, I know a lot about Sumerian gods... not so much Egyptian gods, they never really interested me... I've always sort of been jealous in a weird way that they get more attention than the Sumerian gods which I know is irrational. I can't imagine I would worship either set of gods even though I find the mythology interesting. But anywho, any direction would be great... where did you begin yourself? What was it like being in a coven? I've considered seeking one out but I'm no where near ready for that, I'm just curious.

Sage

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2013, 04:48:51 pm »
Quote from: antu;98586
I feel that way as well, thank you for validating it for me :-D I feel like the ritual is important, that I need some way to connect with the unknown, even if the unknown isn't a god.


Ritual can fulfill a lot of deep and personal needs. Even though I am polytheist (more or less), I'm not really concerned about whether my gods are "really" there in some ultimately provable (scientifically or theologically) manner. It feels like They are, and my belief in Them and the rituals that spring out of that belief make me a better person. (It's a lot more relaxed than the belief of my childhood, where Jesus was a fact of the universe and any doubt on my end was because I was a bad Christian as opposed to being a perfectly normal human being.)

Quote
I was loosely raised Catholic until I attended Catholic school from 6th-12th grade. When I was 14 I lost my faith and had to endure three more years of nuns and priests telling me what's what. I hated Christianity for a long time and enjoyed poking holes in it, but now I don't feel so resentful. I'd like to think I've matured enough to respect all beliefs. I still wouldn't go near it unless I'm attending a wedding or funeral out of respect for family. I also celebrate a secularized version of Christmas... it's really just an excuse to see my family, overeat and get/give presents.


Sounds like we've been on similar tracks. I was about 14 when I started my slide away from Christianity (thanks in part to my Mormon friend trying to convert me). I still grapple with resentment and pain towards Christianity, to be honest. It wasn't until college that I met Christians who weren't like most of my family and neighbors, and by then I had almost two decades' exposure to racist and homophobic
Christianity to contend with. It's a process and hard to work through.
 
Quote
That would be great! Right now I am leaning towards an eclectic/solitary approach like you mentioned... maybe not necessarily Wiccan though. I see me borrowing from a lot of different places and creating my own ways of doing things. I've read a lot about the Greek gods, I know a lot about Sumerian gods... not so much Egyptian gods, they never really interested me... I've always sort of been jealous in a weird way that they get more attention than the Sumerian gods which I know is irrational.


Sometimes there's mention of the "big four" cultures that get most of the attention from modern Pagan and reconstructionist folks -- Celtic (usually Gaelic or Welsh), Greek, Norse, and Egyptian. There are definitely other people interested in less popular cultures. (We've had a few Mesoamerican polytheists here on TC, and I know that there's been mention of working with Sumerian, Babylonian, Canaanite, and other such deities. Sadly I don't know too much about that myself!) Learn more about what you like, ignore what you don't.

Quote
I can't imagine I would worship either set of gods even though I find the mythology interesting.


There's a lot you can learn within the framework of a particular culture's mythology even if you don't necessarily believe in the gods. And there are many ways to interact with the gods that aren't worship. For example, let's say someone believes in the gods as archetypes -- really complex and important symbols, but not literal beings who act and move in the world. That person could still have a daily ritual geared toward Aphrodite (or Freya, or Astarte, or insert-goddess-here) that focuses on beauty and love. A meditation on or prayer to this goddess can be a way of focusing the mind on one of Her attributes and manifesting it into your life. Studying Her mythology can help draw parallels to your stories and challenges and can give you another perspective for understanding and appreciating life.

Quote
But anywho, any direction would be great... where did you begin yourself? What was it like being in a coven? I've considered seeking one out but I'm no where near ready for that, I'm just curious.

 
Iiiiiii had really bad experiences with most of the Pagan groups I've belonged to. To put it delicately, two of them -- a college group, and the aforementioned coven -- I belonged to more because they were there and available, not because they were particularly. Uh. Good. *cough* I would wholeheartedly suggest that you put quality over speed when it comes to exploring spiritual groups. And sometimes, it's more important to find folks who share your approach to religion rather than your actual religion itself.

To put it in a more blunt way: I've run into a lot of Pagans who were really mystic and "woowoo" about their faith, not really interested in critical thinking or perspective, and who really didn't jive with my own religious experience. TC right here is 99% of my religious community these days, and it's a debate and discussion board, not a fellowship one!

Make sure to do your research beforehand. And if, for example, you wander into a Wiccan coven with more historical background on the religion than the High Priestess in charge, yoooou might want to reconsider your choices. (Not that that's happened to me at all, ever. :whis:)
Maker, though the darkness comes upon me,
I shall embrace the light. I shall weather the storm.
I shall endure.
What you have created, no one can tear asunder.

-Canticle of Trials 1:10

Sage and Starshine (my spiritual blog): last updated 2/25.
Friday Otherfaith Blogging: last updated 2/27
Join the Emboatening Crew over on Kiva! Emboatening the boatless since Opet 2013.

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2013, 05:49:21 pm »
Quote from: antu;98579
Hello all! I'm a newbie on the forum.

Welcome to TC!
Randall
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Hyacinth Belle

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2013, 06:51:50 pm »
Quote from: antu;98579
Well, I know that was a lot to take in, but that's where I am right now and that's what led me to this forum. Thank you a ton in advance if you can recommend any next steps!

 
Welcome to TC! :)

What part of PA are you from? I'm from Lancaster County, currently living in Montgomery County.
"Silent and thoughtful a prince\'s son should be / and bold in fighting; / cheerful and merry every man should be / until he waits for death." ~ Havamal, stanza 15

antu

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2013, 07:48:33 pm »
Quote from: Hyacinth Belle;98620
Welcome to TC! :)

What part of PA are you from? I'm from Lancaster County, currently living in Montgomery County.

 
I'm in Bucks County :)

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2013, 08:20:53 pm »
Quote from: antu;98579
Hello all! I'm a newbie on the forum. I'm also new to learning about paganism in all it's forms, though I've always had a deep interest in mythology and theology. I'm looking forward to exploring what everyone has to say and the conversations posted on here. I would appreciate any book recommendations, YouTube video links or... well any advice on where I can start learning more.

 

Welcome. :)

Myrth

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Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2013, 08:58:43 pm »
Quote from: antu;98626
I'm in Bucks County :)

There's some beautiful countryside in that area.

Welcome!

Dark Waters

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Re: Hello from Pennsylvania
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 12:12:19 am »
Quote from: antu;98579
Hello all! I'm a newbie on the forum. I'm also new to learning about paganism in all it's forms, though I've always had a deep interest in mythology and theology.

 
Welcome, and I hope you find what you are looking for here.
I\'m living in the Shadows and the Night, wrapped in warm darkness, safe and sure.
My Path shines by the Moon\'s fragile light, it frees my Mind and keeps my Heart pure.

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