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Author Topic: Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?  (Read 1708 times)

~Fawn~

I have always been extremely drawn to pagan traditions, stories, and theology. However, when it comes down to it, my belief is that there are no personified God/esses.

My belief is in Universal source energy that comes from everywhere and shows itself in our sacred earth, moon, and sun. I believe that everything is energy and our physical bodies are a temporary division from that source energy. I believe that we call different energies "male" and "female" because that is the easiest way for many of us to grasp this concept. (Male energy being more directed and focused, shows itself in straight lines. Female energy being creative and spontaneous, shows itself in curved edges. Neither have anything to do with actual gender or sexuality.)

I believe when we thank the Goddess we are not thanking a physical woman who lives in the clouds, but rather energetic vibrations that live as both natural forces and deity. We can connect with this energy if we seek it out because everything is energy and vibration. We are not bodies with a spirit, we are a soul living a human experience. Our energy is a part of them and they are a part of us, and we are a part of each other. At the same time we are also separate. We need them to personify themselves in beings that we can relate to and give a face to so that we can speak to them like people and be open, honest, and clear.

I've been accused of being too heady. Instead of going inward and downward, grounding into the earth; I look upwards and outwards and often end up confusing myself and others. I think it has something to do with abandoning 2 decades of abusive catholic upbringing that was..abusive to say the least. I can't believe with my heart anymore if I don't pick it apart with my brain first. It also might have something to do with between my athiest boyfriend and friends and my catholic family I feel like I have to explain and know everything about something before I say I believe in it and follow it.

I like to study metaphysics and enjoy speakers/writers like Gabrielle Bernstein. However I also like to study Wicca and enjoy the works of Ann Moura and Phyllis Curott. Is there a place in the Wiccan community for a young woman who holds "May Cause Miracles" in one hand and "Witch Crafting" in another? Is there a place for a person who has symbols of the goddess representing the power in female energy, but is more likely to end a prayer or a ceremony in a simple "thanks" rather than "blessed be"? What about someone who thinks a daily yoga practice with healthy eating and honoring her body as a vessel for spirit energy is more crucial than having elaborate alters for every sabbat?(Though I do like to go out in nature and offer thanks. Last Samhain I carved a desire for inner peace on an apple and asked my guides for help, hoping I would be able to reach them do to the thinning of the veil. I buried it in the ground beneath a tree and gave thanks.) Is this allowed or common? Or is this sort of overlap generally looked down upon? Thank you :)

(Sorry about the wall of text...Kinda long)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2015, 12:37:57 am by SunflowerP »

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Re: Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 12:06:04 am »
Quote from: ~Fawn~;180833
I can't believe with my heart anymore if I don't pick it apart with my brain first. It also might have something to do with between my athiest boyfriend and friends and my catholic family I feel like I have to explain and know everything about something before I say I believe in it and follow it.

(...)

Is there a place in the Wiccan community for a young woman who holds "May Cause Miracles" in one hand and "Witch Crafting" in another? Is there a place for a person who has symbols of the goddess representing the power in female energy, but is more likely to end a prayer or a ceremony in a simple "thanks" rather than "blessed be"? What about someone who thinks a daily yoga practice with healthy eating and honoring her body as a vessel for spirit energy is more crucial than having elaborate alters for every sabbat?(Though I do like to go out in nature and offer thanks. Last Samhain I carved a desire for inner peace on an apple and asked my guides for help, hoping I would be able to reach them do to the thinning of the veil. I buried it in the ground beneath a tree and gave thanks.) Is this allowed or common? Or is this sort of overlap generally looked down upon? Thank you :)


Neo-Wicca influence, as well as Hinduism via Theosophy, and American Neo-Shamanism seems to all be very common and accepted in the New Age movement. On the one hand, use of a word determines its meaning more than meaning (as in a given definition) determines the usage. On the other hand, the reason I keep using Neo-Wicca is because of initiatory Wiccan lineages for whom the word loses a useful distinction in this space. Ultimately what you name yourself is up to you, no matter how influenced that would be by your family, friends, boyfriend, or internet acquaintances (although it can depend on who you hang out with. I describe the incorporeal folk I interact with as "imaginary friends" to my friends and therapist, "guisers" to myself, and "spirit guides / unworshipped gods" in spaces where the former would be offensive and the latter would be unintelligible.) Your experiences with terms also determine the meaning, as much as how people react when you use the term (which is part of the experience.) But New Age hippie comes off to me as your style, take or leave that however you will! :p

Eventually I just threw up my hands and started my own thing, acknowledging the influences and citing sources where I could...but renaming features of the underlying philosophy as my own.
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Re: Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 12:41:28 am »
Quote from: ~Fawn~;180833
(Sorry about the wall of text...Kinda long)

 
A Reminder:
Hi, ~Fawn~,

We don't mind long posts here, but to avoid the unreadable wall-o'-text, hitting "enter" twice every few lines adds some white space and makes it easier to follow - I've edited yours to add those breaks (several were places where it looked like you'd intended a break, but because you only hit "enter" once, they were just line breaks and didn't have white space), but it's a really good habit to get into yourself.

They don't have to be the "proper" place for paragraph breaks (we're interested in readability more than technicalities), or a complete change of thought - some thoughts take a lot of lines and need to be broken up into sub-thoughts (as I did with your long set of 'I believe' sentences) - as long as they're there.

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Re: Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2015, 08:05:07 am »
Quote from: ~Fawn~;180833
I have always been extremely drawn to pagan traditions, stories, and theology. However, when it comes down to it, my belief is that there are no personified God/esses.

My belief is in Universal source energy that comes from everywhere and shows itself in our sacred earth, moon, and sun. I believe that everything is energy and our physical bodies are a temporary division from that source energy. I believe that we call different energies "male" and "female" because that is the easiest way for many of us to grasp this concept. (Male energy being more directed and focused, shows itself in straight lines. Female energy being creative and spontaneous, shows itself in curved edges. Neither have anything to do with actual gender or sexuality.)

Most Pagan religions (including many forms of Wicca) are orthopraxic not orthodoxic. This mean that instead of "correct religious beliefs" (orthodoxy) mattering most, "correct religious practices" (orthopraxy) matter most. This means that so long as you are doing the correct rituals and the like, you are following the religion correctly even if you beliefs about the deities and/or their myths are different from others in the religion. This is very different from what most people are used to as in the world's two largest religions (Christianity and Islam) holding the "correct beliefs" about deity is of paramount importance.
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Re: Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2015, 10:47:07 am »
Quote from: ~Fawn~;180833
I have always been extremely drawn to pagan traditions, stories, and theology. However, when it comes down to it, my belief is that there are no personified God/esses.


So, there's two things here: terms that will help you find other materials that you will find useful, and how what you call yourself will be read by other people.

People use the term Wicca and Wiccan in a variety of ways, and some of them are *way* more confusing to other people than others. I have an essay on my Seeking website that lays out some groups of definitions you might find helpful - it's at http://gleewood.org/seeking/basics/range-of-uses/ (and you might also find http://gleewood.org/seeking/basics/wicca-can-be-anything-right/ useful, though I'm going to talk about bits of what's in there below too.)

For people who use a traditional definition of Wicca, no, you're not Wiccan, and it's not a very useful term for you to use: traditional definitions of Wicca include shared religious mysteries and experience (initiation, ritual structure and language, format, etc.) that relate to a specific pair of deities.

(Their names are private within their traditions, so you see them referred to as the Lady and the Lord or Goddess and God in public, but they are distinct individual beings with their own names, personalities, desires, sexual orientations and preferences, etc. Like if I refer to "my boss" to a friend, I may not mention my boss's name, but that doesn't make her not a distinct individual.)

Likewise, a number of traditional Wiccan practices can be done if you don't believe in personified deity, but they don't make a lot of sense if that's the case. (This includes aspects of the ritual setup, things like the Great Rite, Drawing Down, and so on.)

For people who use a broader definition - maybe you fit in there. But if you say you're Wiccan, people will usually assume your practices assume there are individual deities, that you include some kinds of ritual structures, and so on.)

So, what are some alternate terms? Religious witchcraft is a really good one: it's a broad term that includes Wicca, but also includes other lines of practice, and using it will generally signal to people that you're familiar with/borrow from public materials about Wicca, but also other sources, unless and until you get more detailed. So it gives them a general region on the map, without implying a more specific place that isn't actually accurate for you.

I am a priestess and initiate in an initiatory religious witchcraft tradition, and a lot of what we do looks an awful lot like traditional Wiccan practice - but I refer to what I do as initiatory religious witchcraft because we're honouring and working with different deities, we focus on different kinds of core mysteries (transformation rather than cyclical development/fertility: this sounds like it's a minor thing, but it isn't, really) and because we're not connected to the same initiatory current as trad Wiccans are.

People generally aren't confused when I say it if they're familiar with Paganism, if they aren't, I usually go for "Pagan, and Wicca's a close cousin, if you know a little about that."

Anyway, the other thing this does is potentially give you some other resources to look at. One you might want to investigate if you haven't is Reclaiming: the book _Twelve Wild Swans_ by Starhawk and Hilary Valentine might be particularly up your alley in terms of practices you'd find interesting, but there are also week-long camps, workshops, and sometimes groups, and you might find inspiration there.

Now, the one complication about using a more general label is that it generally means more research on your end. For example, a specific tradition or focused path (like traditional Wicca) is going to have specific practices, but over time, they'll also have developed techniques to make those practices work better (and sometimes be safer, have fewer unpleasant or unwanted consequences, etc.)

When you're working on your own, and especially if you're borrowing from multiple different sources, it can be easy to miss those things, because you don't know yet that you need them. Taking things slowly, learning to understand why a given practice is done a certain way before you try it, trying pieces of something before doing something more complicated, etc. can all help. (As can asking people for ideas on a forum like this..)
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Re: Can I be a Wiccan and not exactly believe in the God and Goddess?
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 06:25:36 am »
Quote from: RandallS;180844
Most Pagan religions (including many forms of Wicca) are orthopraxic not orthodoxic. This mean that instead of "correct religious beliefs" (orthodoxy) mattering most, "correct religious practices" (orthopraxy) matter most. This means that so long as you are doing the correct rituals and the like, you are following the religion correctly even if you beliefs about the deities and/or their myths are different from others in the religion. This is very different from what most people are used to as in the world's two largest religions (Christianity and Islam) holding the "correct beliefs" about deity is of paramount importance.

This right here. On top of this, your beliefs to me come off as monist, and Gardner himself seemed to be a monist with his belief in a "prime mover" of all things who is not worshiped. I think this could be imperative in your decision to practice Wicca or not.

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