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Author Topic: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities  (Read 16480 times)

Raven Rose

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2012, 01:00:18 pm »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
Hi all,

I really need to post here more, I've just been a little busy lately. Any way, I might as well jump in my question. I have been somewhere between an atheist and agnostic for the past few years now. I'm very skeptical on sunjects like gods, the paranormal, etc. To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learing. Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities? Deos anyone share these beliefs? Also, if I didn't believe in any deities, would that simply make it a philosophy?

For years I was a pagan that didn't follow any deities. I preferred to view the Divine as universal energy. I have a few deities now, not that I wanted any, but they came and I listened. I'm certainly not going to ignore them :)

SkylarB

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #16 on: October 16, 2012, 01:12:32 am »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
Hi all,

To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learning. Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities? Does anyone share these beliefs? Also, if I didn't believe in any deities, would that simply make it philosophy?

 
I struggled with this same issue for many years, and one of the reasons I took many years "off" from following Wicca after I first found it when I was a teenager.  I had a hard time believing that the Goddesses and Gods were real. After a lot of soul serching I figured out what I believed, wrote it down, and Iv'e found that to be very helpful. I realized that I believe in an energy that flows around and in us and everything on and in the universe. I view a piece of that energy, all the feminine "stuff" to be the Goddess. All all the male "stuff" to be the God. And then I can work with a specific Goddess/God when I want to work with specific aspects of those energies. (It's hard for me to explain!) So, the Source is energy that doesn't think or feel on it's own, but it is attracted to like energy. It is able to "morph" itself, for lack of better word, to create the Goddesses and  Gods, with each one having a different combination of that main source of energy. And Source uses these Goddesses and Gods to communicate with us, when we are in the right frame of mind (grounded, centered, meditating, dreaming, open, aware...) Because on it's own, it can't.  So I don't view Deity as people in robes up in heaven watching us and whispering secrets in our ears, but as a specific formula of the energy all around and in us, that has been around since the beginning of time, can cross over between worlds, etc...

Also, I think that a lot of people that practice some sort of Paganism without honoring Deity, which is oftentimes that they are only doing spells and energy work and celebrating the seasons, simply call themselves a witch. At least that's what I've noticed. Of course, nothing is set in stone when it comes to Paganism!
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Frostfire

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2012, 10:45:57 am »
Quote from: SkylarB;76772
I struggled with this same issue for many years, and one of the reasons I took many years "off" from following Wicca after I first found it when I was a teenager.  I had a hard time believing that the Goddesses and Gods were real. After a lot of soul serching I figured out what I believed, wrote it down, and Iv'e found that to be very helpful. I realized that I believe in an energy that flows around and in us and everything on and in the universe. I view a piece of that energy, all the feminine "stuff" to be the Goddess. All all the male "stuff" to be the God. And then I can work with a specific Goddess/God when I want to work with specific aspects of those energies. (It's hard for me to explain!) So, the Source is energy that doesn't think or feel on it's own, but it is attracted to like energy. It is able to "morph" itself, for lack of better word, to create the Goddesses and  Gods, with each one having a different combination of that main source of energy. And Source uses these Goddesses and Gods to communicate with us, when we are in the right frame of mind (grounded, centered, meditating, dreaming, open, aware...) Because on it's own, it can't.  So I don't view Deity as people in robes up in heaven watching us and whispering secrets in our ears, but as a specific formula of the energy all around and in us, that has been around since the beginning of time, can cross over between worlds, etc...

Also, I think that a lot of people that practice some sort of Paganism without honoring Deity, which is oftentimes that they are only doing spells and energy work and celebrating the seasons, simply call themselves a witch. At least that's what I've noticed. Of course, nothing is set in stone when it comes to Paganism!

 
I have considered myself pagan for as long as I can remember, I don't worship a god or goddess, I simply revere all that is. When I look at most religions and even most sciences they speak to me  on a central theme of existance spawning from a shared source be it the big bang or an omnipotent force bringing it into being. There is a , to me, undeniable connection between all things, a shared force that ebbs and flows, I hold the elements and life around me as sacred in that they hold the same spark of creation that I do. I do believe in dieties, I've even had several encounters with some. I just don't feel the need to worship them to feel complete.

 I tend to think that we are all spawned from one greater whole, like flakes of stone chipped off of a larger boulder or that we are all thoughts in the universal mind. Dieties are just larger peices of the whole, concepts or personifications of a nature, concept or energy that has some measure of purpose or awareness? I'm not sure really.  I don't have a specific name for what  I am, I just consider myself pagan, when asked what I  am, I tend to call myself a witch like you said. I even practice with a coven of witches of mixed  backgrounds ( a druid, a wiccan, etc )

In the end I dont think there are really any prerequesites to being pagan, if you consider youself one, you probably are.

itsrelly

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2014, 11:48:39 am »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
Hi all,

I really need to post here more, I've just been a little busy lately. Any way, I might as well jump in my question. I have been somewhere between an atheist and agnostic for the past few years now. I'm very skeptical on sunjects like gods, the paranormal, etc. To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learing. Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities? Deos anyone share these beliefs? Also, if I didn't believe in any deities, would that simply make it a philosophy?

 
I posted something very similar two weeks ago on the Paganism for Beginners board. It's called "Paganism with No Deities" and should be the first post. Have a look at some of the answers there and some of my thought process throughout the thread. Something may help you out. :)
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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2014, 04:02:32 pm »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities?

 
To me, Paganism is an approach that has more to do with a spiritual focus on one's surroundings and/or habitat. One can very easily be Pagan and not believe in any gods or goddesses; the main thrust is viewing the world around us as something sacred or spiritual. This is usually taken to mean nature or the earth--hence Pagan often being described simply as any "Earth-centred" religion. But I personally take it as broader than that--a city can have its own spiritual rhythms and cycles just as much as the natural world.

More to the point, non-theistic standpoints are not uncommon in Neopaganism. A kind of soft polytheism that viewed the gods as archetypes and thoughtforms, given a kind of independent power by mankind's collective unconscious, was a very common attitude when Neopaganism "came of age" in the 1960s and 1970s.

And that's not even touching on pantheism, which is pretty ubiquitous.

Demeter Hedgewitch

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2014, 10:33:21 am »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
Hi all,

I really need to post here more, I've just been a little busy lately. Any way, I might as well jump in my question. I have been somewhere between an atheist and agnostic for the past few years now. I'm very skeptical on sunjects like gods, the paranormal, etc. To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learing. Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities? Deos anyone share these beliefs? Also, if I didn't believe in any deities, would that simply make it a philosophy?

 
I think you can be a pagan without believing in the gods. I personally believe in the gods, but in a different way. I believe that their mythological entities and that's pretty much it.

a.walker.abroad

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2014, 09:23:21 am »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learing.

 
Bit late to reply, but it might help.  I'm an animist and pantheist.  So really basic, the universe is divine, so everything in the universe, as a part of it is divine, and everything has a spirit.  I do work with deities, but the way I see it, they are just spirits, like fae.  Admittedly, they are very old (most of them, anyways), very powerfull spritis, given more defined form and function by worship, but still spirits.  
If you choose to work with them, either through worship or honor, depending on your comfort with subjegation, then great.  It will certainly enrich your life and practice.  But is it necessary? No.  Animism and especially pantheism don't really require it.  But that is my view, from my own path.  Your milage may vary.;)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2014, 09:23:52 am by a.walker.abroad »

Gaudior

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2014, 11:08:35 am »
Quote from: broomstick;60948
Hi all,

I really need to post here more, I've just been a little busy lately. Any way, I might as well jump in my question. I have been somewhere between an atheist and agnostic for the past few years now. I'm very skeptical on sunjects like gods, the paranormal, etc. To be honest, I do not really believe in any Pagan deities. I don't believe in any gods/goddesses really. I don't know if this would make me a Pantheist or what, but I have been drawn to the Pagan religion for the past year but am still learing. Is it possible to be a Pagan without the belief in any deities? Deos anyone share these beliefs? Also, if I didn't believe in any deities, would that simply make it a philosophy?

 
I think it works. If I were not a polytheist, I would just be an animist (which I am now anyway). But I would just suggest, look into pantheism or animism. Have you ever heard of Naturalist Pantheism? I think that may, based on what I read here, be a good fit for you :) They are atheistic, and revere the universe.

Atehequa

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2014, 04:47:05 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;60954
Keep in mind that Paganism is not one religion; it is made up of a group of religions that may or may not have anything in common with one another.

 
Yeah that's what I was thinking, but we can't overlook those traditional Pagan beliefs of Africa, Asia, Australia, North, Central and South America. You know the indigenous non-European Pagans of the world.
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veggiewolf

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 12:59:06 pm »
Quote from: Atehequa;155038
Yeah that's what I was thinking, but we can't overlook those traditional Pagan beliefs of Africa, Asia, Australia, North, Central and South America. You know the indigenous non-European Pagans of the world.

 
I...wasn't?  What gave you the impression I was overlooking them?
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Atehequa

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #25 on: August 09, 2014, 09:38:25 am »
Quote from: veggiewolf;155067
I...wasn't?  What gave you the impression I was overlooking them?

 
"but WE can't overlook"
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stephyjh

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #26 on: August 09, 2014, 02:58:48 pm »
Quote from: Atehequa;155236
"but WE can't overlook"


 
I think the disconnect here is that you seem to me to be agreeing with Veggie's point, while the use of "but" makes it look like you're contradicting. I think it is important to recognize that the pagan umbrella covers everything from New Age-flavored white-light witchcraft to traditional indigenous practices that have been going on longer than recorded memory. I also don't think anyone here is arguing otherwise (and if so, I'd be more than happy to poke ALL THE HOLES in the idea!). Looks like a simple crossed wire to me.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

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Atehequa

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2014, 09:06:18 am »
Quote from: stephyjh;155257
I think the disconnect here is that you seem to me to be agreeing with Veggie's point, while the use of "but" makes it look like you're contradicting. I think it is important to recognize that the pagan umbrella covers everything from New Age-flavored white-light witchcraft to traditional indigenous practices that have been going on longer than recorded memory. I also don't think anyone here is arguing otherwise (and if so, I'd be more than happy to poke ALL THE HOLES in the idea!). Looks like a simple crossed wire to me.


Crossed wires or crossing paths? :)
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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2014, 02:00:14 pm »
Quote from: Atehequa;155038
Yeah that's what I was thinking, but we can't overlook those traditional Pagan beliefs of Africa, Asia, Australia, North, Central and South America. You know the indigenous non-European Pagans of the world.

 
It is worth noting that, for many of these indigenous peoples, the word 'pagan' has been applied from outside (i.e., by Europeans or those of European ancestry) to their religions in a pejorative way, to de-legitimize their beliefs. Very often, people from these groups object strenuously when the approbative sense of 'pagan' is imposed on their religions, especially since, again, it's usually imposed by outsiders of European ancestry. So this is a place where the 'and identifies as' clause of the definition used on TC is really important.

I know you're very aware of the issues of imperialism and colonization, Atehequa, so I'm not telling you this so much as just making sure it's not overlooked. I think the point you were getting at was that it's also really important not to exclude those people from indigenous groups who practice their traditional religions and who do identify as pagan.

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stephyjh

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Re: Being a Pagan without believing in Pagan deities
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2014, 02:18:30 pm »
Quote from: SunflowerP;155309
It is worth noting that, for many of these indigenous peoples, the word 'pagan' has been applied from outside (i.e., by Europeans or those of European ancestry) to their religions in a pejorative way, to de-legitimize their beliefs. Very often, people from these groups object strenuously when the approbative sense of 'pagan' is imposed on their religions, especially since, again, it's usually imposed by outsiders of European ancestry. So this is a place where the 'and identifies as' clause of the definition used on TC is really important.

I know you're very aware of the issues of imperialism and colonization, Atehequa, so I'm not telling you this so much as just making sure it's not overlooked. I think the point you were getting at was that it's also really important not to exclude those people from indigenous groups who practice their traditional religions and who do identify as pagan.

Sunflower


My great-grandma, the Cherokee one, practiced a lot of the old Appalachian traditions. She'd talk the fire out of a burn, stuff like that. But if you tried telling her that was witchcraft/pagan/whatever, she'd make you go pick your own switch for her to beat you with.
A heretic blast has been blown in the west,
That what is no sense must be nonsense.

-Robert Burns

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