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Author Topic: A little help with choosing a path?  (Read 4499 times)

Noremac_143

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A little help with choosing a path?
« on: August 11, 2014, 03:42:48 pm »
I'm skirted around the pagan community for, around, the last five or six years. Ever since I left Christianity about 7 years ago, I've never been part of "specific" religion and I've been on the outskirts of quite a few different "spiritual paths". I've dabble in almost everything since then, but never really "sticking" with anything. Because of how generalized some, definitely not all, of my beliefs are, I feel like I fall into multiple different groups, while always being an outsider at the same time. Going with that, I pool from large group of ideas and ideologies, some of which I'm not sure even apply to paganism at all.

1. I am a pantheist/panentheist(depending on how you view it) and, possibly(?), a soft polytheist. I believe in the interconnectedness of the universe and that the divine insects and is part of everything. I also believe that this being is beyond the physical universe. This "thing" doesn't have a body or any remotely human qualities, but I believe that the divine may appear as it wills. This includes the deities of the various different religions. From my understanding, the divine is viewed in a way related to culture and history. In that way, I assume that I'm universalistic.

2. My beliefs in the "otherworld" is somewhere between reincarnation and the pagan views of an "afterlife". Honestly, I have my ideas, but I think your life now is more important that the possible outcomes of an afterlife.

3. Although a viable option of religious and spiritual practice for other people, I don't practice magic. The occult and magic have always been interesting to me, but I don't thank that that is something that I'm going for in my spiritual practices. With that in mind, I do find Spiritualism and communication with the dead the most interesting. Somewhat related, I don't go for spiritual healing practices either.

4. I believe in light and dark forces that are inherent in the fabric of the cosmos. Instead of polar opposites opposing each other, it's more like everything is a grey area meshed together with only the extreme edges being "truly" black and white. With that, I also believe that there are entities in the universe that wish to cause harm and help people. Not specifically like the Christian Satan, but things "somewhat" similar.

5. Because of my pan(en)theistic views I an spiritually inclined towards nature. Although I wouldn't say that I worship nature, or anything particularly for that matter, I do feel a deep reverence for and tranquility in nature.

6. In regards to the pan(en)theism, I'm not entirely sure if there are incarnations of the divine among humanity. If that happened, to me at least, the "incarnation" would represent the manifestation of the divine that is inherent in everyone and has been fully tapped into. Because of the inherent dark and light in everyone, this could range from someone extremely "good" to someone extremely "evil". To tap into oneself is to tap into the divine.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 03:43:30 pm by Noremac_143 »

katbast

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2014, 09:21:16 pm »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155405
I'm skirted around the pagan community for, around, the last five or six years. Ever since I left Christianity about 7 years ago, I've never been part of "specific" religion and I've been on the outskirts of quite a few different "spiritual paths". I've dabble in almost everything since then, but never really "sticking" with anything. Because of how generalized some, definitely not all, of my beliefs are, I feel like I fall into multiple different groups, while always being an outsider at the same time. Going with that, I pool from large group of ideas and ideologies, some of which I'm not sure even apply to paganism at all.

 
I would start by reading, eventually you will likely find something that feels right to you. Check out Drawing Down the Moon by Margot Adler, it is a very good overall view of many forms of paganism. If it really bothers you to not have a label, call yourself an eclectic pagan. Basically that means you identify as a pagan but you pull from various groups.

For your nature affinity, maybe check out druidry? Ár nDraíocht Féin is one I personally like.

My boyfriend is a bit like you in that he pulls from different paths and makes his own way. He identifies and eclectic wiccan. I follow Kemetic orthodoxy and ADF (I also do not do much in the way of magic). I personally know more than a few people who might lean more towards one path but also mix in a little of some others. From what I have experienced it seems fairly normal.

Take you time and find what path suits you. There are plenty out there.

Noremac_143

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2014, 01:03:20 am »
Quote from: katbast;155443
For your nature affinity, maybe check out druidry? Ár nDraíocht Féin is one I personally like.


Ironically, I've been interested in druidry very recently. The thing with me is that I'm not entirely sure if you could even call what I believe in "paganism" or anything really in the pagan realm. I feel like it's such a mishmash of things that I believe in from all the religions I've run into that I can't really fall under a "true path", if it were.

I'd love to be able to join a group of like-minded, or at least somewhat similar, individuals, but I always tend to find something in "specific" groups that throw me off. I guess I'm always in this "want - don't want" state. :confused:

a.walker.abroad

Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2014, 05:29:48 pm »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155458
I'd love to be able to join a group of like-minded, or at least somewhat similar, individuals, but I always tend to find something in "specific" groups that throw me off. I guess I'm always in this "want - don't want" state. :confused:

 
No group is going to be perfect.  All you can really do is try to find a group that's close to what you're looking for, and accept that you're a little different than the rest of the group ( there's nothing wrong with different.  I rather enjoy it), or move on and look for something else.  

That is of couse assuming you have to have a group or label.  There is absolutly nothing wrong with say eclectic and doing your own thing.

Noremac_143

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 02:13:28 pm »
Quote from: a.walker.abroad;155519
That is of couse assuming you have to have a group or label.  There is absolutly nothing wrong with say eclectic and doing your own thing.

 
I think my main issue is whether or not I am "pagan". That's kinda why I'm asking about a path. Besides an extremely eclectic version of paganism, I don't think I'm really all that pagan. To me, I'd be so eclectic that I'm no longer pagan and I would just be stretching the term thin. It doesn't help that I learn more towards a monotheistic mindset. Even when viewing gods as aspect of one divine, I view them more as how WE view the singularity, rather than a multiplicity of divinities creating a whole.

Aiwelin

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 07:52:50 pm »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155589
I think my main issue is whether or not I am "pagan". That's kinda why I'm asking about a path. Besides an extremely eclectic version of paganism, I don't think I'm really all that pagan. To me, I'd be so eclectic that I'm no longer pagan and I would just be stretching the term thin. It doesn't help that I learn more towards a monotheistic mindset. Even when viewing gods as aspect of one divine, I view them more as how WE view the singularity, rather than a multiplicity of divinities creating a whole.

 
Actually, if druidry interests you, you might like to check out OBOD, the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.  I'm not sure if they even call themselves an officially Pagan organization - there are so many diverse viewpoints, including many quite like yours, Noremac.  Official membership and the learning course go together and are quite expensive, but you can access some of the forums for free and meet some likeminded people that way :)
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katbast

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 08:09:32 pm »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155589
I think my main issue is whether or not I am "pagan". That's kinda why I'm asking about a path. Besides an extremely eclectic version of paganism, I don't think I'm really all that pagan. To me, I'd be so eclectic that I'm no longer pagan and I would just be stretching the term thin. It doesn't help that I learn more towards a monotheistic mindset. Even when viewing gods as aspect of one divine, I view them more as how WE view the singularity, rather than a multiplicity of divinities creating a whole.

 

I'm going to stick with don't worry about labeling yourself. Just look around and see what feels right to you and take your time deciding what you are. Maybe you will mix and match, maybe none of the good ole pagan stuffs feel right.

Noremac_143

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2014, 12:04:50 am »
Quote from: Aiwelin;155616
Actually, if druidry interests you, you might like to check out OBOD, the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids.  I'm not sure if they even call themselves an officially Pagan organization - there are so many diverse viewpoints, including many quite like yours, Noremac.  Official membership and the learning course go together and are quite expensive, but you can access some of the forums for free and meet some likeminded people that way :)


As someone in Druidry, which form of Druidry would you say would fit my beliefs, as shown above? I was checking out ADF and I liked some of what they were going at. If I was working with a pagan pantheon it would be Norse deities and I noticed that you're a Heathen and Druid, so that gives some view point for me as too how open they are. The only pagan friend I have is actually a Christo-Norse Pagan (leaning much much much towards the Norse side), so he definitely gives me some interesting back drop.

I've noticed that the fees are pretty expensive and I'm a pretty poor individual, in all honesty :o

Noremac_143

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2014, 12:11:01 am »
Quote from: katbast;155617
I'm going to stick with don't worry about labeling yourself. Just look around and see what feels right to you and take your time deciding what you are. Maybe you will mix and match, maybe none of the good ole pagan stuffs feel right.

 
Of the pagan pantheons, I'm most interested in Norse and Heathenry. I've noticed that hard polytheism, folkish (to, sadly, racist) beliefs, and a basis towards being non-eclectic are especially prevalent in the Heathen community. These "stereotypes", and person experiences, have made me shy away from Heathenry. Because of that, among other things, I don't particularly feel "at home" within the community, along with aforementioned discussions.

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2014, 04:19:47 am »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155634
As someone in Druidry, which form of Druidry would you say would fit my beliefs, as shown above?


There's plenty of room for your mix of beliefs in OBOD. As Aiwelin says, they're a very diverse organization. While they have no official doctrine, you'd encounter a lot of people who share many of your beliefs in OBOD. They do have high fees for the courses (although it's free to stay a member after you've received the bardic grade materials, so overall it actually works out very cheap), but they will talk to people about negotiating on the fees if they really can't afford them.
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a.walker.abroad

Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2014, 09:20:19 am »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155589
I think my main issue is whether or not I am "pagan". That's kinda why I'm asking about a path. Besides an extremely eclectic version of paganism, I don't think I'm really all that pagan. To me, I'd be so eclectic that I'm no longer pagan and I would just be stretching the term thin. It doesn't help that I learn more towards a monotheistic mindset. Even when viewing gods as aspect of one divine, I view them more as how WE view the singularity, rather than a multiplicity of divinities creating a whole.

 
Not trying to be rude, but if that's your concern you may want to examine just what it means to you to be Pagan.  There are a lot of definitions, but none of them really require you to follow a set path.  There are ecclectic Pagans, atheist Pagans, pantheist Pagans... the list goes on.  Maybe looking at this may help you with your dilema.

katbast

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2014, 11:44:14 am »
Quote from: Noremac_143;155635
Of the pagan pantheons, I'm most interested in Norse and Heathenry. I've noticed that hard polytheism, folkish (to, sadly, racist) beliefs, and a basis towards being non-eclectic are especially prevalent in the Heathen community. These "stereotypes", and person experiences, have made me shy away from Heathenry. Because of that, among other things, I don't particularly feel "at home" within the community, along with aforementioned discussions.

 
Ahh. I see the issue now. My apologies, I apparently did not realize what made you feel not at home. I love the Norse gods and stories, sadly they do not love me in return ;-) Maybe Heathenry is not the right place. Maybe its just the groups you see. Take a look at other forums, yahoo groups, etc. since different mixes of people tend to change the overall feel of the group. OBOD or ADF may be a good home for you. I have no personal experience with OBOD but I have heard good things about them. ADF has the benefit of a low starting cost (yearly membership fee) and with some looking good groups to chat with.

katbast

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2014, 11:46:05 am »
Quote from: Naomi J;155645
There's plenty of room for your mix of beliefs in OBOD. As Aiwelin says, they're a very diverse organization. While they have no official doctrine, you'd encounter a lot of people who share many of your beliefs in OBOD. They do have high fees for the courses (although it's free to stay a member after you've received the bardic grade materials, so overall it actually works out very cheap), but they will talk to people about negotiating on the fees if they really can't afford them.

 
Somehow I didn't realize the free membership post course work. That's pretty nifty. Thank you for sharing this bit of info.

Noremac_143

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2014, 06:45:32 pm »
Quote from: a.walker.abroad;155658
There are ecclectic Pagans, atheist Pagans, pantheist Pagans... the list goes on.  Maybe looking at this may help you with your dilema.


I know about these multiple strains and I know that its something more with how I view things than how things could work. Its more of a personal views and what to commit to.

Noremac_143

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Re: A little help with choosing a path?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2014, 06:58:35 pm »
Quote from: katbast;155669
OBOD or ADF may be a good home for you. I have no personal experience with OBOD but I have heard good things about them. ADF has the benefit of a low starting cost (yearly membership fee) and with some looking good groups to chat with.


I'll probably take a look into the OBOD and the ADF. They seem like open groups with lots of interpretations. I won't be able to join any groups with how I'm a poor college student without a disposable income. :ashamed:

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