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Author Topic: Am I Possibly Practicing the Wrong Faith?  (Read 2013 times)

bee

Am I Possibly Practicing the Wrong Faith?
« on: May 22, 2013, 10:00:42 am »
Ok, I like for things to be black and white...

I like to be able to easily see: "Yes, this is exactly the religion for me because all of these things coincide with my own beliefs."
When I discovered Wicca, I decided this was the case for the most part, maybe, but not exactly. And like I said before, I don't like it when things aren't perfectly clear.

So here is what I do know: I discovered tarot, enjoy it, and feel I have a strong affinity for it. I agree with the one rule of Wicca (to harm none, essentially) but also understand most Pagan religions share this rule. I enjoy the rituals of Wicca and like to celebrate nature and the earth. But then we get into dieties....

This is where I feel fuzzy. I believe there is something out there. Someone perhaps. Maybe multiple. But I don't feel I can call this being or beings by name.

So I guess my question is, does this matter? Or am I possibly practicing the wrong faith? I love opinions, hit me with everything you've got!
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 01:21:51 pm by RandallS »
-sweet bee

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Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 10:25:09 am »
Quote from: bee;109389
Ok, I like for things to be black and white...

I like to be able to easily see: "Yes, this is exactly the religion for me because all of these things coincide with my own beliefs."
When I discovered Wicca, I decided this was the case for the most part, maybe, but not exactly. And like I said before, I don't like it when things aren't perfectly clear.

So here is what I do know: I discovered tarot, enjoy it, and feel I have a strong affinity for it. I agree with the one rule of Wicca (to harm none, essentially) but also understand most Pagan religions share this rule. I enjoy the rituals of Wicca and like to celebrate nature and the earth. But then we get into dieties....

This is where I feel fuzzy. I believe there is something out there. Someone perhaps. Maybe multiple. But I don't feel I can call this being or beings by name.

So I guess my question is, does this matter? Or am I possibly practicing the wrong faith? I love opinions, hit me with everything you've got!


Hm.  Traditional initiatory Wicca has its own deities, but newer, more eclectic versions have theological wiggle room.  I see no problem in referring to your deities as Lord and Lady, or even Great Spirit, until you get a better handle on who They are.  At the end of the day you might find you're not really Wiccan after all, you just enjoy some of the "witchy" parts.  Which is completely OK.
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Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 12:44:40 pm »
Quote from: bee;109389
I agree with the one rule of Wicca (to harm none, essentially) but also understand most Pagan religions share this rule.

 
Actually, essentially no pagan religions share the neo-Wiccan formulation of "harm none", because folks gotta eat.  Many object to that approach to things because it basically carries over an "impossible perfection standard" from some forms of Christianity - a form of black and white thinking in which failure (sinfulness) is part of the axioms of life.

The actual Wiccan Rede is a piece of advice ("rede" means "advice") that says in plain language, "If it doesn't do harm, it's okay."  Permission, not restriction.  I am far fonder of the actual Rede than the "harm none" interpretation thereof.

Quote
This is where I feel fuzzy. I believe there is something out there. Someone perhaps. Maybe multiple. But I don't feel I can call this being or beings by name.

So I guess my question is, does this matter? Or am I possibly practicing the wrong faith? I love opinions, hit me with everything you've got!


Many - possibly most, if we chase the etymologies back far enough - names of gods are actually titles, epithets, appearances.  There are a lot of reasons for this, among them the idea that knowledge of the actual name of something gives power over it, and so using kennings is a default form of magical protection.

If you encounter an entity, get to know it, find ways of addressing it that are both polite and reasonably accurate to your understanding.  You may find that your titles and the stuff you come up with will be a key to an identity later.  (I called my Lady 'Baubo' for a long time, which amused her well enough, and wound up being a key that let me figure out who she actually was.)

Lord and Lady are titles used by Wiccans to refer to their gods; for traditional Wiccans it is because the more personal names that they know (which may, for all I know, also be deeper and more evocatory titles in actuality, given that gods in my knowledge tend not to share their name-names) are considered private information.  But there are also gods whose common names translate straight-up to 'Lord' and 'Lady' (Freyr and Freya), gods who might be addressed in that way, and so on.

So you might meet a tempestuous, windy sort of god, and call them 'Lord of Storms', and that's probably one of their titles somewhere.  And so on.  It's okay; people have done it that way for thousands of years.
as the water grinds the stone
we rise and fall
as our ashes turn to dust
we shine like stars    - Covenant, "Bullet"

bee

Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 05:42:07 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;109420
Actually, essentially no pagan religions share the neo-Wiccan formulation of "harm none", because folks gotta eat.  Many object to that approach to things because it basically carries over an "impossible perfection standard" from some forms of Christianity - a form of black and white thinking in which failure (sinfulness) is part of the axioms of life.

The actual Wiccan Rede is a piece of advice ("rede" means "advice") that says in plain language, "If it doesn't do harm, it's okay."  Permission, not restriction.  I am far fonder of the actual Rede than the "harm none" interpretation thereof.


I am so happy I found this forum...trying to learn and understand a new religion alone feels impossible, I've really needed others to help correct me. I have heard of Wiccans being vegetarian due to this rede, as you say, but I don't feel that was the intention.



Quote
Many - possibly most, if we chase the etymologies back far enough - names of gods are actually titles, epithets, appearances.  There are a lot of reasons for this, among them the idea that knowledge of the actual name of something gives power over it, and so using kennings is a default form of magical protection.

If you encounter an entity, get to know it, find ways of addressing it that are both polite and reasonably accurate to your understanding.  You may find that your titles and the stuff you come up with will be a key to an identity later.  (I called my Lady 'Baubo' for a long time, which amused her well enough, and wound up being a key that let me figure out who she actually was.)

Lord and Lady are titles used by Wiccans to refer to their gods; for traditional Wiccans it is because the more personal names that they know (which may, for all I know, also be deeper and more evocatory titles in actuality, given that gods in my knowledge tend not to share their name-names) are considered private information.  But there are also gods whose common names translate straight-up to 'Lord' and 'Lady' (Freyr and Freya), gods who might be addressed in that way, and so on.

So you might meet a tempestuous, windy sort of god, and call them 'Lord of Storms', and that's probably one of their titles somewhere.  And so on.  It's okay; people have done it that way for thousands of years.


Perhaps if I pay a bit more attention things may become more clear to me. I suppose nothing is easy for anyone in the beginning...unless you're some sort of Mozart-y prodigy. Thank you for the information!
-sweet bee

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Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 08:25:55 pm »
Quote from: bee;109474
I am so happy I found this forum...trying to learn and understand a new religion alone feels impossible, I've really needed others to help correct me. I have heard of Wiccans being vegetarian due to this rede, as you say, but I don't feel that was the intention.


You might find some of the things on my website also of help in sorting things out (http://gleewood.org/seeking - start with the Basics tab and work across to the right)

One other thing to think about is that many Pagan religions are joined by shared practices, more than by shared beliefs. So finding a religion that's congruent with what you want to *do* - how you want to do religion, what actions are important, which things you are encouraged to avoid doing, etc. may be a better way to consider approaching it.

(It's really really common - even in small, tightly focused groups like a coven - to have 5 people in a circle, say, and have at least 3 and maybe 5 totally different views of deity, or even what's going on. Obviously, everyone has to agree that doing the stuff they're doing together is worth their time and energy - or the group bit doesn't happen - but people can have a surprisingly wide range of difference.)
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bee

Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 09:01:54 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;109507
You might find some of the things on my website also of help in sorting things out (http://gleewood.org/seeking - start with the Basics tab and work across to the right


This is great, thanks!
-sweet bee

bee

Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 09:08:51 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;109507
One other thing to think about is that many Pagan religions are joined by shared practices, more than by shared beliefs. So finding a religion that's congruent with what you want to *do* - how you want to do religion, what actions are important, which things you are encouraged to avoid doing, etc. may be a better way to consider approaching it.

(It's really really common - even in small, tightly focused groups like a coven - to have 5 people in a circle, say, and have at least 3 and maybe 5 totally different views of deity, or even what's going on. Obviously, everyone has to agree that doing the stuff they're doing together is worth their time and energy - or the group bit doesn't happen - but people can have a surprisingly wide range of difference.)


Knowing me, it's very possible that I'm just over-thinking the whole situation anyway. I'm sure there's a reason I was so drawn to Wicca to begin with, and I probably shouldn't question it. It's just in my nature to question things, and when it comes to something like religion where there are seemingly endless answers that, to me, are all technically the correct answer, it's hard to decide how to proceed. I don't want someone to tell me what to do, but at the same time, I want some kind of definite sign. I think I'm just being picky....I need to be more laid back about everything and realize the beauty in the situation. People can sort of do things their own way and it's ok!
-sweet bee

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Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 09:29:16 pm »
Quote from: bee;109515
Knowing me, it's very possible that I'm just over-thinking the whole situation anyway. I'm sure there's a reason I was so drawn to Wicca to begin with, and I probably shouldn't question it. It's just in my nature to question things, and when it comes to something like religion where there are seemingly endless answers that, to me, are all technically the correct answer, it's hard to decide how to proceed. I don't want someone to tell me what to do, but at the same time, I want some kind of definite sign. I think I'm just being picky....I need to be more laid back about everything and realize the beauty in the situation. People can sort of do things their own way and it's ok!

 
Yes and no :)

First, yes, there's a lot of choices out there, and getting comfortable with the fact you can't have All The Choices At Once is a good thing to get used to. (Some of the choices are mutually exclusive, after all, even if time and energy and focus and interest weren't part of the equation.)

That said: there *are* reasons why people do things certain ways. Me personally, I tend to prefer not to re-invent the wheel every time I go to do something. (More specifically, I would rather learn from other people's mistakes, rather than make them all myself.)

But in order to make *that* work, I have to be willing to assume that if people - especially bunches of people - suggest doing something a certain way (or not doing something a certain way) there might be a reason for it, and then digging more into what those reasons are.

When you do that in Paganism, a lot of the surface public-access material isn't really good at 'why' or 'how' or 'what happens if we do this variation'. But those things are out there, if you dig a bit deeper.

Sometimes they're something you really do have to learn from someone else if you want to go a specific route (for example, if you want to learn a specific tradition that is oathbound or is just plain not something someone's written out in detail, you're going to need to study with someone in that tradition.)

Sometimes it's just that you need to find the places people do talk about that thing. (This forum does well at getting at the deeper stuff regularly, though it may or may not talk about the specific stuff you're particularly interested in - depends on who's around for a given conversation, and where the conversation starts and goes)

But that's part of taking responsibility for your own learning: keeping a balance between "I want to do X", and "Ok, other people, how do they do related stuff, and why, and how does that help me with X?" Which is a really useful skill for *any* kind of learning, never mind Pagan stuff.
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bee

Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 10:29:49 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;109518

But in order to make *that* work, I have to be willing to assume that if people - especially bunches of people - suggest doing something a certain way (or not doing something a certain way) there might be a reason for it, and then digging more into what those reasons are.

When you do that in Paganism, a lot of the surface public-access material isn't really good at 'why' or 'how' or 'what happens if we do this variation'. But those things are out there, if you dig a bit deeper.

Sometimes they're something you really do have to learn from someone else if you want to go a specific route (for example, if you want to learn a specific tradition that is oathbound or is just plain not something someone's written out in detail, you're going to need to study with someone in that tradition.)

Sometimes it's just that you need to find the places people do talk about that thing. (This forum does well at getting at the deeper stuff regularly, though it may or may not talk about the specific stuff you're particularly interested in - depends on who's around for a given conversation, and where the conversation starts and goes)

But that's part of taking responsibility for your own learning: keeping a balance between "I want to do X", and "Ok, other people, how do they do related stuff, and why, and how does that help me with X?" Which is a really useful skill for *any* kind of learning, never mind Pagan stuff.


So most of it is probably that I just need to spend a little more time reading and studying. I am a bit of a scatterbrain (ok....I'm a HUGE scatterbrain. If you ever met me in person you would see that immediately...). I'm sure that has something to do with it. If I could just slow down and dedicate myself to learning more, I'd probably be able to figure things out a little better. Thanks so much, I really do appreciate having outside help!
-sweet bee

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Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2013, 02:08:23 am »
Quote from: bee;109520
So most of it is probably that I just need to spend a little more time reading and studying. I am a bit of a scatterbrain (ok....I'm a HUGE scatterbrain. If you ever met me in person you would see that immediately...). I'm sure that has something to do with it. If I could just slow down and dedicate myself to learning more, I'd probably be able to figure things out a little better. Thanks so much, I really do appreciate having outside help!

 I am also a massive scatterbrain, and I too suffer the problem of "but I want everything all right now!" and it definitely leads to quick burnout. Plus I read so many books and essays and studies that I'm sure I've forgotten more than I remember.

Do you keep a personal journal? Even something small that you jot into before bed, or whenever you feel like, has a lot of benefits. Not only can you look back to see patterns in your experiences, but writing literally helps you remember things better.

bee

Re: Need help with clarification...
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 10:09:40 am »
Quote from: wadjet;109537
I am also a massive scatterbrain, and I too suffer the problem of "but I want everything all right now!" and it definitely leads to quick burnout. Plus I read so many books and essays and studies that I'm sure I've forgotten more than I remember.

Do you keep a personal journal? Even something small that you jot into before bed, or whenever you feel like, has a lot of benefits. Not only can you look back to see patterns in your experiences, but writing literally helps you remember things better.


I actually just started a journal. I write everything else down anyway...I have notes stuck all over the fridge/walls...backs of my hands. I enjoy writing anyway. I think my biggest problem is reminding myself to slow the hell down. Keep Calm and Stop Fussing Over Your Religion I guess, right? Haha
-sweet bee

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