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Author Topic: Starting at Square One  (Read 995 times)

Sasquatch

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Starting at Square One
« on: February 22, 2014, 07:43:14 pm »
Hello all, I'm Greg... Before I get into this I'll be honest, I'm a skeptic when it comes to anything concerning religion & spirituality. I've had some bad experiences in this department of life, and frankly it's left a rather sour taste in my mouth. I've dabbled in Catholicism, Methodism and even Unitarian-Universalism, not to mention  other variations of Christianity over my 35 years of existence. Each time, there's been something that was a dealbreaker... some prohibition, the demand for a tithe (when I can barely make it as is) or some other little gotcha that just drove me away. As for Islam and Judaism, both are out of the question for similar reasons. I basically hate with a passion people trying to dictate whom I can associate with, where I can go and how I choose to express my faith.

Yes, I can be a bit odd, with my slavish love of technology, my cannabis habit and my views on life, but I'm not a sinner or an evil person. I'm just one person, lost and confused with nothing to latch on to when it comes to spiritual beliefs. That's why I'm here to learn, to grow and hopefully to find some sense of belonging.

A final thing that I must add before I start asking questions and begin my journey through paganism... It's not going to be easy for me. I just can't pick up a book like most of you and read, thanks to a vision-impairment. I really do hope that I can find accessible resources on paganism, and would love to find a community in my area that would be welcoming to someone willing to learn despite obvious difficulties.

Okay, that being said, where does a skeptic with  unique challenges on his journey start when at Square One in his journey through life as a pagan?

Jenett

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 08:25:35 pm »
Quote from: Sasquatch;140703

A final thing that I must add before I start asking questions and begin my journey through paganism... It's not going to be easy for me. I just can't pick up a book like most of you and read, thanks to a vision-impairment. I really do hope that I can find accessible resources on paganism, and would love to find a community in my area that would be welcoming to someone willing to learn despite obvious difficulties.

Okay, that being said, where does a skeptic with  unique challenges on his journey start when at Square One in his journey through life as a pagan?

 
I have a website at http://gleewood.org/seeking that has a lot of general beginning information - it's formatted so it should be fairly easily navigable with vision impairments (I haven't done a full accessibility check in a year or so, but all the content is minimally formatted plain text.) It's focused on the things I do (religious witchcraft) but there are links to other resources where appropriate that might be helpful.

In terms of resources near you, it might be helpful if you could share what you might be able to get to (i.e. what's your area, and do you have limitations like 'needs to be accessible by public transit or mobility services). Also if there are specific things you might or might not be interested in.
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Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

HarpingHawke

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2014, 08:33:14 pm »
Quote from: Sasquatch;140703


Okay, that being said, where does a skeptic with  unique challenges on his journey start when at Square One in his journey through life as a pagan?

 
Well, first of all, as you well know, it takes a while to settle into a path. Gods know it took me YEARS. Maybe you'll get "thwapped" and maybe you won't. Maybe you'll find a form of Paganism you like or maybe you'll have to construct your own path. It all depends on you and what you are willing to do as well as how hard you're willing to work.

A saying I picked up a while ago was to follow a path, not because you're afraid of what will happen if you don't but because it makes your soul sing. You'll know when you find it.
I'm sure you know as well as I do that this wait is agonizing!

Uh, try floating around Youtube a little bit. Most of the Pagan videos are about Wicca, but there are certainly different videos, too. Other Cauldronites will probably have links to podcasts--as I don't really ever have much time to listen to things, I don't have links to give. Read as much as you are able. But do as much fact-checking as you can!

I'm not sure about meetup spots in your area, but you could always do a search.

Put yourself out there, work hard, and the rest will follow!

Best of luck to you! :)
"There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self." - Hemingway

Sasquatch

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2014, 09:13:52 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;140709
In terms of resources near you, it might be helpful if you could share what you might be able to get to (i.e. what's your area, and do you have limitations like 'needs to be accessible by public transit or mobility services). Also if there are specific things you might or might not be interested in.

 


Okay, think I need to edit my profile a bit... I live in the Seattle metro area, and rely on public transit almost exclusively. As for things I'm looking for or not? When it comes to this journey, I confess I have no clue... and for a hgroup around me, a bonus is one where I'm accepted for what I am. What I'd really like to avoid (like the plague) is drama and competition to see who's the most faithful, etc... To me, that leads to judging others, and possibly far worse things.

Okay, let me run off for a minute and fix the lacking profile a bit. Tapitalk has been so kind to alert me of messages.

yewberry

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2014, 10:09:31 pm »
Quote from: Sasquatch;140714
Okay, think I need to edit my profile a bit... I live in the Seattle metro area, and rely on public transit almost exclusively. As for things I'm looking for or not? When it comes to this journey, I confess I have no clue... and for a hgroup around me, a bonus is one where I'm accepted for what I am. What I'd really like to avoid (like the plague) is drama and competition to see who's the most faithful, etc... To me, that leads to judging others, and possibly far worse things.

Okay, let me run off for a minute and fix the lacking profile a bit. Tapitalk has been so kind to alert me of messages.


Best of luck with the drama-free pagan group in the Puget Sound area.  I'm not sure there's an existing one welcoming new members.

That said, I've found lots of at-least-quasi-like-minded pagan types in the relative boonies north of you (some of whom I've hosted over the years to do some woo), so I'm sure there are more than a few in more densely populated areas.  Be a self-starter and figure out the flim-flammers.  And don't give up so easily.

Brina

Leirion

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 12:43:33 am »
Quote from: Sasquatch;140703

Okay, that being said, where does a skeptic with  unique challenges on his journey start when at Square One in his journey through life as a pagan?

 
Jenett's website is a great start, from what I have read of it.

Other than that, I would give some thought to anything that you might be curious to know more about. Particular regions of the world, myths you feel drawn to, etc. From there, you can look for more resources and kind of poke around until you get a feel for where your interests might be. Once you have a few of those, you can post them in the forum where hopefully people with similar interests can help you more.

I have not really looked for other pagans in person, yet. But I know in my area the local colleges have groups meets on holidays that are open to the public. Back in Texas, there were some groups that met up at book stores that you could find out about through the website Meetup.com.

Sasquatch

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 09:14:20 am »
Quote from: Elaine;140727
Jenett's website is a great start, from what I have read of it.

Other than that, I would give some thought to anything that you might be curious to know more about. Particular regions of the world, myths you feel drawn to, etc. From there, you can look for more resources and kind of poke around until you get a feel for where your interests might be. Once you have a few of those, you can post them in the forum where hopefully people with similar interests can help you more.



I've given it a bit of thought over the last couple of days... My thinking runs along these lines at the moment: I honestly think there's a higher power out there, I couldn't say if it's male or female, what it looks like or what name it prefers to be called. All I get a sense of is that it's been pulling on what I'd call the threads of life since I was born. At one time, I might have called it (or him in this particular case) God, but it never felt right trying to mold this entity into what others expected it should be. Some might call the threads of life "karma", and I use that shortcut myself to explain it, but the threads of life, and how this higher power pulls them can't be described with a simple catch-all phrase.

I know this sounds confusing, but at this point, the skeptic in me demands that I even question this line of thought. Chalk it up to an inner conflict of some sort, but it's difficult, at least for me to express the myriad facets of what I feel since I'm in a state of spiritual flux. I guess what brings me to this place at this particular time is a quest for both a bit of freedom and above anything else, knowledge of what has and will make me who I am. Sorry for the rather disconnected thoughts, but for some reason, I was woken from a fairly decent sleep, and felt for some odd reason that I should express these thoughts while they are still fresh. Opinions, thoughts or comments?

Leirion

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2014, 11:39:30 am »
Quote from: Sasquatch;140881
I've given it a bit of thought over the last couple of days... My thinking runs along these lines at the moment: I honestly think there's a higher power out there, I couldn't say if it's male or female, what it looks like or what name it prefers to be called. All I get a sense of is that it's been pulling on what I'd call the threads of life since I was born. At one time, I might have called it (or him in this particular case) God, but it never felt right trying to mold this entity into what others expected it should be. Some might call the threads of life "karma", and I use that shortcut myself to explain it, but the threads of life, and how this higher power pulls them can't be described with a simple catch-all phrase.


That sounds like a really good start! And is not an uncommon line of belief, either. In my own personal belief, things are divided between individual deities, and some overarching, impersonal kind of force behind everything, which I just usually refer to as the Universe. It takes on different forms sometimes, but usually it feels like an energy flow for me.

Quote
I know this sounds confusing, but at this point, the skeptic in me demands that I even question this line of thought. Chalk it up to an inner conflict of some sort, but it's difficult, at least for me to express the myriad facets of what I feel since I'm in a state of spiritual flux. I guess what brings me to this place at this particular time is a quest for both a bit of freedom and above anything else, knowledge of what has and will make me who I am. Sorry for the rather disconnected thoughts, but for some reason, I was woken from a fairly decent sleep, and felt for some odd reason that I should express these thoughts while they are still fresh. Opinions, thoughts or comments?


It does not sound confusing to me. I have an extremely strong skeptical streak that I apply towards myself, and I struggle with doubt on a daily basis. So while I have a pretty involved worldview, there is always a part of me, sometimes in the background and sometimes in the foreground, saying none of it is true - we are born, we die, the end. I do not think that part of me will ever go away, but struggling with it and believing anyways has definitely been making me a stronger person.

I also understand having a hard time expressing all of this when your own views are in flux. That sums up the four years of my college experience while I was working on my degree in religious studies. My own beliefs did not start to solidify until maybe six or seven years ago. Spiritual and religious stuff can be hard to express for anyone, since the concepts can be so personal and nebulous.

Anyway, it sounds like you are off to a good start!

missgraceless

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2014, 01:39:55 pm »
Quote from: Elaine;140727
Jenett's website is a great start, from what I have read of it.

Other than that, I would give some thought to anything that you might be curious to know more about. Particular regions of the world, myths you feel drawn to, etc. From there, you can look for more resources and kind of poke around until you get a feel for where your interests might be. Once you have a few of those, you can post them in the forum where hopefully people with similar interests can help you more.

I have not really looked for other pagans in person, yet. But I know in my area the local colleges have groups meets on holidays that are open to the public. Back in Texas, there were some groups that met up at book stores that you could find out about through the website Meetup.com.

 
I agree. Spend some time quietly reflecting on what interests / piques your curiosity, and go from there. A few years ago I got thwapped (meaning a deity sought me out and got my attention) by the bodhisattva Quan Yin, but after looking more into Eastern religions, nothing really resonates the way Quan Yin does.
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Materialist

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2014, 06:07:23 pm »
Quote from: Sasquatch;140881

I know this sounds confusing, but at this point, the skeptic in me demands that I even question this line of thought.


Don't feel pressured into believing that in order to be religious you need to believe in gods. Not all pagan religions are theistic.

missgraceless

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Re: Starting at Square One
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2014, 12:17:45 pm »
Quote from: Materialist;141172
Don't feel pressured into believing that in order to be religious you need to believe in gods. Not all pagan religions are theistic.

 
Good point. Just because some of us on TC have relationships with certain deities / spirits / whatever, doesn't mean you have to. Take your time with it. Do tons of research, both on the internet and in books. But do be careful what you read, definitely ask around here. I'm still fairly new to the forum and paganism in general, but there are members floating around that have been practicing for decades and I'm sure would be glad to help you out.
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