How do you believe the universe was created? Do you believe in creator god(s)?

I’m interested in how you guys think the universe was created and whether you believe there was deity involved with it at all?
Also, if you could say what path you are that would be great.

My views:

I’m a medium- hard polytheistic, somewhat animistic witch but I don’t do much with the gods. I have shrines set up and I do acknowledge them but I don’t really involve them with my workings.

As far as I’m concerned about the creation of the universe, it was the big bang and all that jazz. No deity involved. I’m a bit unsure about where I believe the gods came from. I sort of have the belief that they came along with life when it started on this planet, whether they kick started that I don’t know or really care. I don’t really believe that they have much, if any, influence outside of the Earth’s atmosphere and I kind of think they sort of evolved with the Earth. (And for that case, for life on other planets, those planets have their own gods.)
I’m a bit wishy-washy about the whole thing because it’s not an important part of my beliefs or practises so I don’t really give it much thought. Bit like how I don’t really hold firm beliefs about what happens after death because I’m more concerned with the here and now.

Pop Culture Paganism

So apart from tumblr blowing up about it for a while now, now some BNPs are weighing in on the subject of “Is it okay to worship figures from pop culture as deities?” (Note: Not just “is it okay to incorporate popular culture into devotional practice.)

Here is the article that started it all: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2013/05/making-light-hero-worship/#comments

and then see here, here, here, here,here, and here.

My own response to this issue is here.

I left out some links because then I’d be here all day.

Suffice it to say (sorry for all the linkage) that this issue has led to some hurt feelings and has pretty much divided my blogroll down the middle, so I’m interested in hearing your take:

Is it okay to worship/work with pop culture figures as deities/spirits in their own right?

How Do You View Death?

As this is in the “Gods, Goddesses and Mythology”-section, I’m asking this: How do you view Death – as in the god or goddess thereof? Have you interacted with any of the deities associated with death and if you have, what were your feelings? With or without that kind of interaction, do you view Death as a fearsome figure or not?

One reason for me to ask this is because of a working gone even deeper I imagined and of a god I met there and what happened. Usually, this particular god hasn’t seemed to get true cult and there isn’t that much UPG to find either – but to me he was clear as crystal about his identity. Now, I’m a not-recon but recon-minded and I’m still wondering. In my own mind I’m dead sure (pardon my pun), but…

This was almost a decade ago, but due to info relating to that particular god and the lack of UPG, I’m still hesitant to say who it was who said “keep being fascinated by death, but as soon I got you handed over by Anpu, I knew my job was to keep you alive” and that he did.

Studying for 2 Years and Still Lost at Sea

So, I’ve been studying off and on for 2 years or a little more. Roughly since I found this forum and made an account. I am completely lost.

I still feel a connection with something and I want to continue but I have no idea what direction to go in. I have a little altar representing the elements and I have had a few things on the Solstice, Yule etc but I am not after Wicca. I am interested with working with a deity but at the same time I have a hard time reconciling the fact that their could be a deity. I don’t want their to be and I’m not sure if anything is out there but I can feel something and I want their to be. Does that make sense?

I am interested in herbalism and kitchen witchery, folk magic (I actually listen to a lot of New World Witchery and love it) and very much the order of the natural world. I do related almost everything to Evolutionary Psychology and Biology. That’s just how I think if it gives you any indicator. I am interested in Celtic lore and anything from the British Isles really. Something else that I’m interested in and don’t know where to start is Slavic lore. I am half Russian and my family immigrated here in the 1910 or so. My grandma, who I never met, practiced a combination of “Old Country” magic and Catholicism. I have no idea where to start since I don’t know that side of the family. Any Slavic specialists?

I’m not quite sure what this post is about, I guess, have any of you experienced people encountered this and what did you do? How did you start because I feel like a kid in a candy shop. I’ve read at least a dozen books or more since I started researching, all on different beliefs and I still come to nothing. Thanks for your advice in advance!

Brighid and The Cailleach

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been working with Brighid for the last couple of years and at the moment She is my only deity. I’ve recently been reading a bit more of the Scottish mythology about Brighid (also known as Bride here) and it’s very tied up with the mythology of The Cailleach.

In some tales, The Cailleach has Brighid imprisoned over the winter (roughly from Samhain until some time between Imbolc and Beltane) until Brighid escapes, bringing spring to the land. In some versions, Aengus Og rescues Bride and they marry. In others, at the end of winter The Cailleach travels to Tir Na Nog and drinks from the fountain of youth, becoming Brighid.

Previously, I haven’t paid much attention to these stories but at the moment they strike me as important. So, I have questions, especially for those who work with either of these deities.

1) Do you consider Brighid and Bride to be the same?

2) Do you work with The Cailleach and Brighid together?

3) How do you see the relationship between them?

4) Anything else?

How to Explain Beliefs to Family?

I’m sure there’s been many topics about this but I really wanted some advice on how to explain my beliefs to my mother (the only person I live with). I’m very secretive about it, and she has no idea that I’m a hard polytheist. She knows that I’m “spiritual”, because I’ve bought candles and incense and doing meditation/prayers. But I never elaborated on what I believe to her.

She thinks that I’m an agnostic/atheist. Because I tend to criticize Christianity a lot just in conversation, bringing up conversations about critical thinking and being frustrated with the way Christians act and believe. She’s under the impression that I don’t believe in any god, which obviously, isn’t true, I just disagree with the Abrahamic religions. Recently, I told her that I held many beliefs that are animistic in nature and that I “relate” to the old polytheistic beliefs. She gave me a quick queer look but seemed to accept it and agreed with me a bit on animism.

Normally – I’d just keep quiet like I am. I have no desire whatsoever to have to go into depth about it. But, I’ve been really wanting to make a small shrine for my patron deity, so I can have a specific place to pray and there’s a lovely statue I’d like to get. But, how would I tell my mother about the statue? How do I tell her that I believe in the greek gods? It just seems like it would be a very awkward conversation. It’s like someone you thought was an atheist that criticizes religion, saying they wanted to build a shrine to the magical purple unicorn. I hate to compare to that, but nowadays, people see the greek gods as being just myths, so I fear that’s how she’d see it. So, how do I do this? Has anyone else done this in a similar situation?

Do you plan to raise your kids pagan?

(As some of you may know from back when I introduced myself, I noted that I’m working on an essay for my college writing course, and would, at some point, require interviews. However, this being an online site, I’m doing things a bit differently. I’m going to pose the question, one that I both need for the essay and am curious about, and answers will be recorded for the essay. Please note, if you wish to answer, I ask that you state how you want to be named – anonymous, your name on the forum, etc. Thanks in advance!)

Many articles I’ve read about modern pagan families have all dealt with a parent’s, or parents’ concern on whether or not they should bring their children up as pagan vs. exposing them to the religious practices but letting them make a choice when they wish about whether or not they wish to become pagan.

My question is this – what did you choose as a parent? Bring the child up as pagan, or let them choose when they’re ready?

First Spell?

What was the first spell you did?

When I was in high school I found a reference book in our high school library on Witchcraft – this was in the mid 80s. I was extremely curious even though I was a very active Christian at the time. I read through it and found a dream spell.

The spell was to dream about the person you were meant to be with, your soul mate sort of thing. You put a glass of water half filled under your bed – under where you’re pillow would be – with a piece of wood over it. You would dream of walking over a bridge and you would fall in and the person that pulled you out would be the person you were meant to be with. You could do the spell until it worked and then you could not do it again (and have it work again).

So, I did that. It worked fairly quickly – within a few nights. I dreamed I was walking along a river on a path. The river was on my right and the bridge was behind me. On my left was a volcano. The volcano erupted and knocked me into the river and a tall dark haired man pulled me out.

When I tried to see his face it was blurred, like something from CourtTV. I could not see his face no matter what I did. I was infuriating. But more than that, I was completely freaked out that magic was real and I never looked into any pagan again until just a couple of years ago. I did try the spell again but of course, it never worked.

Interestingly enough, the only guys I have ever dated have had dark hair. I still haven’t met ‘that’ guy though.

“Religion with homework”

I’ve heard the phrase kicked about, especially with regard to reconstructionists of any sort, that their path is “religion with homework” (meaning that they do a lot of research). As someone who is blending her own path of witchcraft and druidry (of which I am currently studying the ADF Dedicant Program), I can say that applies to me, too in many ways.

At what point can “religion with homework” become “homework with religion”? At what point should we sit down our books and “just do it”? Can research become a crutch? Can it eventually interfere with practice?

And most importantly, what should the balance be between UPG and research? I know that’s a subjective, personal question, but I hope amongst us we could come to some recommended guidelines.

I know we’ve talked about these ideas before in other threads, but I don’t know that we’ve approached them from this angle lately.