I am a new member of the website and I am seeking some explanations regarding paganism and religion in general.
(Introduction to follow. I apologize in advance if people may find it too long).
I identify my religion as Roman Catholic (also African diaspora) on my profile; however, I am at a loss as to what to put there as that is a Faith I do not practice anymore (but still on the parish records). I have also during my life as a Catholic practiced several other paths described commonly as “Occult”. I really didn’t identify or feel comfortable with them, and I am looking for a different community. I have investigated non-theism for many years, and my mother’s family came from a former communist country (many are self-described “militant atheists”/ex-Lutherans/Catholics), but I do not feel completely comfortable with any of those various religions/political systems (some forms of socialism definitely; Marx, etc. some of the others, have always been an influence).
Religion has for me been a big part of ethnic identity.
My father’s family is very Southern US, Louisiana and Virginia in particular. We grew up as Creole/Cajun (my ancestry on dad’s side is South France, Catalonia, Sardinia, English, German, Welsh, amounts of Filipino and African – often found in New Orleans/Southern Louisiana area people). I have significant Scandinavian and German ancestry on my mother’s side (most of my overseas relatives are in Germany, Poland, Czech, Russia, Sweden, Ireland) and a whole lot of Celtic.
I was always drawn to the pre-Christian religions & languages of Europe and India (grew up with many Hindu and Sikh friends).
The biggest interest has always been in the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European religion (broadly), Celtic religion, Germanic, and my greatest interest is in the historical Vedic religion. I feel extremely drawn to the Vedas (and not necessarily Hinduism, except Shaktism) so much so that I learned Sanskrit in addition to my German (and other languages, Louisiana French, etc.) and I am preparing to get a PhD in Indo-European linguistics (among other areas).
Since being more open, my family is so confused by me. Last year I was literally listening to Rigveda before Midnight Mass to calm me, as I felt nervous about going to Mass (sorry to say something more and more common over the years).
The Catholic Faith is very beautiful, as well as the African traditions (I used to keep ancestral altars in my home, which I love to do), but I had a personal bad experience with Roman Catholicism and when my family left the Church it was a bad time, almost like we lost our home but were free of a lot as well. This is difficult subject, I understand that and I do not want to put down the Catholic Faith or any Catholics. Just sharing my own subjective experiences. We have great friends there still and we love all of them. My priest does not seem too happy about any of this, but largely our Catholic friends/family have been understanding.
Because of my multi-racial background I am very nervous to get involved with any modern pagan movements/religions. I am mostly of the European racial category (don’t really believe in race however), but I have heard a lot about racist attitudes/actions in neo-paganism, like at Charlottesville. Is this true? I am very open to the life-affirming nature (sexuality as well) of the historical pagan religions and the love of nature and not really using images/idols, identification of the gods as natural/mystical forces rather than people sitting on literal thrones in clouds (for me that is more of a way of visualizing these “forces”). I am not at all interested in Western Occultism, but I really do want to learn about many things. I am still trying to find words to describe everything and some kind of physical and non-abusive (also inclusive) community. I will say that I am very skeptical and science-minded and base most of my beliefs on reason and science.
Right now, I work as a teacher to Adults (ESL and Literacy in the community) and as a Librarian and Independent Researcher. Goes without saying that I love reading and writing. I write many different kinds of fiction, in addition to dry academic papers/articles. It may be important to note I have been influenced by a Semitic pagan (self-identified witch) who was a friend and romantic partner from Israel of the Russian Jewish ethnicity (born in what was then the USSR). I am beginning Russian language studies because of communication issues and as a fun new hobby.
Thanks for reading!
Message Board: Join in our discussion.