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witch, pagan and religion


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#41 Jevne

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 11:33 PM

I have no problem with the words, Witch (obviously) or Pagan, as both are accurate descriptions of who and what I am, pretty much regardless of your definition. The word Witch is not used frequently in my family, though a good number of my relatives practice the Craft in one form or another. It's more like "there is family" and "there is not family". It is not necessarily meant to be antagonistic (us versus them), but more about the strong bond that we share.

My ancestors are and continue to be farmers and others with a strong attachment to and love for nature; thus, Pagan is not considered derogatory. I prefer to adhere to the original definition (country dweller) and denounce the "additions", especially those that were intended to demean or trivialize the term. I am not easily insulted, as the words of misguided dumb-asses hold absolutely no weight with me.

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#42 Stormdancer

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 12:18 AM

I've been reading on many sites about trad witchcraft, and read many conflicting views!

Some say they are not pagans, others do.

Some say the word witch is bad and call themselves "the people" and other things. Others seem to embrace the word witch and use it often.

Then there's the debate over whether trad witchcraft is a religion or not, some say "yes" and others "no".

I'd love to know any your guy's opinions on these matters!


Hi GreenFaeWitch

It seems to me that the heart of your question boils down to labels. There is nothing wrong with labels. I think that folks who find an aversion to labels are being a tad too complicated. Labels simplify things. For instance I have come to the point where very few folks who don't know me personally are aware of my practices. But occasionally I still get the old question "So do you practice white or black magic?" for me this is the time to avoid labels. I tell them "it depends on your perspective" and leave it at that.

But labels in terms of self identification are good. So long as you are comfortable with them.And to label yourself rather than letting others do it for you offers you a measure of control. For instance, if someone were to ask me if I am a Ceremonialist, or a Witch, (a question that other Occultists may ask), I may simply tell them I am an Occultist, or perhaps a Sorcerer. For me the latter explanation tends to feel more comfortable as I am neither, Witch nor Ceremonialist, not any longer. I am more an amalgamation of both. So to me, its the most descriptive term aside from the word, "Occultist".

Frankly I find that if you engage in Pagan Practices, you're a pagan. I generally like to stick by the dictionary definition. In other words, if your not one of the big three, Christian, Muslim or Jew. But you are a member of a religion or spiritual path, then you're a pagan. Every one else is either agnostic or atheist. And I find that in general that is pretty true. Most folks I meet either believe in divinity, or don't. plain and simple. I know there are those who may think that this statement shows me to be narrow minded. But I am not. For instance, I might look at a voodoo practitioner as being nominally Christian, but I know that the opinions on that vary from individual to individual. However, I also know this, Christianity, considers them to be misguided at best, Satanists at worst, but not Christians, or at least true Christians. The thing about labels is you have to understand how others label things as well as understanding how you as the individual might do so.

So really, what label are you comfortable with? Are you a fence sitter who doesn't like a label? Or are you someone who is sensitive to the Human minds need for structure, organization and classification? More importantly? What label are you comfy with? If you prefer no label, then go with it. But if you like the idea of association that comes with certain labels, then go with it. For the record, I know Thelemites who don't like to self identify as Pagans. But I understand why. Its not because they don't understand the dictionary definition, its because of the people who call themselves Pagans. That thought in mind, who can blame them for the aversion to the Label? For the record, I feel the same way, but still think of myself as a pagan, I just don't tell people that. Not unless they push.

Goodluck,
SD


#43 Georgia

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Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:06 AM

Hi GreenFaeWitch

Frankly I find that if you engage in Pagan Practices, you're a pagan. I generally like to stick by the dictionary definition. In other words, if your not one of the big three, Christian, Muslim or Jew. But you are a member of a religion or spiritual path, then you're a pagan. Every one else is either agnostic or atheist. And I find that in general that is pretty true. Most folks I meet either believe in divinity, or don't. plain and simple. I know there are those who may think that this statement shows me to be narrow minded. But I am not. For instance, I might look at a voodoo practitioner as being nominally Christian, but I know that the opinions on that vary from individual to individual. However, I also know this, Christianity, considers them to be misguided at best, Satanists at worst, but not Christians, or at least true Christians. The thing about labels is you have to understand how others label things as well as understanding how you as the individual might do so.


To me that's not particularly narrow minded. There is always a certain elegance in simplifying the point. The labels allow us to ascertain who is who on the surface. Within all religions there will be disputes between those who practice because of how religious teachings are interpreted and perceived by the individual.

Personally speaking I am a devout agnostic. I was always the kid in RE who asked the awkward questions. I am a christened Catholic because I like to hedge my bets, and I have devoted considerable time to musing over the whole topic of who, or what drives the universe. I always tie myself up in knots. The foundations of my belief system are somewhat shaky, but still standing all thesame. As I travel through life my understanding of the world, universe and such expands and so do my religious theories (mad thought they might be lol).

The craft is an entirely separate matter. I have no religious conflict there. Although a mere novice I know what I know because of trial and error,and because nature (like all things) requires balance. The only similarity that I can draw between the craft and my religious uncertainty is that every day I look further into the depths of what I do not understand in order to develop my knowledge. Every day brings something new.

The only reason that I have never labeled myself (other that agnostic) is because I just wouldn't know what label to use. I sometimes wish I did, but I don't lose any sleep over it. Who and what I am are both confusing at times, but otherwise fine with me. At the end of the day it all comes from inside and that's as individual as it gets really.

As always my view is my own, but food for thought I hope.

xx


#44 Orchid Moon

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 07:46 PM

[quote name='Georgia' timestamp='1295348782' post='92829']
Personally speaking I am a devout agnostic. I was always the kid in RE who asked the awkward questions. I am a christened Catholic because I like to hedge my bets, and I have devoted considerable time to musing over the whole topic of who, or what drives the universe. I always tie myself up in knots. The foundations of my belief system are somewhat shaky, but still standing all thesame. As I travel through life my understanding of the world, universe and such expands and so do my religious theories (mad thought they might be lol).

The craft is an entirely separate matter. I have no religious conflict there. Although a mere novice I know what I know because of trial and error,and because nature (like all things) requires balance. The only similarity that I can draw between the craft and my religious uncertainty is that every day I look further into the depths of what I do not understand in order to develop my knowledge. Every day brings something new.

The only reason that I have never labeled myself (other that agnostic) is because I just wouldn't know what label to use. I sometimes wish I did, but I don't lose any sleep over it. Who and what I am are both confusing at times, but otherwise fine with me. At the end of the day it all comes from inside and that's as individual as it gets really.

As always my view is my own, but food for thought I hope.


I have to admit this statement kind of reflects how I see myself. I was christaned a Christian, which fitted with how I felt in my youth. Now I too am agnostic, I am blown away if I enter a beautiful place of worship and religion fascinates me. But it doesn't draw me in. I don't feel part of a particular religion, I like to think that I respect different religious paths as I respect others points of view. It is like a beautiful vase in a shop window, I admire it but it would never be at home in my house or my life. It just wouldn't fit in anywhere. Trad Witchcraft is completely separate, it is my way of life. It is the way I conduct myself throughout the day and night. It is in my bones, my very escense of my being.

In Witchcraft, each of us must reveal our own truth

#45 Aloe

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 08:03 PM

I am a christened Catholic because I like to hedge my bets, and I have devoted considerable time to musing over the whole topic of who, or what drives the universe.


I'm curious about this sentence, what do you mean by "hedge your bets"?

"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore

#46 Georgia

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Posted 19 January 2011 - 11:49 PM

I'm curious about this sentence, what do you mean by "hedge your bets"?



Hi Aloe

I will do my best to answer without rambling too much I hope. :)

As a child I always found that the religious input that came from my family was quite conflicting and so it was a source of confusion to me. As an older child, and right through to adulthood it actually became a source of worry.

My Mums side of the family are pretty much C of E, but my Dads side are more of a mix. One half are staunch protestant. I have uncles in the orange lodge, and they never miss the orange walk. The other half are catholic. yo-yo-ing between devout to the point where my cousin Joseph became a priest, and lapsed to the point where some just don't give a stuff. My parents could not decide which side of the christian fence to put me on so they left me to make up my own mind. All of my cousins had been christened except me and I felt as though the pressure was on to make up my mind.. I did not look further than this choice even though neither side sat perfectly with me.

Eventually I chose catholicism. I have always had my own personal beliefs, but they don't fit in to a religion that I can find. I don't know where they come from, but I have never been prepared to discard them, catholicism fitted in best at the time. There was never any question of my not being christened because I have an odd death fixation. I want to know where I am going to go when I die, I don't like nasty surprises; I always felt a bit cursed by my bad luck in life (I have a visual disability and life in some ways has not been kind). I also had the huge problem of being utterly terrified that if I died without a proper christening that I would get shot straight to hell. I now blame the media for that one lol. I think perhaps it was like a form of insurance just in case the christians have it all correct. Looking back it seems a little dumb.

Now that I am a little older and perhaps a bit wiser I know that I may not have made the right choice, but I find that the one problem I have with being agnostic is the uncertainty hence why I hedged my bets. I do sometimes envy those who have a strong faith in something or someone and somewhere after death. I just have conflicting views and mad theories that sound like the rantings of a mad woman.

Perhaps this is why the craft is so inportant to me. It's constant, ever fluid and ever changing but there is consistency in that.

Wow I really have gone on and on, I did find that harder to explain than I first thought. I hope that I have not bored you too much. I think I must sound like a nutter.

:smile:


#47 Michele

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 12:00 AM

I don't think there is anythign wrong with your decision. You made the decision which was most logical for you at that moment in your understanding, hence it was the right decision for you at that time. The fear of death and wanting to understand what happens and where one ends up is a very natural human feeling I would think.

M


#48 Aloe

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Posted 20 January 2011 - 01:02 AM

Hi Aloe

I will do my best to answer without rambling too much I hope. :)

As a child I always found that the religious input that came from my family was quite conflicting and so it was a source of confusion to me. As an older child, and right through to adulthood it actually became a source of worry.

My Mums side of the family are pretty much C of E, but my Dads side are more of a mix. One half are staunch protestant. I have uncles in the orange lodge, and they never miss the orange walk. The other half are catholic. yo-yo-ing between devout to the point where my cousin Joseph became a priest, and lapsed to the point where some just don't give a stuff. My parents could not decide which side of the christian fence to put me on so they left me to make up my own mind. All of my cousins had been christened except me and I felt as though the pressure was on to make up my mind.. I did not look further than this choice even though neither side sat perfectly with me.

Eventually I chose catholicism. I have always had my own personal beliefs, but they don't fit in to a religion that I can find. I don't know where they come from, but I have never been prepared to discard them, catholicism fitted in best at the time. There was never any question of my not being christened because I have an odd death fixation. I want to know where I am going to go when I die, I don't like nasty surprises; I always felt a bit cursed by my bad luck in life (I have a visual disability and life in some ways has not been kind). I also had the huge problem of being utterly terrified that if I died without a proper christening that I would get shot straight to hell. I now blame the media for that one lol. I think perhaps it was like a form of insurance just in case the christians have it all correct. Looking back it seems a little dumb.

Now that I am a little older and perhaps a bit wiser I know that I may not have made the right choice, but I find that the one problem I have with being agnostic is the uncertainty hence why I hedged my bets. I do sometimes envy those who have a strong faith in something or someone and somewhere after death. I just have conflicting views and mad theories that sound like the rantings of a mad woman.

Perhaps this is why the craft is so inportant to me. It's constant, ever fluid and ever changing but there is consistency in that.

Wow I really have gone on and on, I did find that harder to explain than I first thought. I hope that I have not bored you too much. I think I must sound like a nutter.

:smile:


I don't find it dumb or think you made the wrong choice at all. Thanks for sharing! Since I practice witchcraft but have a strong christian background, I'm always interested in hearing the thoughts of witches who come from a similar background. :)

"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore