This is one of those painfully obvious statements to anyone that knows me: I grew up Catholic. The type with a family prayer, grace before meals, front pew every Sunday (which, when we weren’t there, no one would fill), my dad is in the Church Choir, taught CCD, and between the whole of my family there wasn’t a role we hadn’t filled. I was a nursery worker, bell-ringer, greeter, choirgirl, volunteer.
I was involved, I liked CCD, I may have been bored (I have ADHD, church was not really my cuppa) and I probably would have stayed Catholic except, well, my family actually goes into Church teachings. And while in the midst of being a teenager, I realized that wow, I have serious issues that kinda preclude being Christian alltogether.
But I also grew up with a love of ritual, mystery and myth. My dad used to read to us from the Bible at night, and I probably learned more from his side comments than anything else, and I grew up reading Greek and Roman Mythology. Like, favorite bathtime reading.
Around 8th grade and freshman year, I discovered the internet. I somehow missed the pictures of naked women and discovered a safe way to be social in IRC. I met pagans for the first time. I was also studying world religions in History class and I found it a bit liberating to know that Catholicism, or my privileged areas “Got-mine” Christianity wasn’t the only thing out there.
The people I talked to online, who were pagan. fed my fledgling love of research, giving me website and books. Articles. Experiences. I was pretty much a stereotype.
So why paganism? Because I grew up with a deep appreciation of Mystery. Catholicism is chock full of it, in a way that protestant faiths that I was around wasn’t. They had personal relationships but not the Mystery, but I saw a need for both.
Why paganism? Because I love research. My first two books I bought were Drawing Down the Moon and The Spiral Dance. Cunningham came later, as did the other classic newbie texts, after I had grounded myself in what was some of the more serious texts.
Why paganism? Because it’s DIY that I can actually do. I can put together a faith and ritual practice. I can’t knit or be crafty, but I can talk and dance and be.
This isn’t meant to be a history of my life as a pagan but I probably should touch upon why I’m Hellenic.
By the time I entered college, I was a lazy pagan. I did small rituals here and there but I was not engaged with it. I decided that the eclectic nature of what I was doing just didn’t work for me. I need a framework to work within so that I can focus. I’m a believer that creativity needs limits. In my exploration, I was lead to Hellenismos by Apollo, got a cluebat from Dionysos and my research yen was hitched and well …here I am. Paganism…where my spiritual needs are met.
I think that’s more profound than all the ponitificating in the world. You gotta go where your needs are met.
1. Beliefs – Why (not) Paganism?
2. Beliefs – Cosmology
3. Beliefs – Deities
4. Beliefs – Birth, death and rebirth
5. Beliefs – Magic, spellcraft, mysticism and various woo shit
6. Beliefs – The power of prayer/reciprocity
7. Beliefs – Patronage and other deeper relationships
8. Beliefs – Holidays
9. Deity Gender-
10. Patrons – Dionysos
11. Pantheon – Hestia
12. Pantheon – Hera
13. Pantheon – Gods and Goddesses of the Growing World
14. Pantheon – Nymphs
15. Pantheon (anti) – On finding a pantheon.
16. On not being “Earth-Centered” or “Nature-Based”
17. My ways of worship
19. Paganism and my family/friends
20. Paganism and my relationship
21. Other paths I’ve explored
22. Paganism and major life events
24. Personal aesthetics with magic and ritual
25. Priest? Clergy? One or both? Neither?
26. Any “secular” pastimes with religious significance, and why
27. How your faith has helped you in difficult times
28. One misconception about Paganism you’d like to clear up
29. The future of Paganism
30. Places of spiritual significance