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Author Topic: Finding my Pantheon/Path. Need Help  (Read 10198 times)
Aeto
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« Reply #15: June 05, 2011, 01:30:52 am »

I do! I'm a member of ADF, a Druid organization which celebrates the Wheel of the Year. (That's the two solstices, the two equinoxes, and the days inbetween.) I also belong to an eclectic Wiccan coven, and with them I observe some of the full moons as well.

For many years I was an atheist Pagan because I just didn't have a reason to believe. I started slipping towards agnosticism, and at this point I'm "theistic enough for it to count". I have an incredibly hard time sensing energy or meditating, which hindered my exploration greatly until I learned what I was really looking for.

I myself have always believed in something. I saw raised in a secular Christian household but never really believed in the Christian god but always found Paganism fascinating, it wasn't until I was around 18 that I seriously considered looking into it.

Would you say that the Wheel of the Year celebrations are the only times of the year where you worship or pay homage of the gods and goddesses? How exactly did you go about finding your path and pantheon?
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Vymir
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« Reply #16: June 06, 2011, 04:57:29 am »

I myself have always believed in something. I saw raised in a secular Christian household but never really believed in the Christian god but always found Paganism fascinating, it wasn't until I was around 18 that I seriously considered looking into it.

Would you say that the Wheel of the Year celebrations are the only times of the year where you worship or pay homage of the gods and goddesses? How exactly did you go about finding your path and pantheon?

Maybe you should take a break from researching for a few weeks. I found constant research often cluttered me even more when I tried to find my path. Look out for signs. Don't stress, the gods will guide you in the right direction.
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #17: June 06, 2011, 05:43:40 am »

Would you say that the Wheel of the Year celebrations are the only times of the year where you worship or pay homage of the gods and goddesses?

Not at all! Those are just the Really Big Important Days. I do ritual on other days as well, and though I'm not quite at the point of daily worship, I'm trying to incorporate my spirituality into my everyday life. For example, when I remember I say a prayer before eating. (I don't always remember because my Christian parents were never big on saying blessing, so it's not instinctual for me.) I'm setting up an altar in my room and going to start a meditation practice before too long. The Wheel of the Year is just a helpful structure for basing my entire (Wiccan and Druidic) practice around.

Quote
How exactly did you go about finding your path and pantheon?

Trial, error, experimentation, listening to my heart, and reading every book I could get my hands on. Grin Remember, you don't have to know exactly where you're going to end up for you to start. It's okay to try a path (or paths) for awhile, take note of what you like and don't like, and then try something else. It's also okay to make things up at you go along. Though I will follow specific patterns of ritual (for example - in a Wiccan ritual you cast a circle, call the elements, honor the God and Goddess, etc), I always, always write out the details myself. All my prayers and invocations are either impromptu or written beforehand by me.

It's also okay to pray directly to a god and let them know you're not sure. I've had plenty of times where my prayer went along the lines of: "Look. I had a messy breakup with my last religion, and I'm not entirely sure that I believe in you, but I think you're pretty cool and I'd like to work with you, if that's okay."

If it helps, here's the evolution of my spiritual interests:

  • Ásatrú (my first exposure to modern Paganism) and the Aesir/Vanir deities. I don't work with them anymore, but I was fond of Odin, Loki, Freya, and Freyr, and they'll always hold a place in my heart as my first gods after the Christian God and Jesus.
  • Neo-Wicca (that is, eclectic Wicca that's definitely not the kind Gerald Gardner was teaching in Britain) thanks to Scott Cunningham's little green book. I didn't stay with Wicca this time because my first Pagan group at (a woman's college near Philadelphia) was very Dianic in focus. This means there was a lot of emphasis on the Goddess and my connection to her as a woman, which never sat well with me. I always connected with the God of Wicca more than the Goddess, and I got tired of hearing that my physical sex should determine my spiritual practice, so I searched elsewhere!
  • Greek polytheism. I was never a reconstructionist, but I worked with Dionysus and Athena for a few years. I also know Greek mythology more completely than any other culture's. I studied Classical archaeology at Bryn Mawr, and at my new college I'm pursuing a minor in Classics and studying Ancient Greece. I've distanced myself from the Theoi a bit (not purposefully, just because my interests are tugging me elsewhere), but I still have a lot of love for them.

Now, for what I'm doing right now (roughly in order of when I started practicing them):

  • Non-Wiccan witchcraft and magic, such as hedge, kitchen, and green witchcraft. I love simple, folksy magic and I'm not big on mixing my ceremony and spellwork even today. There's something amazing about brewing magic into a cup of tea or sitting under a tree and having a conversation (admittedly a one-way one Grin). I'm still pursuing this today and am interested in reading cards (Tarot and oracle decks), astrology, herbalism, animal totems, and candle magic.
  • Druidry, specifically with ADF. There are a lot of different Druid groups today, all of which have a different approach to their work. I like ADF because there's a focus on scholarship and research, which appeals to the rational skeptic in me. I also really like their ritual structure and their training program, the Dedicant Path. I joined ADF in July 2010.
  • Brighid is pretty much my patron deity and I've been working with her since November 2010. She's the reason I can't call myself an atheist/agnostic Pagan anymore. Smiley I'm working on creating a Brighid-centered path and working with her both in a Druidic and Wiccan context. Because of her I started looking at other Celtic deities and have started working with Manannán mac Lir and have interest in Danu, Cernunnos, Herne, Rhiannon, and Branwen.
  • I was initiated into an eclectic Wiccan coven in January 2011. What I really like about my group is its diversity and the fact we have several folks who are also practicing other religions cocurrently. (I know we have at least one member interested in African diasporic faiths, for example). While we call on the God and Goddess in ritual, that theology is left up to individual interpretation. So we have people who literally believe in one God and one Goddess, folks who are pantheist and see them as metaphors for all nature, and people like me who believe in a host of deities who may be worshiped individually in ritual.

Gosh, that was a lot longer than expected. Grin So there were a few wrong turns and false starts, and a lot of seeking (and frustration!), but over the past four and some years I've grown a lot and learned a lot about myself. Don't worry, be happy. Wink
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Aeto
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« Reply #18: June 06, 2011, 06:14:00 am »

Not at all! Those are just the Really Big Important Days. I do ritual on other days as well, and though I'm not quite at the point of daily worship, I'm trying to incorporate my spirituality into my everyday life. For example, when I remember I say a prayer before eating. (I don't always remember because my Christian parents were never big on saying blessing, so it's not instinctual for me.) I'm setting up an altar in my room and going to start a meditation practice before too long. The Wheel of the Year is just a helpful structure for basing my entire (Wiccan and Druidic) practice around.

Trial, error, experimentation, listening to my heart, and reading every book I could get my hands on. Grin Remember, you don't have to know exactly where you're going to end up for you to start. It's okay to try a path (or paths) for awhile, take note of what you like and don't like, and then try something else. It's also okay to make things up at you go along. Though I will follow specific patterns of ritual (for example - in a Wiccan ritual you cast a circle, call the elements, honor the God and Goddess, etc), I always, always write out the details myself. All my prayers and invocations are either impromptu or written beforehand by me.

It's also okay to pray directly to a god and let them know you're not sure. I've had plenty of times where my prayer went along the lines of: "Look. I had a messy breakup with my last religion, and I'm not entirely sure that I believe in you, but I think you're pretty cool and I'd like to work with you, if that's okay."

If it helps, here's the evolution of my spiritual interests:

  • Ásatrú (my first exposure to modern Paganism) and the Aesir/Vanir deities. I don't work with them anymore, but I was fond of Odin, Loki, Freya, and Freyr, and they'll always hold a place in my heart as my first gods after the Christian God and Jesus.
  • Neo-Wicca (that is, eclectic Wicca that's definitely not the kind Gerald Gardner was teaching in Britain) thanks to Scott Cunningham's little green book. I didn't stay with Wicca this time because my first Pagan group at (a woman's college near Philadelphia) was very Dianic in focus. This means there was a lot of emphasis on the Goddess and my connection to her as a woman, which never sat well with me. I always connected with the God of Wicca more than the Goddess, and I got tired of hearing that my physical sex should determine my spiritual practice, so I searched elsewhere!
  • Greek polytheism. I was never a reconstructionist, but I worked with Dionysus and Athena for a few years. I also know Greek mythology more completely than any other culture's. I studied Classical archaeology at Bryn Mawr, and at my new college I'm pursuing a minor in Classics and studying Ancient Greece. I've distanced myself from the Theoi a bit (not purposefully, just because my interests are tugging me elsewhere), but I still have a lot of love for them.

Now, for what I'm doing right now (roughly in order of when I started practicing them):

  • Non-Wiccan witchcraft and magic, such as hedge, kitchen, and green witchcraft. I love simple, folksy magic and I'm not big on mixing my ceremony and spellwork even today. There's something amazing about brewing magic into a cup of tea or sitting under a tree and having a conversation (admittedly a one-way one Grin). I'm still pursuing this today and am interested in reading cards (Tarot and oracle decks), astrology, herbalism, animal totems, and candle magic.
  • Druidry, specifically with ADF. There are a lot of different Druid groups today, all of which have a different approach to their work. I like ADF because there's a focus on scholarship and research, which appeals to the rational skeptic in me. I also really like their ritual structure and their training program, the Dedicant Path. I joined ADF in July 2010.
  • Brighid is pretty much my patron deity and I've been working with her since November 2010. She's the reason I can't call myself an atheist/agnostic Pagan anymore. Smiley I'm working on creating a Brighid-centered path and working with her both in a Druidic and Wiccan context. Because of her I started looking at other Celtic deities and have started working with Manannán mac Lir and have interest in Danu, Cernunnos, Herne, Rhiannon, and Branwen.
  • I was initiated into an eclectic Wiccan coven in January 2011. What I really like about my group is its diversity and the fact we have several folks who are also practicing other religions cocurrently. (I know we have at least one member interested in African diasporic faiths, for example). While we call on the God and Goddess in ritual, that theology is left up to individual interpretation. So we have people who literally believe in one God and one Goddess, folks who are pantheist and see them as metaphors for all nature, and people like me who believe in a host of deities who may be worshiped individually in ritual.

Gosh, that was a lot longer than expected. Grin So there were a few wrong turns and false starts, and a lot of seeking (and frustration!), but over the past four and some years I've grown a lot and learned a lot about myself. Don't worry, be happy. Wink

Wow, thanks so much for that. I guess it is a bit of trial and error isn't it. I have actually never thought of practicing within a group. There are very few Pagan groups here in New Zealand and most of them are Wiccan that I have heard of. I always saw myself practicing as a solitary.

Here is what I have come to the conclusion so far from my reading and research:

Norse/Germanic: I have German ancestry but for me the myths and legends were a turn off for me. Found their gods a bit too warlike and violent. I did feel a connection to Thor and Freyja though.

Celtic: I have Scottish and Welsh ancestry but I didn't really like the myths or gods very much at all. Though I did like Cernunnos for some strange reason.   

Greek and Roman: Funnily enough I've always wanted to go to Greece since I was very little. I found the myths and legends really interesting and refreshing but I wasn't attracted to the Gods and Goddesses.

Egyptian: I've always felt an attraction to Ancient Egyptian artwork and paintings. I liked the "look" of their gods and goddesses but that's as far as it went for me.

As you can see I am all over the place. I am slowly getting around to some other pantheons as some people suggested like the Sumerian, Slavic and Finnish. I did look into Wicca but fell out of love with it very quickly, I am not one for large elaborate rituals so I guess that was a turn off. But then again I dont consider myself a reconstructionist, more of a modernist. So it all puts me in a bit of a pickle. 
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Ellen M.
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« Reply #19: June 06, 2011, 07:28:35 am »

Wow, thanks so much for that. I guess it is a bit of trial and error isn't it. I have actually never thought of practicing within a group. There are very few Pagan groups here in New Zealand and most of them are Wiccan that I have heard of. I always saw myself practicing as a solitary.

Groups can sometimes be hit or miss. My first Pagan group at Bryn Mawr left a lot to be desired - but it also taught me what I wanted and needed out of group practice. I started my second group at Roanoke College with the awareness of what I'd learned from Bryn Mawr. My third group, the Wiccan coven I practice with, is teaching me even more about group dynamics and how to express religious beliefs to other people. Definitely keep searching, and don't be afraid to visit for an open ritual. I wasn't Wiccan when I started going to coven meetings, but I found an expression of the religion that satisfied me.

Quote
Norse/Germanic: I have German ancestry but for me the myths and legends were a turn off for me. Found their gods a bit too warlike and violent. I did feel a connection to Thor and Freyja though.

I've heard the "too warlike" comment from other people as well. Go with your instincts, but also remember that all cultures petitioned their gods in times of war, and all pantheons have deities who manifest the darker side of things. Each of the Aesir and Vanir have a soft side as well - Thor for example is all about truth and justice triumphing over chaos (and I think he might have fertility connections as well?).

Quote
Celtic: I have Scottish and Welsh ancestry but I didn't really like the myths or gods very much at all. Though I did like Cernunnos for some strange reason.

Have you tried looking into Irish or Continental myths? I found all Celtic mythology a bit hard to penetrate when I first started, so I find that connecting through music and art (ie, listening to Celtic Woman and Emerald Rose Grin) helps when I'm learning the myths. Cernunnos is from continental Europe (I want to say Gaul). We don't know much about him, but he's a very striking fellow.

Quote
Greek and Roman: Funnily enough I've always wanted to go to Greece since I was very little. I found the myths and legends really interesting and refreshing but I wasn't attracted to the Gods and Goddesses.

Me too. What about the myths and legends did you like?

Quote
Egyptian: I've always felt an attraction to Ancient Egyptian artwork and paintings. I liked the "look" of their gods and goddesses but that's as far as it went for me.

Art is a fantastic way for me to connect with the gods. It's almost like a shortcut to the spirituality centers of my mind. I have a very hard time connecting to deities who don't have a face and symbols I can visually see - that's why I commissioned NibbleKat to paint Brighid for my altar.

Quote
As you can see I am all over the place. I am slowly getting around to some other pantheons as some people suggested like the Sumerian, Slavic and Finnish. I did look into Wicca but fell out of love with it very quickly, I am not one for large elaborate rituals so I guess that was a turn off. But then again I dont consider myself a reconstructionist, more of a modernist. So it all puts me in a bit of a pickle. 

Nothing wrong with being all over the place. You never have to pick just one path, or dedicate yourself to one completely. Also to keep in mind, Wicca (and other paths) don't have to be elaborate. If you find you work better with simple ritual structure, then take the gist of a ritual and run with it. And there are no ritual police ready to cart you off if you, say, decide you want to skip casting a circle (like I often do) or decide to ignore the four elements in favor of just praying to the gods. Smiley
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Aeto
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« Reply #20: June 06, 2011, 08:06:58 pm »

Groups can sometimes be hit or miss. My first Pagan group at Bryn Mawr left a lot to be desired - but it also taught me what I wanted and needed out of group practice. I started my second group at Roanoke College with the awareness of what I'd learned from Bryn Mawr. My third group, the Wiccan coven I practice with, is teaching me even more about group dynamics and how to express religious beliefs to other people. Definitely keep searching, and don't be afraid to visit for an open ritual. I wasn't Wiccan when I started going to coven meetings, but I found an expression of the religion that satisfied me.

I've heard the "too warlike" comment from other people as well. Go with your instincts, but also remember that all cultures petitioned their gods in times of war, and all pantheons have deities who manifest the darker side of things. Each of the Aesir and Vanir have a soft side as well - Thor for example is all about truth and justice triumphing over chaos (and I think he might have fertility connections as well?).

Have you tried looking into Irish or Continental myths? I found all Celtic mythology a bit hard to penetrate when I first started, so I find that connecting through music and art (ie, listening to Celtic Woman and Emerald Rose Grin) helps when I'm learning the myths. Cernunnos is from continental Europe (I want to say Gaul). We don't know much about him, but he's a very striking fellow.

Me too. What about the myths and legends did you like?

Art is a fantastic way for me to connect with the gods. It's almost like a shortcut to the spirituality centers of my mind. I have a very hard time connecting to deities who don't have a face and symbols I can visually see - that's why I commissioned NibbleKat to paint Brighid for my altar.

Nothing wrong with being all over the place. You never have to pick just one path, or dedicate yourself to one completely. Also to keep in mind, Wicca (and other paths) don't have to be elaborate. If you find you work better with simple ritual structure, then take the gist of a ritual and run with it. And there are no ritual police ready to cart you off if you, say, decide you want to skip casting a circle (like I often do) or decide to ignore the four elements in favor of just praying to the gods. Smiley

The Wicca coven that I was briefly involved with were definatley not my type. Quite a few of the members along with the leader of the coven were also members of the Church of All Worlds so they were generally the new age hippie type though they were very nice. I will keep searching though.

Most of the material I read on the Celtic traditions was on Pan-Celtic gods and goddesses so it was a bit of everything so that might explain why. I will have to look more into that. I cannot explain exactly why I liked the Greek myths, I actually found them similar to the Norse myths but a lot watered down and not so dark if that makes sense.   

What would you say is a basic ritual for you?
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