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Question: How long have you defined yourself as Pagan?
for less than a year - 8 (11.8%)
for over a year - 17 (25%)
for over 5 years - 15 (22.1%)
for over 10 years - 16 (23.5%)
for over 20 years - 11 (16.2%)
for over 40 years - 0 (0%)
I don't see myself as Pagan - 1 (1.5%)
Total Voters: 67

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Author Topic: Pagan self-definition and Pagan community  (Read 17770 times)
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Religion: Ecclectic pagan
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« Reply #13: June 08, 2008, 04:04:04 pm »

I chose "Over 10 Years" though, since it's been about 19, I almost went with "Over 20..."

What made you decide to define yourself as Pagan as opposed to someone who is just interested in myths, history, nature, meditation, esoteric stuff etc.?
Belief in the gods, first in the Goddess and God as perceived by NeoWicca, later in the multitude of gods of hard polytheism.  Since it was religion, not just an "interest" it never really occurred to me to do otherwise. 

  • Have you pondered that label for a while or did you suddenly discover it and had some sort of key experience that just made you think 'Yes, that is it what I was searching all along.'?
Well, neither.  The label came with the beliefs.  The belief came first.  I was Wiccan (Well NeoWiccan in that I didn't have a coven or initiation, therefore no access to oathbound material.  However, the sources I was drawing from were solidly BTW) and Wicca is a pagan religion, so I was pagan.  Then when I ceased to be Wiccan, I held onto the general pagan label:  I hadn't found my path yet, but I was certain when I did it would fall somewhere under that umbrella.

  • Did it give you a sense of belonging to a community or was it just a label for your own identity and you didn't care if you'd fit into the community?
Good question.  I guess by using a label recognizable by those outside of my head, it did give me a sense of place in the spectrum of religions.  However, I had no real sense of community.  I was in a small town, so there was no physical community available and this was way before the internet so any "virtual" community existed only through pagan literature - magazines, etc.

For those who are longer Pagan and have a lot of experience with the Pagan community:
  • Have you experienced a change in what the label 'Pagan' means inside and outside the Pagan community?
My involvement with the pagan community is a recent development.

  • How has Paganism changed itsself since you started practicing?
A lot of change has been in the education of the general public.  Contrary to popular belief, there are very few people out there who still think pagans sacrifice babies.  It used to be when I told someone I was pagan, they thought I was joking.  Nowadays, they assume I'm Wiccan.  It's actually a step forward.

There are many more people involved in paganism these days, though I don't know if there are more people actually practising.  It's easier to find information, good and bad.  It's easier to hook up with other pagans, or to find public rituals to attend.  This has a lot to do with the internet, for better or for worse.

  • Has your own view of Paganism changed over the time?
  • How did those changes affect your life and religious/spiritual practice?
I don't know that my view of paganism as a whole has changed so much as I've grown up.  I used to be a very soft polytheist, and am now mostly hard.  But that's not a change in my view of paganism but a change in my personal beliefs.  Very early on, I was one of the "Ancient matriarchy," "9 million sisters killed" crowd, but I'm happy to say that didn't last long.

My views of individual pagan religions have changed:  I've gone from thinking Reconstructionism was a futile effort to taking a Recon-inspired approach to my personal practice.  From thinking of modern druids as rather silly romanticists (my knowledge of them was heavily colored by 19th century revivals) to being a member of a druidic organization.  It's been a matter of expanding horizons and continuous learning.

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