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Author Topic: Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?  (Read 13850 times)
Waldfrau
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« Topic Start: June 12, 2008, 10:19:34 am »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?



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Sperran
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« Reply #1: June 12, 2008, 11:43:08 am »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?

I don't know if "dropped out" is the right term, but "gave up on" is probably accurate.  I never actually called myself Pagan.  I did try some rituals, read a lot, and some other stuff.  When I wasn't sliding into agnosticism or atheism, I kept coming back to the idea that there was one God.  I don't believe that any single religion can comprehend and express the ineffable force that created the universe, but for me, the God of Abraham came the closest.  I couldn't accept the divinity of Jesus, so that put Christianity out as an option, and Muslim beliefs just seemed too foreign to my own.  Baha'i had some theological issues I couldn't deal with, and I knew I wanted to be part of a religious community.  That's how I finally took the plunge and started studying for conversion to Judaism.  It was the right choice for me, and I wish I would have done it years ago.

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« Reply #2: June 12, 2008, 12:13:07 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?





Back after a long break.

My religious timeline:

Grew up Christian (Episcopalian), was very into it as a young teen.
Personal tragedy at 14 led to anger with God
Studied NewAge fluffy Wicca, got into it waaaay too much, but no follow through (thank goodness)
Became a Scientist (Followed science, and anything that was labled "scientific" was right!) until my mid 20's.
Had some personal growth that led to spiritual growth, researched many different religions, realized that I was putting the cart before the horse.
Challenged God: "If you are there, show me!"  Got an UPG experience
Developed my own belief system
After looking at my beliefs, I began calling myself Pagan because most (90%) of my beliefs fit in with various forms of Paganism.
Went on with my life, occasionally seeking a spiritual community, but never finding one at the right time. 
Came here, got thwapped by a Goddess, had my worldview and my world, and my spiritual beliefs turned upside down.
Am in a period of testing (I think) so my world is in a constant state of flux.

The biggest period of non-belief in a deity, was still a period of belief in something greater than myself.  The Scientific Community!  Anything done in the name of science was wonderful!  All scientists were honest, all had rigorous methods.. after all, a scientist wouldn't do anything bad!  They were just trying to help us see and understand the world around us! 
Sound familiar?

My faith in Science started to diminish once the global warming talking started.  I had an absolutely wonderful geology professor who would constantly tell us to question results.  Who pointed out some of the problems with early climate change data.  Who really drummed it in our heads that the science was only as good as the scientist, and scientists were people with failings and prejudices etc just like we were.  I think he saw the the cult of Science had a foothold on many people. 

Once I started looking deeper, I realized that while science is great for the "how" of the universe, it doesn't even start to answer the "why" of the universe, and that started my spiritual journey.  When I started looking into religion and spirituality again, I started with the big ones: Christianity, Bhuddism, and Wicca.  Then I found so much more.  Then I realized that why was I looking at religion when I wasn't even sure God existed.  Hence my challenge, my answer and my result of calling myself Pagan.
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« Reply #3: June 12, 2008, 01:30:26 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?

Before I was pagan, I took a five-year hiatus from magic and attempted to recommit to Catholicism.  I was pretty miserable.  (The first time I did magic, I still considered myself Catholic.)  But I also had a chance to get some space and a better perspective on what I was doing, not to mention get away from the influence of some unhealthy people.  So when I came back, I came back on my terms.  I definitely learned what's it's like to *not* do my Will.  And I think I'm a better devotee of Wepwawet because of this time - I know what it is to be lost and find my way back.

I also found out what sorts of things are very "me" to do when I ended up mentoring again and starting the second version of the Department without really trying.

When I came back to magic, I was basically agnostic for the first three months.  I knew there was Something divine out there, but not much about it.  And then I admitted to myself I was pagan.

I used to be really good at denial - I'm working on that now. Smiley
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« Reply #4: June 12, 2008, 03:26:11 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?





I haven't dropped out per se, but I have had phases of deep practice, and light practice.  Deep practice is like a power surge, disciplined, nightly meditations, writing, offerings whenever it comes to mind, incense and candles, and occasionally drives me back into the local 'community' although it's a pretty loose bunch of folks.

Light practice is where I still uphold the same beliefs, they just don't consume every waking moment.  I become more balanced and focus both on day to day life as well as a few random spiritual thoughts.   I actually find this state can be very rewarding because it puts your focus back on how spirituality augments your life, rather than obscures it. 

Just out of necessity I suppose.  To stay in that tightly focused place is not productive in day to day life for me.  Other obligations suffer, my family gets sick of it, and eventually I start feeling like a one trick pony. 
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« Reply #5: June 12, 2008, 03:31:23 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.
  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?
Why?

Oh yes. In fact I am thinking of "dropping out" again right now.   Cheesy

I was raised Christian, became atheist, then agnostic, then leaned more towards the Eastern religions, then found Jesus, then became more spiritual than religious, then became pagan, then had not much of any religious leanings, then came up with my own philosophies which were pretty much Kemetic-y pagan.   

But, things are again changing for me now.

It is hard to explain, but I am starting to follow more of an "innate" religous path.  Asking less, and accepting a simple "because it is"  philosophy on life. Really trying to shy away from all the "man-made"  religious ideas.

Anyway I won't bore you with it all, but in answer to your question a big happy - YES!
(religious experimentation is healthy)


« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 03:34:21 pm by Nile_Lily, Reason: typo » Logged
Juniper
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« Reply #6: June 12, 2008, 03:50:12 pm »

Ah Passionfruit, you do like your lists don't you!  Wink

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?

I've never 'dropped out' but I have taken a break. I'm not sure why it happened really. I had been through my Wiccan phase and I was finally starting to piece together what it was that I believed, and then I just took a step back from it all. I was doing my exams at college at the time, so perhaps that was why. I was also going to counselling, and I think that I had so much other stuff going through my head because of this that I really needed to get my head straight before I could start to think of spiritual matters once more.

  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?

Agnosticism from the time I was old enough to think about it, up until I was 14 and started looking into Wicca. I wasn't raised religious: religion was actually frowned upon in my house.

  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?

Nope. The only religion I've ever been part of are Pagan ones.

  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

I didn't leave it, I just kind of put it to one side for about 18 months. I'm back to it now and I've actually found that those 18 months of not thinkng about my spiritual beliefs has actually clarified them for me. I know that sounds odd, but when I began to return to researching my beliefs I found that the answers I hadn't known before my 'break' where there clear in my head. Almost as if they'd been there all along, but only now was my mind clear enough to see them.
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Scrupulously austere in its order
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Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart's frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake'
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« Reply #7: June 12, 2008, 10:34:00 pm »

    Interesting question!
This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
A big fat YES. I am very... fickle, I suppose, when it comes to my religion. I feel like all I ever do it study, but never do much "practice," because my life is too busy. Lame, I know. There was a time when I just stopped worrying about it and lived my life without religion. Nothing wrong with that, yet somehow I got wrangled back. I gave it up because, essentially, it was too much work! HAHAHA.

Quote
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
All three, really. And I am still slightly agnostic as it is... in that the gods may not exist for certain people if they believe they don't. Kind of. I wouldn't call myself atheist or agnostic now, but I'm not sure if I think of the gods as many seem to do. Jury is still out on that one.

Quote
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
No. No. And no. Was never *really* into Christianity (family is Lutheran), but I never once ever regretted it and never considered taking it up again.[/list]
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« Reply #8: June 12, 2008, 11:04:31 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?


I am fundamentally a very lazy person when it comes to religion. MOF, my default is no religion. That's really where I am right now and have been for the last few years. I still will say I'm a Greek Recon, and if I come back, that's where it will be, but right now, I'm pretty much in the nothing column.



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Waldfrau
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« Reply #9: June 13, 2008, 02:34:53 am »

Ah Passionfruit, you do like your lists don't you!  Wink
Hey, I'm getting better, this list is shorter!  Wink

As to answering my own questions:
No, I have dropped never out of Paganism (I've just started researching.) But I jumped on the scientific denial bandwaggon to get rid of religion/spirituality as a whole because I needed a reason for being not Catholic. Later I realized that I was somehow religious/spiritual and started to reevaluate my Catholic upbringing and what I could possible adhere to out of free will without being pressed by family. There was really nothing left apart from feeling that there's something divine about the world itsself, but that Catholicism doesn't describe in a way that fits to my perception of it. So I dropped out of Church finally, but without thinking about Paganism. I feel that I needed to acknowledge what I believe and that my birth religion didn't describe it very well before I went on to research other religions seriously.
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« Reply #10: June 13, 2008, 02:11:12 pm »

Hey, I'm getting better, this list is shorter!  Wink

LOL. I don't mind if you keep with the long lists of questions- it's a good mental workout for me  Cheesy
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« Reply #11: June 14, 2008, 07:24:40 am »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?

I was raised Christian.  Went through a few years of atheism, became a pseudo-Christian for a few more years.  Got interested in magic, found Wicca, quickly moved on, explored a few pagan/magical paths.  In the end, I decided that religions were a kind of reality filter, and what I'd been looking for all along was a way to percieve *more* truth, not less.  I'd spent too long trying to make myself believe all kindsof things, which wasn't good for my state of mind really.  In the end I had to accept what I realy felt deep down, and now I feel like I'm experiencing the world more fully as an atheist.  I'm not trying to come up with correspondences for a sunrise - it's just a beautiful sunrise.  It wasn't put there for me, there's no destiny requiring me to be here, etc.  I just happen to be here, and other stuff happens to be occurring for other reasons.  So I take things on their own terms, rather than trying to see them as a symbol, or a message, or something me-centred.
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« Reply #12: June 14, 2008, 11:42:40 am »

Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?

I will be honest here, I pretty much dropped the larger part of paganism..at least the religious part anyways. I never believed in deities nor did I ever do rituals,spells or worship. It never fit me.

I was attracted to "paganism" because I wish to find a way to feel more connected to this life, this world and try to find some worth and value in my existence. Worshipping symbols I do not think are real goes against my grain; I am more interested in the real messages which, to me, seems to have become buried under mounds of religious connotations..they may be a tool yet it is not the ends to a means.

This is not to say I do not have an altar to serve as a focal point, I just do not pray to outside sources as this seems to me merely an act of giving away my power to something else as well as relying on something outside myself rather than working with the universal energies to accomplish what I set out to do.

Herein lies another issue is that I find it an impedence to basically "humanize" natural forces; in other words I do not choose to put a face,name and human personality on a force like the wind or the life force...this is merely MY way..I do not intend any offenses in what I say. Please understand I am poor at expressing myself because I do it rarely.

I won't call myself Wiccan, Druid or Witch because that is not what I am..I suppose I am a non-religious eccletic?Huh??

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« Reply #13: June 14, 2008, 02:33:40 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?

Why?





The short answer, I suppose, is "yes."

After a childhood of being Dutch Reformed (coming from a family whose ancestors founded the local church, which later spread through several states, there wasn't ever a question but that I would follow that path--except in my mind), I dithered around for a few years being nothing much of anything, then meandered toward Wicca/wiccish (trained in Celtic Wicca, but never initiated), then about 4 years ago I had The Dream and realized what I'd really known all along. The Buddhist ways were already in my head and my heart, but I didn't realize it until The Dream got me to start researching.

The Buddha is not a god, and the bodhisattvas aren't either. They're people, albeit holy people. Everyone has within themselves the buddha nature; anyone can aspire to be a bodhisattva. It's not out of reach, but not everyone will reach it. And that's all right. There's nothing wrong with working to reach a goal and falling short--it's the journey that's important.

And now I'm blithering, so I will bid all a good day. :-)

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« Reply #14: June 18, 2008, 08:08:07 pm »

This was inspired by some interesting member biographies I heard of here on TC, but would like to know more details about.

  • Have you ever dropped out of Paganism or taken a break?
Yes, after I decided Wicca wasn't for me, I took a break from Paganism for a few months.




  • Did you experience a time of non-religiousity, atheism or agnosticism?
No


  • Did you join a non-Pagan faith? Did you find back to the one you grew up with or did you join a different non-Pagan one?
No I didn't join a non Pagan group



  • Did you leave Paganism once, but came back to it again later?
Yes, I stopped being interested in Wicca and took a break from it.  I did get into Paganism in general after a few months break.







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