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What does being a pagan or witch mean to you?

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  • What does being a pagan or witch mean to you?

    We've gotten a few new member's so I though I'd ask

    What does being a Pagan / pagan or witch mean to you? I use the capital Pagan to denote the religion and the small pagan to denote the general umbrella term.

    Figure the best way to understand the newer people is to ask. For my generation, i'm 58 it seem's to have had quite a bit of difference in how it meant and defined it.

    To give an example to be honest I don't recall ever using the term pagan until the late 80's early 90's prior to that we were basically occultist or just witches. Maybe Wiccan's (Gardernerian's, Alexanderian's, etc in the vein of BTW or Coven based Wicca, or Witches in the sense of familial - family / folkish practices or inspired by the likes of Paul Huson's "Mastering Witchcraft" or Laurie Cabot's stuff perhaps. I guess you could say there was a divide in that some were influenced by the feminist movement stuff while others were also being influenced by the 60's free love and Eastern mysticism movements. It was all present through the 60's and 70's and into the 80's. Not to say we didn't have some awful author's floating around as well or people willing to exploit the eager.

    But I also admit it seem's we were expected to understand more or perhaps deeper it seems. In the understanding of where things came from it made understanding what it mean and why it was more important. It's like the "Cup" or "Chalice". Is it the Holy Grail of Arthurian Legend which tied it to the Golden Dawn stories? Is it the Holy Grail and tied it to Christianity and the Virgin Mary stories? Is it the Holy Grail and tied it to the Last supper and the final drink? Is it the collection of blood from the sacrificial altar's of the various gods / goddesses and tied it to the life bloods and made it a fertility / fecundity item? All of which ties it to power, reincarnation, rebirth, fertility, the womb, femininity, the female and in many ways the void where life forms and is created or destroyed. It also tied it to the broken celestial egg or the cracked and broken egg with half of the promise given and half yet retained which goes back to fertility and fecundity. Or the waters of life and the idea of the void with part drained yet part not poured so the promise of life yet remains to be given and fulfilled.

    Was it right? Who knows. But it was a deeper idea than just here is a cup and you put the wand (penis - masculine - projecting life force and energy into it) It was also having an idea, even if wrong where it came from and why it was used as it was to understand the significance of it all.

    To understand what it was to be an occultist or witch at the time. How we tied to things and the gods / goddesses if we connected to them. Figure to be a witch did not mean one had to believe in the gods / goddesses.

    Today very few people it seems, to me anyway, actually have any connections to a lineage that connects them to a coven, a BTW lineage, a familial connection or such. Most it seem's are what I would hear called Biccan's or worse to be honest. Book Wiccan's or some resemblance of that. Self taught, self dedicated and self initiated into an individual practice that is some form of usually Neo-Wicca or conflated version of it. It's not the practices of what I learnt under for certain. It's not even the practices of the pseudo stuff of the Silver RavenWolf Era that so many still make light of.

    So I am curious what does being a pagan / witch mean to you?

  • #2
    Paganism? merely the meaning is adapting your chosen standpoint to life that doesn't conform to the brainwashing of the hoi polloi. Whereas "zen is zen & tao is tao", I seek blending an appreciation of balance/flow with the pragmatism of zen while striving to experience the hedonism of the teachings of Aristippus of Cyrene sans an incarcerating or harmful outcome. A variation of the Wiccan "Do as ye will but harm no-one" teaching.... "You are a child of the universe-no less than the trees & the starz...u have a right 2 b here. & whether or not it is clear 2 u, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should" [Desiderata]. Henly's "Invictus" poem is a marker on my path. The animism of Shinto exists everywhere. Personally, I feel the myriad dimensions are filled with entities that interact in manners we are sometimes privileged to appreciate...but all Yin has its Yang, & you may choose the thorny path also. Namaste'


    • #3
      "pagan" just means I don't fall into any other category very well. Spiritual beliefs, I've got plenty, but none of them follow a particular tradition. I don't need any initiation from some "better" person to be myself. There is so much to learn in this world, so much to learn from all around this world, and no single specific religious path matches my understanding of reality. So, I'm "pagan". I share beliefs with many others of many walks of life and cultural heritage. Suppose that's why it's an umbrella term.
      "The cosmos is also within us, we're made of star stuff.
      We are a way for the cosmos to know itself."

      Carl Sagan, as quoted by The Symphony of Science


      • #4
        Pagan in the modern context doesn't mean anything to me. It is too watered down. If someone tells me they are Pagan, aight, but that doesn't really tell me anything about their personal and individual views.
        Classically i use the definition of country dweller, liver off the land... generally considered backoods. The hillarious thing about it is that the people i know who tend to fit that description are cunningfolk and/or Christians.
        I fit that definition but I'm traditional Cherokee views though it has been blended.

        As for Witch, firstly i see it as European in context and so it is either going to be a European cultural context or a context that was forced or imparted to "new world" cultures from European settlers.
        I do see that it is possible to hold two cultures, i know and have known a few Jewitches for example.
        The Cherokee, we do use the word witch for english translations of Sgili, a practitioner often associated with owl medicine.
        Thats because it fit the old word definition.... and that old world definition involves:

        - Working Liminally
        - Having a familiar spirit (not just having a ca or pet, may not be corporeal/physical at all) as guide and psychopomp.
        - the witches flight.

        If those three things are not there it is not witchcraft by the definition i use. There are plently of people who consider themselves witches that i do not consider witches.
        I get called an elitist a lot for that but do not see why i should be forced by peer pressure to change my position. It isn't like i go around telling people that they can't call themselves a witch or have their own working definition... it just is not my definition.
        Tsalagi Nvwoti Didahnvwesgi Ale Didahnesesgi
        (Cherokee medicine practitioner of left and right hand paths) - The Anikutani Tradition