Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Am I really a Pagan???

Following on from my "Am I really a Quaker?" post...

So, am I really a Pagan?  I don't know.  I mean, for a start, I'm dyspraxic.  Candle magick and dyspraxia - not the best combination.  Can you be Pagan or/and Wiccan if you can't do candle magick?  Well, I guess I'm not great on religious rituals, anyway - which is probably, in part, where the Quaker side of things comes in for me.  This is all so hard to explain because there are so many aspects to everything, and I don't know where to start, so I apologise if this isn't the greatest blog post ever.

I believe in God and Goddess, angels, faeries, animal spirit guides - and I feel connected to The Divine in my own way, but I guess that I don't entirely fit in anywhere. 

I have used oracle cards.  I own Tarot cards too, but got put off early on, because the first card I ever drew for myself was The Devil, and even though I know that there are positive and constructive aspects to that Tarot card, I have such a problem with the whole Devil concept - you know???

I haven't even touched upon my experiences with the C. of E. and LDS/Mormon churches yet.  I guess that I'll discuss all of that eventually.  Like I said, it's just so hard to know where to start - it really is.  But I want to do this - and I kind of need to do this, in a way.  I just feel like this is the direction I'm being drawn towards.  I've been so inspired by other Quagan blogs, and if reading my ramblings can help even one person to feel less isolated, then it will be worth it.

Is there anyone out there - anyone at all - who has ever had the surreal feeling of being in the middle of a church service at LDS church, thinking about Wicca and Buddhism???????  I can't begin to explain it...

Funny thing is, it's much harder to talk about this in prose form than to write poetry about it.  I've talked about it on forums, but that's different.  That's so-and-so says something and so-and-so responds, but just trying to say this stuff - will I get better at this, I wonder???


  1. You don't have to preform candle magick or any kind of magick to be Pagan. Our spiritual ancestors would not reconginze the majority of what is being passed off as "Pagan beliefs". Not sweat the no magick, spells, rituals. I don't do any of them either (also my draw to Quaker) but that doens't make me any less devoted to the Gods.

    As for the LDS Church...I know what you mean. I've sat through sacrement and baptisms with my mind wondering through Pagan topics, trying not to laugh out loud when "Church History" is brought up. ;)

  2. Hi, Cora! Thank you so much for this reply to my blog post. It was exactly the encouragement that I needed.

    And to find someone else who relates to the LDS church part of my spiritual journey, too - that's incredible! In one of the lessons at church, a woman talked about Heavenly Mother, which fascinated me, as one of my problems with the Christian theology is that I believe in a female part of the Godhead - a Goddess or goddesses. It doesn't make sense to me to have a religion that doesn't recognise the feminine side of The Divine, and I have felt Her influence in my own life. But, when I later asked the missionaries about Her, they got defensive and wouldn't answer me at all. I got the impression that, if I pushed the point, it could get the person who had said it into trouble, so I didn't. Then I "e-met" someone on Beliefnet who used to be Wiccan and had converted to Mormon. She said that the LDS church DID recognise Heavenly Mother/The Goddess, but later back-tracked and said that there was "no doctrine" on The Goddess!!! She suddenly became too busy to talk to me, which is probably genuine, but I end up with more and more confusion on these issues. Still, at the same time, I did learn much of value from the LDS church, and met some wonderful friends, with whom I still stay in touch. I believe that ALL religions do contain truth and value.

    I feel that we are similar in that we have Pagan beliefs, but do not relate to the magick, spells, rituals side of Pagan religions. Do you ever meditate? I try to sometimes, and would like to more, but find it difficult to "switch off" mentally.

  3. I have been hugely influced by the LDS through-out my life... well, for the past 20 years! I have to admit, I do have holy envy of a lot of their structure and if only they would accept Pagan amongst them I woul be happy. Although, I just don't buy into Church History all that much.

    Okay, so, Heavenly Mother. Yes, they believe in a Heavenly Mother (with the logic that you cannot have a Father without a Mother). The reason not much is on Her nor do they pray to Her is because (according to them) God loves Her so much that He keeps Her away from human attention so that Her name will not be damned. Me? It sounds like along the lines of "keep her barefoot pregnant in the kitchen" while He gets all the glory. I could be a bit critical.

    They also believe that if you live a pure, devout, perfect life and make it to the Cel. Kingdom then you will be made into a God/dess of your own planet. Which begs the question if their Heavenly Parents sitting on their throne on Kolob (name of Their planet) were humanoid at some point.

    The LDS theology is interesting...if you haven't already, Google the endowment ceremony (which is done in Temple) and read it!

    As for my Pagan practice...

    You are correct. I don't get into all the magick, spells, rituals. I did for a number of years when I was a Wiccan and Coven memeber. But honestly, all of the hallobaloo never did anything for me. I feel that communing quietly can be far more profound than flashy rituals. I don't have altars (my son has a "special space" for his Deities but it isn't used as an altar), I don't celebrate holy days in a grandiose way. I like things Plain and Simple.

    Don't let Pagans who get sucked into the rituals tell you that your way is 'wrong'. We each approach our Gods in our own way and the Gods love us just as we are.

    I meditate, but not like most do it. I just breathe and center...letting neg. energy out while trying to bring pos. in. Sometimes it's all of 1 minute. Again, meditation shouldn't be a measuring stick of how 'Pagan' a person is: our ancestors would have thought us odd birds indeed for doing it.

    I am so glad to have someone else to talk to about all of this! Not too many have our unique perspective. I am also glad that I could help encourage you in my small way :)

  4. Thank you for this, Cora. I was fascinated to read what you said about Heavenly Mother/The Goddess. You know, in many respects, I do believe in the LDS church and, certainly, I find that their outlook on the God, Jesus, Holy Ghost/Spirit makes more sense to me than that of the majority of the Christian church, with their obsession with The Trinity and being "monotheistic". Islam, Judaism and, from what I understand of the religion, Sikhism are all monotheistic, but Christianity simply isn't, in any real, logical sense. I do relate to Catholicism and honouring Mother Mary, but the Roman Catholic church has the same obsession with language games and basically pretending to be monotheistic. Maybe I'm missing the point, but that is how I see it. I haven't studied theology in as much depth as I would eventually like to, and maybe eventually I will see "the bigger picture" and draw some different conclusions.

    I think that each of us has our own way to connect with The Divine and it is very personal and individual. So whilst I am not by any means "anti" religious rituals - for me, at this point in time, I don't feel the need for them. I definitely relate to the simplicity aspect of Quakerism and Paganism.

    I will Google "endowment ceremony", as you suggested - thank you.

    What did you make of The Mormons' Word of Wisdom, by the way? I found that it was not without merit, but full of contradictions. Like, tea and coffee being outlawed and Diet Coke/Pepsi and Red Bull remaining widely accepted. It was one of my major stumbling blocks but, looking back, I'm glad, as I would have been baptised otherwise, which wasn't really right for me. I feel that I was guided in a different direction, that was more suitable for me, but that LDS was, and will remain, an important part of who I am. It was such a major aspect of my spiritual journey, which is ongoing.

  5. Sorry, Cora - wanted to tweak some minor typos and couldn't find another way, apart from copying it by copy/paste, changing and then deleting the original - so sorry if blogspot sends multiple notification emails, as a result. I could see how to edit my original post, but not any comments! x

  6. Sorry for taking so long to write back. I try to "unplug" from the computer on Sundays and Mondays are busy.

    For a long time I thought that the Words of Wisdom prohibited caffine but later found out that it's prohibiting specifically coffee and tea. Why? Because the LDS believe there are thousands of very harmful (potenially deadly) chemicals put into those drinks. They also have this idea that if you drink coffee or tea, you must be addicted to it.

    I don't agree with any of it, of course. I firmly believe in "moderation of all things".

    As for the monotheistic/polytheistic perspective: keep in mind that even though the LDS seem to have *very* strong Polytheist leanings, they strongly argue they are Monotheist...after all, Polytheists are "bad" ;-)

    Have you ever researched The Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price? When I read how J.S. "translated" them to mean vs. what REAL Egyptologists say it's mind boggling:

    I almost got baptized years ago and once I uncovered this little gem, I am *so* thankful that I didn't.

  7. Thank you for your reply, Cora.

    I didn't go into the Pearl of Great Price, but my husband does have a copy of the Complete Works, which would include this, which was given to him when he was baptised. I haven't read The Book of Mormon or The Bible for some time, but I think that I am nearly ready to go back to the Christian and LDS texts again, now that I have put some distance and perspective on all that happened before. I will look at the websites that you have suggested - thank you.

    Polytheism is generally viewed as "bad" throughout the Christian community, including LDS (which I include as "Christian", although other Christian churches don't tend to). However, I did read an article with the late Gordon B. Hinckley in which he stated that God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost were three entities and that if that meant that Mormons worshipped three gods, then so be it - words to that effect. It was very honest and definite. It was in one of the LDS magazines, given to my husband by a church friend.

    Yes, the ban is on tea and coffee, and includes green tea and Redbush (both caffeine-free), but not herbal tea. Decaff is not allowed. And there are mixed views on Diet Coke, Red Bull, etc, but they are not specifically banned - as they weren't around to be banned in Joseph Smith's day, and no prophet to date has addressed the inconsistency! Like you, I believe in "all things in moderation" - or "The Middle Way", as Buddhists would describe it.