How do I go about becoming a pagan and what does the religion involve?

How do I go about becoming a pagan and what does the religion involve?

I’ve been interested in paganism for a while now, and I’ve done some research, but the more I read the more I become confused and overwhelmed. What is the difference between Paganism and Wicca? How does one become a pagan? What do you do while practicing the religion? What are the beliefs? I need all the info I can get.

  1. אמנדהApr 18, 2010

    Paganism is an umbrella term for various polytheistic religions with different pantheons. Wicca is a neo-Pagan religion which believes in a God and a Goddess.

  2. randomgirlApr 18, 2010

    you must accuse innocent women of whichery

  3. Rebecca PApr 18, 2010

    Paganism is an umbrella term that encompasses all religions that are not one of the three “book” religions: Islam, Judaism, or Christianity.
    Wicca is a Pagan nature path that worships a dual deity and believes that you can make change in your life by bending the forces of nature. They believe in the Threefold Law (everything you do will come back to you three-fold) and the Wiccan Rede (And it harm none, do what you will).
    To be Pagan, you can first find a Pagan path that suits you. Or you can be a Neo-Pagan and take various teachings from many religions and incorporate them in to your spiritual life and create your own unique path. Read many different books on Pagan paths. I highly recommend you first read Margot Adler’s book Drawing Down The Moon. It goes over the history of Paganism and how it is today. It’s a must-read for any wanting to learn about Paganism. You can also do a search on Google or any other search engine and come up with an endless amount of sites on Paganism.
    Just a note: be wary of books published by the publishing company Llewellyn. They do have many good books, such as books by Scott Cunningham, Thea Sabin, and DJ Conway, but they have many horrible books that are full of crap.
    Be careful not to take everything people say for fact. There are an extreme many different Pagan paths, and each has an entirely different set of beliefs. Find the one that makes the most sense to you.

  4. louisApr 18, 2010

    Actually the main religions are mostly pagan ideas. So most Christian churches should offer you a lot of pagan customs.
    I mean what about the Easter Rabbit, laying colored eggs? That came down to us from sex worshipers.
    Christmas is nothing more than worship of the sun, moon and stars.
    The ever green tree was the only thing green during the winter they trimmed it with lights to try and get the sun to come back.
    Santa Clause is a fictional character and a lie so that should fit in with pagan customs. From tooth fairy’s to valentines, the worship of the love goddess. These all came down to us from pagans.

  5. TeawitchApr 18, 2010

    “Pagan” is the umbrella name for all non-christan faiths that the early church gave them. So you might first want to decide if you want to follow a book religion (non-christian) or on of the many old religions. Wicca is another religion that is called Pagan. Again an umbrella name for many paths or beliefs.
    Either to become one, first decide the path. Second, dedicate yourself to that faith. and third study.
    Add on: Wicca is not necessarily a neo-pagan as many believe, and some paths can be traced to pre-christian times, although I am sure many wicca will dispute this as well.

  6. AllysonApr 18, 2010

    Paganism is an overall term for religions other than the major ones, and Wicca is a path of nature. Yes Wicca is Pagan but you choose what you want to study so its your own path. For lack of a better term, in becoming Wiccan/Pagan you practice rituals and spells. Spells that bend the will of yourself and those around you. That’s when the Wiccan Rede comes into play.{Bide the Wiccan Law ye must, In Perfect love and Perfect trust, Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill: An’ ye harm none, do what ye will.} This is also where the law of 3 come in as well. {What ye send forth come back to thee, so ever mind the law of 3, what comes back is threefold, follow this with mind and heart, merry meet and merry part} We also have our own holidays such as Samhein, Imbolc, Beltane, Ostara and so on. It is a monotheistic {believe in more than one god/goddess} religion. Something familiar that is about the same is the Egyptians. If you want to start go on http://www.witchschool.com and take the wiccan course {correllian tradition} That should give you the basics. You can expand from there by reading books and such.

  7. Priestess JeanApr 18, 2010

    That’s a hard question to answer here, but my temple
    has a website that I think you will find very informative.

    It covers the origins of human spirituality all the way
    up to the modern revival of my particular tradition…

    I’ll send you a link privately.

    Blessings,

    Jean

  8. Hearty MealApr 18, 2010

    Paganism is more of an umbrellatype term which basically is any non-gentile religion.

  9. lady_eyes2Apr 18, 2010

    Hearty-Meal=Non-gentile religion? have you payed attention to what you’ve wrote?
    Are lot’s of pagan religion, all you have to do is to make more research , read a lot , and after that to decide which one is the best for you. Wicca is a neo-pagan religion , which includes not only pagan rituals but also witch craft. Christianity is half pagan, because Easter, Christmas and other christian hollydays are actualy pagan sabbat

  10. Lady KiaraApr 18, 2010

    Since many have told you what Paganism entails, here’s a bit about “becoming one”. There are many temples and pagan “churches” that celebrate the sabbaths and cycles; Circle Sanctuary (Wisconsin) is one of the most well-known.
    Also, many Unitarian churches have a Pagan group. Books are an excellent way to get to know various paths, but the best way to figure it out is to simply do it.
    Actually, one good way to find others is running searches on Yahoo Groups. There are quite a few pagan groups online.

  11. kegbot1Apr 18, 2010

    You know, this is kind of a hard question to answer in your case because I don’t know exactly what you’ve already read but, regardless, if you’re asking the question the way you asked it, you haven’t read good information.

    Most of the posts above mine have done the job in answering you but let me add a few of my own observations.

    First, I do hope you have found some aspect of Paganism that truly resonates with you. One of the saddest things I have seen in my work in a metaphysical book section and my own bookstore (as well as solitary practice) are people who are trying on Paganism because it is somewhat hip and trendy in their social circles. And don’t get me started about the neophytes who go right for the spell books without any prior background study. I’ve seen some train wrecks setting up.

    Rebecca, with all respects due, I think, perhaps, recommending Adler to a beginner might be a bit much. I did try reading it as a beginner and had the MEGO effect several times even though, as background to understanding Paganism, it’s one of a few indispensable works.

    AFA Cunningham – yes I would recommend his works to punkbabe with this caveat to her – there are witches who have upbraided me for being a Cunningham devotee, calling him the “fluffy bunny” school of Wicca, IMO unfairly.

    With that said, I recommend Cunningham’s “Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner” if your spirit guides you toward a Wiccan path.

    Which leads to another bit of advice for Punkbabe – once you get into any Pagan groups whether online or off, you will most likely be inundated with so many conflicting opinions on How Things Should or Must Be Done that it will make your head spin. Within reason, you must follow the path as your own spirit and instinctual sensitivity guide you. Second guessing oneself is one of the major stumbling blocks to learning and living the Pagan path.

    Also be very wary of falling into the trap of asking advice in a metaphysical shop for the same reasons. Also, before you would join any coven, church or any other group in the future, do due diligence on the people involved. We (sigh) have our cranks and megalomaniacs just like any group of imperfected humans.

    I also think a good book to recommend to you as a seeker is Gus DiZerega’s “Pagans and Christians: The Personal Spiritual Experience.” This book lays out the basis for both beliefs systems in comparative terms that are easily understood by anyone with a working knowledge of Christian belief systems.

    Yes, it’s a Llewellyn book (the good kind 🙂 – Rebecca). That publishing house, for all the dreck they put out (hey, they gotta make money, right?) also carry some excellent works and bring Paganism to a broader audience than any other publisher.

    I’d recommend other authors but I don’t want to get into anything contentious here so just do your best to exercise discretion in your reading material. And yeah, read Adler sometime.

    I wish you the best,

    Moonwatcher

    PS: You might want to peruse Witchvox.com for useful information and articles as well for your exploration.

  12. lavonne_parkerApr 18, 2010

    Paganism is simply earth-based spirituality. You don’t become a pagan but discover your pagan roots. Wicca is just one of many ways to practice paganism. Paganism is what existed before the organized, dominant religions existed. It is threatening to the bigger religions because it generally encourages independence and self-reliance.

    I won’t tell you how to practice or what the beliefs are because several good answers to that already are posted.

    Good luck.

  13. Heather GApr 18, 2010

    If you want to contact me I will teach you. Paganism simply put means Country Dweller, it is a name derived from when the Christians started forcing their religion on Pagans and the Pagan’s lived in the outskirts. Basically if you re Pagan you follow the Old Religion. There is not one form of Paganism, there are many and they may be similar but being Pagan is being yourself. A lot of people Judge Pagan’s by the typical stereotype of the teen age goth trying to be a “witch”. Basically being Pagan you believe in a higher power, be it the Goddess, or the God, you also believe in the fingers and toes of that higher power i.e. other Goddesses and Gods. You will know if you are Pagan because it will be in your heart, you will get a sense of Joy. Wicca is a form a Paganism, I am not Wiccan but the form I follow is a lot like Wicca and is easier for me to tell people I am Wiccan so I don’t have a lot of complex explaining to do. It is overwhelming because the is not one set way of being Pagan, there is no book that is going to tell you i.e. The christian bible. Though many authors have written good books…I suggest Cunningham, gardner, etc… if you are looking into Wicca, they can also be good foundations to learning more about Paganism. I am probably overwhelming, contact me and I will help you decide.

  14. Tahuti ReincarnateApr 18, 2010

    Just say, “I”m a Pagan,” then go about studying paganism, and reading about how you can better be a pagan.

  15. macadamApr 19, 2010

    Read, read, then read some more. Find an occult shop and see what they offer in classes.

    Paganism is any religion that does not believe in the god of Abraham. Here is an incomplete list of pagan paths:
    Asatru
    Celtic Reconstructionism
    Celtic Wicca
    Dianic Wicca
    Discordianism
    Druidry
    Eclectic Wicca
    Egyptian
    Etruscan
    Finnish Paganism
    Hellenic
    Mesopotamian
    Minoan
    Mithraism
    Norse Wicca
    Numinism
    Old English Heathenry
    Roman religion (Religio Romana)
    Romuva
    Sami
    Shamanism
    Spira
    Slavic
    Stregheria
    Thelema
    Traditional Wicca
    Traditional Witchcraft
    Vedic

    http://paganpedia.mind-n-magick.com/wiki/index.php?title=List_of_Pagan_religions

    Or you could be eclectic, like I am, and take from different paths.

    Paganism is a revealed path, and it is revealed to different people at different rates and times.

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