Why I Am a Pagan

Patheos has a new series called “Why I Am A…” which challenges writers to explain their religious choice in 200 words or less. Here’s my entry.


I am a Pagan because the Earth is our Great Mother, both physically and spiritually. I am a Pagan because the Universe is more beautiful, more powerful, more connected and more magical than I could ever imagine. I am a Pagan because I would honor my ancient ancestors and their ways. I am a Pagan because the Divine is expressed in a multiplicity of forms.

Mainly, though, I am a Pagan because I have experienced the old gods and goddesses for myself. I met them in story, in ritual and in practice. I prayed and they answered. I quietened my mind and they spoke. I invoked and they graced me with their presence. I made offerings and they responded. I asked and they gave… and sometimes, they asked for something in return.

In relationship with them I have found peace and purpose. Through them I have found a community filled with friendship, service, learning and growth.

Blessed be Nature. Blessed be the goddesses and gods of old. Blessed be this tribe of Pagans.


more Pagan responses:

Jason Mankey:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/panmankey/2013/03/why-i-am-a-pagan/

Angus McMahan:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/askangus/2013/03/askangus-why-i-am-a-pagan-in-exactly-200-words/

Aine Llewellyn:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/ainellewellyn/2013/03/why-i-am-a-polytheist/

Yvonne Aburrow:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sermonsfromthemound/2013/03/why-i-am-a-wiccan/

Gus diZerega:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/pointedlypagan/2013/04/why-i-am-a-pagan/

Elinor Predota:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/asenseofplace/2013/04/im-a-pagan-because/

Sarah Twichell:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/leaningintomystery/2013/04/why-i-am-a-witch/

Jen McConnel:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2013/04/the-busy-witch-why-i-am-a-witch/

Sam Webster:  http://www.patheos.com//Pagan/Why-Pagan-Sam-Webster-04-03-2013.html

Steven T. Abell:  http://www.patheos.com/Pagan/Why-Heathen-Steven-Abell-04-04-2013.html

Christine Kraemer:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/sermonsfromthemound/2013/04/why-i-am-a-pagan/

P. Sufenas Virius Lupus:  http://www.patheos.com//Pagan/Why-I-Am-Sufenas-Virius-Lupus-04-05-2013.html

Porsha Williams:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/daughtersofeve/2013/04/200-words-patheos-blogger-challenge-by-porsha-williams/

Kathy Nance:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2013/04/gateway-goddess-seeking-god-found-by-goddess-why-i-am-pagan/

Here’s the main page with all the responses:  http://www.patheos.com/Spirituality/Topics/Why-I-am-a.html

Stay in touch! Like Patheos Pagan on Facebook:
About John Beckett

I grew up in Tennessee with the woods right outside my back door. Wandering through them gave me a sense of connection to Nature and to a certain Forest God. I’m a Druid graduate of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, the Coordinating Officer of the Denton Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and a former Vice President of CUUPS Continental. I’ve been writing, speaking, teaching, and leading public rituals for the past eleven years. I live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area and I earn my keep as an engineer.

  • Bill Bittner


    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      thanks Bill!

  • Shaun

    I like this concise statement, John. I’ve been reading your posts for a a few months, but I don’t think I’ve responded. Congrats on the move to Patheos. I might have a few questions for you about Druidry.

  • http://goddesspriestess.com Molly

    Lovely exploration!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      thanks Molly!

  • http://www.angus-land.com/ Angus McMahan

    Great stuff, John. Well done.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      Thanks, Angus. Yours wasn’t half bad either.

  • http://heathennaturalist.wordpress.com/ Amanda

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      thanks Amanda!

  • http://withheartinhand.wordpress.com Martina

    What a wonderful statement and a wonderful blog. I stumbled upon your writings as I was researching druidry and The Morrigan and have spent the greater part of the last hour jumping around your old posts and look forward to reading more. As a seeker (strongly considering beginning OBOD’s bardic study), I’ve been exploring a lot and this is one of the more engaging blogs I’ve stumbled across. Thank you for sharing your insights. Very nicely done!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      Thanks Martina. OBOD isn’t for everyone, but I found it very helpful. I wanted formal training in Druidry, nothing was available locally, and OBOD’s correspondence course is excellent. It’s become my tribe.

      • http://withheartinhand.wordpress.com Martina

        From what I’ve seen of the coursework (just the first two Gwersi), I think I would enjoy the course. I’ve looked a bit into the ADF course as well. While it looks interesting (especially from an historical standpoint), I think the style of OBOD’s speaks a bit more to me at this stage. I was hoping to find a seed group here in Oregon where I live. The closest two I’ve found thusfar are both 2-3 hours away, butt I think the travel would be worth it and, meanwhile, there are always blogs, books and Nature herself.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

          I looked at ADF and OBOD and decided OBOD was a better fit for me. I think I made the right decision, although I probably would have been happy in ADF’s program too.

          The OBOD program is designed for a solitary practitioner. Still, a working with a group is a good thing, particularly on the eight major holy days. Either way, though, you still have to do the work.

          Good luck, and let me know if I can be of assistance.

  • Peter

    John, I am always challenged by the words: Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man, though perhaps for a good man, one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” No matter how good you are, I doubt you would die for a wicked man. But Christ gave his life you! The promise is, with your looking to Christ, you will live forever with him, and maybe even being will to die for someone who doesn’t deserve it.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/ John Beckett

      Peter, thanks for reading and commenting.

      The purpose of life is not to find the right god to get your misdeeds erased. The purpose of life is to live, to screw up and make it right and learn and grow.

      The doctrine of substitutionary atonement is a relic of a hierarchical worldview that has no basis in the natural world or in the culture of our ancestors.

      • Shaun

        One of the matters I wrangled with a lot was the different theories of atonement when I was still a Christian. I appreciate the succinct comment on substitutionary atonement. :)