Why I am a Pagan

Why I am a Pagan who Practices Wicca

(Patheos is currently running a “blogger challenge” asking their diverse stable of writers to reflect on “Why They are What They Are” in 200 words or less. This is my little contribution.)

1. I’m right and so are you. Paganism is about finding out what works for you. Your religious choice isn’t “wrong,” it’s just not for me. Why limit deity by the belief that there’s only one path to the divine?

2. There are no barriers between deity and myself. I’m a Pagan because I believe in the gods, all of them, ancient and modern, and in Paganism there are no obstacles for communion with them. Too many religions have books, laws, institutional structures, and intermediaries who block direct access to deity. Paganism offers me the opportunity to interact with the gods in ways that work for me.

3. I practice Wicca because the rituals work. Wiccan Ritual is not a sit on your hands type of experience, it’s an experience full of energy and provides the tools I need to seek the divine. Wiccan ritual is transcendent, it allows me to see things outside of the day to day mundane world.

4. I am a part of the Earth, not apart from it. My holidays and rites are influenced by the turn of the seasons and the sacred is always just outside my front door.

(More responses from Patheos Pagan writers: John Beckett, Angus McMahan, Aine Llewellyn, Yvonne Aburrow, Sarah Twichell, Steven T. Abell, Gus diZerega, Porsha Williams, Kathy Nance, Christine Kraemer, Sam Webster, and Jen McConnel.

About Jason Mankey

Jason Mankey has been involved with Paganism for the last twenty years, and has spent the last ten of those years as a speaker, writer, and High Priest. Jason can often be found lecturing on the Pagan Festival circuit, so you might just bump into him. When not reading and researching Pagan history he likes to crank up the Led Zeppelin, do rituals in honor of Jim Morrison (of The Doors), and sing numerous praises to Pan, Dionysus, and Aphrodite. He lives in Sunnyvale CA with his wife Ari and two hyper-kinetic cats.

  • http://twitter.com/vogelbeere + Yvonne Aburrow

    Excellent reasons for being a Pagan. I always liked that piece by Selena Fox, entitled “I am a Pagan”.

  • Lēoht Sceadusawol

    Why I am a Pagan, in ten words or less:
    ‘Pagan’ is the closest definition for my theological beliefs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fathergia Conor O’Bryan Warren

      Why I am a Pagan in under ten syllables
      Because even turtles have Gods

  • http://www.facebook.com/chkraemer13 Christine Hoff Kraemer

    I love that picture of you! How perfect.

  • tedseeber

    Wicca interested me in high school. I am Catholic today because my experience led me to believe #1 to not only be false, but dangerously so.

    The reason should be obvious to any who believe the human race is one.

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

      Actually, your reason is anything but obvious. Care to share it with the rest of us?

      If you’re happy with Catholicism I’m happy for you, but if you think Wicca is dangerous I’d like to know why.

      • http://www.facebook.com/john.fedele.5 John Fedele

        I’d like to know why, too. My guess is that we won’t hear back from tedseeber…

      • tedseeber

        Wicca is dangerous precisely because of the freedom it offers. Freedom can be a double edged sword- and harm none is not enough morality to truly give any insight into what is good and what is evil. Quite often when we are thinking we’re harming none, our actions have consequences *far* beyond our individual merit.

        And yes, I reject libertarian atheism on the same grounds.

        Catholicism (along with Judaism, Zen Buddhism, and a couple of other local traditions) gives me an immense amount of research into morality itself; into the human species and what, ultimately, makes us happy. Going Wiccan (or any other form of new age paganism) cuts you off from that research, and thus, ultimately limits your path to the divine rather than allowing you to stand on the shoulders of giants.

        Because I believe in an objective singular morality- even if we as humans haven’t quite figured it all out yet- I’ll go with the group that actually has empirical data behind it.

        • Lēoht Sceadusawol

          You can believe in whatever you want. Doesn’t make you right, mind.

          The Catholic Church (TM) does not have empirical data demonstrating the existence of ‘an objective singular morality’.

          What works for one does not necessarily work for another.

          • tedseeber

            Really? Do you have some exotic genetics that makes it so that what works for one human doesn’t work for another?

            Can you eat radio waves too?

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            Yes, I do.

            Eating radio waves… I can absorb them, is that close enough? (Sod all nutrients in them, though.)

        • Kenneth

          Why do you need to stand on the shoulders of giants to reach the divine? It’s not somewhere up beyond our grasp. It’s all around us and within us! In essence, Judeo Christian religions love to brag about how they each hold the exclusive patent on some exotic technology for manufacturing breathable air. We pagans think that’s all very cool, but we’ll pass on the licensing fees and contracts. We’re standing at the bottom of a few hundred miles of good atmosphere. Just open your mouth and relax…..

          • tedseeber

            Yep, just go with the lowest common denominator- do you also practice the sacrament of the bloody angel?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Walt-Sears/100001677230599 Walt Sears

            If I might Kenneth, we try to learn from those that have gone before us because we worship an ineffable God — a God who by definition is beyond our full comprehension and grasp. Therefore, any help we can glean from those around us, past and present, is a precious gift for us to use if it makes the divine more accessible in some way or another. BTW, I am Roman Catholic and I have no problem accessing wisdom from many different faith sources – Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Zoroastrian or pagan if there is truth in it that touches my heart and opens my mind.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            By whose definition?

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

          I’m a Druid, not a Wiccan, but I’m still a Pagan.

          Yes, freedom is a two-edged sword that some people can’t be trusted with, but I’ll take the risk.

          “Objective singular morality” is a nice concept, but I haven’t seen the slightest indication – much less empirical data – it exists. Life is complicated, and if I’m responsible for my decisions – as both your religion and mine teach, albeit in very different ways – then I’d prefer they be my decisions, arrived at through my reasoning and in alignment with what my heart tells me is good and true and right.

          I don’t do this alone. I have the philosophy of the Greeks and the virtues of the Celts and Norse to guide me. I have the wisdom and friendship of my fellow Pagans. And I have the guidance of my gods and goddesses, unmediated by anyone’s religious hierarchy.

          Any religion worth a damn is dangerous: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnbeckett/2011/03/dangerous-religion.html

          • tedseeber

            If you believe that DNA exists, there is plenty of empirical evidence for a single objective morality that works for the entire species.

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

            Belief isn’t necessary with DNA – it’s an objective fact. Its structure strongly indicates all life on Earth has a single common ancestor – life began once, then evolved into the majestic diversity we see today.

            DNA is genetic code that tells organisms how to develop, grow and operate. However, it says absolutely nothing about how those organisms should live their lives, what is right or wrong, what is good or bad.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Walt-Sears/100001677230599 Walt Sears

            What I take from tedseeber’s comments are that if, as I believe, there is a single source for all life and a design by which that life was created (as indicated by DNA) then we may infer that there is intentionality behind creation and subsequently a certain order (moral code) by which we should live.

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            That source could still be a committee.

            And the intent of creation is often as simple as ‘can I create?’

          • Lēoht Sceadusawol

            The only thing I can think of would be ‘keep breeding’.

        • Luna Red River

          Don’t all religions have some words like harm none?
          On as in do on to others, as you want to be done to you.
          To me that means don’t cause harm to others, because they can very while do it to you.
          Also as a Wiccan myself, I look at ‘An ye harm none, do what ye will’ as a guide. To be mindful of people, animals, plants and the Earth.
          We are all Humans, and humans make mistakes.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1197543165 Eric Devries

    Awesome

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Echo-Moon/100000456842312 Echo Moon

    i am pagan because there are no boundaries, no fences, you need nothing to practice, pray or to communicate with your deity except an open heart and an open mind.


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