Why I Am a Pagan

Patheos has asked writers to explain in 200 words why they practice their religion.

Had anyone told me I would be a Pagan a day before Midsummer, I would have laughed in disbelief.  I was a guest at a Midsummer Sabbat. When it finally started, over two hours late, I was happy mostly because that meant it would eventually end, and I could go home without insulting the person who invited me.

A circle was formed in a glade by participants and guests. The priest walked to its center and invoked the Goddess. She came. Her presence was the most beautiful, loving, and powerful experience I ever had. “Here’s a religion where they ask their God to come and She does,” I thought. She carried a sense of meadows, forests, and nature and somehow seemed more real than me or my day-to-day world. My fascination with power dissolved and never came back as I realized, “With love like this, who needs power?”

I began to study our religion soon afterwards, eventually to join a coven. But later, people told me that my real initiation was conducted by the Goddess Herself. I have been a Pagan ever since.

More responses from the Pagan Channel: Yvonne Aburrow, John Beckett, Aine Llewellyn, Angus McMahan, Jason  Mankey.

About Gus diZerega
  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I too was converted in an epiphanal experience. When I related the story to my new Pagan friends, some said I too had been initated by the Goddess. I never had the temerity to make such a claim on my own behalf, but I think you and I share similar experiences.

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  • daphne

    I became a pagan practioner after much soul searching. I was going thru a time in my life when absolutely everything seemed to be falling apart including me. As a Christian for the majority of my life, I figured that having strayed from the path was a large part of my problem. I was ignoring a part of myself that, for a long time, had been very important to me. Yet, the more I tried to reintegrate that spiritualality in a Christian way the more I felt lost. I finally realized that I had closed a door and trying to force that door open was making me more and more unhappy.
    On the advice of a friend who happened to be pagan I began meditating every night as a means of reconnecting with myself. After a few months of meditating and discovering who I was I noticed less tension and stress within myself.
    Then, I began to ask my friend about her beliefs and started to consider taking a similar path. My friend suggested patience and serious thought on my behalf before taking such an enormous leap from what I had grown up with. A few weeks later I was meditating and contemplating my spirituality but had decided to send out a part of myself this time. I very suddenly became acutely aware that I was no longer alone. It was such a strong male presence I was thrown back into a completely conscious state, certain my husband had woken up and joined me. However I was alone in my living room. The presence appeared twice more that week. I only ever received an impression of curiosity from him and, while i didnt ignore him, i didnt focus on him either. I simply went about my usual meditation. The fourth time he showed up I decided to focus on him more. I had the thought that I wondered who he was and just that quickly he showed himself. I still didn’t know who he was and decided to ask my friend about it. As I described the events to her and finally his appearance she left the room then returned with a small bust that was the exact image of my visitor. That was the moment I discovered the Wild God had taken an interest in me.
    From that day on I have been pagan. I feel a strong steady connection to my goddess but it is Cernunnos that I feel especially tied to. And while I maintain friendships with several pagans I have never felt the call to align myself to a coven. Thanks to the curiosity of the Wild God I stopped feeling like I was alone all the time…even in my solitude.

    • Gus diZerega

      Thank you for bringing Cernnunos up.

      I experienced Cernnunos strongly once, at a coven Beltane celebration in Washington. Students of mine wanted to invoke Herne, a aspect/dimension of Cernnunos. I agreed, and since I was the teacher, by far the more experienced and we did possesory work, I chose to be the priest in whom the God was drawn down. And I was curious. Herne/Cernnunos had never appealed to me personally. But you do things for your students. . . .

      My eyes were closed during the invocation, and when I/we opened them it seemed as if everyone or nearly everyone was in tears with His coming. It was that powerful. In some ways the most powerful such experience I have ever had, For the first and only time in my life I experienced pure masculine energy without fear, shame, or uncertainty. It was absolutely wonderful.

      He has been on my altar and in my morning devotions ever since.

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