Born a Christian...
I used to be protestant... and one of the good ones. I had real time spiritual experiences. As a Christian, I was baptized by the beach during a very special celebration.
As we were getting in the bus that was going to take us to the site, the preacher had told us to sing and praise on our way there. That sure required a lot of discipline, like when they tell to raise your arms, and keep them up. Faith entails discipline in order to have any effect. This sure is true in any religion, spirituality or sense of awareness.
So, many of my brethren started muttering and eventually stopped praising altogether as the bus continued its travel. I think only me and some other person remained firm carrying on the preacher's invitation.
Words, mantras, prayers... are all very powerful things... I am telling you this because, even though I am not a Christian anymore, I want to state that I've had my own set of firsthand experiences, and I don't disregard any of them. So, if you are a Christian please be aware that my standpoint is one of tolerance and common ground.
Yes, there is common ground between Paganism and Christianism, but I'll get to that later. Let's go back to how I got to be a Pagan.
So, as we get to the beach, I am already anointed... I felt there was a tied up spirit within me. One of the ministers came to talk to me to see if I was ready. I was ready since I stepped down the bus, but there was something holding me back, bringing me down.
Who are you? -asked the minister. The voice that answered her wasn't mine, please do not laugh. "I'm ready..." I, not me, (well you know what I mean) answered.
NO, WHO ARE YOU and WHO's YOUR MASTER?? she yelled. You know what was really odd? I was conscious, I know she was screaming right in my ear, yet my ear wasn't hurting...
She wasn't talking to me... I started screaming and I felt this spirit like I serpent leaving me through my mouth, going straight into nowhere.
She looked at me straight in the eyes. Now I had a chance to actually see her beautiful soul clear blue sea eyes...
Now you're ready, she said with a smile. It was an unforgettable ceremony.
My son had his set of experiences. Well, he won't remember them, he was six or eight at the time, but they were real. So point made. One other thing, please I'd really appreciate if you do not make comments in reference to gaining my soul back to Jesus Christ or any other Messiah. I am stating this so it is clear that I've walked the path. Pretty please with cherries on top? Thanks!
Now, life happened, as life indeed does. I wasn't married to my son's father. So, although we lived together for more than five years, we were living in sin. The church I attended was very fundamentalist. One of these prosperity churches, and I don't mean this in any derogatory way, in fact, I learned a lot from them. I just never realized how much emphasis was given to messages of prosperity, and how little emphasis was given to messages of mercy or love.
It all started with some homework
When life happened, my partner decided to leave me. Well, in all fairness, I decided to quit my job because I was going to prosper, like my pastor said. My plan was that I was going to have an editorial house (at age 22 with no money, just skills) and since I was such a faithful woman, God was going to hold me and carry me through the desert of a business startup. Do not laugh yet.
I resigned on October and my son's father left me in January, right after Christmas. Let's fast forward on the fact that my Church started relating how they did not have needed time to come by my house to pray with me. Others related that I brought this on myself for I was living in sin. I still think it was my Christian faith the one that carried me through this ordeal.
Until one day, some two years later, I was doing some homework for an English correspondence course.
My topic was "Puerto Rican Holidays". It caught my attention how major holidays coincided with seasonal changes. I've always had a curious spirit, couldn't stop researching on the matter.
All major seasons were originally Pagan celebrations. Spring, Autumn, Summer, Winter. All are part of the Wheel of Life. Our main holidays are all pagan. Easter, Father's Day, Christmas, Candlemas, Halloween (of course, Halloween), all ancient Pagan celebrations that were later Christianized, to consolidate the Roman Empire by means of religion. It all made so much sense to me. The first thing men is going to appreciate and marvel about is his surroundings, in its own way. This is an inconvenience to the State. The pieces just fell together.
I started finding about Jesus, and how he became a divine entity 325 years after his death during the Council of Nicea. I started finding about how stories in the Bible are so much alike as those in preceding cultures. Again, please, I'm not trying to state falsehood or nothing like that. What I'm talking about is how due to Christianity we have missed a bit on the history of Humanity.
I mean, we barely talk about the Sumers, or the Celts... or how many African religions are there... Paganism enables me to explore...
Not that I need external motivators, but is a very open minded way of thinking, which I know very little about, and I love the not knowing, for it allows for room to grow...
The Pagan lifestyle
So, how do we Pagans survive outside the sanctity of church? I've realized how difficult it is for Christians and others to accept paganism as a belief and a faith.
Of course, most think that, if it doesn't belong to God, it belongs to Satan.
Well, Pagans don't believe in God nor Satan, not in the context Christians do.
Let me start off by saying that Paganism is a realm of paths, or traditions. Pagans don't abide by hierarchical structures, and most are solitary practitioners. Others do attend covens, which could be interpreted as your christian service, except we are not attached to a structure or a particular place per se. Paganism is sometimes used to refer to Wicca, but Paganism includes Wicca and many other paths, like Celtic, Druids and Shamanism. There is also Egyptian, Strega, Witchcraft... we are not alone out there.
We are not bad people and we don't want you to think like us. We want to follow our path and do celebrate when we find a kindred spirit. We call that moment re encounter even though we never met before, for we believe in reincarnation.
We also believe in Mother Nature, and refer to her by many names... Gaia or Gaea, Pacha Mamma... We celebrate femininity and in fact believe in the duality of God/Goddess, as it is reflected in nature all around us... The complementing of the opposites: men/women, day/night...
We don't disregard sex as sinful in any way, in fact some pagans include sex rituals to honor and follow their path traditions.
Some would say this is barbaric and I do not mean to argue. My take is one of tolerance. Consider this, Catholic Church prohibits their priests to marry and how about them sacred pedophiles? The main reason, really, there are so many perverts wearing a habit is because they are forced to deny a natural aspect of their humanity, which is sex.
I do not think Paganism is the best religion, really. It is the one that I feel closest to my psyche, that's all.
Like on full moons we go to the Full Moon Drumming. The amazing thing about this ceremony is that is held in many parts of the world, so is like one feels the connection! Plus, my children love the fact that get to the beach at night!
So what does Christianity has in common with Paganism?
Pagans are Earth loving creatures. Anything that has to do with beach clean up, marching against polluting pharmaceuticals, helping the needy, visiting hospitals, we're game... Chances are some of your very best friends are Pagan, for we prefer to keep our faith a bit secret, to avoid unnecessary discussions.
We love to hug, we believe in namaste, which means "the light in me recognizes the light in you". And we go a bit further when we say that "there's a bit of me in you and some of you in me, and some of everything in everything else." Everything is connected.
Within Wicca, which I practice, we have only one commandment, although we don't call it commandment but rede: "Do as you will, harm none".
I personally think it should be do as you will, period.
Merry Meet and Blessed be!!! )o(
Thanks on November 14, 2016:
I have to thank you for the post... A lot of Christians and many pagans stereotype things a lot, and it's good to hear from someone open-minded. While we're on the subject, I'd like to share my own experience as a pagan.
I was raised Christian, like many pagans, and fully believed it. However, even as a young child, I questioned everything. The answers to my questions aboutChristianity always made sense, and my faith stayed strong. However, I also had many questions about life and its meaning. I never found an answer to them. I remember saying in fourth grade that I would rather die than live, and this made sense, because life is hard and heaven is not, and I didn't understand the gravity of my statement. However, these questions had little effect on me until seventh grade. In seventh grade I began asking more mature questions, and I found myself unable to answer anything. It became difficult to get up in the morning, for I didn't see the point, and I began to go through what would medically be described as depression. I once asked my mom about the meaning of life, and, of course, she replied that it was to serve God. This answer did not satisfy me. In fact, I wound up with a whole new set of questions based on the idea that I literally exist for the sole reason of being a servant. I cried out to God every night, asking Him to strengthen my faith, to show me meaning in my life, to be there for me. However, the depression continued. At the beginning of ninth grade, I hit my low. I realized that I simply no longer believed that my life had any meaning, I no longer believed that I could keep going, and I no longer believed in God. I was seriously considering suicide. I will take this time to point out that I had actively turned away from God, and was about to commit a serious sin. If the Devil was responsible for my conversion, I see no reason he wouldn't have just taken me. It would certainly have been easier. But obviously, I am still alive. And I have Paganism to thank for this. While there are Christians out there praying that I am 'saved,' and I appreciate this, Paganism has saved me from something that everyone can agree is real: a road with the only paths being a life of utter suffering, or premature, self-inflicted death. I appreciate anyone who reads this at all, but especially if you keep an open mind and not say things like "she just didn't give Christianity a fair shot." This is literally a life or death matter, I would have given anything that could help a more than fair shot.
Fiona from South Africa on August 19, 2016:
Thanks for sharing - I have also gravitated towards paganism and find that it makes a lot more sense to me than Christianity. Will you believe that this article was the first time that I had found out what Namaste means?
Sidra on July 06, 2015:
Bless everyone who posted here. I enjoyed reading everyone's perspective. As an esoteric astrologer I believe the patriarch is in the throes of dying, hopefully with a rebirth to complement the awakening of the feminine. So many of your words gave me an additional indication that the Feminine is indeed awakening. The Feminine is natural spirituality like pagans, heathens, witches, wiccan, native religions, shamanic practices, etc. Collectively you will be the leaders, teachers and mentors as more and more people shake off the shakles of the patriarch's religions in the coming decades.
My story...I was raised in a liberal Protestant church, sort of. My parents were ambivalent lazy christians, so we didn't attend regularly. My Dad then refused to attend and at the age of 13 I stated I wasn't attending anymore either. I hated church, felt phony. Never got any real answers to my inquiring questions, including why is Jesus called Jesus which is a Greek name if he was a Jew? Why do Christians wear crosses when the bible says to forsake all graven images, and why would a loving father god order the Jews to slaughter so many innocent people (probably pagans) including children, but okay to take young virgins to rape! If Yahweh really was a God, I wouldn't worship him! But I don't think he was a God. A tyrant yes.
I then started walking my own spiritual path and have walked a solitary path for almost 5 decades. I've been fortunate though to have a small close group of friends who practice various spiritual paths that are similar to some of my beliefs, including Oneida tribal beliefs, another was a witch, a spiritual taro reader/psychic, another esoteric astrologer who's immersed in the teachings of Don Juan, etc. I live in a liberal city in the Midwest which has ample access to more Feminine or Earth based spirituality. I feel for those of you who are solitary with no one to share your reality and experiences with, especially those who live around right-wing fundamentalist christians. I know how hard it is just to contain myself out in the world, and many times don't even try, especially now that I'm a Crone. I'm like fuck it, this is who I am, get over it! I just recently came out on another issue I have with mainstream culture. Threw away my bras. I have always hated bras, never fit me right, took them off as soon as I could or wore baggy sweaters over tshirts to hide. But now I refuse to wear a bra ever. I love the freedom and comfort of not wearing a bra. The bra was a male invention to control womyn. I also feel like it was an initiation of sorts. Freeing my Feminity, no longer binding and controlling it.
Sorry, I digressed. My path has various elements from different beliefs. Overall I identify as an eclectic solitary Pagan. I'm Scots-Irish on my Mom's side, so am drawn to the Celtic tradition. I'm also Finnish and Saami (indigenous minority people of Europe) on my father's side. The Christians called the shamanic Finns and Saami Heathens, so I identify with that word proudly for all my ancestors in the 13th century (Finland was the last European country to fall to Christianity) who were forced to become christians or die by burning at the stake, beheading, etc.
I've read alot about christian history over the years. More Christisn's need to know about the immense evil commiitted over the centuries, even in the 20th century. The Christian history is a tale of fraud committed by Roman patricians in the beginning, then Popes and others abusing their positions in the Church over the centuries and having atrocities committed in the name of Jesus. Much evil has been perpetuated by christians since it's formation in the 3rd cenury, including the wholesale murder of not only pagans but other more esoteric christian sects like the Gnostics and the Cathars. A former supv was a Catholic. She once confided in me her doubts about the church because her twin was a biblical scholar who worked in the Vatican. My supv visited once and her sister took her on a tour that no tourist ever sees. She was shocked to find not only preserved quarters for former Popes but also for some of their children. There was very explicit sexual scenes painted on the ceilings and other stuff I can't remember.
Although I have no love for the institution of Christianity or any other patriarchal religion, I have love for christian family and friends. I also ♡ Pope Francis. I see a lot of spiritual love and power in him to instigate changes in the world to help the masses.
I believe in the mystery of the Divine and that all sentient life is part of the Divine. I believe we are all brothers and sisters. I believe animals and the Earth herself are also senitent beings and therefore are relatives also. I believe in harming none. I believe it doesn't really matter what you believe. What matters to the Divine is how you treat your fellow humanity, the animals and Gaia. That also includes all sentient life in the cosmos. Which brings me to another part of my belief system.
I'm a firm believer in the Ancient Astronaut Theory. Briefly, aliens from another solar system with very high technology came to earth in very ancient times looking for gold. They found a hominid here which they genetically changed using their own DNA. They created mankind to work the mines. The Gods and Goddesses of all religions/mythologies are none other then the aliens. They created the organized religions and set themselves up as gods. Some of these 'immortals' were benevolent, giving humanity culture such as agriculture, writing, laws, architecture, arts, etc. Some of them were evil, frankly, and some a mixture. Kind of like us. After all, I guess the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree. I think Yahweh was one of the not so nice aliens. I didn't come to this belief without plenty of research over the years. There is a growing awareness and acceptance of this theory. The research of the past 40 years or so is showing a ton of evidence all around the world that gives us the true history of humanity from megaliths, architecture, art, writings including sacred works from a vast variety of cultures. The Intelligent Design Theory also fits the Ancient Alien or Astronaut Theory like a fitted glove to its hand. The aliens were the designers.
I probably left a bunch out, but this is getting too long already, so I'm going to say adieu. I apologize for rambling on. Take care everyone. Namaste'
magic on July 05, 2015:
to all you Christians out there.I've been judged and talk down to and so much lowering by church leaders that anyone who says Christianity is right well you don't act like you preach!!!! Second if paul was arrested for treason againist the emperor then he could NOT send out letters Food for thought. Way to go on the article
Ancestral witch on May 16, 2014:
Ancestral Witch on May 16, 2014:
I like this post and I would like to share that I am an ancestral witch not many witches practice ancestral magic but I would like to share a little of it ancestral magic is a very hidden form of witchcraft mostly used only in New Orleans and parts of Mexico ancestral magic is honoring our dead ancestors who had practiced witchcraft and drawing strength from their lives and also from their spirits we believe that our dead are never truly gone but that their energy restores the earths power and beauty ancestral magic is not for everyone however because it can only be used by the descendants of our dead we also perform our spells and rituals in the cemetery that they are buried on and we remain in the town that they are on we do not believe in any one god but we have the freedom of choosing our own paths if we choose to be Christian or catholic Buddhist or whichever we want we can we are not alienated or excommunicated because in the end we all join our ancestors after death and we are also free to practice any form of magic we wish be it herb,lunar, natural, sprit, deity, voodoo, hoodoo, curanderismo, Santeria or any other form we can also learn and practice those forms this is a form of witchcraft that we draw strength from those who walked the path before us and it is not very known there have been some forms of it publicized on television or on the internet but it is real and as valid as any other form of it I am commenting this only to disregard another way that witches are persecuted by saying we use necromancy and summon demons in the cemetery it is not true
Mark on April 22, 2014:
Hi ,I am a Christian and I do see the good and bad in all beliefs ,it's the things humans do that creates imprssions both good and bad which corrupts the image of their beliefs. I like magick and believe I have a touch of it in my blood maybe a minute percentage because I was hinted my great grandpa had it going. I find an intemittant strong connection with mother earth and am a begginer in the field of magick.
In the Closet on January 20, 2014:
Thank you for this brave account. I was raised atheist but I believed in "Something That Made the Trees." My childhood was filled with trauma and abuse. In my early 20s, I dabbled in New Age and Pagan beliefs but felt something lacking. When I was 27, I was born again and spent 15 years loving the Lord with all my heart. I fully embraced my sinful nature and was in awe that He would love someone like me. I was a "real" Christian. Then I left my abusive husband and my 17 year old son died from drugs. My eyes were opened to how judgmental and hypocritical my church family was. The things they said and did cut me to the core when I needed them the most. As a friend put it, "A lot of Christians are really good at killing their wounded." My pastor was the main influence in this. I realized that he doesn't believe a word he preaches. If there were a God, he could not possibly anoint such a man yet this man is full of prophecy and "God's Blessings" just pour over him. His actions destroyed my faith. I spent a few years as an atheist and now I am just starting to look at Paganism again. I embrace being solitary. Spirituality is such an intimate and personal part of me. I let my walls down and became vulnerable. I will not do that again.
Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on January 13, 2014:
JamaGenee, I'm not honestly a fan of "religion" in general. I've never fit into a particular box and therefore have entirely rejected dogma. It's my belief that spirituality is about an intimate relationship with a deity and not about a particular prescribed set of rituals, the majority of which are man-made in the first place. I view my own (struggling) Judeo-Christian faith from the perspective that instructions passed from God to His followers (and so on through the generations with their many interpretations) as ways for us to keep ourselves healthy and fruitful. Many of the Levitical laws relate to the health and wellness of a people, not only in the time of the Levites, but also in our current times as well.
I struggle far less with what I believe and a great deal more with the other people who believe it alongside me. I'm sure you understand that the general meanness of some Christians is not an attractive quality and hardly makes one want to subscribe to a similar faith or relationship with a Man who would make one do such crazy things.
Most of all, I haven't been happy lately: Our family is struggling with a lot of things. It's very easy to blame God (or gods) when life takes a turn for the worse and becomes a mess. In the end, I'm sure that I'll pull through it because that is, in general, what I do. I'd not be the only one to experience shaky faith at some point in my life.
For that it's worth, I *am* a right-winger. I'm not sure about any groups wanting to re-write the Bible again, but that wouldn't surprise me. There will always be fringe groups, such as Westboro Baptist who want to change what the Bible says in order to suit their particular group. Isn't it absurd that they cry out about the sin of homosexuality but not about the sin of shellfish consumption?
I recognize that the Bible has been written and re-written and re-written over and over again over the centuries and don't recognize any particular volume or version as being the ultimate truth, but I believe that there is enough truth in the Bible to trust it. Even as a pagan, I believed the Bible to be relatively accurate. Certainly that there was a man named Jesus and a god called Yahweh.
My current issue is one of salvation. As a concept, it's always been a hard one to follow, particularly for one raised Catholic (raised on works) and who has experienced the simple pagan life that eludes most Christians.
Whatever it is, I'll make it through it and come out -- no doubt stronger -- on the other side. I have the utmost respect for peaceful people of all faiths -- and very little for contentious people of any faith (including my own). You cannot beat a person into belief, and many Christians attempt to do so.
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on January 12, 2014:
As I welcome the redeeming intentions of your comments, I find it intriguing to read your unfounded comment of Wicca having to do with Satan, when Satan is actually a Christian invention. Otherwise, if you could educate me further in regards to your sources, I will appreciate.
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on December 29, 2013:
Everyday Miracles, the struggles about what one believes get MUCH easier when one grasps the concept that the Bible has gone through so many "revisions" in 2,000 years that there's NO way it can be even be remotely considered the "word of God" OR of Jesus. As I write, some right-wing, ultra-conservative group wants to re-write the Bible AGAIN because they believe it isn't "Christian enough". I would guess the Torah has had a few "revisions" also in the course of being translated.
Being a lapsed Wiccan because like you I was a "loner", I've simply adopted the Golden Rule "Do unto others" and the Wiccan "Harm none" for spiritual guidance. That philosophy works well now that I live in the middle of Baptist Central (Oklahoma) and don't care to discuss my beliefs with neighbors or be labeled an "infidel" (or worse) by locals. I also have an 88-yr-old friend who's a devout but extremely-tolerant Catholic who has children and grandchildren who've converted to Judism and Buddhism, and loves them anyway. Her philosophy is "One size DOESN'T fit all", an attitude we should all adopt, as well as that one's religion shouldn't be the end-all be-all definition of "who" one is. Wonderful woman! I will miss her when she passes on.
I sense you are trying to define yourself by a "brand" of organized religion, otherwise "seeing so many Christians behaving badly" wouldn't be "driving [you] crazy". At some point you have to decide whether you want to be part of a herd (and the requisite herd mentality), or whether you are a unique INDIVIDUAL - which you are. If it's the social aspect (attending services, being part of a group, etc) that's most important to you, there are many non-denominational gatherings in most every town that can take the place of that. Universal Unitarians are one that comes to mind, also I recently read that "aethiest" congregations have become popular all over the world, but one doesn't have to be an official aetheist to attend. Good luck.
Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on December 29, 2013:
This is rather a hard comment for me to write, but I really want to try.
I'm the other way around, in a way. I was raised Catholic, but because the Catholic school I attended never so much as attempted to explain to me what the Catholic Church taught, or why the Catholics believed the way that they did, I converted to Paganism when I was in the seventh grade (13 years old). I've never been Wiccan, and have always chosen to follow my own path.
Several years ago, I was foundering in my belief. I'm not really sure what caused the change other than general life misery. I was tired of being bullied and made fun of, and I was tired of practicing by myself (again, because I follow my own path it's very hard to find others "like" me, regardless of what I believe). One morning, I was convicted, and I converted to Christianity, baptized a few months later (but pressured into it, as I wasn't ready).
My faith has taken a lot of twists and turns, and I'm back to the state of confusion I was in when I converted in the first place. I still struggle with fellowship because my beliefs are so drastically different from what other Christians believe. It's hard, having been a pagan, to see Christians celebrating Pagan feasts without realizing they're doing it, or continuing to do it in spite of that knowledge.
I'm in a very rocky place. Seeing so many Christians behaving badly is driving me crazy, and I can't find a church that understands why I believe in the Torah. I've been considering returning to the path I was on before in an attempt to find peace, and have to keep reminding myself that my life was no more peaceful then than it is now.
Giancarlo on October 14, 2013:
Guys, listen to me.
Jesus Christ is Lord and savior AND WICCA/THE occult is all real as well.
How are they compatible? The bible says to abstain from sorcery,magic,medium, and demonic activity. Paganism possess the power of SATAN. IS IT REAL. Does this falsify Jesus? NO! it only confirms what the bible says to abstain from. If you can leave christianity for that, it is because you never had a relationship with Jesus to begin with. you see, christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with Jesus for paying the price for your sins. The bible is true and is the only book account for how existence began,especially humans. Jesus loves you, and i do too and hope you turn from your ways. Amen.
Eric Prado from Denton, Texas on January 16, 2013:
I can ABSOLUTELY relate to this hub. I too, went far in my Christianity, but I felt bound and confined in SO MANY ways and I didn't feel that Christianity was for me mostly because it doesn't seem to matter what I do, I'm going to "burn in hell for all eternity" just for being me AND because EVERYTHING in the Bible contradicts EVERYTHING else. At any ate, I do not hate Christians nor Christianity in general, I just felt more at peace and much more in tuned with who I actually am as a Wiccan. So I made the transition and I am happy. I do applaud you on this inspiring hub and for your sharing this experience with us. Blessed Be! =)
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on November 17, 2012:
I do appreciate the comment and you for taking the time to read... Merry Meet! )o(
Mom Kat from USA on October 18, 2012:
Fantastically well done! You did a great job explaining yourself here (not that you had to) :) I, myself, just recently published a hub about "coming out of the broom closet" called: So burn me, I'm a witch.
Bravo on your courage for telling your story. May you be blessed with health & happiness in your journey through this life.
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on April 23, 2012:
Well, finding this hub has had the same effect on me! I may have to dust off the altar and do a ritual for Beltaine.
MM & BB! )O(
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on April 22, 2012:
JamaGenee, as one Pagan to another I must say you are bringing me back to life hahah! Wow! this is by far the most reassuring comment/hub I've ever received... Life is in the details right? And you have certainly nailed it here.
Thank you very much for posting so enthusiastically. Merry meet! )o(
Joanna McKenna from Central Oklahoma on April 22, 2012:
Bravo, CG!!! Applause! Applause!
I was indoctrinated and baptized in childhood as a Methodist, but by the time I was in high school, liked my best friend's First Christian church MUCH better. Over at the Methodist church, I'd ask the pastor questions he couldn't (or wouldn't) answer, which I thought rather odd since a man of the cloth is supposed to know ALL the answers, right?
After high school there were a couple of decades I only ventured inside a church at Easter and Christmas. At one point I almost became a Catholic simply because they at least remembered that Jesus had a MOTHER year round, not just at Christmas. So I was already sniffing at the door of Paganism and didn't know it. I was also becoming aware there was a huge difference between "religion" and "spirituality".
Then I came across a historical novel called "Druids" and a whole bunch of lights went on. Bing, bing, bing. Oddly, while I was reading "Druids", a friend with Blackfoot blood insisted I read "Seven Arrows", which is about Native American beliefs and rituals. He still doesn't believe Paganism and N.A. beliefs have anything in common, but "Seven Arrows" is worth a read if only for the "Jumping Mouse" story sprinkled throughout the book, which is really an explanation of reincarnation and the spiritual growth we (hopefully) go through in each new incarnation.
At any rate, I officially became a Pagan/Wiccan on Candlemas (St Bridget's Day), Bridget being the patron saint of writers.
To all the devout Christians who might read this, Pagans are everywhere! You just don't KNOW we're everywhere because we don't feel the need to advertise ourselves like you do.
It's NOT our mission in life to preach, or try to convert others to our way of thinking, mainly because Paganism is a very personal thing. Most come to it on their own after exploring, then rejecting, other (organized) religions. We also don't find it necessary to surround ourselves with other Pagans to reinforce our commitment or make sure we don't break the rules. There ARE no rules except "Harm none" which - surprise - is what your own Golden Rule is based on (and which y'all would do well to practice more often these days).
For the record, one of my best friends is a devout Catholic who likes to learn all she can about other religions and belief systems. We have very lively and enlightening discussions about them. And the main character in my favorite book series is an Episcopalian priest, but the books aren't "preachy".
Voted up and AWEsome! )O(
rodridon on March 29, 2012:
whoisbid on January 20, 2012:
I doubt fundamentalists will want to even try and understand what you are saying. People are being trained to judge others with a faulty pair of spectacles.I could help a whole lot of people who are having a mind split because they are losing their faith but most people don't want to even consider that their own beliefs are questionable. Questioning one's beliefs can be extremely painful, especially if you have been taught that you will go to hell for thinking any other way.
Elizabeth rosesagetwins on December 13, 2011:
I am also a born Christian turned Pagan. I am A Green Wiccan or an Earth born Pagan. And A few months ago I decided that I would come out. This is the hardest decision I have ever made. But now I blog about it. www.thegreenwiccan.wordpress.com if you are interested.
Melissa Flagg COA OSC from Rural Central Florida on December 01, 2011:
I'm a catholic turned pagan, and this hub gave me inspiration to write my own story. And unfortunately for the christian guy above, religion is a smorgasboard of beliefs, that's why there are so many different religions! I personally couldn't be a part of a religion that killed so many people just because they didn't believe a certain way. More on that in my hub! Thanks again for being brave enough to post this!
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on October 17, 2011:
I hear you loud and clear... thanks for the support and for posting!
Father JP Vanir on October 17, 2011:
This was a great article and I guess I am the only non-christian to reply here which is sad really but I will add this to my website subscribers as I thought it was a great post that was not negative in any way unlike some others I have read. With all this close minds it gets hard to stay so causative and applaud you esp after a couple comments there...
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on October 06, 2011:
Ay Hecky! Fíjate en la misericordia de tus palabras y en cómo algunos posts aquí carecen de la misma... pero te insisten en que es su religión... claro que das en la médula del clavo... y hubo un caballero, maestro de la Falú que filosofando conmigo me preguntó si sinceramente, luego de haber hablado con él de los orígenes de tantos universos, yo en verdad creía en la existencia de un Ser Supremo...
yo dudé al responderle y él lo notó... luego pedí que me permitiera recapacitar, y le contesté que
CREO porque NECESITO CREER.
Gracias por tu comment, como siempre
---Translation follows--- In case some of you are silently following these posts without voting up or down or replying, know that I am writing from Puerto Rico where I have dear friends, like Hecky, that have not only shared significant stages in my life, but still keep in contact through the marvels of Facebook and Life itself.
Hecky's post relates on how impossible it is for some to comprehends the battle that represents breaking from imposed beliefs, and how he interprets my transition to paganism as the way I coped with my need to believe, in somebody, or something. Understanding of course that is not to make that belief better or worse than any other.
Alturas de Rio Grande was the name of the dear neighborhood we grew up together, memories are always good.
-My answer to him goes to reassure and thank his post, as I was having some interesting conversation with a professor from our county, dwelling on to the beginning of many universes. Then he caught me off guard by asking me: "You tell me, after all that we talked about that ou really believe in a supreme being?" I hesitated and he caught it.
I asked to please allow me to explain. My final answer was that I BELIEVE because I NEED TO.
Hecky on October 06, 2011:
A veces la gente no puede comprender cuan difícil es el proceso de rompimiento con una creencia, con una idea, con un modo de vida que se ha llevado, como diría Carl Jung "en el inconsciente colectivo, desde antes de nacer". Y no lo pueden comprender porque no lo han experimentado, después de todo lo seres humanos respondemos solo a lo que conocemos. Creo que tu transición, por llamarlo de alguna manera, del cristianismo al paganismo obedece a la necesidad de creer, en alguien o en algo, curiosamente una necesidad que viene también como parte del inconsciente colectivo. Me gustó mucho tu post, creo que no es invasivo ni ofensivo para cualquier persona que tenga la capacidad de diferir sin entrar a evaluar las religiones como si fueran un carro "la mia es mejor que la tuya"...a última hora estoy seguro que si Dios, sí, el que me enseñaron allí en mi querida Calle 4 de Alturas de Rio Grande, existe, y conoce todo, pues entonces los engañan con el libre albedrío...al final del día, si las cosas fueran como me las dijeron, para lo único que me sirve es para escoger la ropa y el fast food...
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on September 26, 2011:
Gracias Nemuel! Un abrazo!! )o(
Nemuel on September 26, 2011:
Cuando uno llega a las divinidades por busqueda propia, se valora mas y se entiende mejor el sendero de la vida y nuestro juego en ella. Genuina, asi te defino
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on September 23, 2011:
Hello tsadjako! This is the hub where I answered your concerns. I started answering last night but it came out hub! Thank you again for both the inspiration and the opportunity! Looking forward to your opinion!
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on September 23, 2011:
Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and your concern.
I'll be answering in a hub... Thank you very much for the inspiration!
The Logician from then to now on on September 22, 2011:
I am surprised that having been a Christian, in your hub you say nothing of man's sinful fallen nature his need for a savior and the love of the one and only omniscient, perfect infinite creator God even though you say you are not a Christian now. It sounds to me that although you may have attended a Christian Church you never got the message, which is no surprise because there are people all over the world attending church and "doing good" and never getting the message of the gospel into their heart. But perhaps I am being too presumptive about that as the point of your hub is more focused on Paganism.
So what do pagan's believe about the fall of man, and what happens to people when they die? From the little you comment on it sounds like a feel good religion where you celebrate the creation but not the creator. Do you believe in a creator? or do pagans believe in evolution? or even science? which I guess is predated by paganism. You say you "do not think Paganism is the best religion, really. It is the one that I feel closest to my psyche, that's all." as if religion is just a smorgasboard of beliefs, pick what you like! The shrimp is good enough for me but the lobster is best, just too expensive.
If that is the way you feel then something has gone horribly wrong with your Christian upbringing and you really need to re-examine real Christianity because the smorgasboard you sup at is insipid and will poison your eternal soul.
I don't mean to be rude, but YOU need to hear that. Did your parents love you when they decided to bring you up as a Christian? I'll bet your parents would thank me for saying it.
Mara Clemente (author) from Borinken, Loíza on September 22, 2011:
Of course the tomatoes that grow in our backyard are going to be better than anyone else's... Not we actually need to check those other tomatoes in order to come to a fair conclusion... ah! to-ma-toes... to-mah-tos!
Thanks for your candid comment and indeed for following!
Chris Merritt from Pendleton, Indiana on September 22, 2011:
Well, as a Christian, I could go on and on and on about how much better my belief is than yours, and mean it from the bottom of my heart. But I am pretty sure it would not accomplish anything, at least anything good.
Also, who am I to tell YOU how to believe, right?
All I know to do, is be myself. I love all sorts of people....even my neighbors. That is what my God tells me to do. Being a Christian seems as if it can be kind of confusing by many people...but the bottom line, it is pretty darn simple.
Anyway, I appreciate you sharing this with us. I am a follower. I vote up!