Pagan, Paganism

Hey, Celestine, Are You Wiccan?

The short answer to this is: No.

The long answer is: I was, don’t consider myself Wiccan now, but as with most Pagans who start there, much of my practice–especially when dealing with magic, and ritual–are still heavily influenced by my early experience with Wicca.

To continue the long answer: I read my first ever book about a religion other than Christianity when I was a sophomore in high school, and that book was The Truth About Witchcraft Today by Scott Cunningham. This was waaaay back in the olden days of 1995. I read this book, and suddenly understood that there really were people out there who weren’t Christian, which was a relief to me, considering I’d already been chafing for something more, something different, less restrictive, more mystical, something that spoke to my heart the way Christianity never had. In the words of almost every converted Wiccan/Pagan/etc., finding out about Wicca felt like coming home.

What I later came to realize was that it wasn’t specifically Wicca that was the homecoming, it was the concept of magic, and being able to change one’s own life with the natural forces that are in the world around us. A little ironic, then, that I practice very little actual Witchcraft these days, even though it’s what really called to me.

By the time I understood Wicca was maybe not my home after all, I was also aware that Wicca was just one possible path under what John Beckett calls the “Big Tent of Paganism.” I looked into various other Pagan paths, including Asatru, Kemetic, Celtic and Hellenic reconstructionism, and while I find all of them wonderful and beautiful in their own ways, none of them felt like home.

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Though, the Internet is like home…

I’m glad that I never did commit to one of those other paths, considering the bulk of my practice now revolves around two deities from different pantheons. I know that if I had chosen to be, say, a Kemetic Pagan, maybe in the Kemetic Orthodoxy Church, I could still have honored Ganesha and Yemaya… but I don’t know if I could have honored them the same way while being committed to a single path. This isn’t to say anyone within those paths would have tried to stop me, just that I might have stopped myself. I’m like that. I don’t understand it when people commit to, and initiate in, many different traditions or groups. For me, it’s a question of finding the time to give the right amount of time and respect to each one. I don’t think I could. That’s why I’m glad I never committed to a particular path, because my focus can be very narrow sometimes, and I want to give everyone and everything the time and respect they deserve.

At this point, I’m pretty committed (hah!) to the role of an eclectic Pagan. Which is why I’m having to build my personal practice, create new traditions, and figure out what is going to continue to be Wicca-inspired, and what I will do differently, and why. I will build my own home, and in doing so, it really will be mine.

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