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Author Topic: Letting Go  (Read 3793 times)

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rainshadow

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Letting Go
« on: May 01, 2012, 11:44:13 AM »

When you became a pagan (assuming you didn't grow up one for the purpose of this post)... how hard was it to let go of the religion you practiced prior to becoming a pagan? Do you still find yourself believing in traces of your former religion?

I grew up Catholic. Hated it, but my mom insisted on dragging us to mass to listen to services that were in Latin and I had no clue what was going on. In my pre-teen years, I turned to Christianity. Found some strength and some comfort, but it wasn't exactly what I knew in my heart I believed in, it just didn't feel "right" to me after a while because I always felt like I was doing something to displease God and was constantly "sinning." I asked myself why I would want to believe in a God that I'm terrified of.

I eventually dated a guy in high school who was Wiccan... which is what essentially got me interested in pagan religions. So roughly, I've been studied/practicing for close to ten years now give or take.

Even though I've been practicing and studying for so long, I still have days where I want to fall back on what's comfortable (just giving everything to God instead of trying to fix it myself type of thing), I still wonder if at the end of this life, maybe I was wrong and maybe I'll end up in Hell (even though I don't believe in it) or the equivalent of it.

I want to put my old path behind me, but I'm having a hard time doing it. Most days, I do perfectly fine, but then I meet people who are very strictly religious (like a few co-workers) and it opens a flood gate of all the old memories I had when I was a Christian. A woman at work found out the other day that I was a pagan (not by my choosing) and completely criticized me and told me I was going to Hell (it was seriously like a 10 minute lecture about me being pagan scum!). My mom tells me all the time to pick up a bible and put down my tarot cards. It's just really frustrating.

So how did you let go, or do you still find yourself practicing parts of what you used to believe in?
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Tirya

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2012, 11:50:05 AM »

First off, you shouldn't have to deal with that kind of abuse from a co-worker, and if she does it again, tell her you will report it to her manager. Whether she likes it or not, your religious beliefs (and hers!) are protected...
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rainshadow

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2012, 11:58:56 AM »

When she finished ripping me a new one, that's exactly what I told her, that religious discrimination would be reported if it happened again. I told her it was none of her business as to what religion I believed in, and calmly explained to her that just because her beliefs aren't mine, that she didn't need to go off on me the way she did. I don't think it will happen again (we rarely see each other as is)... it was just the principle of the matter. There are a lot of close minded people out there, I try to let it go and not be judgmental.
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Tirya

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2012, 12:00:18 PM »

For me, I was raised Christian (Presbyterian), but when my dad died, I stopped believing in the "Jesus loves you" thing. The Born-Again Christian friend who told me my dad must have done something awful to be taken so young and was burning in Hell now pretty much took care of any warm and fuzzy comfort feelings I had from the Christian concept of God. I was atheist for a while, then agnostic, then started exploring my Norwegian heritage and read the Norse myths. That basically led me to a pagan point of view, even though I don't view any mythology (including the Bible) as "literal truth". As far as falling  back on "let go and let God", there are times that I do that, asking my Gods for help or guidance, and trusting that if something doesn't happen "the way I want it to" that it's not because I failed. I'm not sure if I believe that the Divine has a "grand plan", though.
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rainshadow

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2012, 12:11:49 PM »

Thank you for the response. I too, wonder about the grand plan and whether or not there is one. That would be a whole separate post though. :lol

Did you slowly find your Christian faith dwindling in the background as you started on your pagan path? Like I said, for me, most days I do really good, but there are just days where I have questions. I lost my spiritual mentor and still have a tough time getting answers.

For me, I was raised Christian (Presbyterian), but when my dad died, I stopped believing in the "Jesus loves you" thing. The Born-Again Christian friend who told me my dad must have done something awful to be taken so young and was burning in Hell now pretty much took care of any warm and fuzzy comfort feelings I had from the Christian concept of God. I was atheist for a while, then agnostic, then started exploring my Norwegian heritage and read the Norse myths. That basically led me to a pagan point of view, even though I don't view any mythology (including the Bible) as "literal truth". As far as falling  back on "let go and let God", there are times that I do that, asking my Gods for help or guidance, and trusting that if something doesn't happen "the way I want it to" that it's not because I failed. I'm not sure if I believe that the Divine has a "grand plan", though.
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Tirya

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2012, 12:23:02 PM »

For me it wasn't a gradual dwindling and feeling that Christianity "wasn't right" for me - I was nine and very close to my dad, so when he died I directed my grief and anger (and blame) at the "kind and loving God" that would do that to a nine year old girl. Mine was a very abrupt, angry, and complete split from the Christian concept of God, so I don't know that I had any lingering "but what if I'm wrong?" questions.
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rainshadow

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 12:33:28 PM »

That makes sense. My husband asked the same thing when his grandfather passed of lung cancer, but had never smoked a cigarette his entire life. That was ultimately why he stopped being a Christian.

I'm a deep thinker... sometimes I get a little too lost in my thoughts... so I'm sure that's part of the reason I question everything.

For me it wasn't a gradual dwindling and feeling that Christianity "wasn't right" for me - I was nine and very close to my dad, so when he died I directed my grief and anger (and blame) at the "kind and loving God" that would do that to a nine year old girl. Mine was a very abrupt, angry, and complete split from the Christian concept of God, so I don't know that I had any lingering "but what if I'm wrong?" questions.
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Tirya

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 01:01:55 PM »

IMHO, questioning everything is good - believing something "because that's what someone told me" means you miss out on a lot!
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 03:01:03 PM »

Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.

-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
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FairyQueen

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 04:29:14 PM »

What has been difficult for me is rethinking good vs. evil or light vs. dark.

In Christianity we are indoctrinated to believe light=good and dark=evil and that we must strive only to be good and to cast away evil with prayer and completely devotion to Christ and God. In Paganism we are reminded that both light and dark are needed to create balance and that dark is not necessarily evil.

This is, for me, an extremely hard habit to break.

Other than that, it has been a relatively smooth transition since I was a pretty Pagan thinker to begin with. :)
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diniesaur

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 06:29:48 PM »

Christianity never clicked with me. Luckily, my mom raised me to choose my own religion (and now she's raising my little brother Christian For Some Reason...) so I didn't feel like I had to stay with it in spite of its wrongness for me. My dad's parents were the only ones who pushed it on me, but my parents always told me that I didn't have to believe everything they said. I guess I don't really have an experience like many of you do; I never saw dark or chaos as evil, and I never saw sex or homosexuality as bad or "sinful." I was lucky.

I guess my "thing" is that I can't have faith in something. Pagans sometimes talk about needing faith, but I don't need faith in my gods' existence any more than I need faith in the existence of my brother, or my bed, or my chair. They're perfectly real to me. Why waste time believing in something with no proof when you can learn from experience?
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dragonspring

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 08:05:10 PM »

I was a Sunday school teacher when I became interested in Wicca.  For me, it was a gradual letting go of my old beliefs and for a while, I actually saw myself as a Christian Wiccan.  I would say the change happened over a three year period for me.  One day, I realized that I was holding on to those old beliefs out of fear and I let them go.  I do still ask the Gods for guidance and help when I need it, but I wouldn't say I turn things over to them completely.  I believe that we have a personal responsibility to act on our own behalf as well as seeking aid from the Divine.
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RedheadedAries

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 11:46:09 PM »

I grew up roman catholic and since turning to paganism I also had issues letting go of the things I was taught for so many years. Sometimes when I do a spell and it doesn't work I feel like maybe I'm wrong and I'm just going to go to hell. But then I just try to focus on why I was drawn to paganism and how I dont even believe in hell. In the end I just try to be a good person with good intentions.

Also I recently went to a bible study with a friend just to see how it was and I really enjoyed the group atmosphere because everyone was really nice and welcoming but then I was reminded about why I don't like catholicism because they started discussing how being a good neighbor is keeping an eye on each other and making sure no one is sexually deviant. -_-   Or even just having sex before marriage and blah blah blah
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Wolfsrain

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 12:52:45 PM »

I grew up roman catholic and since turning to paganism I also had issues letting go of the things I was taught for so many years. Sometimes when I do a spell and it doesn't work I feel like maybe I'm wrong and I'm just going to go to hell. But then I just try to focus on why I was drawn to paganism and how I dont even believe in hell. In the end I just try to be a good person with good intentions.

Also I recently went to a bible study with a friend just to see how it was and I really enjoyed the group atmosphere because everyone was really nice and welcoming but then I was reminded about why I don't like catholicism because they started discussing how being a good neighbor is keeping an eye on each other and making sure no one is sexually deviant. -_-   Or even just having sex before marriage and blah blah blah

Aside from the overdoing it part, some religious groups can be incredibly kind whether your share the same beliefs or not. I felt that way about the Episcopalian church my sister was confirmed at. They were just... a family who wanted you to feel welcomed no matter what and they never asked for money for any of the services they provided. That was a wonderful experience and I wish more could say they've had that. Even my grandmother for all her crazy Catholicism antics at times, she just wants people to be good people in the end and she spends most of her time at church making sleeping bags to be sent to shelters in other states. That I can admire.

I guess my "thing" is that I can't have faith in something. Pagans sometimes talk about needing faith, but I don't need faith in my gods' existence any more than I need faith in the existence of my brother, or my bed, or my chair. They're perfectly real to me. Why waste time believing in something with no proof when you can learn from experience?

That's an interesting thought I don't think I've ever considered laid out so perfectly. I like it. :)

For me... well, most of you know how, I suppose "weird" for lack of a better term, my own path is sometimes. For the letting go part... especially the concept of hell or Satan etc., for me it's less of a letting go and more of an "I want to understand this and not from a religious perspective". I've been doing a LOT of research these past few months on Satan in general because I kind of believe every god, demi god, beings, whatever label you want to tack onto it, exists/ed in some fashion. But I don't believe in this ruler of a fiery place of punishment. It doesn't click for me. Mostly because I see such a "humanness" in the being called Satan and referred to as Lucifer. I think if he isn't real but has a "realness" to him it's in the blame humans will not accept unto themselves. If you are wicked or fall to wickedness you fall to the devil or you are doing his work they say. I just see human nature that is frightful or unappealing or shameful that needs a scapegoat of sorts. So we blame a wicked being for our actions, thoughts, and for why we "fall from grace". I almost feel sympathetic for the one who was once considered to be an angel. Heh, sympathy for the devil... I don't know... I'll explain myself better elsewhere.

Letting go was only easiest for me after reading stuff on Mother Teresa. She made me believe that sometimes just living a good life, and not a self righteous one, is better than most anything.

I also agree with Tirya... I question everything now and not out of defiance but because I want to better understand something or have a chance to see every possible side of it no matter how ridiculous it might sound because to me at this point anything is possible and we will never know the ultimate of ultimate truths no matter how much faith we may have until it is presented to us by the one or many who know it.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 01:15:22 PM »

This book will help tremendously with anyone struggling with residual Christian-induced fear:

http://www.truthbeknown.com/christ.htm

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932813747/truthbeknownfounA/
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Wolfsrain

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2012, 01:20:15 PM »

This book will help tremendously with anyone struggling with residual Christian-induced fear:

http://www.truthbeknown.com/christ.htm

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932813747/truthbeknownfounA/

What be this? The new addition to my tower of books?  :biggrin:
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2012, 02:06:16 PM »

Indeed.  :D
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FairyQueen

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 06:43:35 PM »

I've read most of the reviews for that book - it is pretty much 3:1 as far as 5 star reviews to 1 star reviews which would make me buy it to read and decide for myself BUT a lot of the 1 reviewers have some good questions, so that would make be think twice about buying it... Anything you want to say about it that would push me over the edge into buying it? :P
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2012, 08:36:16 PM »

It is thoroughly researched and copiously footnoted. The reviewers who gave it lower ratings were Christians, naturally. She has also written other books that expand even further on the concepts expounded in this one. This is the best one for getting a general overview of the subject, in my opinion. My years of research have led me to similar conclusions.
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FairyQueen

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2012, 08:38:10 PM »

Sold :D
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vordan

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2012, 07:20:37 AM »

I find lots of interesting thoughts in Christianity and have a Bible with favorite passages marked that I read along with a copy of the Tao, Buddhist thoughts, The Bhagavad Gita, assorted poetry books, science articles, Hermetic philosophy and many things. The divine energy manifests itself in many ways. I didn't become a pagan because I reject Christianity but rather because pagan/Wiccan thought reflects my spiritual perspective better. The Christian concept of divine will and predestination has kept my mind occupied for years, it is an interesting concept. I actually love to debate theology with a well read Christian.  Christianity is not much of a threat anymore beyond some lectures, some people not inviting you places, and the occasional moving to the top of the lay off list at work for being a devil worshipping pagan. Contrast that treatment with say Islamic fundamentalists who still kill people for witchcraft and apostacy, I can deal with some Christian gas bag lecturing me on occasion. As to guilt from a Christian upbringing, either Christianity is completely true which is a total logic fail or you can take what you want, to craft your own spirituality. Finding the divine in the universe is the life's journey of a good person.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 08:42:57 AM by vordan »
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2012, 07:42:38 AM »

A well read Christian is a rare and wondrous thing...  :whistle:
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vordan

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2012, 08:53:48 AM »

A well read Christian is a rare and wondrous thing...  :whistle:

They are rare but do exist, I delight in them when I find them. There was a waitress at Frisches who was a member of Mensa, she grew up way back in the hollers with only a Bible at home so that bright little mind she had as a child memorized the entire book. Like lots of very intelligent people she would read everything in the news as an adult but could argue how it related to the Bible. Another guy was a failed Pentecostal divinity student, he drank too much, but he could recite about every verse and how it related to various topics, very insightful.
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Ghost Wolf

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2012, 12:41:40 PM »

I know some Brother masons who are Gnostic Christian and know their stuff. Most I have met only seem to know John 3:16.
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smd6290

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2012, 09:03:19 PM »

Don't mean to take over this thread, but just a question for  GW, and if he is allowed to answer. The Masons, my Uncle and grandfather were masons years ago, and then my grandfather became a deacon in the church and decided to not be a mason, I have no idea why my uncle stopped, but anyway, my uncle died a couple of years ago, and, according to my cousin, the masons did a ceremony the day before my uncle's actual funeral, my question is, does that mean he was still a mason, or what?? because nothing like that was done when my grandfather died in 1979. I have been curious about this since I heard it.  I think it is awesome that they were masons. Thanks
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