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Pagan/Wiccan Religion/What type of pagan do you think I am?


Hi. Sorry, this is kind of an annoying question, but I'd really like some suggestions. People always ask me what religion I am and I'd really like it if I had some kind of name for it that I could give them. I'd also like to know what group I'm most similar to in order to help me find other practitioners with similar beliefs.I've been going with "Pagan" simply because it's a nature based religion. I've been using a lot of Wiccan and Native American (or at least they claim to be from Native American religion) symbolism and prayers. I've been following the Wiccan calendar because I want holidays based on seasonal changes. I don't practice anything that I would call 'magic' exactly, but I do use herbal remedies, candles, and occasionally stones in rituals.  I just call my rituals 'praying' and they mainly consist of me giving thanks and asking for either guidance, strength, or protection. I believe in a main deity (the Great Spirit) that itself is genderless but can be divided into a Goddess (who I call 'Great Mother', 'Goddess', or 'Grandmother')that is the spirit of Nature, the Earth, and the creator of physical beings and life and a God (who I call 'Grandfather') who is less a part of our world and more a part of the spirit world, and is the lord and creator of the spirit world. I do not believe in any incarnations(other than the Earth itself) or saints. I do not think the Goddess and the God actually have genders, but rather I just perceive them as having genders. Because we live in the physical world, we are mainly in the dominion of the Goddess. I believe that all living things have spirits and that all of those spirits originated from the Great Spirit and will eventually rejoin with it after death. I believe that nonliving things have something like echoes of spirits. I believe that being hurtful to others causes us to separate ourselves further from the Great Spirit, since in rejecting others we are rejecting other parts of the Spirit. That is bad for us since the more removed from it we are the harder it is for us to rejoin it, putting us in a sort of purgatory, where we suffer from being fragmented and alone for longer, but eventually, we all rejoin the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit does not punish or reward. The pleasant and unpleasant things that happen to us are simply a result of other things that have happened, and are not necessarily any reflection of how 'good' or 'bad' we are (although people who are cruel to others are of course more likely to suffer because of the treatment they receive from other people in return for there cruelness). I see all living things as spiritually equal. I believe that love is our souls connecting and is sacred. Sex is spiritually meaningful and should be reserved for those that you are very deeply in love with. The natural world is a holy manifestation of the Goddess/ Great Spirit and our existence as physical beings relays on it, therefore it should be protected. I worship and pray to the Goddess who is nature, and occasionally to the God or to the Great Spirit as a whole. I believe that they may or may not choose to hear me. In prayer, I use the four quarters to tie myself to nature and I cast a circle and use a pentagram to symbolize the Great Spirit. Does this sound like any particular form of paganism to you?
Thank You

This sounds very much like where I come from on spiritual matters.  I slide by with things like "free agent of the universe" and such, but in my search, I have yet to come across that perfect term.

A lot of people get a real kick out of terminology and semantics.  But so far as I can tell, how can any one word or set of words truly carry the meaning of that greater power within us and beyond us?  Any description we choose will fall far short.

On the other hand, there are times when we need to communicate meaning to other people.  "Universalist" originally embraced the kind of spirituality you're describing, but it's become entwined with more progressive Christian sects over the years, so it might confuse your audience.  "Pagan" is becoming more and more of a safe bet, and it's also applicable to a variety of paths.  But as you mention, it also comes with some baggage.

In the end, maybe the right answer is simply not to discuss the spirit with people who aren't willing to listen to the possibly extensive details.  What we are really cannot be put into words, and trying to use words will inevitably fail on some level.  In the end, it's not a hard issue to side-step, and perhaps silence is the best voice of the universe.

I hope this helped a little.  Basically you and I are in the same boat.  Let's keep rowing together!

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Rev. Emilie Conroy


How does anyone ever learn about this stuff? What are the basics? Who will answer my questions without making me feel stupid? My friends, helping everyday folks learn what they really want to know is why I'm here. I help seekers with the nuts and bolts of our spiritual traditions--gaining knowledge, living the paths, rites of attunement and celebration, dealing with skeptics and naysayers, ethical and moral questions, the practical application of our philosophies to daily life, and the very base but crucial questions such as "What does it mean to be Wiccan/Pagan?" My job is to serve you and the Powers That Be.


I think I had the best and healthiest spiritual upbringing a child could experience. To begin, my parents were themselves spiritual explorers, having thought through the mainstream dogma of their youth to a point of universal acceptance and a belief of the divine inherent in everything (and in nothing) . We had no labels and really didn’t need any. They taught me the basics of morality and ethics, and the significance of the intangible, that which really couldn’t be described in words. There were Neopagan and Wiccan influences, but I was encouraged to study and experience all faiths so that I might be of better service to humanity. I began my studies in depth with the Temple of the Ways, a progressive Wiccan-themed tradition celebrating the goddess Nehallenia. In addition to being an active member in the Re-Formed Congregation of the Goddess, I also began several new projects and initiatives—Spiral Way, Grove of the Seven Sisters, the Tribe of Theagenia, the Sisterhood of Themiskyra, and most recently the Melusines. I am a regular participant and occasional ritual leader in several local covens and circles. But I go where I am needed, and so I often serve as visiting clergy with other groups. My favorite action is when I attend interfaith gatherings as a representative of alternative faiths. I carry the community with me, and I am honored to speak as best I can on everyone’s behalf. Walking my path has been a sincere spiritual adventure, one that has challenged ideas of which I was once certain and one that has helped me develop new thoughts. That I have evolved in mind and spirit over the years is an absolute for me. At the end of the day, I would like to discover who we are and why are we here.

I earned my BA from Muhlenberg College in History/Religious Studies/Linguistics in 1993, and went on to pursue graduate studies at Florida State University. I have both taken and taught independent coursework in the history of Neopaganism, Reconstructionism, group and individual therapy, group dynamics, and mediation/conflict resolution.

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