Learning to be a Pagan
I don’t call myself a Wiccan. And I don’t consider myself a Witch either, because I’ve just started walking the path of the Ancient Gods, though I have nurtured the love for magick since I was 11 or 12. It was on Samhain (I called it Halloween at the time) afternoon, and I felt like a huge, powerful, green energy filling my body and soul. I had no religion at the time, and I did not want to belong to any religious group: too many “must dos” and taboos and guilt feelings and intolerance. But an interest in spirituality grew and I got involved in a more or less spiritual movement that proved to be quite disastrous for my mental health. But I did not give up my “quest”.
I’m scared of labels. I’m scared of spiritual masters. I had a bad experience with one of them once. But, honestly, I don’t know how to become a “good” Pagan, if there are any ‘good’ or ‘wrong’ ways to be a Pagan. I just know I am honestly in love with the Earth. I like the divine breeze I can breathe in when I open my window at night, the magick of the roses and the grass in that moment, when everything is quiet, when there is none or very little human activity.
It would be presumptuous of me to say I’m a Witch. Do I serve the Gods well? Do I respect the Earth enough? Do I use my magic tools well enough? I’d like to meet guides but I’m leery of meeting people who are shallow or intolerant or manipulative. I’m tempted to learn on my own, through books (I would not believe everything that is written; I would think carefully about it first) , through Pagan forums or websites.
I think what matters most is the genuine love you feel for the Gods. Nobody can tell you what is the best way to serve Them, worship Them, or how to be an Authentic Pagan. Where there is a will, there is a way, and I’m sure Magick will show me the best path. Maybe I will make wonderful encounters here or somewhere else.
I’m sure some of you who read this article will think that I’m not an “Authentic Pagan” or that it’s just a fad or I do not truly want to get involved in Magick. It’s not true. As I said before, I am genuine. I’m just careful about spiritual movements: I don’t know everything about Paganism, and maybe there are, let’s say, dogmas, opinions, beliefs that I don’t agree with in my very core. I will have to find out.
One of the things that attracted me at first, in Paganism, is that it seems that followers are not judgmental of other faiths. “An’ Ye harm none, do what Ye wilt”. That sounds very wise to me. I try not to harm anyone, and I even try to help and / or comfort people when I can. And yet I am always doubting myself: in what way am I really a Pagan / a Witch? Do you ask yourself the same question? Do you sometimes look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself: Do I deserve to call myself a Witch?
What does it mean to be a Witch?
This is why I have a hard time labeling myself, getting involved in a movement, belonging to a Coven or whatever. I’m a Truth seeker, and I want to be authentic. I am afraid of people telling me, “You’re doing it the wrong way” or “that’s not what a Pagan should do”. I am afraid of narrow-mindedness or people leading me on a dangerous path, as this happened once before.
Don’t get me wrong, if I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and experimenting before calling myself a Witch and getting involved in Magick 100%. I think that’s what we should do in all religions: read, think over, experiment and then finally decide. We should also trust the signs when they are very strong: like that huge, powerful energy I felt on Halloween day 15 years ago. Or the bliss induced by a Pagan song. Where there is positive energy, bliss, ecstasy, there must be some truth. And it is likely the same thing when we sense that we have “abilities”. It is surely a sign.
I am also sure that when the Gods want something from us, they know how to get our attention. That’s why I try to be very attentive when I perform a ritual, when I pray, or simply when I feel the presence of the Divine sometime in the day.
So to sum up, I think it is not safe to call yourself a Wiccan or a Witch when you have not had a long experience of being into Paganism BUT it does not mean you’re not trying your best to be a genuine, faithful Pagan. It just means you need to take your time, to think this it over, to ask yourself if you are, or can be, a good Pagan before considering calling yourself something as solemn and serious as Witch.
But if you feel strongly attracted to Paganism, if you feel like you are “being called”, it sure means you have to dig in that way before you eventually realize you are (or are not) fit for this spiritual way of life. It’s not like getting a new haircut or getting a tattoo; it is something that will make you rethink your life and it demands involvement and honesty. You want to be sure you understand everything being a Witch implies so that you can walk the path with honor.