Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: Old pagan, old atheist, new atheist-pagan?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    16

    Old pagan, old atheist, new atheist-pagan?

    So, I mentioned in my introduction over on the other board that I am an ex-goddess-worshipper/neo-pagan, and current staunch atheist who is feeling the pull back towards paganism.

    I'm having trouble reconciling paganism and my atheism for a few reasons.

    I've been an atheist for so long, it's hard to sort of reprogram my thoughts and feelings back towards a divine power. It feels like giving up a part of myself** and admitting that I've been wrong. (I also admit, with no intent to offend anyone, that I've had mildly unfair and unfavorable opinions of people who rely on a god.)

    So, that's why I'm looking into nontheistic paganism, but it's all very new to me. Before, I very much believed in a higher power, and mostly did rituals in honor of the goddess. I didn't use spellwork very often, but when I did I saw it as a sort of ritualized prayer, not personal manipulation of energy. So, though I'm not new to paganism, the idea of practicing without recognizing the goddess is very new to me.

    I've been reading this forum trying to get an idea of what everyone else believes, and look forward to having more conversations about it.

    (**Also, this year I have started eating meat after nearly a decade of vegetarianism/occasional veganism, and ended the only relationship I've ever been in through divorce. This both means that I shouldn't have a problem tearing myself down to nothing in order to build the "real" me, and also that I don't want to give up ALL of who I am.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Age
    29
    Posts
    67
    Firstly, welcome to MW! Though I haven't been here very long either

    This all sounds quite similar to where I've been going through over the last year; I too used to believe in a higher power but was then a staunch atheist for many years. I suggest you check out the pantheism subforum if you haven't already. Pantheism may or may not be for you, I'm not sure as you don't go into detail as to why you're turning to nontheistic paganism, but after reading through some of the threads on that forum I had something of an epiphany.

    Personally, I still somewhat "recognise" the goddess, but I suppose I view her more as an archetype or archetypes than a sentient higher power. But everyone is different, you just mostly need to do a lot of thinking and exploring and find out exactly what you actually believe in and how you can reflect that in your practice. You may not even feel the need to do ritual anymore, or you might change them completely. I'm still in the process of figuring it all out too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Olympia, Washington, United States
    Age
    31
    Posts
    117
    I find myself in that situation, too!

    Really, all that Aine de Morrigan said hits it right on the head.
    "The magnificent, marvelous, mad, mad, mad, mad Madam Mim!" ~ Madam Mim, Sword in the Stone




  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    157
    Maybe you're an Agnostic rather than a true Atheist? If you accept the possibility that there may be more to the Universe than our current Western scientific models can explain (And remember, throughout history, the scientific models have changed), that everything may be connected and there may be a sentience or consciousness to that connection, that's more Agnostic than Atheist.

    A Theist is someone who believes in that connection, often through their own experiences. An Atheist dismisses anything the Theist has experienced out of hand for not fitting in with the Atheist's belief system. An Agnostic is open minded about it, having not had those experiences him or herself, but seeing the Theist's experience as a possibility.

    Western science dismissed acupuncture, acupressure, the benefits of yoga and martial arts beyond just physical fitness, etc, out of hand because they're based in Eastern religious philosophies and practices, particularly the concept of the chi. Never mind how many centuries these practices have worked, the evidence that they do work. They not only commit the offense of not being developed by white people in the last 400 years, but the chi cannot fit into a hard Atheist viewpoint, and therefore cannot exist. That's an article of faith for hardline Atheists.

    Joseph Campbell explained the origin of religion best, I think. You're talking with someone, they're responding. Then, they're not. They're growing cold and starting to decay. Something was there that no longer is. What was it, and where did it go?

    But, if there is a consciousness to the Universe, it's going to be something beyond what we humans can completely take in and comprehend. We have to connect and relate to it in ways we can handle. That's where gods, goddesses, archangels, etc, come in. In Kaballah, the four letters that make up the Unknowable Name of God represent to four elements the Ancients believed made up all of Creation. In other words, God is both Creator and Creation. and we, along with everything else, are a part of God.

    This is how the Gnostic Christian framework allows for the various gods and goddesses. There's the One, that Universal consciousness that is both Creator and Creation, and these other aspects that serve specific functions, represent and embody specific things. You don't have to take the Mythology literally. You can see the Myths as stories that show us higher truths, and guide us on how to live our lives. You can see the gods, goddesses, archangels, saints, etc, as actual literal beings, or as archetypes that help you connect with the Universe in a way you can understand and relate to.

    Of course, the fact that you are feeling the pull suggests you're not a close minded Atheist, but, again, an open minded Agnostic. Go with it. If nothing else, keeping an open mind is always a good thing.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Huntsville, AL
    Age
    40
    Posts
    67
    Hello, LadyGrey!

    I often tell people I'm an atheist pagan. I do not believe in any sort of actual deity; that is, I don't believe in a sentient, other-worldly being that's "running the show." I do, however, believe in energy. Energy drives the universe, and influences everything. I think these energies are natural in origin (such as the energy of a tree) but can also be man-made (as in the energy put forth while creating a painting... the painting takes on that energy and then has an energy of it's own). I think that "deities" are just collections of energy that people have pumped into an idea, and thus people can also tap into this collected energy.

    That said, I must mention that I have a strong dislike of labels. I hate feeling like I have to put myself into a neat little folder so that others may understand me. I suppose it's easy to have a quick answer when asked what I believe, and people prefer quick answers. People need a reference point, after all. But spirituality is a deeply personal thing, and I don't think it CAN or SHOULD have to fit under a neat little filing system. Not to mention, your personal beliefs will change as you change throughout your life.

    So in other words, don't worry about what to call yourself. Just do your own thing.

    Also, hooray for meat.

    Edit: Ah, my old nemesis... punctuation and grammar. We meet again.
    Last edited by The Grumble; December 30th, 2011 at 06:11 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    61
    Doubts are not a negative thing, nor is entertaining them. What becomes negative is a desire to purge all doubts at any cost.
    "There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. By doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses one still gets wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you will get the same soaking. This understanding extends to all things."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    16
    Choosing not to start a new thread, as this one's still on top...

    I'm curious about a non-theistic pagan practice. My "routine" before included rituals for the sabbats and worship... casting a circle, calling the quarters, and generally having a "feast" of tea and fruit or a baked good. I rarely used magick, and if I did, I considered it a form of ritualized prayer. I would also say a short prayer in the mornings and at night, with incense and the crystals I carried with me.

    Now, seeing that my previous practice was mostly worship and prayer, I'm having trouble separating it from belief in a deity. There is a possibility that I may eventually come back to that in my life, but right now my atheism is pretty staunch. I just still feel drawn to the idea of ritual, somehow.

  8. #8
     is offline I was not born under a rhyming planet.
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Down Under
    Age
    32
    Posts
    6,524
    Quote Originally Posted by perceval23 View Post
    Maybe you're an Agnostic rather than a true Atheist? If you accept the possibility that there may be more to the Universe than our current Western scientific models can explain (And remember, throughout history, the scientific models have changed), that everything may be connected and there may be a sentience or consciousness to that connection, that's more Agnostic than Atheist.

    A Theist is someone who believes in that connection, often through their own experiences. An Atheist dismisses anything the Theist has experienced out of hand for not fitting in with the Atheist's belief system. An Agnostic is open minded about it, having not had those experiences him or herself, but seeing the Theist's experience as a possibility.

    Western science dismissed acupuncture, acupressure, the benefits of yoga and martial arts beyond just physical fitness, etc, out of hand because they're based in Eastern religious philosophies and practices, particularly the concept of the chi. Never mind how many centuries these practices have worked, the evidence that they do work. They not only commit the offense of not being developed by white people in the last 400 years, but the chi cannot fit into a hard Atheist viewpoint, and therefore cannot exist. That's an article of faith for hardline Atheists.

    Joseph Campbell explained the origin of religion best, I think. You're talking with someone, they're responding. Then, they're not. They're growing cold and starting to decay. Something was there that no longer is. What was it, and where did it go?

    But, if there is a consciousness to the Universe, it's going to be something beyond what we humans can completely take in and comprehend. We have to connect and relate to it in ways we can handle. That's where gods, goddesses, archangels, etc, come in. In Kaballah, the four letters that make up the Unknowable Name of God represent to four elements the Ancients believed made up all of Creation. In other words, God is both Creator and Creation. and we, along with everything else, are a part of God.

    This is how the Gnostic Christian framework allows for the various gods and goddesses. There's the One, that Universal consciousness that is both Creator and Creation, and these other aspects that serve specific functions, represent and embody specific things. You don't have to take the Mythology literally. You can see the Myths as stories that show us higher truths, and guide us on how to live our lives. You can see the gods, goddesses, archangels, saints, etc, as actual literal beings, or as archetypes that help you connect with the Universe in a way you can understand and relate to.

    Of course, the fact that you are feeling the pull suggests you're not a close minded Atheist, but, again, an open minded Agnostic. Go with it. If nothing else, keeping an open mind is always a good thing.
    1. Atheism means the lack of belief in any deity. It literary means "without god". It is simply a position on belief of a deity. Hence why most sects of Buddhism are considered atheistic and why there are atheistic witches, pagans and similar out there. Theism means a belief in a deity.

    2. Agnostic deals with knowledge. An agnostic thinks certain things are unknown or unknowable. A gnostic posits that things are knowable and they do know something.

    As such,
    agnostic atheist = a person who does not believe in a deity but does not KNOW if deities exist or not.
    gnostic atheist = a person who does not believe in a deity and KNOWS there is no deity.

    None of these two deal with anything except deities. There are plenty of gnostic atheists within Buddhism. "There IS no God". It does not mean they do not believe in spirits, ghosts, acupressure or even pink unicorns in leotards!

    Someone who would act the way you describe would be an ideological skeptic. A simple skeptic would be neutral on the matter until they have examined all the evidence. An ideological skeptic might dismiss everything.

    Not all atheists are ideological skeptics, or even skeptics. Not only that but you have THEISTIC skeptics who do believe in a deity but thinks acupressure and anything of the sort is bull.

    Atheists are not close minded, they simply do not believe. What I would consider more close minded is going into a path protected forum and engaging in what might be considered path bashing by being antagonistic and accusing the people of that path for being close minded and holding beliefs they do not. If this was any other path protected forum you would have been reported long ago, but since we are not as close minded as you claim we are, you have not received a report from me. Instead I chose to educate you so that you may learn something new.

    To recap:
    Agnostic Atheist : Does not believe in a deity but claims no knowledge/thinks the existence of a deity is unknowable.
    Gnostic Atheist: Does not believe in a deity and claims knowledge of it's non-existence, says they KNOW.
    Agnostic Theist : Believes in a deity but claims no knowledge, says it's existence is unknowable.
    Gnostic Theists : Believes in a deity and claims knowledge, says they KNOW.

    Further information can be found here: http://mysticwicks.com/showthread.ph...-termonologies

    None of these explain what the person in question might think about spirits, ghosts and flying pink unicorns in leotards. Tarot, healing, shamanism and all similar things that do not require the presence of a deity can be something even gnostic Atheists believe in. Anything else comes from other ideologies, such as ideological skepticism.

    Saying all atheists reject everything out of hand is like saying all theists go to mass and cannot use birth control and thinks homosexuality is a sin. (Equating all who believe in a deity to Catholic Christians)

    The next time you feel like being antagonistic and preaching about other paths in their designated path forums, keep this in mind.

    Forum: Path Specific Forums

    Discuss your Path. Find threads specifically about Wicca, Hinduism, Satanism, or whatever it may be.

    This forum is absolutely not for heated debate or jokes. If that is your intention go to the Theology forum or Just Silly. The Respect rule is heavily applied in this forum and subforums contained within. This is non-negotiable. This is the "safe place" to talk about your beliefs.
    Until our path forum protection have been officially repealed (because of our own majority rules) it does not matter if I can take it and dish it. You have to abide by forum rules. You violated the respect rule. My suggestion to you is not to behave in a way you would not accept from me if I came into your path forum.
    Last edited by Aeon Flux; January 29th, 2012 at 09:41 PM.
    Previously known as Njorun Alma


    "A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows." - George Bernard Shaw


  9. #9
     is offline I was not born under a rhyming planet.
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Down Under
    Age
    32
    Posts
    6,524
    Quote Originally Posted by TheLadyGrey View Post
    Choosing not to start a new thread, as this one's still on top...

    I'm curious about a non-theistic pagan practice. My "routine" before included rituals for the sabbats and worship... casting a circle, calling the quarters, and generally having a "feast" of tea and fruit or a baked good. I rarely used magick, and if I did, I considered it a form of ritualized prayer. I would also say a short prayer in the mornings and at night, with incense and the crystals I carried with me.

    Now, seeing that my previous practice was mostly worship and prayer, I'm having trouble separating it from belief in a deity. There is a possibility that I may eventually come back to that in my life, but right now my atheism is pretty staunch. I just still feel drawn to the idea of ritual, somehow.
    It would have been fine for you to start a new thread for it. :D We could use some more activity in here.

    Anything you did before can still be done without the worship of a deity. Many atheists celebrate their previous holidays the same way, just without the worship of a deity part.

    Having little rituals can be healing to the mind. Why not shift the focus of those rituals from the deity and to yourself and your life? You can still have rituals and celebrations of the changing seasons, all you have to do is move away from worship and into celebrations instead. Feasting within a circle can be done without a deity.

    Hell, I still use some dusted off Wiccan and Witchcraft things as meditations and a way to shift my focus every once in a while. Just because I am an atheist does not mean I dismiss the psychological value of these things out of hand. The beauty is that it works without the belief in a deity as well. It is the rituals that is the important part, not the belief in the deity.
    Previously known as Njorun Alma


    "A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows." - George Bernard Shaw


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Ireland
    Age
    29
    Posts
    67
    Quote Originally Posted by Ĉon Flux View Post
    It would have been fine for you to start a new thread for it. :D We could use some more activity in here.

    Anything you did before can still be done without the worship of a deity. Many atheists celebrate their previous holidays the same way, just without the worship of a deity part.

    Having little rituals can be healing to the mind. Why not shift the focus of those rituals from the deity and to yourself and your life? You can still have rituals and celebrations of the changing seasons, all you have to do is move away from worship and into celebrations instead. Feasting within a circle can be done without a deity.

    Hell, I still use some dusted off Wiccan and Witchcraft things as meditations and a way to shift my focus every once in a while. Just because I am an atheist does not mean I dismiss the psychological value of these things out of hand. The beauty is that it works without the belief in a deity as well. It is the rituals that is the important part, not the belief in the deity.
    Couldn't agree more. I'm struggling a bit with returning to Wicca/Witchcraft as an atheist/pantheist, so I'm still trying to figure out which bits can stay and which have to go. So far, I'm holding on to most of my old practices. Some things can feel a little phoney now, so I keep playing around with them for a bit and them let them go if they really don't work for me. But otherwise, most of it seems to make sense from a psychological/metaphorical point of view.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •