Just trying to learn

Discussion in 'Pagan' started by Faolan, Feb 11, 2004.

  1. Faolan

    Faolan New Member

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    I am fairly new to pagan beliefs, and have many questions concerning this subject. As far as "religous", I would say that is a work in progress considering the only religon I was ever taught about was Christianity, which had the feeling of shackles bound to rock. So that is up in the air.

    I would like some insight as far as any beliefs of the pagans because of a night that occured about 1.5 yrs ago. I was here but not here and if you have andy questions concerning that night you may ask me on a one on one basis, because I don't feel that it should be posted for the world to see yet. Not until I can grasp that occurance myself.

    I have read numerous book since, but have a great desire to get views from people who are not out to make a profit from there knowledge.

    There is also a great question of magic/k because of this night, but I'll ask of that later.
     
  2. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Around and around

    Dear Faol:

    There are monotheistic missionaries going far and wide to convert pagans to the one God. And You are now going the opposite direction, from Christianity to pagan beliefs.

    Pagans were guys who lived in the remote settlements away from centers of learning and arts and tastes and ideas populated by cultivated and cultured peoples.

    You say: I would like some insight as far as any beliefs of the pagans because of a night that occured about 1.5 yrs ago.

    May I suggest that you first seek the counsel of Christian pastors who are really men of spiritual wisdom, whether Protestant or Catholic, before you try to make sense of your experience by trying out pagan beliefs.

    But I have nothing against Wicca if that is a pagan system of religious beliefs and practices, not the one explained to me here in this forum by its adherents.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Hi Faolan, and welcome to CR. :)

    Feel free to post your experience - we're a friendly bunch, and it will make it so much easier to narrow topics specifically to what you want to discuss. Otherwise you may find your question is much too broad to answer with anything other than a book - and I'm not sure any members here are going to sit and compose one here just for CR. :)
     
  4. WHKeith

    WHKeith Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Faolan! Allow me to join Brian in bidding you a warm welcome!

    I agree with Brian that it's going to be tough for any of us to address your experience without knowing more about it. I promise you, we'll take what you say seriously and reply with respect.

    "I was here and not here" sounds to my ears like either a reference to an out-of-body experience, or to an intense numinous experience of some sort--a direct and personal encounter with Deity, for instance, or some type of transcendent revelation.

    I refer to my own conversion to Wicca as my "epiphawiccany," an intense series (while driving, no less!) of visions and revelations that seemed to me, at least, to be both numinous and panenthiast, to say the least. It certainly changed--and dramatically--my outlook on Reality. I was a die-hard atheist at the time!

    Please feel free to share as much or as little of your experience as you feel comfortable in doing.
     
  5. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    I'll add a bit about my own experience. I grew up in a home that was Christian, although not overly strict about it. We went more regularly to church when I was a kid but then sort of stopped as I got closer to my teen years. When I was a teen, my parents talked to my brothers and I about religion and told us that we were free to explore and make up our own mind on the matter but that they wanted us to not make any decisions until we had done some good research on whatever groups we were interested in.

    My older brother was pretty open about his spiritual interests and met with all sorts of Christian groups and ended up joining the Mormons. He even went off for eighteen months when he was about nineteen to be a missionary.

    I was much more private about my own spiritual leanings. I was always interested in the occult right from a very young age. I read everything I could get my hands on. I considered myself to be a witch before I was even a teenager, although I never told anyone about it until I was sixteen, and then I only told my best friends at school. When I was about fourteen I discovered the word "Wicca" and realized it was essentially what I believed. I practiced as a solitary until I went to university and started to meet others interested in Wicca. I helped start up a coven at that point, and the rest is history.

    I "came out of the broom closet" with my immediate family after I had gone to university. I also "came out of the closet" to my folks about being gay at that point (not at the same time though.) Both were things that I had known about myself for a long time but just hadn't disclosed to my family until I felt I was adult enough and would be taken seriously about it all.

    On a less personal issue, keep in mind that the word "Pagan" is a generic term that is used in a variety of ways. Many people use the term to mean any religion that is not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim. There isn't a single Pagan religion or philosophy as there are many quite different religions that are lumped together under that generic label. Many Pagans do tend to be polytheistic in some form but this is not a hard and fast rule. There are lots of Pagans who are most certainly monotheistic in their philosophy as well.

    Some of the obvious religious groups that are lumped in as Pagan include Wicca, Druidism, and various aboriginal shamanistic or animistic religions around the world. Some people count religions like Voudou and Santeria as being Pagan, while others argue that they're not. Asatruar often prefer to be called "Heathens" rather than "Pagans." Some people consider religions like Hinduism and Buddhism and their variants to be Pagan, while others disagree.

    There is a lot of variety so it's really tough to make any accurate generalizations about Pagans that everyone will agree on.

    It is a good piece of advice to seek out local religious leaders who you feel you can trust to explore your experiences. I would recommend, though, that you not limit yourself to just one religion or "expert" as everyone has their bias and will usually try to steer you towards their particular philosophy. Ask questions, make up your own mind, and don't let people bully you into committing to a group that doesn't feel right for you. Spirituality is about our individual relationships with the Divine, and I think we do those very personal relationships a great disservice when we try and force them to fit some arbitrarily chosen philosophy or system that someone else has tried to convince us is "the way." If you agree with a system, if that system makes sense and satisfies your ethical standards, then by all means explore it.
     
  6. Faolan

    Faolan New Member

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    A brief insight/account of that night

    To begin this is the first time that some of these details have been aired to anyone. When confronted or asked about this I am usually pretty vague in my answers and very brief. I hape that this will help me understand a little better. Please take into account that this "episode" or whatever you would call it lasted approx. 10 hrs. Also take into account that I am explaining this from my perspective at that time so it may seem a little oddly written at times.
    At the time I was living in Florida within a few hundred yards of lake Okeechobee.

    This night started no different than any other night. I got through eating dinner, helped with the dishes, and then went to take a shower. It all began when I got out of the shower. I walked into the living room to find a friend had arrived while I was bathing. I thought it to be odd for him to just show up, but greeted him and offered him a drink. Thats when everything changed. A woman, who at the time my wife, asked me who I was talking to. I told her that I was speaking to my friend who was sitting on the couch, and proceeded asking her who she was and if she had come with my friend. She told me tht no one else wa there and that I had better know who she was because I was married to her. My reply was that she was mistaken because my wife had disappeared shortly after we were wed. I went over to the couch to assure her that my friend was there by putting my hand on his shoulder and asking him when he got there, but when i began to contact his shoulder my hand went through him. Of course this shocked me. When I turned around I noticed that the place I was in did not look familiar at all. It was cluttered and the feeling that came from it was confining and negative, almost that of a cell. I felt the need to escape so I started to go outside. The woman stepped in front of me and asked where I thought I was going. I picked her up and gently set her to the side and proceeded out the door. I went outside. I walked across the open lot behind my house, up the dike and to the other side. I stood and looked out at the lake for a while and began to feel the presence of someone else. I looked over to find a man dressed as though he ahd just stepped out of another time. He was wearing a robe, had long hair and a full beard. He was also carrying a staff. Oddly enough he looked very familiar and I felt as though I had known him for quite some time.
    Through out the night I saw and met up with several others and experinced several different things to include the presence of five very wise beings somewhat like human but with much much stronger presence and authority. I even saw myself, but dressed much like the man I encountered on the dike.

    When I came back to this reality It was like something crabbed me by the shirt collar and yanked me back here. I say this reality because of the feeling and complete sensory range that occured that night. I would really like to expand ont htis and tell a complete account of that night to justify the intensity and impact of that night, but it would take a small book to do so. Hopefully this brief glimpse will give some idea as to the occurances of that event and more insight to it. thank you
     
  7. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Useful for mundane ends?

    Faol writes:

    I just want to ask, Faol, even though I might appear impertinent and saucy, do you think that the characters you meet in your peculiar experience can help us with knotty questions like the war in Iraq and international terrorism, with specific directives.

    Or even just very mundane matters like how to keep away ants from the kitchen counter, or prevent the dog from taking his leak on the car tires -- that used to be a problem for me, now solved by just keeping the dog away from the cars, but I still would like to let the dog roam all over the place.

    The closest experience I have to the ones you describe are dreams. If I should have your kind, I think that I would also welcome them, like dreams, for they are good entertainment.

    Some posters here have mentioned Vitamin B12 as good for enhancing dreams. Maybe I should try it; on the other hand, I am dreaming alright without any pharmaceutical assist, and liking my dreams for their entertainment features.


    Susma Rio Sep
     
  8. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    Faolan.

    Thanks for sharing what was obviously a very personal experience. It's hard to say conclusively what exactly happened without going into a lot of excrutiating examination of the details. I guess the best summation would be that it seems you had an experience where you interacted with people who seemed to have been very real, to the point where it's hard to tell who the "physical" people were and who the "not physical" people were, and which of your senses might have been deceived, if there was any deception at all.

    Have you read any of Carlos Castaneda's books about altered realities and perception? Castaneda's books are quite interesting and describe similar situations where it seems what we often assume is "normal reality" can in fact be rather fluid. Castaneda's books, however, have been exposed as rather loose descriptions of reality. They are poetic, easy to read, and do express shamanic truths but should not be necessarily accepted as literal reality.

    You might find it enlightening to explore shamanism in general as it tends to deal with experiences like the one you described. Michael Harner's book "The Way of the Shaman" is one often-recommended book which gives a good grounding in the topic.
     
  9. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    My regrets...

    Faol writes:
    Susma writes:



    Dear Faol:

    If you feel unhappy with my posts, here and elsewhere, in particular when in reply to yours, please don't imagine that I am trying to hurt you. I have no intention of hurting fellow posters here.

    If I may, I would like you to know that it is difficult to write in a manner than I do, I end up with nothing to say and no way to say it. I could do that if I were doing it for a living, like a copywriter in an advertising business.

    I know of posters here who have mastered the habit of dissimulating their reactions and dismissing my posts with silence, over which they might not be experiencing any joy. One such poster is Okie. Now, that is one genuine Christian with holy nirvannic equanimity.

    If I may, this is what you should do when you read my posts, if you are even just curious, with the first words which already cause you the slightest dismay, discontinue reading and proceed to other threads and other posts.

    Or, distill the thoughts I am relaying, and see whether they might be of any use whatever to your life of learning and living. If any, well and good; if nothing, at least then you have exercised your skill of discernment.

    Best regards,

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  10. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Corrigenda

    The last paragraph above should be corrected thus (as indeed was my intention):

    Remove the not after 'practices'.

    Dear Faol, let me not stop you from looking up pagan beliefs and thoughts, but to be on an even keel consult also good Christian counsellors with feet on the ground.

    Best regards,

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  11. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    MODERATOR WARNING
    Please keep discussion on topic. Discuss the issues and not speculations about others' motives or worth.

    All members are expected to read and agree with the Code of Conduct, posted at http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/showthread.php?t=226

    If you are unfamiliar with the Code of Conduct, please read it now.
     
  12. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    I also

    Dear Faol, again:

    To make a confession, I do have similar experiences like yours but not as long and elaborate.

    I always consider them as dreams even ones not occurring in bed while asleep.

    Here is one, I was reading a book and suddenly I saw or noticed and knew that a face was looking at me and saying things to me, and I looked and saw the person, but could not understand what he was trying to tell me. Then I seemed to have snapped out back to my book.

    Here is another one: I was driving home but stuck in the traffic. Then without notice I saw a woman and child before me, maneuvering on foot to cross the street. I started to think that if only I could just leave my car and go home walking. Then I came back to the traffic and realized that I had a strange experience.

    I would like to be able to control these experiences, to be able to enter them and come out at will. To join the characters inside in their activities longer and with more interaction. But it's all useless. They don't come when I am just waiting for them to occur. They are too uncertain and too fleeting. I can't remember them in their details afterwards. But I have succeeded to always retain the gist of the experience, like the two I have just related to you here.

    If only I can be in control then I think I can have a very good and even productive time with them. Enjoyable and maybe learn some things from them or at least answers from them to questions I might want to ask the characters in them, like science ones which I maybe owing to my limited intelligence or the language of science I can't seem to be able to grapple with to my satisfaction.

    So, since they can't be under my control and involvement in a conscious way, I tend not to be curious about them, and assigned them to the realm of dreams.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  13. VirtuousValkyrie

    VirtuousValkyrie A Seeker

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    I too have had strange experiences, but mainly with mine is has to do with an apparent ability I sometimes have to be an empath. One time I was walking around my local Wal-Mart and I was just walking down the aisle with kitchen supplies just browsing, then all of a sudden I felt really angry. My right hand became a fist and I had a hard time controlling my anger, which was coming out of no where. I turned the corner to another aisle and there was this girl and her boyfriend fighting and he was angrily whispering to her that she was stupid and he couldn't believe she had done that (I have no idea what "that" was). I was really scared at this experience.

    It seems like that experience was a trigger of some kind. I have noticed that I can pick up on people's emotions very easily, before they even say anything to me. It's very overwhelming at times because I sometimes don't know what is my emotions and what are others. I guess you could say I have a hard time "controlling" this.
     
  14. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Yes, I do the empath thing a lot. After a while you can actually control your awareness of it markably. It's funny to walk down a street and know not simply when you are being looked at, but also what emotions the person looking at you has. Sometimes it's attraction, but quite a few times it's plain violence.

    While in such an aware state you can be very clued up on the emotional environment around you, and where it's directed.

    What really bugs me is that I just don't don't how to use it more constructively for others. At the moment it seems more a survival tool for the self, rather than something I can use constructively for the wider human community.
     
  15. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    The Star Trek series (with Captain Picard) gave a good example of a job where being an empath could really help: the role of a counsellor. It would possibly be a help in situations where negotiations are taking place, where it is important to have an idea whether someone might be lying or not.

    In a psychological counselling or spiritual counselling session it would probably help the counsellor a lot too if they were able to really know what sorts of emotions the client was feeling. Knowing what they were dealing with could help with teaching clients how to handle them constructively.

    If it's a case of being empathic with animals, I could see it being helpful in a veterinarian situation where the patient isn't always able to communicate where it hurts or what it's feeling.

    But in all these situations, the empath does need to be in full control and be able to distinguish when they're picking up someone else's emotions and when they are feeling their own. Being able to "turn it off" on command would also be a big help as those emotions could be distracting.

    Sensory awareness, aura, and "shielding" type meditation and magickal work would all help with this sort of training.
     
  16. The Mysterious

    The Mysterious The Mystical Shadow

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    A country with freedom to choose own path is great!

    Hello, friends!
    When i was young and still in elementary school,
    i and my class visited church, i think it was first "confirmation class" hour,
    there confessor told us that it's everyone's own right to believe in what they want and we don't have to tell what we believe in or not.
    Finland is a country where religion is free to choose (except satanism).
    I am very proud of being a finnish man.

    Still some of the finnish Christianity dare to call "Wicca" as
    a part of satanist and devil serving, it's so wrong.
    Some of them call aslo a heavy metalist people the same, it's just a hobby.
    Though, i heard that some serve devil and perfom "satanism",
    not most, very small minority only.

    Not that i'd care, but if i am victim, curse them!

    Blessed be all of us.
     
  17. bgruagach

    bgruagach eclectic Wiccan

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    If you were a victim of someone from any other religion, would you curse them too?

    At one time it was common knowledge that witches were evil creatures, not really human at all, who flew through the air, made pacts with the devil, and ate human flesh (babies in particular.)

    Modern witches have managed to get their side of the story out there and now there are fewer people who believe the old scary stories.

    It's interesting that the exact same accusations about devil worship, cannibalism, etc. have been levelled at a number of different groups including Jews, and also Catholics! The people who were saying these things were just as sure they were correct as those people who said these things about witches and Pagans in general, and in our day and age, against Satanists.

    The internet is a wonderful place because it's possible to do some quick searching and hear other sides to stories. The common version of something is rarely the only version. When we hear some of the other versions we have the opportunity to decide which side sounds more credible.

    I'd recommend checking out the info on Satanism (and indeed, on any religion) at the wonderful interfaith website http://www.religioustolerance.org/ Just put "satanism" in their search box and you'll get some thought-provoking information.

    (By the way, I'm Wiccan myself and not a Satanist.)
     
  18. suanni

    suanni Confused

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    The internet is a wonderful place. I have learned so much in my search for knowledge. It was wonderful to find that I was not the only one with 'strange beliefs' and have 'met' so many wonderful people with the same beliefs. There is a kinda strength in numbers and knowing that you're not the only one.
    I live in a small town and whilst I wouldn't say that the people are religious, they would view my different perspective on faith in a dim light. Slowly but surely I'm coming out about my beliefs, my faith structure. It was quite a surprise to me that even in my little corner of the world, through the Internet I found that I was not the only one in this town who had pagan beliefs.

    I know how people view paganism in any format. Its the way they were taught. And bgruagach is so correct in that many 'mainstream' religions were considered to be Satanists at one time or another and were horribly executed for it. And its hard to explain to some that Satanism, IMO, is another form of Christianity, a perverted form of Christianity. It has little to do with paganism. I know some Satanists would argue upon this point but in my view, Satan is a Christian creation and the imagery and the concept of Hell is a blend of many pagan underworlds and gods.

    (And I am not a Satanist either, I'm a Celtic pagan)
     

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