31 Days of Paganism– day 5

Are there any secular activities that you incorporate into your religious practice?

I don’t know if there are any secular activities that I include in my religious practice. So here’s a Disney/Pokemon mashup to make up for such a short post:


There are some pretty common interfaith practices that go on in our household (think Yule-Christmas-Hanukkah, Halloween-Samhain, etc.)

Actually, if we think about Halloween as a secular holiday, I would say that I do celebrate it just as much as I do Samhain. But I don’t necessarily consider giving candy to trick-or-treaters as a spiritual practice. But you just might see me dressed up as a wench as I bring a plate of food to our ancestral altar. Does that count?

31 Days of Paganism– Day 4

Do you see witchcraft as a religion or a practice?

This is a really good question, and my answer is pretty short: practice.

But the long answer is, and pardon the foul language, but WHO THE FUCK KNOWS. It seems that there isn’t a real consensus out there, honestly. Google, it seems, is not my friend in this instance because entering “is witchcraft a religion” came up with tons of articles and websites that said, “Well, some say it is and some say it isn’t.” That’s the problem with paganism in general– there’s not governing religious body that makes decisions on how to define yourself and your path (just kidding, I actually really like that about paganism). Everyone is more or less free to define their religion as they please. That’s not to say that there isn’t some fighting about it, but at the end of the day you get as many definitions of paganism as there are practicing pagans.

I’m also gonna just throw it out there that there are some sites who start their Wicca 101 pages using Wicca and witchcraft interchangeably, calling both a religion. So it’s no wonder people call witchcraft their religion, considering the most easily accessible resources are defining witchcraft that way.

But as for my own beliefs, I see witchcraft as a practice, not a religion. People from different religions practice witchcraft or magic, even if they call it by another name, and that doesn’t make them pagan. I’m sure some would disagree but honestly, does it matter? People will define themselves as they want to, and really, how much harm is done? Not a lot, if any. It was only until very recently that I saw myself as a soon-to-be Jew who also happened to practice witchcraft (and that is not as uncommon as one would think). As you may know from previous posts (here and here), I have stepped back from that path, but I don’t regret it, and I may come back to it some day. I don’t know if the two are mutually exclusive, and there are Jewitches who would agree with me (and many Jews who wouldn’t).

This question has got my mind going all over the place. I hope something in there made sense to someone. Hopefully day 5 goes a little better!

31 Days of Paganism– Day 3

Do you believe in anything supernatural/paranormal?

I was originally going to answer what tradition/path I was, but that was too similar to yesterday’s question, so I scrapped it and chose another. I will fix the question list accordingly.

I absolutely believe in supernatural things, although I wouldn’t necessarily consider them supernatural. Supernatural for me implies that the things that happen in this world that are beyond our understanding are somehow beyond the laws of nature or science. I believe that supernatural things are part of this world and our everyday lives, and science just hasn’t discovered how they work yet (and maybe never will). And I also think that sometimes see/hear/believe what we need to see/hear/believe. For instance, if someone close to you dies, and you say you still feel their spirit with you, it doesn’t matter if that person’s spirit is really here or not. What matters is that having that spirit close to you gives you some kind of comfort. Who’s to say that it’s real or not? I sure as hell don’t know– what do I look like, the All Knowing? I am not. No human on this earth knows or understands the complexities of the universe. So, are spirits within the realm of possibility for me? Absolutely. Do I believe in the spirits of the ancestors connecting with us in the here and now? You bet I do.

Now, do I believe in supernatural beings like werewolves, fairies, elves, etc? I’ve never seen them personally, but who knows, really. Maybe these creatures are the result of human minds that are trying to process things they don’t really understand. I mean, we only use 10% of our brain, right? For whatever reason, the rest is not accessible, and maybe that’s the part that can see everything that’s out there that alludes us, the creatures we have heard stories about but have never seen first-hand, the experiences that we can’t explain– including men who turn into wolves. I’m not in the business of trying to explain the supernatural, so I don’t really feel the need to explore anything beyond the folklore and myth. I’m perfectly happy not knowing if they are real or not. In the end, it doesn’t really matter to me because they are not critical parts of my spirituality.

31 Days of Paganism- Day 1

How did you discover your path?

That’s a good question, that I’m not really sure how to answer (what a way to start this challenge off with a bang, right?). I think it’s difficult for me to answer because I don’t really know what this path is. I mean, I know that I am some kind of pagan, but not which kind, or what tradition I want to be affiliated with. But I can say how I was introduced to paganism as an umbrella term for a bunch of (sometimes) polytheistic, nature-based religions. I was raised in a Christian family– my mother’s side of the family is Catholic, but we were raised Protestant, I would say in evangelical churches mostly (although my mother took us to a great Methodist church when we were in elementary school, a church that I still think about with fondness). I was baptized in a lake when I was eight years old, and I took Christianity pretty seriously.

But when I was in high school I started to question my place in the church and wondered what else was out there for me if Christianity wasn’t a good fit. So I made an effort to do research on what else was out there. Basically I discovered my path through a lot of searching and reading lots of books and articles about any liberal-minded religion that I could think of, and some that I didn’t know I existed until I looked. Nature-based religions really made sense to me because I felt that if the Creator made the earth, surely They meant for us to take care of it, to be grateful for it, and to see the divinity in it. There was less talk of sin and more talk about being a responsible citizen of the earth and I liked that a lot. I also appreciated the ideas of interconnectedness and interdependence that I saw many people incorporating into their ritual and practice as pagans. So I thought, I think this could work!

Unlike many, my introduction to paganism wasn’t through Wicca, and I honestly had little interest in witchcraft or Wiccan traditions when I first explored paganism. I was way more interested in Druidism and straight up nature worship. Like white hoods and chanting and maybe hugging trees and spending the night stargazing and praying. I dunno, I had a very limited view of what paganism meant. Not that paganism can’t include those things, but there’s so much more to it than I originally anticipated.

I’m now more interested in incorporating witchcraft practices to my daily life and embrace the word Witch, although I don’t see myself wearing all black and stirring potions in my cauldron anytime soon (although how cool would I be?!). I want to learn more about herb lore and maybe spell work. However, I still heavily rely on prayer and more formalized worship as my main connection to the world and to the Divine. I use my words more than my hands, I guess I should say. My voice is my most powerful spiritual tool.

31 days of Paganism

Starting tomorrow, August 1st, in addition to your regularly scheduled programming I am going to be posting each day answering different questions regarding my relationship to paganism and witchcraft, and talk about how my spiritual practice has become what it is today. I’m calling it 31 Days of Paganism! I’m really excited to share parts of myself with you all, and hopefully it will inspire some discussion with you all about your own paths, what is similar and what is different, and strengthen our little community. I know, big dreams, but I’m an idealist. I really believe that if we keep ourselves open and honest and really put intention in our work, we can create community, even on the internet.

I found this idea on a couple of blogs which I linked on my 31 Days of Paganism page and I decided to do my own version. Some of the questions or topics are the same as the originals I found and some of  them are rephrased to specifically relate to my own life (like my interfaith relationships), questions that I imagine people would ask me if they wanted to get to know me and how I live a spiritual life as a pagan/interfaith-y person. So yeah, get excited for 31 days of awesome. And if you want to get in on the fun and join my 31 days of Paganism, please do click on the link above or go to my home page and  click the drop-down menu and select “31 Days of Paganism”, where I will have the questions for each day listed. If you post anything, you can count on me to share it with others!