30 Days, Day 1: Beliefs — Why NT Paganism?

The short answer is a bit of a cop-out here: I have been called to it.

The longer answer that is less of a cop-out requires a little background.

When I was around 8 years old, I asked my parents why there was a + symbol on top of a building. I had never had any training in religion up to that point, had never been inside of a Church, and knew virtually nothing of Christianity. While I had grown up on the stories of C. S. Lewis, the depth of his theology did not become apparent until much later in my life and at the time they were very much just stories.

My parents decided then it was high time that they start introducing me to Christianity, and–after visiting a variety of local churches and schools–they started attending a liberal Episcopalian Church in New Orleans. I was baptized there, and looking back I realize that what that represents is very similar to what initiatory traditions attempt to wrestle with. It is a way of cleansing your past in recognition of your future, and a way of initiating new members into the Church and bears a superficial similarity to practices by initiatory traditions.

Later, after I started attending a Roman Catholic High School, I realized that many people who had been raised Catholic knew very little about their own religion. I believed in challenging beliefs for logical consistency and in reasoning and analysis and in asking the question why.

Why is this right or wrong? Why should I believe this to be true? I accept that you believe a certain way, but why? Why do you exclude people from taking mass, even though they are Christian and even Catholic, just not Roman Catholic?

The Principal of the school was one of my strongest defenders and made several comments to me and my parents that showed that he understood. He wanted me to not forget emotional balance in my reasoning, and much later in my life I realized what he was saying and that he was right, but I digress.

What became blazingly apparent in all of this was that I was not looking for the same thing as others in my religion classes.

My senior year we were required to do a study, in groups, on a non-Christian religion. The suggested religions were things like Buddhism, Hinduism, and such and the analysis tended to be fairly superficial, but there you have it. After talking with my group, I borrowed a copy of my sister’s book– Cunningham’s Guide for the Solitary Practitioner. My group had settled on doing Wicca.

There I found a lot of descriptions of things that were far outside my understanding or experience, but I found a lot of things that appealed to me. I thought it was the religion, but looking back what I was really drawn to were the occult aspects of it. Working with energy, raising power, shaping that energy. Interacting with other realms and entities.

In college I met another person who had been a practicing solitary for a few years and we did some ritual work together. Through all of this, however, I treated it as a matter of psychology. Potent psychology, just because it is in your mind doesn’t mean it isn’t real, but psychology nonetheless.

Then one day I was home and I saw a hovering light in my room. Just a hovering ball of light, not doing anything but hanging out there. Any way I looked at it, it was there, just hanging out.

I was terrified and slept in another room.

The next day I contacted a friend of mine who dealt with such matters and asked her what it was. She named what it probably was from a distance, investigated to make sure it wasn’t anything else, and after seeing that calm confidence in talking about this unknown glowing ball I knew I needed training. I asked for training in the Celtic Tradition.

That is what clearly started me down this path. That moment of clarity, the turning of the unknown into the known. I needed to Know.

After that I interacted with gods and spirits of a variety of different traditions, and have subsequently moved from it is psychology to it is real and then to it doesn’t matter.

What I found in all of this is that I needed a lot of customization in my path and that it needed to at least be tolerant of occultist/mystical practices, and that pagan religions tended to be more open to that kind of work. I also found that the gods I had the best fit with were and who claimed me were, overall, gods of the Northern Tradition. Especially Odin in his wanderer and magician aspects. I found that path called to me in a very tangible way, but that the reason it called to me is an accumulation of all of what you see above and what you will see through the course of this 30 days.

I seek knowledge in all its forms and locations, sometimes at seemingly ridiculous prices. I observe the world around me and learn all that I can from what I observe. I believe in challenge and I have a strong wanderlust that leads me to interesting locations and meeting interesting people. Odin fits with all of that, and has an affinity to ravens to boot (which is always a plus in my book). I’ll talk more about my specific relationship with Odin and why that’s a good fit later when I talk specifically about patrons, however.

So that is a somewhat rambling account of Why I am a Northern Tradition Pagan. We certainly aren’t done yet, but that should be enough to get us started on the journey.

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