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In Summery
When asked what religion I claim title to, I generally say "non-denominational pagan." Simply put, I believe in the powers of Nature and use representations of the earth as my "gods" (ie: I will talk with the ocean or the moon rather than towards, "Neptune" or "Diana") Names and rituals are meaningless and trivial to me and so I do not follow Wicca or any other "organized" pagan faith. (not that there's anything wrong with that for others-just not for me) I see my life as a journey of exploration and my magick as the lifeblood of my soul.

Pagan, to me, means that I do not believe in any preconceived writings or teachings (such as the Bible). It means that I do not turn to a personification for my worship, I go straight to the Earth. It means I do not await my turn in Heaven or fear my time in Hell. It means that I believe in magick and mystery. I believe in the older ways of praising and thanking the earth rather than begging forgiveness and mercy of a god.

Why do I refer to myself then as Pagan?
Let me first explain the literal meaning of it...Let's first look at the actual dictionary version of this word
1.One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew; a heathen.
2.One who has no religion.
3.A non-Christian.
4.A hedonist.

#1 we've established that I do not follow any 'modern' organized religion-ergo, I am not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew...

#2 religion is defined as A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader. Well, I've also condoned any need for ritual, structure, or formed practice in my belief and I have come to them on my own and without any guide or direction.

#3 this is blatantly obvious.

#4 Now, this one seems contradictory at first (as defined: Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses) but, truly, if one looks at the focus of most religions, it makes better sense. 99.9% of followers do so because of a fear of their god; the wrath of their deity; and the damnation of their souls. I do not believe in such restrictions, and as such, my life is in fact, a quest for things of pleasure-both of the physical and the intellectual. (Pleasure need not equal simply animalistic sex, I might note)

Now, on a more personal level, I have found that by calling myself something as broad and unstructured as "pagan" I can better find those of similar-albeit not identical-mindsets and willingness to "supernatural" issues. Approaching most followers of an organized religion (such as Catholicism) and trying to discuss magick, psychic powers, divination, or even angels-would result in either confusion, fear, or hatred. Misunderstandings and a different mindset act as efficient walls. Therefore, it is not that I refer to myself as Pagan to claim a title per se, but to better find those who may have a similar approach to life and the universe.

Just because you don't follow Christianity doesn't mean you still don't follow.
I follow my OWN heart, mind, and soul. It is a faith of one. If you wish to define a personal and unique belief as "following" something, then fine. As I said, I follow only myself.

But isn't claiming "Paganism" as a title also "flocking?" It's just a smaller herd of sheep, that's all.
As I indicated above, I am not following anyone, and by taking it on as a general title (rather than getting into the overly detailed discussion of "I follow the Church of M") I can better find those of SIMILAR (but not IDENTICAL) mindset. It's not that I'm trying to join a group, but rather find WITHIN a group those who might  prove interesting to communicate and relate with.

You can't lead a crowd if you're constantly wasting time asking the acceptance of that crowd you choose to lead.
But you fail to see, that I am not a leader. I am only myself. I do not follow nor do I lead. I just am.  I care not what people think or say of me. I simply wish to cause as small a ripple as possible. When it is easier to be silent and cause no argument or anger, than that is the route I take. I do not enjoy negative emotions. I do not enjoy hostility. Therefore, I simplify. Saying, I am a pagan to a group of pagans is easier than saying "I am an angel, but not what you immediately think, and I'm only a pagan by the loosest definition of the word, and I really have a my unique set of beliefs, but that's not what I came here to talk about..." means anything I actually wanted to say would be lost in the muck. Simplify, not follow and not lead.

In short, it does come down to a "I am me, take it or leave it" The thing is, I don't often share that which IS me. Simplicity, peaceful, and yet I lose nothing.



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