background – intro

Note: These posts were written in the summer of 2009 as an introduction to what my religion’s all about when I moved my personal blogging over to Dreamwidth. There are places where the comments are therefore a little dated, and I have plans to eventually redo these essays to be a little more timeless. Until then, just keep the timing in mind.

Since I’ve reached a stage where this might be useful (both for folks new to reading my stuff, and in general), I offer a (relatively manageable, given how long it might be) guide to my religious path and practices.

It comes in three parts: a very general overview for people who don’t have much background knowledge of modern Paganism, a more specific discussion of my particular branch of it (religious witchcraft and Wiccan-influenced paths), and then a very specific one about what my own personal path, practices, and beliefs look like. (And it spends more time on what I do than on what other people do, because this is intended to help people put my stuff here in context.)

For other Pagans reading this, I’ve tried to do my best to discuss a complex subject without oversimplifying. What’s in here is based on my own reading and discussion with people from a wide range of paths, but I welcome additional information. I’m also very glad to link to your own version of this content, or to posts you might make with corrections, additions, or other commentary.

My assumptions
– I assume you’re an intelligent person and that you’re interested in learning more about this topic, or you wouldn’t be here.

– I assume you know that depictions of religion (any religion!) in modern media and other sources are often terribly flawed, missing significant aspects, or otherwise have biases.

– I assume that you know that I’m talking broadly about a huge swath of different religious traditions and of necessity, am being somewhat general.

I’ve included a bunch of further resources at the end of this essay as well as links in the essay, but I’m not going to be citing each detail point by point. I’ve been careful below to say “many” or “some” or “most” or whatever, rather than “all”. This is intentional: there’s a tremendous amount of variation within any of the groupings I talk about, no matter how small.

– And I assume that if you have questions, you’ll ask them.

I welcome any sincere question that is not going out of its way to be insulting. (Don’t worry about accidentally offending me, in other words.) Since there’s so much variation in Pagan paths, most Pagans are used to answering questions from people, too, especially if it’s something that would help the person asking understand them or their life better. Me, I love talking about this stuff: the limits are far more likely to be time and energy, rather than desire.

Part one: An overview of modern Paganism
Part two: Religious witchcraft and its various definitional issues
Part three: Personal practice