First Person: My Religion Is Eclectic Paganism

How I Discovered My True Self

I was born in New York into an interesting family. My dad is a non-churchgoing Catholic and my mom is an ethnic Jew who has never been to a synagogue. My parents decided that no religion should be forced onto me. They told me about different religions and said that the choice was mine.

Looking for the real deal

When I was a teenager, I decided that I wanted to be a Catholic. I wanted to be part of a community, to go to church every Sunday, and to sing in a church choir. And I wanted to be baptized. My parents didn't mind; they just wanted to be sure that this was what I wanted. In the end, it was not.

As I got older, I realized that I could never be a Catholic for one simple reason: I did not believe in Christ. I was cool with everything else, but the whole God's son philosophy was lost on me. In my view, we were all God's children. That's when I turned to Judaism. But that didn't work either, because I found that there were too many restrictions and rituals I couldn't understand. At one point, I even got interested in Hasidic Judaism, but the restrictions for women were overpowering.

I guess my problem was that I didn't simply believe. I read too much, and I thought too much. I couldn't just blindly believe a priest or a rabbi and comply with everything they said.

Finding my way

When I finally found the beliefs that worked for me, I had to laugh at how close they've always been and how I just couldn't see them. I've always been interested in myths and fairy tales of different cultures, which meant that I knew a lot about what people would call pagan and shamanic beliefs. When it was clear to me that mainstream religions were not for me, I decided to find something unconventional and even create something if I had to. What I believe in now is a mixture of everything. I believe in higher powers that created our world and can influence our lives. I believe in the forces of nature, powers of the Earth, and I know for sure that every single living thing has a soul and a voice. I believe in white light that we all carry inside us. I believe in intuition and shamanic trances. I believe astral travels. And I believe in connecting to the world around me. I opened my mind to the unknown, and now I can sometimes predict the future and help people solve problems. I'm sure there is a lot more for me to discover.

I never attend any services because life, thought, and meditation are services that can be attended anytime, anywhere. I am a pagan. My eclectic paganism makes me a better person and that's what counts.