This is the continuation to Finding My Path (Part 1). If you haven’t read it yet, please check it out now, and then head back here.
Caught up? Then let’s get going!
As a new, solitary Wiccan, I filled the lack of a coven with books. Many, many books, more than I could possibly name. I read books on Wicca voraciously, trying to learn and implement as much as I could. My first altar was placed on my bookshelf with pride, a little zen garden with various crystals used for the Lord and Lady, along with representations for the elements.
I felt far more nourished than I ever did in my old religion; this helped lessen the trepidation that naturally comes from leaving one path and starting another. When your past religion says everything about your new one is evil and to be avoided, it can place much stress on your mind. There were quite a few moments I almost fled from Wicca, not out of any bad experiences, but because of the old whispers of hell and demons. When these moments cropped up, I batted them away by reminding myself that I was quite unhappy in my old religion, while my new one helped me through difficult battles. Through attempting to rationally compare and contrast my experiences in both religions, I was able to justify continuing forward in Wicca. As time passed, my fears ebbed away more and more, as it became obvious I was much happier than before.
However, while Wicca did give me spiritual satisfaction, it wasn’t perfect. Now, nothing is, of course—chasing perfection is a futile game. However, there were simply some aspects that did not resonate with me. For instance, I felt no connection to the elements, despite trying to honor and include them in my practices regularly. The concepts of fire, water, air, and earth failed to ring true for me, and so I started incorporating them less and less. And then there was the matter of the Lord and Lady. I appreciated the idea of the Goddess, but I didn’t spend much time on the Lord. Slowly, my altar began to shift, with the elements’ symbols disappearing, followed sometime after by my removal of the Lord’s crystal.
Around a year after starting my Wiccan path, I decided it was high-time to interact with others of like mind. Being solitary in real life, while freeing, was more than a little lonely on occasion. I registered on multiple Pagan sites and followed posts on Wicca/Paganism, eager to see all the rich ways others practice their craft. It was through all these online interactions that I realized my view on Paganism had been so very sparse. I had thought Wicca was by far the dominant path in Paganism, followed (at least in part) by nearly all who called themselves Pagan. I had taken for granted that all would follow the Wiccan Rede, or the Threefold Law. Suffice to say it was quite a shock to find that the Threefold Law is not followed by the general Pagan community. In hindsight, this was incredibly narrow-minded of me to assume, but with only specifically Wiccan books as my guide before this point, I simply did not know any better.
After my initial shock wore off, I was enchanted by what I found: I discovered that many Pagans do not worship the Lord and Lady, with some choosing to solely honor specific deities instead. Some Pagans were completely fine with casting curses, while others worked with demons or darker entities. On the flip side, there were those who refused to touch any of these things with a pole. And then there were all the varied groups under the umbrella of Paganism: Druidry, Kemetism, Asatru, and many others. While in theory I was aware of at least some of these groups, it had never hit me how relevant they were until I interacted with others. My limited view of Paganism expanded in such a short amount of time.
While some areas did admittedly scare me away, such as working curses, I began implementing these new discoveries into my path. Specific deities entered my practice, while the Goddess took a back seat and eventually disappeared. I gave up trying to find meaning in the elements and cardinal directions entirely. I followed the Wiccan Rede, more out of personal philosophy than anything, but discarded the Threefold Law as a hard truth. More time passed, and one day, it hit me: I was no longer Wiccan. While I had never tried to deliberately leave the religion, all my little edits and substitutions here and there had added up. With gods from multiple pantheons, a strange hodgepodge of many different paths, and a penchant for discarding anything that did not make sense to me, I was solidly an Eclectic Pagan by this point.
What I lost in structure, I more than gained in freedom and unlimited potential. I have never been the type to take something at face value; if people claim that something is the correct way, but I can’t logically understand their reasoning, I’ll walk the other way. Being eclectic gave me the ability to not accept anyone else’s dogma. My path was my own, which meant I was free to pick, choose, and make mistakes. If something did not work, I would understand why because I had tried it for myself. From there, all there was to do was pick myself up and move on.
And this is where I am now, as an Eclectic Pagan who loves getting messy. Piecing together a path can be difficult, but it’s one of the most rewarding experiences I can imagine. For me, there is nothing more satisfying on a spiritual level than communing with my gods, practicing my craft, and knowing my path is always free to evolve with me as time passes.