I never blog about my pagan past and yet I really think sometimes I ought to more. Coming from paganism into Christianity has a lot of unique challeneges, many christians I dont think rightly understand. Ive chated with other pagans who have come to christ from just about all over the place over the years, we all seem to be the particularly damaged in Christianity. No matter where we go we are the black sheep of christs flock. Dont get me wrong on this, ive come to find former pagans tend to be the best of the batch in many ways, maintaining very strong foundations in christ. Infact I think many long time christians could benefit from a certain understanding of pagans.
I have heard it said that when the apostles came to Greece the pagans were already growing tired of their own religion and looking for something new. What is recorded by the greeks I myself could understand perfectly. Philosphers of the time were becoming very agnostic because every week there was a new God or some new tale about a God. In another example, Posidon in one town was the god of the sea and an angry vengeful man, in others he was the god of lakes and gentle streams he was known to them to be kind and benevolent and generous…. there was so much inconsistency within paganism which made it abundently clear there was no truth in it. Paganism is litterally made up of man made fairy tales, which is a hard fact to avoid even for pagans.
Mysticism, Magic and Witchcraft being another thing. I think in our modern word its hard to think of a person being both Superstitious as well as a Rationalist… Heres the thing, as a former pagan Ive seen things, dont begin to insult my intelligence. Not only have I seen things that contradict science and what’s considered logic, but I could also explain to you how it works. Perhaps to a degree that might make sound like im playing devils advocate- do not mistake me, rather I think pagans learn better then most modern christians to be more sensitive to subtle forces. When one comes from a pagan backround we tend to take the holy spirit very seriously, because we have witnessed and experienced it in a deeper, maybe stronger, way I think. Its as real to us as this laptop your reading this article on. Recieving the Holy Ghost for mystics in greece must have been like experienceing a hurricane sweeping the nation – a force of nature so powerful and unavoidable and yet a strange mystery they never knew before.
Another interesting thing I was reading about the pagans of Ancient greece that I found I could relate to is, when they came to christ they struggled trying to get rid of everything they thought they understood. I think Christians take for granted how simple the world view for christianity actually is. As a pagan my head was filled up with all sorts of Satan’s nonsense for just about every aspect of natural forces and nature of reality. One of the main struggles I had towards the beginning was trying to forget it all. Over time theres somethings I have come to accept are still ingraved in my mind, which to be honest is too much to explain, but ive found agrees with christ and biblical teachings. For many years ive avoided the subject of paganism for this very reason – trying to forget and grow my understanding within christ and scripture alone. Certainly, christ has healed many of my scars and he managed to shift my entire world view to the point where I dont think I would even recognize myself 15 years ago anymore.
So you think witchcraft is nonsense….
Let me tell you some of the things I have seen as a pagan.
Ive seen a man cut himself with a knife, slashing himself all over his body into a bloody mess and even carving his own nipples off. He told me when he was done to wipe away his blood. The scars from the knife were not there, and his nipples were there on his chest hidden under the blood coated skin – yet there were 2 severed nipples on the floor where he left them. He was able to heal himself completely and instantly, and he only cut himself up like this to prove that point.
I have called on the rain in a field with a group of people, and put a kind of spiritual umbrella over them so no matter where we walked the rain wouldn’t get us wet. Imagine a shower of rain raining everywhere but over this one particular spot. as we walked through the field, I demonstraited how to turn on and off the rain at will and control where it poured at will.
I’ve seen candle flames float off their wick, I’ve watched people levitate, I’ve seen alzhiemers in elderly cured simply by a group of people humming, ive seen spirits of my ancestors speaking to me face to face as if they were in the flesh … I have seen many very real things as a pagan and a rationalist.
Today as a christian what I think I got out of all this was not so much “even satan has power” though im told that a lot. Rather I think he would like you to believe as much. I see little evidence to suggest satan has any “power” or “authority” at all. To me as a recovering pagan its more a matter that there are forces in this world people can work, but you must believe in it to get it to work. To believe it works you must feel it within yourself. It must be as real to you as the skin on your bones, a certain energy to be highly attuned into that surrounds you and is apart of you. Pagans, unlike modern christians, seem to understand this concept perfectly. Simply have faith it will work and it will, no matter how impossible. At a certain point it becomes the most mundane and natural experience in the world when you reach that, I guess, ‘level’ of understanding.
Moreover it depends on the crowd, if they do not believe or are highly skeptical, even Jesus himself cant make something happen. To a skeptic the first reaction to all that is “how convenient” – yet we see it recorded in scripture.
To a recovering pagan here is what seems to be different in that energy. The Holy Spirit. I have found this is an energy unlike any other, I ever felt/experienced. It has a mind of its own, you can not “bend it to your will”- rather you must “align your will to it” you can only do this by complete submission to christ, which I dont really know how to begin to explain any better.
It is a force unlike any other, so much stronger, so full of life, complete with a certain personality and intelligence…. The forces I was used to feeling as a pagan were, not as ‘dynamic’ or ‘vibrant’ they lacked intelligence, they were fairly neutral and did what ever I willed them to do. When I prayed in repentance to christ, I could feel so many changes in myself. In one way it is like a burning urge, in another it was like breathing life into my dead soul. I could feel so many things being drained from my spirit and replaced with something so powerful and magnificent I didnt want to stop praying for fear this force would stop coming into me. I remember towards the end of that prayer I cried, not so much because I was a sinner, but because I didnt want that feeling to end – yet at the same time I knew it was nearly finished doing what it was going to do.
Do you know that song “This Little Light of Mine”? For me that song has such a depth of meaning I think is undeserved to call it a childrens song. In my heart today there is a flame that was never there before, I can feel it burning in my chest and pulse through my veins. Over the years I have learned when I get busy or in someway disconnected from god, that feeling in my chest doesnt burn as much. In such a time I yern for it again almost like an addiction or fear I will loose it. I do everything I can to kindle that fire within myself and maintain it, yet it is stronger some days then others. Id prefer it to burn in me like a bon fire yet more often its more like a campfire. Once more I have found, this is not just the recovering pagan experience, christians truely endowed with the holy ghost have described the same general experience.
Yet I have also discovered those who do not have it rely heavily on scripture rather prayer.
There are many christians ive spoken to I know are dead inside. I can feel it when I speak to them. Sometimes it is like, a feeling of mourning for a dead person whom in front of me is speaking and breathing. Others it is like talking to a robot that is programed a certain way to know the script and how to act, but something is amiss… it doesnt come out from them naturally. Its like reading the bible with microsoft sam voice. When I read the story of christ I see the scribes saducees, pharessies as just such robots I see today…. in my minds eye I can see what christ was talking about with some people he had to deal with. Yet when I am with others I know who carry this spirit I swear, my heart leaps with joy. It never ceases to amaze me how we greet each other, stangers, as if weve known each other our whole lives. How little I feel the need to explain something in scripture, because they themseleves already know it to be true in their heart. Perhaps I should coin a new term, Robo-Christian, they try their best to imitate this naturally occuring phenomenon but they cant quite get it right.
Other Recovering Pagans
I have spoken with many pagan converts, from many flavors of paganism accross the internet and the world. There isnt too many of us, within christian circles to be honest. Certainly in the times of the apostles we were more common place. 😛 When ever I come across one I like to read their testimony or hear their story. Its incredable all the ways a person can be called to christ, ive found the pagan converts to often come with a particularly interesting tale.
One thing I have noticed among former pagans, myself included, sometimes we have a way of coming off very cold to people, dismissive or perhaps reptilian. That is something that just comes with the back ground I suppose. We’ve seen things, we’ve done things, we’ve cried all our tears laughed all our laughs, read it all, and found many mysteries. To be honest – nothing in this world surprises us or pleases us much. ‘Jaded’ – is very much an aspect of the pagan personality that happens to us easily for some reason and its hard to shake off.
Looking at Paganism Now
I see paganism today as atheism, in its strictest sense is materialism and humanism. Pagans dont particularly worship their God’s like a Christian might think, the gods are seen as major spirits – which seems to be the consensus of all the pagan converts ive spoken to. Which is my next point it doesnt matter what ‘religion’ it is, pagans borrow and cherry pick from other pagans so much so whether greece, America, or India they all have a lot in common. There isnt a dogma, there isnt a concern for scripture, and because of this there isnt anything consistent. Pagans see magic as useing a kind of extension to their earthly body, in that paganism is self worship above anything else. It becomes materialism in the same way athiesm uses science to worship the creation not the creator. Pagans have many creationst story’s, the thing is – its not really a concern or particularly gospel how or who created things in any given pagan religion. Pagans, more specifically mystics, are interested In the physics of the universe and how to use them.