The following posts were drawn from a variety of ongoing discussion boards to offer a sampling of how Wiccans & Pagans experience their faith.
"When I was 10 or so I discovered the mythology section of the local library... I think that's where it all began. I adopted Diana as something of a patroness soon after. I didn't know what Wicca was at that time, but as I grew older and began to learn about it, it just seemed to click into place. It also seemed natural to fall into a nature-based religion after my childhood: growing up on my grandparents fishing camp. Our lives were very much touched by the seasons, elements, plants and animals, much more so than it seems now, living in the heart of the city...Like I said, once I found Wicca it just seemed natural.
"...The thing that brought me to Wicca was that I had a heartfelt belief system and Wicca was the most complete match. And it has allowed me to introduce any other cultures and belief systems that I love or am partial to at any given time. My spirituality couldn't exist on a narrow path."
"Wicca is a religion of poetry, not dogma. There is no 'head high Wicca honcho,' no Wiccan Bible, no set laws or rules or ruling organization, per se. Because of that, many people think Wicca is 'do whatever you want/feels right,' but I think it's safe to say that those of us who've practiced for many years would disagree.
"Wicca is a religion which reveres nature, life, and all living things. Our most basic ethic, called the Wiccan Rede, is 'Harm none, do as ye will.' We also believe that whatever you send out returns to you times three, so no witch in her/his right mind would send out evil.
Wicca is also a mystery religion--meaning that there are some things that cannot be spoken, can only be experienced, as one becomes aware of, sensitive to, and works with the ebb and flow of nature, energies, and life."
"Me, I follow the 'An it harm none' as much as possible. I take the meaning quite literally and do exactly the opposite of harm--I help. I volunteer regularly at places that need the help (Reading programs, Meals on Wheels, etc), and I offer my hand when I see someone needs it (although I stop short of picking up people from the side of the road, we all know how dangerous that is nowadays). I feel a lot of love from the Goddess (Who I believe is a part of everything, and us of Her) and I try to project that out to the rest of the world--and try to fight a short temper to do so...
"I guess basically the point is: Wicca to me is a religion of love and healing, and I try to live that daily."
"Goddess spirituality (one form of paganism) puts a face upon the Divine that I can connect with, and consequently through that connection I have become closer to God as well. Not that 'bearded white man in the sky,' but the Green Man, and God of the Woods.
"From my faith, I know that my body is sacred (even though it doesn't look like Kate Moss). That my mind is also sacred. That sex is not sinful...That I live now, but I will grow old (if the Fates will it) and I will eventually die. I am no longer afraid of death, and before...it really bothered me to think of dying. There are so many little things that have changed in my life. I no longer fear the dark (which may seem silly, but an all consuming paralyzing FEAR, is nothing to laugh at). I feel connected to the Earth, even more so than I did before.
"I feel a certain calmness since I found out my faith had a name, and there were others who believed the same thing.
"My Goddess and God love me for who I am, no strings attached. They loved me even before I found them in my heart."
"Becoming Pagan has let me trust in myself and the wisdom within me. I can now feel the goddess in me, which brings a confidence I'd never dreamed of. I am equal to everyone. Some may have more learning, more experience, but I always know that I'm just as important as them. I'm afraid of no one. It feels great!"
"I have been Wiccan for about four-five years now. Time flies! I do not pray to the Goddess, in the sense of asking her for something. I speak to her as I would a friend or a close relative. Sometimes bitching or crying, sometimes laughing. That's what I love the most about her and all the elementals, they laugh easily at people but not derisively."
"I see wicca like Linux--it's open source for the spirit. And for you that doesn't know what Linux is it's a operating system that's free to use and change to suit your needs as long as you make those changes open for everyone."
"One of the main premises of this religion is that you MUST think for yourself. NO ONE has the authority to tell you that you are worshipping 'wrong.' Your conscience is always your guide, it is a gift we each have and are impelled in Wicca to call upon constantly. There is no doctrine or literary work which is our Bible. We are all different, and revel and respect our differences with a ferocity! Every Wiccan is almost always totally different than the next. We have no leader, and we never will.
"Covens have a High Priestess or Priest, but every covener is valued equally and the HP is just for practical purposes. They do not tell their coveners what to do, or think, or say. They are respected for their service, but they are not revered as holy people.
"Wiccans believe in a Goddess as well as a God.
"We are a very moral people. We raise children to be loving & kind, we seek enlightenment and practice our religion daily, we serve in the armed forces, we wish to be helpful in our communities and we wish to be treated and respected as a legitiment religion, having been recognized as such by the U.S. government since 1966! We seek life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness just like you do."
"1. I seek to attune myself with and celebrate the natural rhythms of Life. This takes many forms, and often includes rituals at the full moon, Solstices, Equinoxes and cross-quarter days.
2. I try to live in harmony with Nature, as I see fit, and as best I can.
3. I believe that every person has the capability for power within himself or herself.
4. I experience the All most readily as a force that is both feminine and masculine in character and celebrate its many aspects.
5. I believe that sex is fun *and* sacred.
6. I give equal value to the outer, physical world, and the inner, spiritual one, and try to integrate them fully in my life.
7. I do not recognize any authoritarian hierarchy, but I do respect those who have proved to be honest sharers of knowledge.
8. I have no problem with Christianity or any other religion. I do sometimes have a problem with individual *adherents* of a religion who seek to deny me my freedom to live my life as I see fit.
9. I try my best not to cause harm to others, either deliberately or through negligence."