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Being Pagan   |   Kaylara's Senior
By Kaylara Nightshade
 I was always into anything natural and spent a lot of time outside when I was young playing.  I watched nature show constantly and was always interested in how things worked in nature.  Science was amazing to me.  But I think that the thing that had the most influence on me were the myths that I read as a child.  
 I knew that I saw things that other people didn't see and could feel energy flowing everywhere.  Being a pagan to me means that I try to tune myself to both the seen and unseen forces in the universe.  It means living up to ideals and truths that I have learned in the course of years of research and practice.  
 I found Wicca at fourteen after moving back to New Jersey from a year in Florida with my Father.  While down there, he had forced me to become a Baptist.  But on my own, I had found a group of people who considered themselves pagan.  We worked energy together and honed our skills.  We were devoted to old gods, with out knowing that there was a religion that encompased them.  We worked magick, raised energy and protected our selves from some very negative beings that were hanging around.  I had one wiccan friend, but I only understood at that point that they did not believe in Satan, nor Hell, and Worshiped a Goddess and a God.  But my real revelations were to come with my return to New Jersey.  
 My mother lived in a small conservative town on the Jersey Shore called Ocean Grove.  I met a few local wiccans, but more importantly I found who was to be my teacher for a short time.  He was a gay, transvetite, eclectic wiccan.  He gave me guidence and resources that I couldn't have found on my own.  He also gave me the wisdom of  his experiences in the craft.  When he moved to New Orleans, he gave me five three inch binders filled with wonderful information, rituals, recipes, etc.  I now have over twelve of these binders, and when I can copy them over, I plan to give them to some one who is new in the craft, to help them along their path, as I was helped.
 Since he gave me the first step, I was able to know what to look for when he was gone.

So what does being a pagan mean to me any ways?  (Now  that I have given you a little bit of background on myself)  It means trying to live up to the ideals that I personally have set for myself.  Pagan doesn't automatically mean Wicca.  Wicca is just a branch of the many Pagan Religions that exist.  These days, when one says Pagan, most people think of Wicca automatically because it is perhaps the most publicized of pagan religions today.  There are Native Shamans from around the world, there are Ceremonial Magicians, Alchemists, Druids, and a host of other pagan groups.  Budism is considered a pagan religion despite it's number of followers because it doesn't follow the same ideals that Christianity, Judaism and Islam follow.  Muslims are also considered pagan by most people.  
I strive to live my life in accordance to the will of Nature and to be intune with her.  I study natural  life, Biology, Meteorology, Astronomy, Geology, and how all of these things work together.  I study, HARD!  This is not an easy path, and for those who would think that this is, you have another thing coming.  This is not an escape from the physical plane of existance, but a way to become more intune with all planes of existance.
 I actually hope that anyone who is reading this essay who is not going to be serious in their dealings in Wicca or Paganism, would decide right now that this is not the path for them, and stop.  Researching is one thing, practicing something that you don't believe in, or think is a joke is something else... Dangerous and Stupid.  I will not kid you on this... There ARE negative beings and energies out there who seek to harm you if you don't know what you are doing... The Celtic Connection has a wonderful article on this.
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