I don't know how long ago this was posted about, but I wanted to add my two cents.
I became Pagan about 4 years ago. I was raised Christian. However, my mom was kind enough to let us choose our own ways but did ask that we participate in hers as well.
The reason I am pagan is I got tired of the idea that I was going to Hell for being human basically. All my children were born out of wedlock, I don't believe that baptism is necessary to wash sin away...as children are innocents in all ways. AND I don't believe that is right to Ask a God to give me things. I ask to be guided by the very thing that I came from. God is, and that's all I know as far as god goes. I beleive in the duality of God. Anyone ever seen Dogma? That movie really is a good one for the argument of the Duality of God. God is not a thing...or a tangible being. God is everything..and nothing. God is what you believe he/she/ it is.
I do use ritual to empower myself to do things. I have abilities that I cultivate. (I am empathetic..I see auras, and I also can do some animalspeak) Btw...Animal Speak is not what you might be thinking..I don't sit and bark at the dog or anything...its all in pictures and thru eye contact only. I have a half wolf dog that is very communicative with me and my family.
I also beleive in reincarnation. I believe that we are who we are by choice..not by fate. I don't believe in fate much. I do believe in destiny...but only thru our own power do we reach our destiny. I believe in Karma, and I follow the Wiccan Rede that reads
"Bide the Wiccan Law We Must
In Perfect Love and Perfect trust!
Eight Words the Wiccan Rede Fullfill
'An Ye Harm None Do What Ye Will"
Everything comes back to thee
So ever mind the law of three
Follow this with mind and Heart
Merry Ye Meet and Merry Ye Part.
I believe in the law of three rule, that everything comes back to you three times, and harming no one with what I do say and think. I use my energies to will my needs, dreams and desires to happen. I don't ask "God" for a new house. I know it won't happen until I can make it happen. I don't ask God to get me a car. I don't ask god to help me find the money to pay the bills. I ask the forces that be to give me strength, wisdome and courage to find what I need for myself, or to find someone that can help me when I need help. I also follow the idea that the body can heal. Everyone has abilities they don't know about. Some people are telepathic and don't even know it because they have been raised to believe that it is wrong to practice such things. I have known about my abilities since I was little. Even my mom has to admit that her and I spoke to each other when I was at school, and she was at home. (and I was sitting in Math at the time)
I do invoke names when I do ritual. I call upon Mercury, the winged footed God of the wind to speed my requests to four corners of the universe. I call upon my guides to protect me, and I call up the guardians of the elements (air earth fire water and spirit (the 5 points on the pentacle) to guide me. My nickname is AriesFlame because I chose that (or it chose me) as my Magickal name. It is the name I use in rituals to indentify myself to the spirits I ask for guidance.
I know its all confusing. You probably don't know much more from my post than you did before. There are so many ways, paths, traditions. I think the main principle of being a pagan for me is taking total responsibility for my existance. I chose to be here. I chose to come here and live the life I am leading right now. Would I make changes if I could? Well, sometimes. However if I changed them from the start, I would not have met my soulmate. When I stopped blaming things on others, and on a God I never truly believed in, and realized I was in control of my destiny, it really was the only way to go for me (being pagan that is) No other religions allow such freedom. Its not organized either. There are groups, but pretty much everyone deals with being pagan in a different way. Where one might follow the laws of a certain tradition to a point, we all mold it to our own needs. We don't follow commandments set in stone. We follow ideas that make sense, and rearrange them to fit our beliefs. Yes, that sounds a little wierd at first, but there is no such thing as Black Magick. Its all Magick in my opinion. I look outside and know that a powerful force is blowing thru the branches of a tree. Its not just air, its power. I believe in the balance that should exist between man and the elements, and respect the elements for being more than I can understand. I don't claim to know anything more than what I believe...and that is what makes me Pagan. I don't know for sure where I am going when I die. I will decide that when I get to that path in my life. I know, I am rambling. I tend to do that on these boards. Its nice to talk about things with open minded people though
Love and Light,