I am so excited that I found this group. I've been looking for something like this for a while :-)
I've been heavily indoctrinated into just about everything related to paganism and also the occult, too. It's gotten to a point where it's terrifying for me, it feels too real, and I think I'm confusing my own imagination with the spiritual (which I now think is imaginary too, so maybe I'm not confusing it after all). I'm not sure if atheism is my true nature or not, but I know it's what I aspire to be, what feels safe for me, and that my rational mind embraces it.
But my emotional side is still really attached to pagan and occult beliefs. It was fun. I had a sense of belonging, feeling special, having 'special powers,' license to be silly, wild and crazy, and many of my friends I feel most attached to are into it. Also, I seem to be drawn to people, and then find out they're pagan.
Yet, I also feel out-of-control and afraid of these things, too. I'm afraid of the darker side of it. The people who think they can make energy balls and manipulate energy. The people who claim to read my mind (and coincidentally actually did say the sentence I was thinking even though they'd just met me a few hours prior). The law of attraction freaks me out, too, because if I can manifest good things, then I get scared I'm going to accidentally manifest bad things if my mind isn't always thinking positively. I seem to have accumulated every "bad luck" superstition from every religion I've ever studied, so that drives me crazy too, because with so many of them, it's bad luck if I do something and bad luck if I don't. It doesn't just happen randomly, it's because people I care about in my life keep convincing me that it's so.
I gave way too much power to people who claimed to be healers and psychics. But that's because they seemed to know me upon meeting me. They told me things about myself. They could "sense" certain things about me, and most of them usually said the same things about me, even though they didn't know each other. So that made me think they really could see spirits around me or something.
It's not like I thought everything was real. I knew that there are a lot of illusionists and con artists out there. But I "knew" that there were people who were practicing the "real thing." Magic was fake Disney crap, but magick was real. The psychics at the fair were phonies, but the one I went to was "real." The way I could "tell the difference" was if someone asked me my birthdate I knew they were a fake and were just going to make something up based on my astrology sign. If they asked a bunch of questions they were fake. But if I walked in there and they seemed to understand me right away, and connect with me, and tell me true things about myself without me having to say anything, that's when I "knew" that they were "real." Also I thought I could feel it, could sense it, when they were "real." I got this feeling of warmth, a sense of awe, my whole body filled up with love, it even felt like my energy was moving differently when I went to the healer, like something was swirling around in my head.
For all the good and fun that I had, right now the fears have gotten way too out of control and I really want to feel comfortable being an atheist. I've always looked up to atheists, thinking they were some of the smartest people in the world, but I never felt like I could be one because I've always been such a "true believer" no matter what path I follow, until I became a true believer in everything I've ever read, which are way too many rules to have to follow. I'm at a point where I have to be my own person. I have to trust that I can make up my own rules. And nothing bad is going to punish me (threefold or otherwise) for not following the rules.
Are there any good sites, arguments, discussions, etc. that debunk a lot of these types of beliefs? This has always seemed more real to me as opposed to other belief systems because of the spirits not being far away but right here on earth. It kind of freaks me out and makes me feel like I'm being constantly watched or stalked or something. Something following me waiting to hurt me in some way, or blocking me from doing things that I want and not being able to reach my full potential.
One reason the rational side of me stopped believing is because as soon as I started to get freaked out and was afraid of the evil spirts trying to harm me, that's when most of the psychics and healers and believers would say that they don't sense anything or see anything. (Well there was one guy from a cultish thing who said he saw two demons with me, that I brought them in with me, and blamed me for it saying that it's because my family has practiced witchcraft and black magic for generations and that's why I'm 'haunted.') They didn't know why I was freaking out and suggested I see a therapist. I do have post traumatic stress disorder, and rationally I know that's why I thought I could see/sense all these things, and why my fear is such a phobia.
Even though I know all this, it still feels so real. And whenever I am around people who encourage me to have these beliefs, all it takes is one conversation to undo months of therapy. Because that part of me, the true believer part of me is in conflict with my rational atheist side. It's so confusing, and that's why looking at sites and hearing arguments would be very helpful for me, to reinforce the rational way of thinking.
Thanks! Nice to meet all of you!
@ Allison......right on! this is most concise...I wish I had your brevity!!!! ...good post!
being a sensitive myself (and [always speaking just for myself], we [sensitives] are drawn [or at least I was] to the pagan and Wicca/occult community because they seemed to "match" the feelings that I was experiencing...the occult/wiccan/pagan community professed to 1.) understand and 2.) be able to teach ...this sensitivity...so I was drawn to a community that[I believed] was had answers for me [I was different from my siblings]....it was heart breaking to experience, that when I had my breakdowns, that my friends tried to cleanse me in the ocean, sacrifice animals (my husband converted to Santeria, as well as my best friend) and to leave a dime and a penny on street corners (to ask the trickster goddess for help)...Rather than do the right thing by TAKING ME TO THE FRIGGIN Hospital!!!! Granted we were on the cutting edge of Punk Rock Neo-Paganism-Shamanic Performance Art culture [ghetto and no one wants to call 'the man"]...but "Just sayin'"....why the freak didn't my husband give me a Valium and a sandwich (and call in sick for me at my job), rather than try to do voodoo spells on me? I may never know...I still suffer PTSD from this and it has been 30 years...
I may be a radical weirdo...but ....
...like I said....
wish I had your brevity...
OMG Lu, that is so funny and sad at the same time! gah! not sure whether to laugh or cry for you! I find it funny that the whole time I was a pagan, I was also taking advantage of my medical benefits to get treatment for depression (not to mention all physical illnesses). Either I believed the people who said magick "doesn't work like that" (ie, doesn't work) or I was hedging my bets... I don't know....
thanks for commenting! :) Good to meet you!
Good to meet you too! I'm 56 years old and have weathered the pagan/occult/underground & gay communities since the late 1960s (in the Bay Area)...one of my best friends, who is transgendered ...and everyone was astounded that zhe (once a lesbian) is now a (he/heterosexual man) WTF???? (how could that be????) [and I have to admit that I was in the WTF? category, with them, for awhile....over the last few months...finding that I HAD to come out of the closet as a nontheist (but still interested in the cool mindsets that peeps could get into [and as an artist who the freak cares, anyway])...I feel just as weird as I think he was perceived to be......
weird!!!! Atheism Imitating Life!
like I said...I have no brevity in me....
P.S. catch you all in a few days.
Hi Lu, I totally know what you mean about getting every far out treatment imaginable except the logical rational one. When I started to get pretty bad PTSD symptoms what I really needed was a good counsellor and a support group to deal with my trauma that I'd "forgotten about." But instead I was shoved from person to person who kept trying to tell me if I didn't get better I was somehow to blame, and all of this fear got lumped together with what I was already afraid of and so I developed these pretty intense phobias.
I'm tag teaming onto New Atheists discussion for my own poirpose! [reference to "Alice in Wonderland" book 'no smart fish would go anywhere without a poirpose]
@New Atheist, please do not be offended that I have crashed the party...R!
In deepest respect and in with the intent to learn and grow....
Thanks! That response was totally helpful and timely too! :-) because I was just coming on to mention that I have the craziest static electricity all over my hair right now, lol! My body seems to be more affected by electrical charges than other people that I've noticed, for example sometimes if I feel like I"m "sending out" really strong signals of "I don't want to do this" sometimes there will be an electrical interference or malfunction (if I'm on the computer maybe the page won't load, or maybe a light bulb near me will flicker or something) as if my body is sending out fear in electricity waves through the air. At this point I recognize that there must be some logical explanation that hasn't been discovered yet. Or perhaps just a lot of coincidences, but it does seem that when I relax and think to myself to calm down that the electrical thing stops the malfunction as if I caused it.
LOVE the link especially the "That's why when a kitten encounters a dog, it turns into a little hissing puffball." LOL!! Yeah, it was interesting how it explained about why you get them when you're emotional, too.
So glad I found this group. Thank you again :-)
I decided, five years ago....after trying to play it straight (in all manners)..and came back to my art and "magick" aka creativity...that I would not 'tune in' or be surreal UNLESS I got a real live manifestation out of the mix ...so now, when I am in a way out mode..I draw. That is what helped me....I wish you all the best in your journey!!! I even make crafts when I am out there...(rather than trying to create "art")..I find that doing anything that MANIFESTS the strange and wonderful helps me.....I'm on the run tonight...it is our "Friday Night"..and i'm making dinner, pulling goose feathers tied to strings tied to chop sticks for my cats, and being here all at once...so 'cuze my odd bits here.