In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Que Sera Sera.”
The writing prompt reads: Do you believe in fate or do you believe you can control your own destiny?
Do I believe in fate or destiny? For nine years of my life, I was a Neopagan. During that time, I believed that the gods had a plan for me. Now? Honestly, I don’t know.
When I was a junior in high school, our teacher asked us whether we believed in fate or that we were masters of our lives. When he got me, I said, “Both.”
“What? So your gods get cigarette breaks?”
I was really embarrassed, but because I was a Neopagan, I told the truth.
Neopaganism is a term that labels many belief systems such as Wicca. Wicca is a new religion that claims ancient pagan roots. Some people call it the Old Religion. Some Neopagans and Wiccans would fudge the history to make it seem like Wicca is an old religion. This doesn’t just happen online. A lot of books from Llewellyn publishing have historical inaccuracies.
Wicca, founded by Gerald Gardner in the 1940’s and 50’s, is a fertility religion (sometimes described as a cult) that focuses on the holy days around the year and the moon phases.
Influenced by a lot of things such as Freemasonry and Hinduism, Gardner founded Wicca. In it, there’s the belief in magic, divination (a fancy word for fortune-telling), “karma” (different from the Hindu karma. This one involves getting what you deserve), and reincarnation.
Wicca is an initiatory religion. Meaning you have to go through an initiation ceremony (performed by other Wiccans) to become Wiccan. Most people today don’t think that you need to do this. A lot of “Wicca” books out there say you can do a solitary “dedication rite” to become a Wiccan.
Wiccans believe that there is a God and Goddess – a masculine and feminine side of the universe. Some Neopagans are Wicca-influenced so much so that it is hard to tell Neopaganism and Wicca apart.
From the age of 13 to 22, I was a Wiccan-influenced Neopagan.
When I said “both” to my teacher I meant that I believed that the gods had a destiny for me, but on the way there, I created my path. While pursuing the fate the gods, I believed that my decisions and mistakes were mine.
In my early twenties, I believed in a lot of things, but what I didn’t believe in invisible creatures that we have never seen or studied. For this, I thought myself reasonable.
At the time, because of the eco-feminist elements in the paths, I liked the Reclaiming and Feri traditions of Witchcraft (Neopagan kind of Witchcraft). I believed that I am who I am because I need to something special. I believed that the gods decreed that I should help the environment and do I can to save the planet from human devastation.
I networked with other Neopagans from all across the globe who had different beliefs and practices from my own. To myself, I criticized their beliefs. I recall one woman believed in fairies and banshee. I assumed she believed in those creatures because a book told her about them (most Modern Pagans learned their spirituality from books).
A while later, I realized that I believed in something invisible too. I was a hypocrite for criticizing someone for leaving cream out for fairies! While denouncing the same belief, how can I believe in gods?
After I became aware of my hypocrisy, I struggled with who I was becoming. Almost every day, I would change the label on my path to better suit my outlook. For a while, it was a difficult way of life.
Little by little my spirituality began to give way, which was too bad because it was such important part of my life and identity. For years, I thought the threads of fate pulled me, like a rag doll on string, this way and that, but through that small awareness of my hypocrisy, I led myself to philosophical atheism.
When I was twelve, before I discovered Wicca and Neopaganism, I read philosophy. It was a way for me to get acquainted with the world and people’s theories, beliefs, and thoughts on the universe and reality. After shedding years of belief, it felt good to return to a skeptical mindset.
When I was a freshmen in college, I took a philosophy class and I got interested in existentialism. Created by Jean Paul Sartre, existentialism, opposed to the gods making you who you are, involves creating your fate and your spirit as you see fit.
Since then, instead of a puppet on thread, I’ve created myself and my destiny. I suppose I was all this time.