How do I know if I’m a pagan?

The chances are, if you’re asking yourself this specific question, you’re probably feeling some sort of draw towards paganism. Don’t be alarmed: this is quite common. Ask any passing pagan how they came to be pagan and I’ll bet you carrots to cubits that they will reply with some variant on, “I just realised it’s what I’ve always been.”

The best answer I can give you to this question is simply that You Will Know When The Time Comes, Grasshopper. (Actually, I’m not sure Master Po ever actually said that to Caine, but it sounded like the sort of thing he might’ve said.)

It’s a little misleading to think of paganism as something you have to ‘join’. But then, it’d be a little misleading to think of any overall religious philosophy in that way. You don’t have to ‘join’ Christianity, for example: you either believe in the basic tenets of Christianity or you don’t. If you find yourself drawn to that path, then you might, it’s true, undergo an initiation ritual. If you’re a Roman Catholic, you would probably have been baptised with holy water on the forehead as a child, but would need to be ‘confirmed’ into the Church when you’re old enough to make the commitment for yourself. In other traditions, such as the Pentecostal and Baptist churches, baptism involves full immersion in water as your adult commitment. But being a Christian doesn’t strictly require any of these things: all it needs is a belief that Christ died on the cross to redeem your sins.

So it is with paganism, in many respects. You can join a Wiccan coven and undergo training and eventual initiation. You can join a Druid order or ‘grove’ and be initiated into their tradition. Such a requirement might be part of a given pagan path or school, but to be pagan is something more felt than decided upon. It’s something you are, and there’s even been debate in modern times as to whether one can be pagan and still follow a monotheistic path such as Christianity or Judaism. Some insist aye, some give this one a hearty and resounding nay.

But, to give you a short answer: a website can’t tell you if you are or aren’t. You’ll just know.

– Tiro

15 thoughts on “How do I know if I’m a pagan?

  1. Well you have left me to my own decision. I still don’t know what I should be doing to fulfill my interest . But I do know when I met a pagan girl just the other day I felt instantly connected. Not simply with her but in the same way I feel connected with soil or fresh air. “I just realised its what I’ve always been.” That phrase in your text resonates with me. I know . I just dont know anything.

    • Hail and Welcome Keith,
      Firstly we’d like to apologise for the delay in replying, the site usually sends an e-mail when a new comment arrives, and we must have missed yours. We usually reply a lot faster to enquiries.
      There are a few things that you can do as first steps in exploring your own understanding of spirituality, and not-knowing is a good place to start 🙂 You could search for a pagan group within your own area (bearing in mind that groups can be focused on different things, so if you’re not sure that the first one is right for you, there’s probably a few more out there. Also being aware of personal safety and things like that). You don’t have to go and meet them straight away, but an e-mail or two might be a good way of finding out a bit more about them. There might be a pagan/ new age supply shop near to you, the shop owners or staff might be able to help you make some local connections. You could read (something we’re still doing after a good few years!) websites, online forums and discussion groups, books, journals, there’s plenty of discussions and information out there to help you start figuring things out. You don’t need to buy every book to start with! Be cautious about any individual or site which asks you for money for training or knowledge. Some pagan teachers use this to make a living, but some less reputable individuals don’t.
      Finally there’s our favourite: go sit out in nature for a while and see what happens. Make a little bit of space and time to honour yourself and whichever path you find yourself walking. The next big festival that is usually celebrated is Yule in December, so maybe learn a little more about what the celebration is about and perhaps do your own mini- celebrations, even if you only have ten minutes free, it doesn’t have to be elaborate!
      If you’re local to Chesterfield, you’d be welcome at our moots (social gatherings) 🙂 And if you have any questions or queries, you can always send us an e-mail or leave a comment and we’ll do our best to answer 🙂

      In Frith,

      Amalasuntha and Tiro
      Chesterfield Pagans Webmasters

  2. :/ I just want to know the basic beliefs of pagan so I can compair my beliefs to this religion. So far its accurate to what I know, gods n goddesses, nature, practise, magic. But I am to find my place of my truth before I go further with my gods. I am not sure if there is anything else I need to know bout how pagans believe. Its important I do not label myself as a type of belief for I do not mix the truth. Is there a such book or way to worship as the Christians read a book of man written rewritten lies, or is basically knowing of all gods n goddesses simply pagan? Do pagans believe in becoming gods, aligable connections between the gods, reincarnation as well as a afterlife? :/ this is difficult for me because I have now the truth but no label I can find it under. 😦 if there is more like me, I really want to know.

    • Hail and Welcome Mercedes,
      We’ve found your comment this morning, and it’s going to take a bit more time than we’ve got before we go to work! Just to let you know that we’ll answer it in full as soon as we can!

      Amalasuntha and Tiro,
      Chesterfield Pagans Webmasters

      • Okay, thank you so much. If you could help I’d be very grateful. I honestly know so few of paganism. I’d like to understand. 🙂 I’ll be patient. And thank you again so much.

      • Hail Mercedes,

        Here comes the long reply!

        You’ve probably gathered that there are many different ways someone can be pagan, but generally most will have three things in common: a respect for cultural and personal ancestors, a respect for the land and a respect for the divine (in whatever form it takes).
        Paganism is difficult to identify, as there are so many individual paths that someone can follow (and truth is different for everyone!). It’s really a personal journey for you, rather than something you can learn from someone else (that includes us!) If you already have a relationship with the divine (you mention that you already have gods that you feel drawn to), you could try respectfully asking them and see what happens. Recognising or having a personal relationship with the divine can be a part of being pagan, but that’s not necessarily so for all pagans. Some pagans believe in reincarnation, and some in an afterlife, so again, it depends on who you talk to! There are as many different variations in beliefs as there are pagans, and only you can decide the right path for yourself. Some find they are drawn to Wicca, others to Druidry, Shamanism, or any number of reconstructed religions such as heathenism or following a Kemetic path.
        Pagans don’t have a single holy book like the Abrahamic faiths, but you might find that moments of personal revelation come from many different sources. There are some books and texts which I find very inspirational in study, so our advice would be for you to read lots of different things: such as books, websites, online discussion groups, journals or magazines. Again it’s a personal choice about what you want to focus on. For me, being a heathen, I find inspiration and guidance in Norse and Scandinavian texts which provoke thought and help me understand my place in this world. Some pagans, myself included, have read the Bible (the Qu’ran is also on my reading list) and found it to be full of familiar concepts, examples of ways to live a good life, and reassurance. You don’t need to buy every pagan book to start with! Be cautious about any individual or site which asks you for money for training or knowledge. Some pagan teachers use this to make a living, but some less reputable individuals don’t.
        There are a few options: you could research local pagan groups in your area, (keeping personal safety in mind), or visit any local new age shops, or mind, body and spirit stores. The staff might be able to put you in touch with a reputable local group where you can discover more about your own path. If you prefer doing things online, then you could e-mail your local group or shop, or look them up on social media. Keep in mind that there are many diverse groups of pagans, so if one group doesn’t quite suit your aims, then another might. Alternatively you may prefer to be solo for a while, and that’s just fine too 🙂 Another way to start would be by finding out about the Spring Equinox, which is the next festival on the Wheel of the Year, and maybe do your own personal celebration – it doesn’t have to be fancy!
        Lastly our favourite option: you could take a walk out in nature somewhere, to honour yourself and the path you will take in the future. Go see what’s out there, and spend some time thinking on what is spiritually important to you.
        Of course, you’re welcome to send us any queries or questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them 🙂

        In Frith,

        Amalasuntha and Tiro,
        Chesterfield Pagans Webmasters

  3. I love your website. I do believe it is the most intelligent I have seen in a while when it comes to this topic. I have read your replies and like others I resonate with the truth of ” having always known”. The difficulty for me rises from a past firmly grounded in Christianity..A past I no longer adhere to but my family does. I am quite literally at the moment, a “closet” pagan..:s This is nothing new for me. I’ve been drawn to magic since I was a child and twice before have actually practiced Wicca. I was drawn then back to the Christian faith, being convinced by others I was being deceived and ” of the devil”..But this belief has never sat right with me for long. A natural knowledge in my soul tells me there is something ” more”, something the Christian faith is missing..something “amiss”. .I just KNOW ..A girlfriend of mine in high school and I use to call this ” knowing” ..( before we even knew what we were talking about) She is now a practicing pagan I might add..I , at nearly middle age , ( but I don’t look it !;) find myself still on the journey but back to the “knowing” that I am most certainly Not a traditional Christian in any sense of the word..( even ” liberals” seem too uptight for me!..which concerns me.. but seeing your response about ” heathenism” makes me wonder if that is my “path”..) Hmm. Any or all advice is welcome. 🙂 thank you.

    • Hail and Welcome Melinda,

      Paganism is difficult to identify, as there are so many individual paths that someone can follow (and truth is different for everyone!). It’s really a personal journey for you, rather than something you can learn from someone else (that includes us!) There are as many different variations in beliefs as there are pagans, and only you can decide the right path for yourself. Some find they are drawn to Wicca, others to Druidry, Shamanism, or any number of reconstructed religions such as heathenism or following a Kemetic path. Paganism is not necessarily the polar opposite to Christianity, there are places where the two merge, in Celtic Christianity for example. Another place might be a Unitarian chapel, in which the central tenet is that God values all people equally regardless of what they personally believe. Certainly when you look at the tenets of faith of most major religions, they essentially boil down to striving to be a good person alongside living in harmony with others, the earth and divinity.
      Pagans don’t have a single holy book like the Abrahamic faiths, but you might find that moments of personal revelation come from many different sources. There are some books and texts which I find very inspirational in study, so our advice would be for you to read lots of different things: such as books, websites, online discussion groups, journals or magazines. Again it’s a personal choice about what you want to focus on. For me, being a heathen, I find inspiration and guidance in Norse and Scandinavian texts which provoke thought and help me understand my place in this world. Some pagans, myself included, have read the Bible (the Qu’ran is also on my reading list) and found it to be full of familiar concepts, examples of ways to live a good life, and reassurance. You don’t need to buy every pagan book to start with! If heathenism is where you’d like to start your exploration, try reading a copy of the Havamal, a text on norse ethics and morals in the form of a poem. The text is online if you prefer, and I’m re-reading it at one short verse a day! If you have a personal e-mail that no-one else can access, you can sign up for a daily verse and interpretation sent to you from Huginn’s Heathen Hof.
      Be cautious about any individual or website which asks you for money for training or knowledge. Some pagan teachers use this to make a living, but some less reputable individuals don’t.
      There are a few options: you could research local pagan groups in your area, (keeping personal safety in mind), or visit any local new age shops, or mind, body and spirit stores. The staff might be able to put you in touch with a reputable local group where you can discover more about your own path. If you’d rather go further to minimise the risk of someone else seeing you there by chance, you could see if there are places slightly further afield and contact them by e-mail or phone first. If you prefer doing things online, then you could e-mail your local group or shop, or look them up on social media. Keep in mind that there are many diverse groups of pagans, so if one group doesn’t quite suit your own aims, then another might. Alternatively you may prefer to be solo for a while, and that’s just fine too 🙂
      If your friend is pagan and you feel comfortable in discussing this with her, you could ask her to meet you for a coffee and ask her to invite one or two other local pagans so that you can talk together. It’s not quite as imposing as attending your first moot or celebration! Should anyone see out out and about, you’re just meeting friends for coffee.
      Another way to start would be by finding out about the Summer Solstice, which is the next festival on the Wheel of the Year, and maybe do your own personal celebration – it doesn’t have to be fancy!
      Lastly our favourite option: you could take a walk out in nature somewhere, to honour yourself and the path you will take in the future. Go see what’s out there, and spend some time thinking on what is spiritually important to you.
      Of course, you’re welcome to send us any queries or questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them 🙂

      In Frith,

      Amalasuntha and Tiro,
      Chesterfield Pagans Webmasters

  4. Hi all i have always be drawn to the Celtic cross & mother natature I was raised Methodist but but in my mother’s side of the daily long line of ableites love to mediation work with rocks cryeles my intuition is very high & I do magical house keeping at 39 it feel so right I get the pecan newsletter every month but I wonder if Ian a natural pagan / or witch I know it’s not the same but I really lean towards pagan any suggestions thanks

    • Hail and Welcome Michael,

      The only difference between the two is a personal one, either path is valid and there is plenty of cross over. Think of it as a scale rather than a series of boxes. On any given day you might be on a different part of that scale from the day before. It’s all about finding the way that resonates most with you. With the added complication that your journey focus can change over time. Ultimately you are on a journey of self discovery, of finding your own ways and practices which bring you closer to the divine and nature. You might explore many different ways of looking at the world before you find a set of personal practices that feel right to you. If crystals and meditation work for you, then they do 🙂 They are a good starting point for you to explore other spiritual practice and see what connections you find.
      Read, research and explore. Find other pagans to talk to about their practice and try things out for yourself. If you can and feel confident, attend an open ritual for a path not your own and see how other people connect personally to the divine, look at Celtic Christianity or the Forest Church and you might just find some familiar things 🙂 Your own path will not be the same as anyone elses, your way is your own 🙂 Look at spellwork, wild foraging (the simplest is for blackberries which are just starting to come into season now) smudging and calling the quarters for ritual. You could also explore the celtic mythology, druidry and ogham. Each new thing is a new tool, a new way to connect to the divine. Work on filling your own personal box of tools with things that you know work for you.

      Let us know how you get on!

      In Frith,

      Amalasuntha and Tiro

  5. Hello There

    Firstly let me apologise if I’m going to sound silly, This is a sensitive subject for me, I feel very insecure/confused about it, but I also realise I need some words of wisdom or guidance.
    I wasn’t raised as a strict christian, however it was always there. My grandmother (father’s side) is a very spiritual christian, I have always admired her gifts and even though she refuses to tell me about it, she was also an exorcist. Her daughter, my aunt is also very spiritual and christian (background short story complete), and then there’s me….
    Since a young age, 12 or 13, Ive been drawn to learn about more than what has just been laid down before me.
    But of all the other religions ive stumbled upon Paganism has always been the one i’ve been drawn to most. Through the years ive always circled back to it in one way or another.
    As much as I agree with the basic principles of christianity, I dont feel connected to the religion. I know theres “someone” who has always looked out for me, and that there’s a plan to my life etc, But I dont feel like I belong.
    Recently again I started wondering about paganism, but I dont know where to start. I have a friend who is Pagan, but we dont have the trust between us yet, for me to ask him to teach me. I also dont want to ruin our friendship by pushing him, as I respect that to him its private.

    I feel like because of the fear of not knowing, I’m not being my true self, Asif, and forgive me if I now really sound silly, there’s a part inside me that hasnt lived because of the limitations I put on my mind and myself spiritually.

    My question, where do I start? Would it be wise to first read through some lessons or scripts? And which ones?

    I have no one else to ask, so I hope you guys can help, even if its a little.

    • Hail and welcome,

      We’ve sent you an e-mail with some things to think about in 🙂

      In Frith,

      Amalasuntha and Tiro,
      Chesterfield Pagans Webmasters

  6. It has been staring me in the face for the best part of 20 years and I never realised. Exactly as you said, the moment has come and I just know and funniest thing is there have been so many connections over the years and even as i look at my life now, there are loads.
    I look forward to New direction in my life.
    Thanks

    Ashley

  7. Hi grasshopper here I am so happy you clarified that for me because I just know I am I feel it I just know it’s what I am. I have all my life felt like something was missing in my heard there has been a empty spot that I’ve tried to fill by trying everything to fill that void and I mean everything from drugs to Christianity and have still been left with a empty void. It wasn’t till I found myself reaching out to my Wiccan friends that I realized it. So now what do I do?

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