Christian Preacher-to-be Finds Home in Paganism… Now What?

I am a pagan hiding in the world of Christianity. When I came to college, a christian university at that, I was planning on being a preacher. But as I went further and further into school the more and more I felt like I was missing something. Then I found magic, and a void was filled for the first time in my life. I have become a dedicated pagan but just still in the broom closet so to speak. But my dilemma is, I was going to be a preacher. That was what I was going to do, but I am not christian anymore. I don’t know what to do now… I am lost and do not know where to go from here.

In terms of whether or not you want to let others know of your change in path, I would suggest reading our previous posts on When Hiding One’s Beliefs May Be The Better Choice and Pagan Coming Out Day… Things to Think About. It’s definitely a monumental decision, especially given your original career choice, so you need to think carefully, and then do what is best for you.

In terms of what your potential options are school/career-wise, the first thing to look at is whether or not your current university has other courses of study that might be relevant to your new path. Depending on if you are interested in a particular culture or pantheon, there might be History majors that would be worth pursuing that would give you a deeper understanding of the lore. Often not very practical though, unless one is looking to go into an academic based career at some point, so another option (if it’s possible) would be to just choose another major that you feel will serve you well in the future, or transfer to another college that has something more relevant to what other subjects you may want to pursue now.

Other than that, if your current course load is more related to pastoral counseling or basic skills in relation to working with people, etc…, then it might not be a bad idea to continue with those at least for a while. Even if you end up not being a Christian preacher, those types of lessons can be invaluable in a variety of careers later on.

If you still want to pursue education related to spiritual counseling, there are a few different options for schools that have Pagan related programs. Cherry Hill Seminary has a number of different programs that would be worth looking into (they are still non-accredited though, so I know that is an issue for some people). Also the University of Florida has a Religion and Nature degree program as well. Other options include looking at schools that have Master of Divinity or Theology degrees (such as the one at Harvard), as often they are broad overviews of multiple world religions, rather than Christian specific. There are also some colleges that allow one to create their own degree path, though that can be a bit difficult if one is just starting out, and unfamiliar on which topics to include for more in-depth study.

Definitely a tough spot to be in, and I would urge you to think carefully, but in the end you need to do what is right for you, even if those around you may not understand why the sudden career/school change. It makes a big difference too if you have a supportive family/community versus unsupportive, so that is something to consider as well.

PS…  something that occurred to me as an afterthought – you said you found “magic” and it filled a void in your life. Magic (and witchcraft in general) is not something that is inherently tied to Paganism. I mean sure… lots of Pagans may practice some form of magic, but you don’t necessarily have to be Pagan to practice it. There are Christian witches, and though it seems like the two would be wildly incompatible, there are those who have somehow managed to combine all into a cohesive and working practice. So if it’s just the magical aspect that has you turning to Paganism, there may be other options that would leave you less “lost”, and if it’s something that you want to pursue, I would suggest checking out ChristoPaganism: An Inclusive Path by Joyce and River Higginbotham. The following article might be helpful as well.


The Origins of Easter

Something that I’ve noticed at certain times of the year, is the tendency for some Pagans to claim that the Christians stole our holidays. This primarily happens around the Christmas season, but it hops out around Easter as well, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to put a little effort into clearing up some misconceptions that might be floating around.

One thing that I like to point out, is that many of the “Pagan” traditions that have eventually become associated with a particular holiday, are generally due to those Pagans who were converted finding ways to keep some of the comforts of their old practices, while still conforming to their new ones as well.

As to the origins of Easter, the approximate dates for it are actually pretty clearly outlined in the Bible, and it was originally celebrated around the same time as the Jewish passover, as that is when the Crucifixion is said to have taken place. In 325 the Council of Nicea decided on a more precise method of calculation, which in essence combined the two primary methods that were currently in practice at that time – calculating it based on moon phases and having a specific set date. From that point forward, the date of Easter would be on a day following the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox, though it took quite a bit longer for the particular day (Sunday) to be solidified across all communities.

What is important to note, is that although there have been references made to Easter being associated with the Goddess Eostre (primarily due to Bede’s work), it is likely that this may have been an error on his part, or at least not something that had any basis in provable fact. While details are rather sketchy on her existence, it is entirely possible that she was simply associated with the dawn, and new beginnings, rather than Spring itself. Also, historically “Eostre-month” was a month long celebration, rather than any one particular day.

I also find it interesting that in almost all other languages, the term for this particular holiday is Pasha/Paschal (in reference to the Jewish Passover) – even the full moon after the equinox is called the Paschal Moon. So it is only in the English language that there is even any association made to the term Eostre.  All of which makes the argument that Easter is an ancient “spring festival” that has been stolen by “teh ebil Xtians”, a less likely version of what really happened.

additional resource – The Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain by Ronald Hutton