I remember sitting at a long table with my Wiccan friends for our monthly PNO (pagan night out) and explaining my reasons for leaving the pagan community. I was shocked when i was met with anger and hostility. The one response that sicks out in my head the most was "Your not an Atheist. Your just saying that for attention." I thought with a group that claimed to be the most accepting and peaceful of religions they would not in this manner. A few claimed that they love me unconditionally but never answer my phone calls or they have get togethers and not even invite me. Now that i have moved out of TN The is no contact with them and im he happiest i have ever been,

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Theist's are theist's. You really shouldn't have expected any other reaction. ^_^
That's an interesting question for me... It didn't happen all at once but over a period of time. During that same period of time I lost touch with a lot of my "pagan" friends, even some of whom I had been in a coven with. By the time I figured out I was a fully functioning atheist, I had only 2 pagan friends left who I spoke to in person. I think we were all scared that it would effect our friendships, which I think shows that our bond goes beyond our religious beliefs. We have other things in common and I am really happy to say that, besides a few tense moments, we are still close. When I do talk to old friends from my pagan days, I think my own attitude about my atheism thwarts any aggressive comments they might have. I'm sorry to say that I'm still somewhat apologetic about it. Especially if I'm having a bad day or week and wishing I could do a ritual to ask the goddess for help ;) So they end up feeling sorry for me rather than mad at me. I am getting more confident though. Still, I feel a certain responsibility to my old friends, I was a leader and somewhat of an "expert" or at least, that is the role I played. I wonder if my loss of faith has had any effect on their beliefs... no one has said that yet... anyway, I'm glad I was spared being ousted from the community. I'm the one who pulled back.
I had similar experiences to many of you. I wasted valuable time and money with wicca. I really wish I had saved my money and time for other more important things. Even though I'm a college educated woman I allowed myself to get duped.

I still do like things like burning incense but I don't do it for magical reasons anymore. In a way I'm like a post I read in another group about how they consider themselves an atheist pagan. Even though I'm not a theist I still really like mythology and ancient history. I also like crystals because I think they are preety. I like fairies but I don't believe in an actual elemental realm.

I think part of the reason why I tried to force myself to believe for so many years was that I really wanted something to believe in. For example, my grandmother had passed away and I wanted to believe that I would really see her again.

I talk very little to those in my coven anymore. With all the drama I believe its preety much disbanded now. I agree with what someone else said that many people in the pagan community sometimes join for sex and I got tired of that too.
hi Steve :) I think I was similar to you as a pagan in that I really believed it all! I felt that the experiences I had during rituals, meditation, spellwork, etc, were real proof. I was also frustrated by people who seemed to dismiss the questions that inevitably arise like: did the spell work? did the ritual have any effect? is this meditation useful? And I started to feel that the answer I most often heard "it made me feel good for a while" was not enough. I really wanted paganism to be my religion and give to me what other religions promised (and did not deliver). Sadly, it did not. Still, my other friends who remain pagan, I think, do not or did not have the same needs. They weren't so heavily invested in it, like you said, it's more like role-playing for them. I never wanted to role play, I really wanted to become something... but, wanting something does not make it true. I still like egyptian mythology and dark colors and dancing in the moonlight but I can't call that religion because there is NO GOD/DESS behind it all. anyway, it's always helpful to read what other ex-pagans have experienced. Thank you!
Well, considering I was esoteric and a lone practitioner...

I'm unsure if some of my pagan friends actually know. I consider myself a pantheistic pagan, without the woowoo. I still culturally identify as a pagan. I never did adopt a specific pantheon or path, so by the time I consciously came to the conclusion I wasn't a theist, it had just been a sort of epiphany.

I do think what helped it along was finding out just how pagan christianity was, even in the beginning. I had converted to paganism under the idea that it was permissible by divinity behind the abrahamic god and more in line with my heart. Having that last vestige of my original faith removed, coupled by the forced ban of my ritual tools while living at home during my last year of college, pretty much paved the way.

By the time I came to Japan, I was well on my way to being able to enjoy life and nature for its own sake, without any garish dressing from any religion.
Well, I seldom talked with these folks outside of circle or things like Pagan Pride Day, so it really didn't change my social life much, except that now I don't even have those.  The only person I regularly get email from (despite her being in my blocked-senders list), is someone who, when I last saw her five years ago, was living in an RV with her then-boyfriend and something like eleven cats.  Most of her emails are to get me to join the multilevel marketing scheme she's into.   So no great loss, really.

This is an interesting thread.  When I was pagan, I was a True Believer, and I believed that I had been Chosen by my goddess to be her Priestess.  Because I had a Personal Experience....  yeah, I know.  I even ran the local Pagan Pub Moot for ten years.  But over time more and more "little things" kept not adding up.  Eventually the local pagan community began to seem a little...silly.  Finally I ended up being dead to the community over their lack of pride in their so-called Pagan Pride Day (weren't proud enough to put up a sign for it, so I wasted three hours trying to find it...seems there were signs, but they said, "Community Harvest Gathering" because they weren't quite proud enough to put "pagan" on a sign...and I confronted them about it....)  So when I realized I was a skeptic/athiest....didn't really have anyone to announce it to.  My Christian sister found my paganism hard to deal with, but she has at least one atheist friend and for some reason that's less scary for her. Go figure.


I have retained three friends from those days, one is now atheist like me (though we both came round to the conclusion independently), one says, "It (atheism) is often the next step for pagans" (does that mean I'm spiritually evolved enough to not need invisible friends?? :)), and the third hopes I will find my way back, but we have enough other things in common that we can get by without discussing religion or politics. (I didn't use the "a" word at first, I said I was a skeptic, and her reaction was a moment of silence and then, "Oh. One of them."  She's so cute.   She thinks she can control the weather.  She watches Fox news.  But we have other things in common.)

To answer the original post of this thread: In my group it was far simpler, and I didn't have to explain nearly as much. My husband and I simply told our group that we were taking a "sabbatical" ie. we were retiring. We had a long history with this group, and a long history with paganism, and like all good things, they must come to an end. (In truth, we grew up, and they knew it.) We only took with us the honorary titles of Crone and Sage. Even then, we don't use them in reference to ourselves, upon disclosing our non-theist viewpoint and stance on matters. They knew we were moving out of state, and that it would be hard to stay in touch with us. Since then, contact has been sparse, and those conversations were never geared towards paganism or our dealings, but more or less, just catching up on their lives in general in a secular level,(ie. new jobs, school, family, friends, happenings, births, deaths, etc.) We just simply lost touch, and found ourselves being better off for it.

That sucks that your friends would react that way :( I told my pagan friends about my non-theism, and they just seemed disappointed. Sad to see me leave the circle. But our friendship is still intact so that's good :)




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