View Full Version : Where Did You Start?

07-10-2009, 11:35 PM
I'm interested and I know nothing about anything. I've looked at some of the resources listed in this area of the forums, but it's a little overwhelming.

How did you get started and where did you learn from (books, mentors, etc.)? Can you share your stories with me?

07-11-2009, 03:21 AM
I took a couple of courses put on by the department of technical education. Then I joined a couple of writers' groups and discussed my writing, at some meetings we read our own work and got crits etc. But all this was after I'd started writing - short stories at first. So I suggest just write and take it from there.

07-11-2009, 07:24 PM
Hey there! Well, for me it was kind of a synchronicity. I started writing about a terrible experience I has having as an eBay seller. It grew and grew until I started looking for people who could help me figure out just how to turn my thoughts into a book. That eventually fizzled out. I got everything off my chest, and by then I didn't feel like trying to get it published. Must have been fate, because my computer crashed and I lost all of it anyway.

Anyway, when I was looking for writers, I found AW. After that, I started thinking about writing in general. I had never thought about being a writer, but I was beginning to love it. I wrote an article specifically for a Llewellyn almanac. I looked up their submission guidelines, contacted Kate, who was over the almanacs at the time, and sent it in. To my shock, they bought it. It was quick, too. I think it was just a week or so between the time I sent it to her and the time when she was sending me all the paperwork to sign.

I haven't tried to sell anything since then. That was about 4 years ago--my article was in a 2007 almanac, and they bought it in 2006. Every year, I think about it. And every year, August comes and goes and I don't do it again. (August is, or at least used to be, the deadline for submissions for Llewellyn's almanacs.) I think I might, this year. I have time, unless they have changed their guidelines.

I write constantly, but everything is in article format. I'm a great short attention span writer! LOL!! But that might one day be to my benefit. I have a cousin who is a retired English professor. She is constantly pushing me to write more and to submit everything. My dream job would be becoming a columnist. Kind of like a next-generation Erma Bombeck. But of course I have no idea how to go about that.

I met a man recently who bought a small hometown newspaper in West Virginia. He is the everything man there. He writes all of it. I have thought about contacting him and asking for the chance to write for his paper occasionally. I would do it for free just for the exposure and experience.

I would suggest that you look through all the resources listed here. Go to their websites. Get a feel for what they publish. Read their submission guidelines, and follow them to the letter. Llewellyn was extremely relaxed about the whole process, and everyone I had contact with was so friendly. I would bet that many aren't so relaxed. So to be safe, go about it just like they ask. Llewellyn was thrilled that I didn't have an agent. Some might not be. Just read the guidelines and change up your approach to fit each one.

Good luck!!!! :)

07-12-2009, 08:18 AM
Do you mean start as a writer, or as Pagan?

Sean D. Schaffer
07-19-2009, 07:31 AM
Do you mean start as a writer, or as Pagan?

That's my question, as well.

07-20-2009, 04:35 PM
Well, I just assumed the question was where did I start with writing. LOL! Mebbe I need to rethink that. :D

If the other is the case, WOW--what a long story I've got!

07-22-2009, 12:56 AM
It was sort of the other question. I essentially know nothing Pagan, but I'm curious. But moreso about how you learned what you know.

Sean D. Schaffer
07-22-2009, 05:56 AM
It was sort of the other question. I essentially know nothing Pagan, but I'm curious. But moreso about how you learned what you know.

I suppose I could start off with that, tjwriter. :)

About a year ago, I met my former girlfriend, and she claimed to be Wiccan. In January, I got disillusioned with Christianity and started studying Wicca. I read several books on the subject, and decided to be a Solitary Practitioner. Although I'm no longer Wiccan per se, (though I'm debating studying it again; I enjoyed that religion tremendously) I still consider myself Pagan in a general sense.

The books that got me started, for good or ill, include the following:

Wicca: A Guide For The Solitary Practitioner -- Scott Cunningham
Philosophy of Wicca -- Amber Laine Fisher
The Wiccan Mysteries -- Raven Grimassi

A good website to think about looking up would be, IMHO, www.witchvox.com (http://www.witchvox.com). It's been around for quite some time, and I've found it very helpful in discovering avenues of Paganism that I probably would not have found elsewhere.

Blessed Be. :)

07-28-2009, 03:31 AM
I've grown up around pagan beliefs and there was a strong pagan history in the area I grew up (South West/Southern Midlands in the England). I spent a lot of time in my early 20's visiting the spiritual places in the UK - Stonehenge, Glastonbury - and reading obsessively about them. I was also obsessed with myths and legends as a kid and read a lot of folklore collections, as well as fiction by authors like Susan Cooper (the Dark is Rising series), Alan Garner (Weirdstone of Brisingamen, the Owl Service), and Terry Pratchett (any of the witches novels) which have a lot of pagan mythology interwoven into the stories. I also spent time in the local metaphysical stores, taking time to get to know and learn from the owners there. One of the things I miss most from Scotland is this place: http://www.greenwitch.co.uk/

I don't follow a specific pagan path, but my sympathies definitely lie with pagan beliefs above and beyond any others.

If you want to learn, find an area that interests you - herbology, wicca, druidism, or whatever grabs your fancy, and find a book or two that looks interesting. :)

08-02-2009, 01:27 AM
I always had the curiosity. But I was raised Christian, and my ex is a preacher's son. It wasn't until I turned 29 that I started actually learning. I became immersed in it when I met my hubby. He was quite experienced, and he had loads of books--the kind you have to go back and read over and over for the material and theories to really sink in. We spent hours upon hours, night after night discussing everything. He had books on Eastern philosophy, lots and lots of Crowley (Liber Al vel Legis, also known as The Book of the Law, and Magick in Theory and Practice are two very good ones), Rosicrucian philosophy (particularly Wisdom of the Mystic Masters), Israel Regardie (Golden Dawn), and lots of other stuff. Definitely not light reading, but fascinating.

Then I got a job in a Santerian Botanica. That was an experience! My boss, the owner of the botanica, was a Santerian High Priest. He taught me so much. I learned both directly from him, and indirectly just from being in that environment 6 days a week. They say that there are so many things in this world that you just can't convince someone are real. But on the other side, you can't convince a person who has seen or experienced them that they are not real. I'm in the latter group. Although I left that job when things got a little weirder than I wanted to handle, I also count it as one of my most rewarding and educational experiences. It's a year of my life that has colored my entire life.

My hubby and I have always been very solitary, even with each other. We have rarely practiced together. He does his thing and I do mine. His thing is very heavily influenced by Crowley and Mesopotamian/Sumerian beliefs. Mine is closer to Rosicrucian philosophy. But we have definitely experimented together. One particular out of body night was something I'll never forget. It's difficult to be on one side of a room and see yourself on the OTHER side of the room and forget that it happened. LOL! We've also experimented with moving our conscious thought from the head to a totally random part of the body. That was interesting. We have had a lot of very strange and unique things happen in our house. (Note to self: Djin does not enjoy being called just to make your lighter work!)

Also, I've never been attracted to Wicca, although I have met Wiccans whom I adore. It's just not for me. I don't do the gods and goddesses thing.

08-02-2009, 06:27 AM
I started in 1970, at college. There was NOTHING out there. Most of the books were spooky-ooky and there were few of even those. But, there was a fellow student at the U of Missouri who did an open university class on it. I think I was a natural, because everything came easily and it seemed like I belonged.

Back then, Paganism was just beginning to turn from strict British traditions to free-form hippie Wicca. After college, I got involved with some groups in the D.C. area where I lived for a while. Then I met Selena Fox from Circle and went to the very first Pagan Spirit Gathering (there were about 75 people there now it's about 700.)

I moved to go to grad school in Oregon, and was expecting the place to be crawling with Pagans, but there weren't a lot there. I started teaching my own Open University class and putting on big rituals. I was also going to Pagan festivals including PSG where I met more people from around the USA (and beyond.)

When I got my M.A. I moved to Minnesota. Within two hours of arriving, I ran into a Pagan at a restaurant. It turned out to be Steven Posch, one of the local community leaders.

I'm still Pagan after all this time.

08-07-2009, 08:53 AM
When I was little, I saw things and experienced things I didn't understand; things no one else saw. I always floated toward the 'witch' persona, and remember calling myself a witch in third grade--not a popular choice in the superstitious South, btw. Eventually I found the Scott Cunningham books, which helped me make so much sense out of what I experienced. I've always called myself an 'open source' pagan, because my kernel gets reprogrammed every few years with new knowledge, but I didn't know until my 30s that I was born into a folk magic-gifted family, people traveled to my great-grandmother for cures and special favors, my mother had it but ignored it until it nearly went away, and I had nurtured it without any training other than a few books.

So if you feel so inclined, read. Read a lot. I always recommend Scott Cunningham, he spoke in a way that was very approachable, but everyone has their favorite author. The same principles of 'magic' are discussed as paranormal in the fantastic book 'Instant ESP' by David St. Clair. It's out of print, but well worth the quest.

08-07-2009, 12:14 PM
For me, it was a horrid feeling that nothing fit. I was raised Catholic. I felt completely removed from those beliefs. I had a series of, what I would call, extreme experiences. Paganism was the only path that came close to explaining them. I follow a more Celtic/Nordic path.