About

Changing Paths

Changing Paths is a book to support people through the process of changing paths (leaving a religion, joining Paganism, or changing paths within Paganism). Part 1 deals with leaving a religion, dealing with spiritual abuse and religious trauma, and having a break from religion. Part 2 deals with joining a Pagan tradition. Part 3 includes contributions from other people about their experiences of changing paths.

The book will be published by 1000Volt Press in 2023.

Contents

About the book

  • Introduction
  • Part One – Leaving Your Current Tradition
    • Chapter 1: What is religion?
    • Chapter 2. Leaving your religion
    • Chapter 3. Religion and sexuality
    • Chapter 4. Religion and gender
    • Chapter 5. At the crossroads
    • Chapter 6. The conversion process
    • Chapter 7. Syncretism
  • Part Two – Joining Paganism
    • Chapter 8. Joining a Pagan tradition
    • Chapter 9. Arriving in a group
    • Chapter 10. Unexamined baggage
    • Chapter 11. Pagan values and ethics
    • Chapter 12. Changing paths within the Pagan sphere
    • Chapter 13. Finding beloved community
    • Chapter 14. The road goes ever on
    • Chapter 8. Joining a Pagan tradition
    • Chapter 9. Arriving in a group
    • Chapter 10. Unexamined baggage
    • Chapter 11. Pagan values and ethics
    • Chapter 12. Changing paths within the Pagan sphere
    • Chapter 13. Finding beloved community
    • Chapter 14. The road goes ever on
  • Part Three: Different Experiences of Changing Paths
    • A bad Buddhist but a good witch – Jasmin
    • The God’s Honest Truth – Ambrose Heath
    • Reconnecting with the mystery – Èlia Viader
    • Wandering away from Paganism – Nick Hanks
    • Wobbling, but not falling off – Yvonne Aburrow
    • Finding My Way to Love: In Search of a Good Life – Calyx
  • Thanks
  • Further reading
  • Bibliography

Each chapter includes exercises, journal prompts, and reflections.

About me

I have written this book because I have lived through the experience of changing paths. I was brought up in the exclusive Plymouth Brethren (a more extreme version of the sect that Aleister Crowley was raised in). My parents left the Plymouth Brethren when I was nine years old, and initially got involved in something similar, then in a more mainstream evangelical church, and then in a charismatic church for a while. When I was about fourteen, I joined a local church that had a charismatic group within it. I left both that church and the charismatic group when one of my best friends came out as gay, and the people in the group said that God would reject him if he was actively gay. I had been having doubts before that, but it was the catalyst that finally propelled me out of that group and out of Christianity. I became a Pagan in 1985 and got initiated into Gardnerian Wicca in 1991. At this point, I was an atheist Pagan with occasional forays into polytheism. However, I still had an underlying fear that the fundamentalist beliefs that I had been taught were true. I buried this fear beneath a volcano of anger, which would occasionally erupt when Christianity was mentioned. Then, in 2006, I decided to do a Masters’ degree in Contemporary Religions and Spiritualities, and while I was studying that, I became interested in forms of Christianity that embraced and welcomed LGBT+ people. I was also attending interfaith events, where a lot of people had embraced the view that all religions are different perspectives on the same mountain. At the same time, I had become disgruntled with several aspects of Paganism, and thought that perhaps Christianity would be better. Initially I joined an Orthodox church but the church’s attitudes and many of the congregation were homophobic (though the leaders of that particular church were not), and I lasted two months before trying Unitarianism, which is LGBT-inclusive and where it is acceptable to be Pagan and have an interest in mystical Christianity. My Unitarian phase lasted for three years, but eventually I realized that I personally found it too difficult to follow two different traditions, and decided to focus exclusively on Wicca, and push for making Wiccan ritual more LGBT-inclusive. Although my temporary change of paths was painful, at least it cleared out and dealt with the lurking fear at the bottom of my psyche. Since then, I have written three books about making Wicca more inclusive for LGBT+ people.

Other books by Yvonne Aburrow