In the beginning, it's common to have questions. I think even those who grow up being taught these beliefs at one point have to question the path they are on. It's normal. And it's okay to do. People who come to Paganism after a life of being involved in more organized religions tend to think there is a "right way" or a "wrong way" to do things, to think or to believe... and generally, I disagree with this notion. A few of the books which I have read even seem to push the "real Pagans do this" attitude... For me, that either shows the authors inability to see Paganism as a personal path, or their unwillingness to see how others can have differing beliefs from their own. Either way, I don't personally buy in to it, or advise anyone else to.
The beauty of the Pagan Path is that there are no road signs. No one is telling you how to think, where to go, how to live, who to love or how to worship. While there ARE covens and some more organized paths which do have stricter rules and ethics codes than others do, there is never a need to feel as if you HAVE to fit in to any certain path. We Pagans come in all shapes, sizes, lifestyles and belief patterns. We have the ability to think for ourselves and walk the path our hearts lead us down...
In order to find your path, there is no need to know all their is about every path out there. Frankly, doing so would be nearly impossible. However, I do suggest you at least find out the basics about the larger sects or the groups in your area. This will simply make it a little bit easier when you happen to look for information down the road and may help you to define your own beliefs a bit more.
In truth the only thing that is needed is your own heart and mind when finding a path. As an Eclectic Pagan myself, I have yet to find any specific path which has matched my path in beliefs and practice. I pull from many paths, including those which aren't technically Pagan. How can I do that? How do I know my path leads anywhere if I don't have any "road signs" to lead my way? It's simple. I looked inside me, I found my answers there.
If you are at a point where you're trying to find your own path, there are a few things you can do to help yourself find those answers. The FIRST step is to decide exactly what you believe... I suggest taking some time to yourself, put everything you have been TAUGHT out of your mind and answer a few basic questions with your heart... And remember, there are NO wrong answers.
- How do you feel about the Gods, Goddesses, Higher Powers or Deities?
- How do you feel about creation?
- How do you feel about Death and an After life? What do you believe comes next if anything?
- How do you feel about the Earth, the Universe and your connection to them?
Once you have these answers, you have everything you need to begin expanding. If you choose to look for a more structured path, a coven, or sect over being a solitary, these questions and their answers, will enable you to find one that matches what you already believe rather than trying to fit in to a group where you don't completely match up.
I have found over the years though that the majority of Pagans prefer the freedom of a Solitary life over that of a coven. You may hear some say that a Solitary Pagan isn't a "real Pagan," if you hear that, roll your eyes and walk away. The only way someone could be labeled not a "real Pagan" would be if they were Christian, Muslim or some other religion... And even then there are cross overs. So really, the only "unreal Pagan" is a Non-Pagan... Don't every let those more narrow minded persons define who or what you are. Paganism is about YOUR connection and YOUR heart, not someone else's There is no set in stone way to think, no God ordered dogma... Just you and your personal beliefs.
For those who are a part of a Solitary lifestyle, they may or may not follow a set path - Wicca or Druid for example. For those who do, there are a great many resources out there even without benefit of a coven or teacher. For those who do not, it's all about you... How do you feel, how do you connect. If you pick up a book or flip on a website and you don't completely agree with what you're reading - guess what, you're not wrong, and neither are they, you're simply seeing things differently...
Finding your own path seems like a scary thing to do. We tend to want to know where we are going before we start our journey, I think that's human... So see yourself as an explorer, a frontiersman, or woman... You're taking your first steps on a life long journey of self exploration, finding your place in the universe.
I wish I could tell you to go out, pick up such and such book and you'll find all your answers written there black and white. But unfortunately - or maybe fortunately - each of us has our own path to find and no one can tell us where to find it. It's up to us, just us, where we are going and how we will get there. So enjoy your journey! And remember, no one but you can decide what is or isn't okay for you!