Many Pagans self identify as eclectic, or ’own-path’. Not everyone is drawn to the defined paths. Ancestors of blood, and land may make it tricky to go after specific ancestors of tradition. Do we want to follow a pantheon with no connection to where we live? Can we follow the traditions of a land when we’re not ethnically part of that tradition? Finding your path can be fraught with difficulty. There are ethical issues and issues of appropriation. There are issues of what makes sense to you. Not everyone engages with the idea of reconstructing from the past. Not everyone drawn to reconstructing wants to work in the same way and if you go for something more obscure, you may be on your own.
The desire to be free from authority is another reason for choosing an ‘own path’ approach. If you don’t sign up to a tradition, no one can tell you what to think or do and you give no one the right to question how you do things. On the downside, people to learn from and share with can be at a bit of a premium. Shared eclectic ritual can all too easily be a muddle of nothing in particular.
Some people come to Paganism because they have been enchanted by a particular path. For the majority though, it seems to be more a yearning, a sense of something as yet undefined. What follows is a personal quest, trying to discover who and what it is that you are, where, if anywhere, you fit, what, if anything makes sense to you.
I started out as an own-path Pagan and I walked that alone for a lot of years. Eventually I realised that what I’d been doing all along was a pretty decent match with modern Druidry. That doesn’t happen for everyone.
As it stands there’s not much to draw on if you are trying to figure out your own path. Trial and error, plus finding out what it is that you don’t like about other paths is often about your lot. It’s not easy to talk about something which, by its very nature is highly individual. No one can give you the map for a landscape you are inventing, or it’s not your landscape anymore.
But what about the tools to make a map? To take the metaphor further. What about a compass, some paper and a few notes on mapmaking? That might be handy.
I’ve tried. I can’t promise it will solve everyone’s needs, because it won’t. I’ve written a very small book about what you need to figure out in order to make your own path function. There is no reason for ‘own-path’ to mean some vague, insubstantial thing, less serious than ‘proper’ defined paths. As I see it, the only path worth walking is your own, whether you do that alone or as part of a tradition. If that sounds like something you could use, do please cast an eye over Spirituality without Structures. http://www.amazon.com/Pagan-Portals-Spirituality-Without-Structure-ebook/dp/B00G3MU2ES/ref=la_B00AZM663S_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384084986&sr=1-1