definition of Pagan is as illusive
as it is controversial. By some standards, pagan is simply any religion
other than Christian, Muslim or Jewish. It is safe to say that this
does not justify the unified culture that encapsulates pagan events and
refer to pagans as polytheists;
that also is not true of all pagans.
to some sources, and the definition
used by the Pagan and Earth -Based Spirituality Organization, paganism
"refers to the worship of deities [and] the use of surviving symbols
practices of ancient religions." This definition seems to me to be most
descriptive of what I have witnessed in pagan circles. For a very
analysis of the various definitions, try religioustolerance.org/paganism.htm.
Is Paganism the same as Wicca?
are pagans, but not all Pagans
are Wiccans. Paganism can be thought of as an umbrella term which
many traditions such as Wicca, Druidism, Ancient Native American
and some might even include Buddhism and Hinduism. Wicca is a specific
religion which is acknowledged as an official religion by the United
government. It has its own doctrines which include "Do what ye will,
harm none", and the belief that all deeds, good or evil, return to you
in three-fold. While these beliefs are not across the board for Pagans,
many modern pagans have similar doctrines.
How and what do Pagans worship?
have a wide array of visions
of the divine. Most recognize a balance between a feminine divinity and
a masculine divinity. This is witnessed in such concepts as the Taoist
Yin and Yang, the ancient earth mother and sky father, the many gods
goddesses, and even in the Hebrew Adam and Eve. Often it is seen that
is a place in which this masculine and feminine energy come together in
unity and this is the ultimate source of power. Some pagans do not name
their idea of divinity and merely refer to it as "The Divine", "Great
Great Father" or "Limitless Light". Others break their idea of divinity
into specific attributes which are assigned to the various gods and
Some even have "patron deities", or deities in which they feel most
by or drawn to. Pagan worship is just as varied as any other religion
terms of worship. Prayer, ritual, fasting, meditation, drumming,
and dancing are often used to connect with the divine. Just as any
some pagans are very strict and rigid in their worship, while others
Do Pagans sacrifice things in ritual?
when one thinks of ritual sacrifice,
they think about an animal (or small child!).( I, personally do NOT
endorse or approve of such things, I am merely stating what is a
commonly believed idea ). In reality, ritual
is usually much less dramatic. During ceremony, wine or milk is often
on the ground, as well as bread being broken, as a offering to the
or to show appreciation for the harvest. Often, unproductive or bad
are sacrificed to clear a path for new growth. There are still some
that perform animal sacrifices during ritual, in which case the animal
is blessed, sacrificed, and the eaten after ritual ( a far more humane
and respectful way to kill an animal for food than the more common
method"). This practice is still relatively rare in modern pagan
Most Pagans tend to be very animal, plant and Earth friendly and some
refuse to eat meat at all.
How does one become Pagan?
becomes pagan by learning a path
which is considered pagan then developing a connection and love for it.
You may be able to find local events in your area that draw a large
crowd to develop a network of peers. I find that this is most rewarding
and that being active in the Pagan community constantly reaffirms why
are so connected with your chosen path.
Where can I find a Pagan group?
areas are blessed with a strong
pagan presence, while other area may require a bit of searching.
areas tend to be good for the pagan presence as it draws people from
backgrounds and creates a "melting pot" effect. Look in the phone book
for occult or magick supplies. Some times these stores have connections
to local groups or may even host events themselves. You could always
the national pagan directory and information site at www.witchvox.com.