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Paganism: The Beginning and the Basics
What Paganism is NOT
Paganism does not involve:
- Satanism or Devil worshipping
- Sacrificing animals and (or) people
- Sexual relations
- Hating on other religious beliefs or discriminating other's beliefs
- Conducting hexes, curses, or other harmful forces
- Invoking demons
Paganism is a polytheistic, Pre-Christian religion that branches off of other belief systems from ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, Egypt, and Scandinavia.
The term "Paganism" stems from the Latin word 'paganus' which means "rustic". This term was used during the Renaissance to differentiate old traditions from Christian faith and traditions.
Pagans believe in the reverence of nature and the divine character of the natural world; also named as the "Earth religion".
Although being dated so long ago, Paganism did not get the rise in infamous calling until the 17th century. In the late 1600's, the Salem Witch trials, or the Witchcraft trials, had taken place. From February 1692 to May 1693, the Burning Times pursued and killing many innocent people in the times of doubt and hysteria. During the Salem Witch Trials, thirteen women and two men were executed and five others passed away in prison. Over the years of witchcraft hysteria, over hundreds of people were executed over many years in Europe and America.
Even today, persecutions are still happening and people are still being murdered for their beliefs or are being killed based on the assumptions that they are witches.
Principles of Paganism
Paganism is a widely accepting religion and has a vast amount of freedom when customizing your own practice. Yet with such freedom, Paganism does have a main structure to it with the basic laws or rules.
One principle, and the main structure piece of Paganism, is to love and cherish Nature as the life force it is and the power of cycles it carries. In Paganism, people and nature must work together and are apart of one another.
The second principle applied to Paganism goes simply "What you put our, you get back times three." or "Do as you will as long as it harms none.". Basically, Paganism follows Karma to an extent. This saying is not only Karmic but is known as the Wiccan Rede. Being Pagan does not stop one from picking up Wiccan customs. Paganism and Wicca are different in a sense however.
The last principle is, being a polytheistic religion, to recognize the Divine. In Paganism, that would mean to recognize both the Goddess and God, as this religion is all about balance in the Universe. This recognition does not define gender, the Divine is not male or female but rather both forces; gender does not account in the Deity.
Paganism vs. Wicca vs. Witchcraft
Paganism is the term used to cover the majority of earth based religions and beliefs. Not all Pagans are Wiccans.
Wicca was introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1950's and is just one path of Paganism. Wicca and Witchcraft tend to be used synonymously for each other which are not to be mistaken for each other.
Witchcraft is not a requirement among Paganism as Wicca is associated well with witchcraft. Not all witches are wiccans or even pagans. Witches can choose what ever religion they wish to affiliate with.