Many people have their own opinions on Paganism. What are yours? Are your opinions based off of your being a Pagan, knowing a Pagan personally, careful research/experience, hearsay, or something else? What is your definition of "Pagan" and "Paganism?" Since "Pagan" is an umbrella term and used in so many contexts for many different purposes, everyone seems to have their own definition.
I have been Pagan and Wiccan for 30 years. Paganism is most accurately defined as an umbrella term for polytheistic religions, pantheistic religions, or pre-Judaic native religions or their modern revivals (Neo-Paganism), or modern invented religions that identify as Pagan.
I'd add that "pagan" (with a lower-case "p") can be used as a pejorative term, so it's important not to call someone Pagan who doesn't identify with the term.
Apparently my ancestors (Ancient Maori) were pagan worshipers according to an English Scholar who was heavily Christianized when he did his research. If that is so, then all modern Maori would be part pagan by default because many customs and traditions are still acknowledged and taught today in some tribes. Not to mention the fact that according to science we inherit genes.
So with that said perhaps a definition would be nature worshiper or something like that.
I almost converted when I was 13 after reading Starhawk for the first time, because I thought the idea of a Goddess instead of a God was awesome. The "magick" stuff was too spacey for me, though, and I'm agnostic about deities in general, so it's not like converting would have actually changed anything except how I identified myself. After a few weeks of thinking about it, I concluded there really wasn't any point, so I dropped the idea.
Honestly, I do not know a whole lot about Paganism. I've done some reading on it, recently completed a world religions class in college, and I also have a best friend of mine who identifies as Pagan. From what I have been able to comprehend, it doesn't seem organized at all, but I haven't been very successful at understanding Paganism in it's entirety. Paganism has been one of those topics where I have to get information from multiple sources in order to completely grasp it. I'm open to understanding it. I feel that it's one of the more progressive religions that everyone should take something from.
Being a Pagan, my thoughts on the topics are diverse and prolific. I think the biggest issue I come up against is people presuming that "Pagan" is a specific term, not realizing that it is a broad designation that encompasses many varied beliefs and cultural histories.
I'd have to agree with you on that, Relache. Pagan could be any one or a combination of the following: Native American shamanism, Celtic shamanism, Celtic Druidism, Wicca, Witchcraft, etc. The list goes on...do you find that "Pagan" is a less criticized/judged term to use, as opposed to Wiccan? I use the term Wiccan, because I follow Wicca; however, I incorporate many different belief systems into my spiritual path. Again, however, the term "Wiccan" seems to draw up negative emotions & fear in people when first mentioned...
I have been Pagan for 30 years. I am open to any knowledge or wisdom that I can gain regardless of the source.
Just imagine how different the world would be if monothiestic religion never dominated and wiped out the old Pagan religions. Pagans value the sun and the earth and know that without them life would not exist. It is my hope that the world will someday return to the nature based religions.
I like the old Paganism if neo-paganism means some kind of new age whatever or some attempt to be less
offensive to Christians.
Thanks for all the answers so far. Really interesting. Being Pagan myself, I'm always faced with the challenge of explaining what Paganism is and what it means to be Pagan and I never can answer it simply because the definition is always subjective to each Pagan. I'm essentially monotheistic. I believe in one God/dess and I see pantheons as just different facets of the Creator, like a lot of Pagans do, but I don't incorporate them into my practice.
@knolyourself, Neo-Paganism could be considered part of the New Age movement, but it's not really New Age itself. Neo-Pagan religions are pretty much the Pagan religions that have emerged in recent times but have their roots in the pre-Christianized world. They're Paganism 2.0 essentially. Some are more new than others. Wicca and its many denominations are new, but the fundamental aspects of witchcraft are not. Wicca, as a type of witchcraft religion, was born in the 50s, and so we call it a Neo-Pagan religion. Witchcraft, as either art or religion, has been around thousands of years. Neo-Paganism is definitely not an attempt to be less offensive to Christians, lol. Though that'd be somewhat funny to me.
Very good explanation, eapratte. If I could vote your answer up, I would!
Paganism is the spirituality of peoples before excess and profit is invented.
I think that all great historic art has come from what we refer to as paganism -no matter what you call the ancient spiritual followings - their art and architecture has never been equalled, as far as I am concerned. I was watching a special on PBS the other night about Buddhism and the ancient temples in Indonesia - and Bali, especially and they are so very awe-inspiring - I want to go there and experience that for myself. But also if you look around the world you see that Joseph Campbell was so right-on about the connectedness of all the great heroes and gods and goddesses - The human expression of this awe is something that makes Earth such a beautiful place! I find it hard to personally do rituals and prayers, but I feel the beauty is holy every single day.
I believe the best way to sum up the definition of Paganism is just to simply say it is "Nature-based". That is my opinion. All Pagans regardless of which way they go with it believe in ALL nature and that it is special.
by taliesin33397 years ago
Are there any similarities between Christianity and the older pagan faiths? If so, what are they and how were they incorperated into Christianity. Please explain and be somewhat detailed on whatever side of the argument...
by Baileybear6 years ago
I have read that symbols & beliefs of christianity are adopted from pagan beliefs. What do you know about this?
by Nicole Canfield6 years ago
Is there such a thing as being an Agnostic Pagan...or a Pagan-Agnostic? Meaning, can I be agnostic but feel very connected to nature and still find the old beliefs quite intriguing and spiritual?
by santosardee8 years ago
Many religion now see Catholicism and Paganism more similar to each other. For example, the celebration of Christmas in Dec 25 by Catholics is rooted from a Pagan celebration according to some religion.
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