Perhaps your first exposure to the pagan family of faiths was at your local church, or even as you accompanied your children down the street trick or treating during Halloween. Or perhaps a friend has nervously approached you and told you that they are following Wicca, a common tradition within the pagan family of faiths and traditions.
Whatever the case, you know that you don’t want to sit in judgment of others, but you simply don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Before you dismiss paganism as being wrong or invalid, perhaps a brief discussion of some of the myths and truths of this group of religions is in order.
Exactly What Is Paganism?
Well, that truly depends on who you ask. Paganism is an umbrella term for a group of religions that share some common characteristics, but still have a number of unique characteristics, making each denomination or ‘tradition’ a unique entity unto its own. If you think about it, Paganism does not have a monopoly on this idea. Simply look at the different denominations in the Christian faith, such as the Catholics and the Baptists, and you will see some points in common, but some glaring differences in each.
Generally speaking, paganism is a group of traditions and faiths where the focus is on the natural world and its cyclic nature, and where the role of man is not necessarily to rule over the planet, but to exist in harmony with it. It can be both polytheistic and monotheistic, but in most cases the duel nature of masculine and feminine energies are acknowledged and celebrated. Beyond that, the specific tenants of each tradition are unique for each one.
Is There Any Book Like The Bible?
The short answer to your question, is no, there is not. However, where most people would see myths and legends, pagans see stories with meaning and lore, explaining their principles, ethics, and even creation of the known universe. Again, these stories from old are very tradition specific, so the importance of each myth or legend for a pagan will depend greatly on where their tradition and views dictate. For example, the Roman and Greek myths would be more relevant to someone who worships those gods and goddesses from that time and area, then stories from the South American Incas.
Do Pagans Wish To Convert Others to Their Faith?
No. One of the most prevalent and important ideas in any pagan faith is the idea that the individual must choose their own path in this world. Working to convert someone to paganism is seen as a very grave misstep indeed. While most pagans have absolutely no problem discussing their beliefs, the idea that someone should be encouraged to join a particular tradition based on the beliefs of various consequences simply are not part of the overall world view of most pagans.
Why Haven’t I heard of Paganism Before?
Well, like anything else with the Pagan faiths, the answer is a bit complicated. Because of misinformation, harassment, and a desire to lead a private, religious life, most pagans exist under the radar. Pagans usually feel little need to advertise our beliefs, and only speak out when we feel it is completely necessary. The fact that our views on witnessing are so very different than most Christians; it is no wonder why Christianity and other monotheistic faiths are more widely known.
Paganism Isn’t A Real Religion, Is It?
Well, according to the United States Military, and the United States prison system, Wicca, which belongs to the Pagan family of faiths, is a recognized religion. Priests and Priestesses of various pagan traditions are legally able to perform marriage and death rites in almost all of the 50 states of the USA, and millions of people worldwide identify themselves as pagans. If reality is based on adherents to the faith, paganism is very real and growing movement.
A Final Note
Paganism is absolutely no threat, and means no harm to any other religion on the faith of the planet. We are not here to bring your children to Satan, and we are not here to make war on people of the Christian faiths. Pagans simply wish to live our lives in harmony with our beliefs.