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What is a Pagan?

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The word pagan originally meant someone who lived in the country. Over time the meaning has changed so that now it denotes mean someone who follows a nature-based religion. This religion sometimes includes magic and/or magical thinking. Paganism joins science, metaphysics, and mysticism with spirituality. It is a broad term that includes a wide range of faiths that accept one, many, or no god. But most pagans reject the views of God which are accepted by Jews, Christians and Muslims. Pagans stress personal responsibility rather than salvation given by something outside of themselves.

Is there more than one pagan religion?

There are hundreds of different pagan religions. Some of the best-known pagan religions are Buddhism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Taoism, Druidism, Shamanism, Wicca, Asatru, Neo-paganism, Eclectic paganism, and traditional Native American religions.

Is paganism a cult?

No, some pagan groups may be classified as cults, just like some Christian groups are cults. The Christian group which was headed by Jim Jones at Jonestown and which committed mass suicide and the followers of David Koresh at Waco, Texas are both considered cults. The members of these groups were extremely devoted to an individual person who required unusual or extreme beliefs and to the practices of those beliefs. Fanatics and religious charlatans can occur in any religion, denomination, or race, so cults can be a part of any religious or spiritual tradition.

The word cult is often used as a slur to demean someone else's religious beliefs. It is frequently used to criticize indigenous or folk cultures and their beliefs. Historians sometimes use the word cult to refer to any ancient belief system that was not part of major world religions, including ancient Goddess worshippers.

Are pagans devil worshippers?

No, pagans do not believe in or worship the devil or Satan. He is part of the Judeo-Christian mythology.

Are all pagans witches?

No, many pagan groups do not practice witchcraft. some of the pagan groups who do practice witchcraft include Wiccans, Dianic Witches, and Green Witches. But not all witches are pagans either. Christian Witches are practicing Christians who also use witchcraft. Santeria is a Cuban religion that blends Voodoo, Witchcraft, and Christianity.

What do I need to be a pagan?

Pagans share a love of nature and a commitment to live in harmony with the earth and her creatures. You need to feel in your heart that this is where your own spirituality is leading you. Only you know if you are a pagan in your heart.

What is a pagan ritual?

A ritual is anything that focuses your spiritual energy like a church service, a wedding, a funeral, or a Hopi Sun Dance. They are one way humans express their connection with divinity and with each other. Humans have created rituals since the beginning of time.

Pagan rituals may be for personal use alone or for a group to do together. Many pagan rituals begin by honoring the four directions and the elements Air, Fire, Water, and Earth which the directions represent. Rituals often include singing, chanting, dancing, drumming, poetry, and hymns to the Goddess or God. Some rituals are very complex and dramatic while others are very simple and flow with the energy of the group. Your grandmother may have placed a horseshoe over the door, a simple and popular protection ritual that is rooted in pagan tradition. Throwing spilled salt over your shoulder to ward off bad luck is another.

Do pagans believe in Jesus?

Jesus is considered by Christians to be the singular Son of God and a divinity in his own right. Pagans believe that all people have a divine spark. Some pagans believe Jesus was a great spiritual teacher, but those who believe his resurrection provides salvation are no longer pagans.

Who is the pagan god?

There is no single pagan God. Some pagan religions, like Hinduism and Eclectic paganism, have many gods and goddesses, while others, like Taoism, have no gods or goddesses at all. Some deities who are popular with contemporary American pagans include Artemis-Diana, Inanna, the Green Man, Isis, Brigid, Rhiannon, Apollo, Kore, and Demeter.

What is a Goddess?

The creative power of the universe has two basic sides: the Goddess and the God. The first deities humans worshipped were goddesses. These goddesses and their cohorts, the gods, are simply aspects of the two sides of the supreme being, the Goddess and the God.

Do pagans pray?

Many pagans pray, but the prayer will likely be in praise of a deity or to ask for personal ability or power to solve a problem rather than direct intervention by the God or Goddess. Many pagans also connect with the divine in other ways such as meditation, drumming, chanting, singing, or dancing. Some dedicate each task they perform during the day to the Goddess, whether it is hugging a tree or picking up litter on a beach.

How do you become a pagan?

Some people are born into pagan cultures. Others have pagan beliefs even though they don't even know the word. Still others recognize they are pagan after self-examination. They know they are spiritual beings but feel no connection to the other religions around them.

Practicing pagans become aware of the magic of the natural world around us and learn to honor the ways and cycles of Nature. Many new pagans begin by celebrating the phases of the moon. This can be as simple as taking the time each evening to gaze at the Moon. Others choose to really look at plants and animals. They may sit quietly to feel their energy. Many choose to do a small personal ritual and self-blessing to celebrate entering the pagan path.

What do pagans do?

Pagans try to live in harmony with the earth and to strengthen their understanding of this miracle called life. They go to school and work, garden, raise their children, and live their lives very much like everyone else with one exception: They practice a religion that teaches them to honor all life as blessed and connected. Many pagans honor their goddesses and gods with the same faith that other spiritual and religious people do, while others consider themselves atheist, agnostic, or just spiritual.

Where are the pagan churches?

There are thousands of pagan temples around the world. Small rituals may be held in people's homes, and large public rituals are often held in auditoriums. There are also virtual temples and altars on-line. Wiccans, most eclectic pagans, and some Native Americans worship in nature rather than in churches. They may gather in parks, in fields, in wooded groves, at a beach, by a lake, or anywhere that allows them to quietly experience the presence of the God and Goddess in nature.

Why do people say bad things about pagans?

Pagans do not try to convert others, so pagan beliefs are often misunderstood. That lack of understanding may lead to fear and ridicule. Paganism is also associated with native cultures in primitive societies. Such cultures are seen by many as uneducated and unsophisticated. Some pagan beliefs are extremely disturbing to those of other faiths. Many of those faiths have a mission to convert non-believers, particularly pagans, to their own beliefs. This is made worse when popular entertainment exploits those views in movies, television, and the media.

Can a Christian be a pagan too?

Christianity sprang from Judaism. The Jewish religion sees mankind as flawed and tempted by evil and requires followers to worship only one God. Christianity takes it one step further and offers flawed mankind everlasting life after death if they will accept Christ?s teachings. Pagans who were converted by Christian missionaries were allowed to continue some of their practices, but they were expected to limit their worship to the Christian idea of God and to accept the Christian beliefs of Grace, Salvation, and Heaven. This does not mean that pagans cannot enjoy the company and fellowship of Christians. Pagans may even wish to join in the celebrations of many Christian holidays, some of which are derived from their own. However, acceptance of Christian beliefs would mean they were no longer pagans.

How do I start learning about being a pagan?

You can find information about paganism in libraries and on the World-wide Web by searching keywords such as pagan and goddess. You can also look in the Occult or Metaphysical section of bookstores.

What can I do if my family or friends think it is bad to be a pagan?

Many people are confused about what paganism is. Explaining the basics presented earlier in this article may help friends and family to understand. Sometimes friends and family members will see the choice of paganism as a rejection of their religion and thus a rejection of them. It is important to let them know that paganism is the religion that best expresses what you know in your heart you believe. Let them know that you respect their faith and hope they will support you in yours.

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