What is a Pagan?

General chit chat and discussions here.
All are welcome!
Post Reply
Dancing_Moon_Child
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:03 pm
Gender: Female
Location: South Carolina
Contact:

What is a Pagan?

Post by Dancing_Moon_Child »

I don't remember if I've ever posted this here or not....a friend sent it to me a long time ago. Just thought I'd share.
I think that every young person entering or joining this site should be directed here to read this. This is who this site is for......the person who follows this path.
_____________________________________________________________
What is a Pagan?
by Pangie

A Pagan is a person who believes that everything has a soul or spirit.  This is called Animism, and all Pagan religions share this belief.  Rivers, animals, rocks, trees, land are all filled with there own unique spirits for people who are Pagans.  Christians believe that only humans have souls or spirits, Pagans see the divine spirit in all life.

Is there more than One Pagan Religion?
There are hundreds of different Pagan Religions.  Some of the best known Pagan religions are Buddhism, Shintoism, Native American Religions, Hinduism, Taoism, Wicca, Druidism, Asatru, Shamanism, Neo- Paganism and Eclectic Paganism.

Is Paganism a Cult?
No, Paganism is a major World Religion, with many branches.  More people on Earth are Pagans than any other faith.  Some Pagan groups may be classified as cults, just like some Christian groups are cults.
The Christian groups headed by Jim Jones at Jonestown, who committed mass suicide, and the followers of David Koresh at Waco, Texas are both considered cults, but they were once considered Christian denominations.  Any religious or spiritual tradition can have cults in its midst, that does not mean that the entire tradition is a cult.  Wackos and religious charlatans come in all religions, denominations, and races.
The word Cult is often used as a slur word to disparage someone else's religious beliefs.  It is frequently used derisively toward non-white or indigenous folk cultures and their beliefs.

Are Pagans Devil Worshippers?
No, Pagans do not worship the Devil or Satan.  Pagans do not believe in the Devil, he is part of the Judeo-Christian Religions and mythology.  Most Devil worshipping groups are not Pagan, because they are centered on a Judeo-Christian supernatural being, namely Satan.  These Devil Worshippers are a sect of Christianity, even though Christianity does not want to claim them.
Their focus is on opposing the mainstream Christian God and honoring the Devil, neither of these beings are part of Paganism.  There is a tradition that calls itself Satanist.  Satanists are not devil worshippers.  They do not believe in god or the devil or any force outside themselves and other living creatures.  They believe they can control their lives without the need to place responsibility on a higher power of any kind.  Devil worshippers on the other hand sometimes do claim to be Satanists.  This leads to lots of confusion.
People often confuse the Occult with Pagan Religion, this is a mistake, and they are very different things.  Many religions, including; Pagan, Non-Pagan, Christianity and Judaism have occult aspects, many do not.

Are Pagans Witches?
Some Pagans are Witches, some are not.  Many Pagan groups do not practice Witchcraft.  Wiccans are a type of Pagan Witches; there are also Dianic Witches, Green Witches, and other types of Pagan Witches.  There are also Christian Witches, many of these people are practicing Christian, but also practice Witchcraft.  Santeria is a South American religion that is a blend of Voodoo, Witchcraft and Christianity.

What do I need to be a Pagan?
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 it is where your own spirituality is leading you.  Paganism is for Pagans, only you know if you are a Pagan in your heart.

What is a Pagan Ritual?
A Religious or Pagan Ritual is anything that focuses your spiritual energy.  A church service is a ritual, so is a wedding, or a funeral, or a Hopi Sun Dance.  Humans have created rituals since the beginning of time.  Ritual is the way humans express their connection with divinity and each other.
There are many kinds of Pagan Ritual, personal rituals you do by yourself, full moon rituals, by yourself or with a group.  There are blessing rituals for a new home, or for children, or for healing, or cleansing.  There are protection ritual, and banishing rituals, to name a few. Your Grandmother may have placed a horseshoe over the door; this is a popular form of simple protection ritual that is rooted in Pagan tradition.  Or throwing salt over your shoulder if it is spilled, so as not to attract bad luck.
For Wiccans and Neo-Pagans there are some basic Ritual Traditions that you may have heard about.  Many Pagan Ritual begin by honoring the Earth and the 4 directions, as well as the elements the directions represent, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.  A circle is cast and blessed with water, smoke, salt and light in honor of these elements.  Rituals often include, singing, chanting, dancing, drumming, poetry and hymns to the Goddess or Gods.  Some Rituals are very complex and are almost like a play; other rituals are very simple and flow with the energy of the group.

Do Pagans believe in Jesus?
Some do and some do not.  Many Pagans believe in a wide variety of higher beings.  Jesus is one of these beings for some Pagans.  Some believe he was a great spiritual teacher, but not a god.  Some have no feelings about him at all.

Who is the Pagan God?
There is no single Pagan God.  Some Pagan faiths, like Hinduism and Eclectic Paganism have many Gods and Goddesses.  Some Pagan Traditions like Taoism have no Gods or Goddesses.  Some popular deities with contemporary American Pagans are Artemis-Diana, Inanna, the GreenMan, Isis, Brigid, Rhiannon, Apollo, Kore, and Demeter.

What is a Goddess?
The first deities humans worshipped were Goddesses.  A Goddess is the female creative and life giving forces of the Universe and much more.

Do Pagans Pray?
Yes, many Pagans pray and many connect with the divine in other ways.  Many meditate as a form of prayer, other drum as a form of prayer; others chant, sing or dance.  Some dedicate each task they perform during the day, to the Goddess.  Throughout human history people have spoken to their Gods or Goddesses through many different kinds of "prayer".
When a Muslim prays, they bow toward Mecca, when a Christian prays they cross themselves, when a Buddhist prays they chant or make a sand Mandela, when a Pagan prays, they may be chanting, doing ritual, hugging a tree or picking up litter on a beach, as a way of connecting with their Goddesses or Gods.

How do you become a Pagan?
You look into your heart and ask if it is the right path for you.  Some people are born Pagans, even though they do not even know the word, others are born into Pagan cultures, and many others become Pagan when they search their hearts for a connection with their Spirits.
To become a practicing Pagan, you must learn to look at Nature and begin to honor her ways and cycles.  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 and sing softly to yourself.  Make up the words as you go along, you will be amazed at how easy it is.  Really look at plants, and your cat, sit quietly and see if you can feel their energy.  The first steps to becoming a Pagan are becoming aware of the magic of the natural world around you.  The second step is do a small personal ritual and self-blessing that celebrates your entering the Pagan Path.

What do Pagans do?
Pagans try to live in harmony with the Earth and raise their children to honor the ways of Nature.  Pagans strive to strengthen their understanding of this miracle called Life. Pagans go to school, go to work, pay taxes, clean house, garden, raise kids, make art, watch TV, do not watch TV, eat at McDonalds, do not eat at McDonalds and love or hate computers, just like everyone else. Pagans are just folks who have a different religion, a Nature Religion that teaches them to honor all life.  Pagans honor their Goddesses and Gods with the same faith that non-pagans have their own religions.

Where are the Pagan Churches?
There are thousands of Pagan Temples around the world.  Most Eclectic Pagans, Wiccans and Native American Religions do not worship in churches.  Because they are Nature Religions.  Religious Rituals are often held outside, in parks, fields, wooded groves, at a beach or lake, anywhere that promotes a connection with Nature.  Large public rituals are often held in auditoriums, small rituals are often held in people's homes.  There are also Virtual Temples and Altars online.

Why do people say bad things about Pagans?
People often ridicule what they do not understand.  Fundamental Christianity seems especially threatened by Pagans, although I do not know why.  Many hateful, ridiculous, and untrue things about Paganism have been said by Fundamentalist preachers, who obviously were not paying any attention to Jesus message.  Hate and prejudice were never a part of Jesus teachings.  Hollywood has also created many damaging and untrue stereotypes to sell movie tickets.  Funny, no one believes Robo-Cop is real, but people seem anxious to believe any absurd thing said about Pagans or Witches.  (NO "The Craft" was not realistic or true at all!!!).

Can a Christian be a Pagan too?
Many cultures have a blend of Christian and Pagan beliefs within their Christian Religions.  Irish Catholicism, Mexican, Italian and South American Catholicism all have incorporated many Pagan beliefs and customs into their Christian faith.  I am sure there are many others, but these are the ones I am most familiar with.  The crowning of Mary on May Day is from the older Pagan custom of "Crowning the May Queen" as a representative of the Goddess.
Religious belief is a very personal thing; it is the most personal thing about you.  How you express your spirituality is no ones business but your own and what you believe is between you and your higher power.  Your truth is in your own heart, honor it and do not let anyone limit it.

How do I start learning about being a Pagan?
You look into your heart and begin asking yourself questions about what is sacred.  The essence of Paganism is within you, many of the answers are there.  Hopefully, this group will enable you to learn more about Paganism.  Start with remembering to be grateful to the earth for sustaining your life and giving you food.

What can I do if my family or friends think it is bad to be a Pagan?
You can try to educate them.  If this does not work, quietly develop a Pagan heart. 
You can begin by trusting your own perceptions.  Then honor Nature and learn her ways.  You may not be able to buy books or go to public rituals, but you can watch a small patch of grass for 10 minutes and really see it, all true power comes through understanding. 
You can gaze at the night sky and feel the power of the Moon, and get to know Her phases. 
You can learn about herbs, and the environment. 
You can practice sewing, so when you can have ritual clothes, you will be able to create beautiful ones. 
You can look at National Geographic's at the Library and learn about Pagan societies and beliefs around the world. 
You can go to museums and see ancient Goddess & God figures. 
You can study about Native American customs.
You can pick up litter as a way to be a Pagan honoring Mother Earth.
You can meditate.
You can collect pictures of Nature.
You can soak in a tub and do a private ritual in your mind, as you bless the water for its life giving essence.
You can notice if the plants or animals around you need food or water.
You can thank the Earth for each bit of food you eat.
You can learn to recognize what Nature is saying by listening.

Regardless of what your friends or family believe, you can practice your faith in small, simple, healing ways that will create a powerful spiritual energy within you and strengthen your connection with the Earths Wisdom and Spirituality.

Peace and Love,
Dancing Moon Child

Past the seeker as he prayed came the crippled and the beggar and the beaten. And seeing them, he cried out, "Great One, how is it that a loving creator can see such things and yet do nothing about them?"... and She said,"I did do something. I made you." - Sufi Teaching
>

User avatar
Starwitch
Owner
Owner
Posts: 5021
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Contact:

Post by Starwitch »

That's a great article, Dancing Moon Child. Thank you for posting it. I'm sure it will be valuable information for many people, and I especially like the tips on what you can do to be pagan if you can't really buy books or talk about it with people. I'm sure a lot of younger people will actually do many of those things, like learning to sew, learn about herbs, meditate, and hopefully pick up trash. I'm a little sensitive about trash being thrown around on the ground. I may even find some things to do from that list as well. Very nice! Thanks for posting. :)


Dancing_Moon_Child
Posts: 64
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:03 pm
Gender: Female
Location: South Carolina
Contact:

Post by Dancing_Moon_Child »

Your welcome.......where do I send the check for using up so much server space today?

:roll: :oops: ::coolglasses::

User avatar
Starwitch
Owner
Owner
Posts: 5021
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Contact:

Post by Starwitch »

lol! As long as you aren't writing in gibberish that no one can understand, you can post as much as you want. I like your posts especially. You always have interesting things to say, Dancer. Besides, I may have beat you on the long article. That one I posted is pretty long too! Probably too long to hold anyone's interest.


Whimsical

Post by Whimsical »

I couldn't have said it better myself Dancer.When people ask me about Pagan religions a million thoughts run through my head. It's sometimes hard to know where to start.....if the person's really interested. Your post was perfect...true thru the very last word. Thanks for posting it.

Whim

Marie*
Posts: 147
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 3:18 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Wisconsin

Post by Marie* »

I will have to print this one out too. LOL

Marie

User avatar
Starwitch
Owner
Owner
Posts: 5021
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Contact:

Post by Starwitch »

I have a new articles section on my web site and I posted your What is a Pagan article (with credits to you and Pangie.) Thanks. :)


moonlit
Posts: 515
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 10:31 am
Gender: Female
Location: ohio

Post by moonlit »

That was great! I reall liked reading that.. I may have to print that out also. So many people condemn us because they don't understand us and this artical explaines a lot! (sorry for the spelling I really suck at it)
**Nothing is set in stone**

hedge*
Posts: 1220
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:26 am
Gender: Female
Location: sitting on top of my mushroom

Post by hedge* »

When you use someone elses work for your own web site, is it ok and within copyright laws so long as you credit the person who wrote it????

hedge

Dan Luna

Post by Dan Luna »

Funny, I was only discussing copyright on an astronomy forum this morning. No, you can't copy someone else's work without their permission unless they've been dead 70 years (UK) or it was published before 1923 (US), although you can link to it if it's on the Web.

Project Gutenberg copyright page explains the rules they use for books held on their servers.

hedge*
Posts: 1220
Joined: Sun Oct 17, 2004 11:26 am
Gender: Female
Location: sitting on top of my mushroom

Post by hedge* »

Thanks for that Dan Luna :D
That is very good information.

hedge

Avildar Ratlav
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun Feb 06, 2005 5:01 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Baton Rouge, La.

Post by Avildar Ratlav »

Was a very good read, helped me see that I may have been a pagan all along and just didn't know it. I just never practiced the spell aspect of it. I wanted to I guess, but was too worried that I would mess up and word something wrong, then I would be cursed for life. But I guess that was what the Christian Religion put in my head as a child. It's clear to me now why I felt so uncomfortible with church and why I felt I didn't belong. It was because I didn't
~~~Johnny~~

User avatar
Starwitch
Owner
Owner
Posts: 5021
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Contact:

Post by Starwitch »

Hedgewitch,

This article is getting harder and harder to find on the net because the sites it used to be on have gone down, so only a few sites have it anymore. It's not like we can find this guy and ask him since he used a nickname. If he were interested, he could easily look it up himself and ask us to take it down, which I would gladly do if he wanted me to.

User avatar
Starwitch
Owner
Owner
Posts: 5021
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:42 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Contact:

Post by Starwitch »

Sorry, I thought we were talking about the other article "How to preach the gospel to a pagan." I don't know much about this article. You can be sure that we didn't ask permission to post this here though, but I would take it down if the author wanted me to.


lek
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2005 5:59 am
Gender: Female
Location: NY...state not city
Contact:

Post by lek »

"These Devil Worshippers are a sect of Christianity, even though Christianity does not want to claim them."

------------

Lots of interesting stuff, though I would like to refute this above statement.

Devil worshippers, Satanists, are in no way a 'part' of Christainity. Christainity is a faith of those who follow Christ and have a personal relationship with Christ. Satanists have no relationship with Christ other than mocking and contempt for him. Satanism at best is a b*stard religion that sprouted off from a central belief in the God of Abraham in ancient Hebrew which worships the all time loser Lucifier who thought himself better than God until he got his butt kicked. So, Satanists form their own group, write their own "bible" and try to put their spin on things.

I'm opened minded and eager to learn about all religions, but not Satanism, I draw the line there.

Overall that article was a very good read though, very informative.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act I, scene v

Post Reply

Return to “For Everyone”