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Book of Faiths

Pagan - General
Paganism
by Rev. Kit Bridgette

Paganism can be highly personalized and varies from practitioner to practitioner or group to group. It is termed an earth-based religion and can be viewed as a belief system in and of itself, or as the foundation of the many "denominations" or traditions of Wicca (i.e.: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc.), yet requires no initiation, only a desire to dedicate oneself to a path, thus setting it apart from the various traditions of Wicca. Modern paganism has it's roots in pre-Christian history and though we do not know verbatim the many rituals of our pagan ancestors we do know from ancient text, hieroglyphics and archeological finds the basis for many of modern pagan practices. Pagan simply means "from the country" or "country dweller" so it is natural that pagan rituals center on the seasons or wheel of the year. These celebrations being: Samhain (pronounced Sow'en) or Halloween, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnassadh, the vernal and autumnal equinox and the solstices of winter and summer. These seasonal celebrations are not only a celebration of the gifts of the Earth, but of the cycle of Life itself. Ritual, myth and symbolism are the general tools used by the pagan as guides to daily living. Other tools that may be utilized are meditation and divination methods such as tarot cards and pendulums among others.

Paganism is a pantheistic religion and most address their deities as the God and Goddess believing that balance in all things is important and acknowledging the male and female aspects of the Life force and Universe. Pagan beliefs encompass reincarnation or transmigration of the soul and for many, the use of Magick. Pagans do not adhere to the belief of sin or a single savior for all as defined by the Christian church believing instead in Karma and personal responsibility. As a general rule, Pagans do not proselytize or recruit allowing for each person to find their own path. We do not condemn the "great faiths" of the world in any way. Pagans tend to be activists, politically and socially, taking on the issues that are near and dear to our hearts to make this world a better place for our children. We are aware of our surroundings and the cost and rewards of our actions toward the Earth Mother and humanity. We volunteer our time at schools and hospitals, we car-pool and clean up highways, and we campaign for the unborn child who cannot speak for themselves and a myriad of other causes. We do this not to make an impression on our neighbor but to make an impact on our neighborhood and community. We do what we feel is right and good because to do less is a disservice to others and ourselves.

Paganism is more than a way of worship. It is a way of life and a celebration of those forces of the Universe, which are beyond the common knowledge of humankind, the divine eloquence of the cause of creation, and the journey of striving for attunement with that divine force as each individual names it.

Paganism can be highly personalized and varies from practitioner to practitioner or group to group. It is termed an earth-based religion and can be viewed as a belief system in and of itself, or as the foundation of the many "denominations" or traditions of Wicca (i.e.: Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc.), yet requires no initiation, only a desire to dedicate oneself to a path, thus setting it apart from the various traditions of Wicca. Modern paganism has it's roots in pre-Christian history and though we do not know verbatim the many rituals of our pagan ancestors we do know from ancient text, hieroglyphics and archeological finds the basis for many of modern pagan practices. Pagan simply means "from the country" or "country dweller" so it is natural that pagan rituals center on the seasons or wheel of the year. These celebrations being: Samhain (pronounced Sow'en) or Halloween, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnassadh, the vernal and autumnal equinox and the solstices of winter and summer. These seasonal celebrations are not only a celebration of the gifts of the Earth, but of the cycle of Life itself. Ritual, myth and symbolism are the general tools used by the pagan as guides to daily living. Other tools that may be utilized are meditation and divination methods such as tarot cards and pendulums among others.

Paganism is a pantheistic religion and most address their deities as the God and Goddess believing that balance in all things is important and acknowledging the male and female aspects of the Life force and Universe. Pagan beliefs encompass reincarnation or transmigration of the soul and for many, the use of Magick. Pagans do not adhere to the belief of sin or a single savior for all as defined by the Christian church believing instead in Karma and personal responsibility. As a general rule, Pagans do not proselytize or recruit allowing for each person to find their own path. We do not condemn the "great faiths" of the world in any way. Pagans tend to be activists, politically and socially, taking on the issues that are near and dear to our hearts to make this world a better place for our children. We are aware of our surroundings and the cost and rewards of our actions toward the Earth Mother and humanity. We volunteer our time at schools and hospitals, we car-pool and clean up highways, and we campaign for the unborn child who cannot speak for themselves and a myriad of other causes. We do this not to make an impression on our neighbor but to make an impact on our neighborhood and community. We do what we feel is right and good because to do less is a disservice to others and ourselves.

Paganism is more than a way of worship. It is a way of life and a celebration of those forces of the Universe, which are beyond the common knowledge of humankind, the divine eloquence of the cause of creation, and the journey of striving for attunement with that divine force as each individual names it.


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