Image Image

  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Sunday, 22 July, 2018
Image

Paganism (Part One of Two)

Date: 01 September, 2008

By: Chief & N.C.

Imagee have heard about paganism for quite sometime. Let's face it, paganism has been around near since time began. We also wanted to learn more about it so we read everything we could find on the subject — the good and the bad. We also contacted some people who are heavily into paganism via the web and email in order to get their take on paganism. The replies that came in were laid out so well and were so well written that we decided to basically just edit the stuff and print it (we got all the necessary permissions as well).

Hence the story is written by pagans for others who wish to learn about paganism:

Paganism is nothing more or less than a way to live one's life. For some paganism is a religion. For others it is more of a philosophy. An active participant driven philosophy or state of mind or being. It is, in my view, a great way to live one's life. The sheer beauty of paganism is — you practice it your way.

Now to most organized religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.) paganism is either 'devil worship' or someone who is not a member of or does not recognize a certain monotheistic form of religion. To the uninformed, paganism could mean anything or nothing at all.

Paganism:

As it is not an organized religion in the conventional sense of the word it can, therefore, be anything the practitioner wants it to be.

However, there are four basic tenants that pagans do follow:

  • Equality,
  • Freedom,
  • Natural order, and;
  • Respect.

As one can clearly see there is no 'evil' being practiced. No one is being harmed. No property is being taken or destroyed. Indeed pagans tend to lead a life of higher morality, if you will, than non-pagans. In other words pagans practice what they believe on a daily basis in all that they do. Or as an acquaintance of mine once said "If you stand in the center of truth you can describe with absolute clarity everything you see." And that is the truth.

But what do the four basic tenants actually mean to pagans? As the 'true meaning' of the tenants has not been etched in stone the definitions may vary from pagan to pagan but not by very much. That said, here they are:

  • Equality - No person is superior to any other person. By the same token, no person is inferior to any other person. The color of one's skin does not matter. Neither does a person's sex, nationality, wealth or lack thereof, ethnicity, religion or belief or sexual orientation. All people are the same and must be treated as equals.

  • Freedom - Do as you will as long as what you wish to do does not cause harm to anyone else or someone else's property. This includes what a person wishes to do with their own body. What they do is nobody else's business.

  • Natural order - There is birth, growth, maturity, decline and death. The cycle then repeats itself.

    There is also the relationship between sky, earth, plant, animal and human. All are utilized by each other. All are needed by each other.

  • Respect - Is the key to which the doors to the other tenants may be opened. One cannot practice equality if one does not respect their fellow human being. The same concept hold true for freedom and the natural order.

    Honesty, ethics, responsibility, trust, commitment and the like are all components of respect. Respect is either present — at all times — or it is not. It is not like a light — to be turned on or off at will.

    Respecting the natural order also means to respect nature. In other words, it is fine to take what you need, but only what you need. Do not kill an animal simply to put its antlers on the wall. If you need meat then fine, kill an animal. There is nothing wrong with that. But only kill (take) what you need.

    Do not over farm the land either. Rotate crops. Let the land sit fallow to rejuvenate itself. Use organic methods of farming the land. Do not poison the land — respect it.

    The same is true with the seas, lakes, streams and, in essence, all natural resources.

That is it. While it is true that we could go on forever refining the definitions of the four tenants of paganism there would be no point to it other than to create artificial loop holes for 'cafeteria pagans' (those few who would rather pick and choose than practicing the whole of the four tenants).

The important thing about the four tenants is practicing them — daily. Living one's life by them.

Important pagan days:

Again, that would depend upon the practicing pagan. Though most pagans recognize four days above all others. They are:

  • Winter solstice.
  • Spring equinox.
  • Summer solstice.
  • Fall equinox.

As you can see these four days follow the natural order and have since time began. Some pagans have or recognize additional days. It varies considerably.

Pagan worship:

Some pagans have rituals or ceremonies to coincide with certain important days. Other pagans have rituals which are important to themselves only and do not fall on any specifically important day of the year. Still others may not have any rituals whatsoever.

Where a pagan worships, if they worship at all, is up to the individual pagan. There are no actual cathedrals or churches that I am aware of. However, the most important aspect is to remember that paganism is an active or living philosophy or state of mind or being.

The one thing I believe all pagans would agree upon is the constant practice of living within the boundaries of the four tenants. Other than that the sky is the limit.

Pagan Gods:

Paganism is not monotheistic. Most, but not all, of the pagans I know have or believe in one God and his equal, the Goddess. It is a Yin and Yang situation. A situation of perfect harmony or of perfect balance. Indeed, a perfect union. It is an existence that pagans strive to achieve.

Some pagans believe not only in God and the Goddess but also of the harmony of the sky and the earth which is known as Father Sky and Mother Earth. Still others have more.

Paganism and human evolution:

It would seem that there are three sides to this particular coin:

  • Creationism.
  • Evolution. And, for the politically correct;
  • Intelligent design.

No pagan that I know of believes the biblical fable of creationism. As for evolution some, if not the majority, of pagans believe in the evolution of the human species. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is for most pagans not even worth discussing.

There is another option however, a fourth side to the coin, if you will. The one of 'who cares'? Really, who cares how we came to be. We are in fact here and that is that. How we came to be is a mystery and shall probably remain as such. Which is just fine with me.

Paganism and family:

Continue on to Part II.

(Return to the top)