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What Is Paganism? Clear up misconceptions

#1 Guest_Universal Spirit_*

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 06:25 PM

I have no experience with paganism, other than my Elementary and High School Catholic education that taught that pagans did not believe in God? Period.

I have not studied the subject, as my adult journey took me down the metaphysical path. I believe in God, The Universe, the Creator, the Law that put into action answers prayers. The Oneness.

In a nutshell can anyone tell something about paganism?

Do you believe in God?
The Devil?
Prayer?
Sacrifices?
Blood rituals?
Harvest rituals?

Excuse my ignorance, but I would appreciate a crash course. I see responses from pagans and would like to know what their core beliefs are in regards to their posts.

Thank You
Respectfully
Rev Elizabeth
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#2 Guest_Rev. Lois_*

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 08:02 PM

You will find as many answers to this question as therre are people to answer, if not more! :D

Part of the reason for this is that the religion, as a whole, does not have one central authority to determine beliefs, unl;ike the Catholic Church you are familiar with..

I can make some general statements, explaining things as I see them, but please understand I do not speak for all, and I do not intend to offend anyone by my statements or omissions.

Now then...

I think it is safe to say that many, if not all, pagans do beliefe in a supreme deity, in some form. The form may differ, but is often viewed as Lord and Lady, God & Goddess (representing a belief that the universe has two sides of all things). Specific God/Goddesses may be worshipped, whose influence may be stronger in a particualr aspect of the world (ex: Brigitte is the Celtic Goddess of Fire, and she may be invoked for aid in "burning away" old habits).

Yes, there are harvest festivals, as well as those representing growth and feritility, the lengthening days of the year and return of the sun, and others.

Evil does exist, but not necessarily in a personification such as Satan. Evil is present in the world, just as Good is present in the world. Life is held to be sacred, and the idea of a sacrifice which would involve the harming or killing of another, whether human or naimal, is repugnant to many.

Prayer does play a part in the beliefs of many pagans. Prayer can be an appeal to the Deity, thanks for gifts recieved, or prayer can be used to help others, by directing postitve thoughts and enegy to those in need.

As with any relgion, it can be the study of a whole life, but this, and the other repsonses I am sure you will recieve, are likely to give you the "crash course" you asked for.
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#3 Guest_stiger_*

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Posted 04 July 2005 - 10:56 PM

I will answer the questions the best I can without getting side tracked as the questions you pose are at the very core. I can only answer for myself though not all pagans.

First there are more flavors of pagans then ice cream. Many even using the same name. My personal is Witchcraft.

I believe in God,
but also in Goddess. This is becouse "God" is male and female.

I do Not beleve in the Devil, or Hell. Through life I must learn and grow. In order to learn all I must live many lives. All life is energy and sacred. Thus the one rule we all share in it harm none. This does include self.

Prayer.. Yes I pray, I respect the power of prayer and ritual. My "prayers" are the "spells that I cast", the energy I focus, the circles I cast, the power I place in the tools and Idols I use.

Sacrifices.. Hmm... My time, my energy, no more then anyone does for thier religion.
Not life, human or animal; sometime plant life but not without and offering to earth/Goddess be it a token, crystal, fertilizer (compost). Perhaps less then other religions as being a sucide bomber would never be acceptable. Serving your country, protecting freedom is acceptable.

Blood rituals.. Definatly not a comon event but I have been part of ritual where a small amount of one own blood is used. With AIDS, Hepatitis, and other blood borne pathogens great caution must be used.

Harvest rituals.. Yes and fertility. Honor the seasons as they form the cycles of the years of our lives.

Pagans, Neo-pagans, Witches, Wiccans, Druids, etc. we are human, we are good, we can be bad, we make mistakes. As there is good and evil; positive and negative; so there are also pagans. Some still live in hiding some are public. Some are just want to be.. becouse they think it is cool or they have friends that claim to be.

Movies often have a shred of truth. We all have to be taken as the individuals we are. Most don't mind a 1 on 1 but would rather not explain thier religion as part of a mini-lecture series.

stiger
Martin Walsh
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#4 User is offline   Josh 

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 08:19 AM

the simple answer is by defination, anyone who is not Christian, Jewish or Islamic is a Pagan.

Quote

pa·gan
n.
One who is not a Christian, Muslim, or Jew, especially a worshiper of a polytheistic religion.
One who has no religion.
A non-Christian.
A hedonist.
A Neo-Pagan.

adj.
Not Christian, Muslim, or Jewish.
Professing no religion; heathen.
Neo-Pagan.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[Middle English, from Late Latin pgnus, from Latin, country-dweller, civilian, from pgus, country, rural district. See pag- in Indo-European Roots.]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
pagan·dom (-dm) n.
pagan·ish adj.
pagan·ism n.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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#5 Guest_Universal Spirit_*

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Posted 05 July 2005 - 02:22 PM

Thank you all for taking the time to give me a capsule version.

This will help me.

As for the definition from the dictionary, as a Universalist I am a pagan, which I do not consider myself to be.

I am not only a Christian, Jew or Islamic I also embrace Hindu and Gnostic and others. I take truth wherever I find it. So I liketo say I see Oneness with the Universe.

I think perhaps the labels we put upon ourselves sometimes cause problems where none would exist except for the labeling. If we all love and accept goodness where ever it appears without labeling it, so much the better.


Bless All
And So It Is
Rev Elizabeth
:D
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#6 User is offline   peanuttiny 

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Posted 06 July 2005 - 12:27 PM

I was brought up being told that Pagans are a religious cult, as well asa few other religions. How can you tell what religions or so called religions are really cults.
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#7 Guest_Elle_*

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 06:49 AM

I class myself as Pagan or Neo-pagan in the modern sense of the word. In response to your questions:

Do you believe in God?
I believe in a superior power, something vast enough to encompass the Universe and everything in it, too vast for humans to comprehend. I call this the Divine Spirit, or simply the Divine. What we humans can comprehend of it I split into the God and Goddess, representing the masculine and feminine, and thereafter into the many gods and goddesses of mythology, each representing a facet of the total Divine.
The Devil?
No. The Devil is part of "Christian Mythology" and as I choose not to include that aspect of mythology in my own beliefs and practises, I do not believe in the devil. Most Pagans (see above) also do not believe in the Devil.
Prayer?
Yes. I pray frequently, often several times a day, normally to the Great Mother Goddess, or Ishtar, my patron goddess.
Sacrifices?
I believe in personal sacrifices. If I wanted something brought into my life, such as love, health, etc, and I wanted to show my gods how much I wanted it, then I might sacrifice something in my life either for a period of time or forever, such as chocolate, or tv. Sacrifices as in killing things, only so far as picking flowers. I wouldn't damage the life energy of anything more.
Blood rituals?
I believe that blood has power - your family will always have a bond on you, and you on them, even when your grown, because you share blood. A blood bond between very close friends will last until death seperates you. But if you mean using blood in rituals then no, I find that icky.
Harvest rituals?
Definately! There's something so fullfilling about Lughnasadh and Mabon (two of the commonly celebrated pagan harvest festivals) - probably the smell of bread baking in the air. Sitting down to a feast with your friends and family that you've helped to prepare, making toasts about everything in your life that your glad of, dancing in celebration of the abundance that surrounds you! It's a wonderful time!

Well, I hope I've answered your questions.

-Elle
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#8 Guest_Roger B._*

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Posted 08 July 2005 - 09:35 AM

In response as to whether paganism is a "cult." Of course it is (actually many cults).

Despite common connotation of a "cult" as something bad, a cult is simply:

Cult: 1. a particular system of religious worship, esp. with reference to its rites and ceremonies. (Primary definition, Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary).

Baptists are a cult, so are Roman Catholics, so are Shiite Muslims, so is and group, division, or denomination of any faith, however close to or divergent from your own faith.

Remeber always, that to any given individual, what THEY believe is Truth, and what anybody else believes is not. This is true even of those who believe that all beliefs are equally valid (if it weren't, then they would believe something else).

I (though ostensibly a Christian) believe that all beliefs, including my own, are false, because I believe that no-one can discover what is really Truth.

Roger
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#9 Guest_Rev. Ken_*

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 01:48 AM

I'd pretty much by definition have to go along with what Josh said! Just my opinion though!

Rev. Ken
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#10 Guest_atkenos_*

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Post icon  Posted 14 July 2005 - 05:16 AM

May I ask something completely off the topic

Several contributors have very fascinating designs or photos with their offerings

How do you upload pictures please? Where do you find such designs please?
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#11 User is offline   Josh 

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Posted 14 July 2005 - 06:22 PM

At the top

"my controls"

then either

"Edit Avatar Settings" for the pic off to the side
"Change Personal Photo" to upload a photo in your profile page
"Edit Signature" for sig blocks (look at mine)

[IMG]http://www.yourdomain.com/yourpicture.jpg[/IMG]


for images in your post..but review the TOS on hotlinking
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#12 User is offline   peanuttiny 

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Posted 16 July 2005 - 10:24 AM

Thanks for giving us the info, I toonre nothing about them, except for what you see on t.v.
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#13 Guest_On the path_*

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Posted 19 July 2005 - 12:46 PM

I too knew nothing of the Pagans.

This thread helped me to realize that they are more ordinary than what I first thought.

I hope to one day meet with one on a 1-1 basis someday to increase my level of understanding.
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#14 User is offline   Atwater Viking 

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:01 PM

Paganism contains many different concepts, though most having some cross overs and complimenting ideas.

However, saying a "pagan is a Pagan" is like saying that "All cars are Chevy's, because they have motors, transmissions, alternators, radiators and windshield wipers!" Just try and interchange the parts!

I belong to both the Ásatrú and Humanism Communities and I'm often getting into debates as to "how" I can celebrate the two simultaneously. I "must not have a devotion to one or the other" which is completely wrong. There are many aspects of the pagan and humanist beliefs that blend or cross over/overlay one onto the other, some major, some minor. I am very much devoted to my path, it is what fits for me.

The pagan Ásatrú community is devoted to the Nordic Pantheon of gods and goddesses and is my Belief structure, the Humanism is my Faith and even that isn't pure because I do believe in one omniscient Creator. Something/one, somewhere, somehow made all of creation happen and our Universe is the result of that whether in the Big Bang or some other form this all happened a long, long time ago. What we see today is the evolution of that initial spark of creation. I do hold that mankind is the highest intelligence, most complex life form on Earth and is meant to Lord over all the rest of lifeforms on the world, of which sadly we are doing a pretty bad job of btw.

I realize this is an old topic, but I felt it was necessary to throw in a tid-bit concerning this. Yes, indeed there are many practices that have been adopted from pagan rituals and heathenistic ways, but in no way shape or form does that make them in any manner "all the same".

Blessings of Peace,

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