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  • Defining Our Paganism

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    26 posts, 13 voices, 790 views, started Dec 9, 2008

    Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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      Pearl
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      In a message Chinadoll sent to me, she said she wasn’t sure about the word “Pagan.” A lot of people have been fed misinformation (either deliberately or mistakenly) about what Paganism is and what the word means, so I thought that those of use who call ourselves Pagan might want to share what the word means to them personally as well as post resources to help people who are unfamiliar with it understand what it really is.  

      I think a lot of people are trying to reclaim the word “Pagan” because for centuries non-Pagans had tried to vilify the term because they were trying to destroy the Pagan religions, especially during the Inquisition. Pagan has good connotations for me; it’s empowering. The word Pagan originally meant “country dweller” and reflects the nature-based religions that evolved with the people. That’s how I define Pagan—nature-based spirituality. I base my spirituality and religious beliefs on nature, and on the seasons and cycles of nature and on working in harmony in nature.  

      Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

      [Link Removed]

      “Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning “country dweller, rustic“)[1] is a word used to refer to various religions and religious beliefs from across the world. The term has various different meanings, though, from a Western perspective, it has modern connotations of a faith that has polytheistic,[2] spiritualist, animistic or shamanic practices, such as a folk religion, historical polytheistic or neopagan religion.

      The term has been defined broadly, to encompass all of the religions outside the Abrahamic monotheistic group of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.[3] The group so defined includes most of the Eastern religions, Native American religions and mythologies, as well as non-Abrahamic ethnic religions in general. More narrow definitions will not include any of the world religions and restrict the term to local or rural currents not organized as civil religions. Characteristic of pagan traditions is the absence of proselytism and the presence of a living mythology which explains religious practice.[4]

      The term “pagan” is a Christian adaptation of the “gentile” of Judaism, and as such has an inherent Abrahamic bias, and pejorative connotations among Western monotheists,[5] comparable to heathen, and infidel, mushrik and kafir (كافر) in Islam. For this reason, ethnologists avoid the term “paganism,” with its uncertain and varied meanings, in referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism; however others criticise the use of these terms, claiming that these are only aspects that different faiths may share and do not denote the religions themselves.

      Since the later 20th century, “Pagan” or “Paganism” has become widely used as a self-designation by adherents of Neopaganism.[6] As such, various modern scholars have begun to apply the term to three separate groups of faiths: Historical Polytheism (such as Celtic polytheism and Norse paganism), Folk/ethnic/Indigenous religions (such as Chinese folk religion and African traditional religion), and Neo-paganism (such as Wicca and Germanic Neopaganism).”


      Bernadette68, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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          Lilli925 wrote Dec 9, 2008
        • I read your comment about my blog on the whole religion thing I had going on at work and thank you for your beliefs. I to practice the art of Wicca, to me this means all things earth. The goddess, and all things that come naturally to the world as we know it... Many people see this as believing in the devil, and this is so far from the truth, holistic medicine had it start in Driud beliefs in a lot of the countries that the Excerpt mentioned there were no real doctors as we know them today so they took what they had on hand thru trail and error and learned to heal their illnesses naturally, and in doing so gave thanks to the places and things where they found them. Midwifes in most places were the only thing standing between life and death. And the practice of these skills grew in time and then feared by the very people they helped. This is just the long and short of it... There is so much more to this subject, it gives me the peace that I seek in my hectic life.. without being judged? At least not by anyone who understands... Blessed Be...



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          Almostfive0 wrote Dec 9, 2008
        • Thanks for that description Bernadette...I have never seen it
          defined before.
          I can relate to what you say. I love nature, know that I am a part of the it and how it affects me spiritually.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Inakika wrote Dec 9, 2008
        • Ladies, thank you for this, it’s been so informative for me. Too often the things we don’t understand we fear.



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          Bobbi Bacha wrote Dec 9, 2008
        • HI Ladies, One of my top PI’s that works for me is into Wicca and is dating a Pagan.  She does ghost hunting on the weekends and she is really gentle and nice.  I grew up with her and knew here when she was a catholic and many fazes in her life.  She wears a wicca star on her neck and is a vegan too.   Inakika its true we fear what we dont understand.  The religion is based upon the earth, energies of the earth and nature.

          I am a Christian and I believe in God, but I accept all beliefs and would never force mine on others.  

          Interesting topic..Love it.  Thanks Bernadette and Lilli.. and ladies.



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          Theresa Simmons wrote Jan 12, 2009
        • it says in the bible ......thou shalt have no outher god before me.i aiiways heard pagens amd wiccas was devil worshipers.read your bible.do you believe in witchcraft too?wAS REALLY INTERESTED BUT WONT BE BACK.



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          Lilli925 wrote Jan 12, 2009
        • I am sorry that you think you won’t be back on this site, because of someone else’s belief’s what we are trying to say to everyone about the subject at hand, is our belief stems from nature around us. How to live in harmony with the planet and all of it’s beauty. Originally all medicine derived from the earth, and nature when we as wicca take from the earth in the beginning of time, we would give thanks to the places or animal who’s life we took it from, just as the indians did and do, we are naturally not violent, or even evil. the herbs and potions all stem from the beggining of medicine, whether you know it or not midwives started in just the same way, at the beggining there were no true doctors as we know them today. And what few there were were so far and widely spread, people had to rely on the knowledge that had been past down to them to survive. This is just the tip of the ice for an example of what you would call witch craft. I find myself needing to defend your unneed attack on something that you obviously do not understand, and for this I am sorry.
          Please have a great day... estatic
          Lilli



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          Bobbi Bacha wrote Jan 12, 2009
        • Lilli you are correct, it was Indians and so called Pagans in other cultures shamen, that were the first medicine men as they studied nature and herbs in healing.  Being primative many did not understand why they would be well suddenly or not be sick any longer and soon the word magic, witch, sorcerer emerged out of ignorance of what people did not understand, a simple chemical compound such as gun powder at one time was thought to be magic.

          Those even today that see our science scoff at it but if you really look back over history, our science fiction of yesterday is our science and technology today.

          The craft is really from what I understand old teachings of science and natural herbs, which had become a religion of sorts by todays standards.  I am not sure it was ever viewed as a religion in more primative cultures and because those that could not understand it labled it a worship or practice of the devil, which was something there religion believed in, not the now so called wiccan’s.

          In answer to the Terry Lynn, I am Christian, but I think that the practice of wiccan was really a misunderstood science and labled devil worship by ignorance.

          Yes Terry Lynn the Bible does say thou shalt have no other God before me, but it doesnt say to force your religous views on others or to look down upon anyone that has a different viewpoint, and again in this particular case, I think that the assumption ofall Wicca as being devil worship is a misconception, since I believe the concept of devil is a Christian idea.

          Lilli, I think many dont really understand what Wicca or Pagan is, and Im glad you have had the opportunity to express your views along with everyone else in the group.

          It wasent too long on a blog I was simply stating my Zodiac sign when I was told Id be rebuked, by someone believing the study of Zodiac was belief in the devil.

          Many also see buddism and or hindu religions as a form of devil worship.  

          Lilli and all in your group, be at peace in your beliefs.  I also think that Christians are misrepresented by the extreme so please dont judge us all by those examples.



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          Theresa Simmons wrote Jan 12, 2009
        • IM not.i was just taught that wiccans ans paganism was wrong. if im wrong ,then i dont understand maybe.but i am entiteled to my own opinion.just like the rest of you are.if its your thing go far it.its not mine.dont mean to judge,just stating my opinion.



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          Lilli925 wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • No attitude intended, most mornings I am up early and I come off shorthanded when I write, It seems like I am always having to defend a position no matter what it maybe, most of the time I do not give an opinion on this subject for the simple fact, I have given most religions a chance at some point in my life I have dabbled in several trying to find the one that I can call my own, most so far have given me the impression that I do not need to be there because I am not their kind of person, or that I am not good enough to take up the space needed to be there... So I have shyed away from organized religion... When I was a child my parents taught me that no matter where I would be in life this is where (God) would be, that I would not need to literally go to a church to find him... That (s)he is of no one color, faith, belief, or sex, but as long as your belief was in something bigger then yourself, that I could not go wrong in anything that I wanted to accomplish... Just this fact alone has taken me a very long time to understand, As I have said before, the belief I have is in all thinks earth, so as far as I was lead to believe (God) made the earth, Pure so it would seem to me that this would be a good thing to place my faith in, it is something that I can see, feeling, and it is solid it gets me through...
          Much Love and Peace...
          Lilli



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          Almostfive0 wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • "...(God) made the earth, Pure so it would seem to me that this would be a good thing to place my faith in, it is something that I can see, feeling, and it is solid it gets me through..."
          Very well said Lilli!
          Much love.



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          Rena Bennefield wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • Disclaimer: I have no intention of bashing, judging, or discrediting any ones religious beliefs in my statement. If I have offend anyone with this I will remove it...

          I am simply trying to show how "We" here in America...accept some religions and label those we don't understand or fear, to keep them from their right to spiritual growth.  

          I am just starting out here and I am very interested in Who..What..When..And where..I do not judge others beliefs...From all I have gathered over these past few years..And the Wiccan's I have met were gentle kind, happy, and very approachable..They never once tried to convert me or try to discredit my beliefs..I was born in a God fearing home with Baptist beliefs..So yes I know the verse ...but from what I have gathered these people do not worship any one thing in particular..They believe and have a love for the very things God created.... What really has me cooked is that other religions like Buddhist, Scientology, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses,and so on are religions who do not follow the teachings of the King James Bible yet  are allowed the right to teach and gather together. .. They don't teach the Bible as was taught to me..But because they are well documented and are very organized religions, they are accepted and respected by others..Even though they may not believe in their following..They still give them recognition and space to practice their beliefs...without retaliation..Can you imagine what would happen if someone of a Wiccan religion opened up a building..(As in a church setting) a place of worship..The Christians would burn it down and claim they had a right to...Bah...Religious freedom should be just that..Freedom to express and love, worship whatever they believe..With the acceptation of sacrificing small children *snicker*..... Ok "My Bad "but come on people you know as well as I do that "People who are misinformed about Wiccans think they are devil worshipers. It's pure ignorance or maybe lack of information that feed these people. Sure I won't say there are people out there who take the name of Wiccan and distort it with their own wacked out religious rituals...Hay there are people who do the same with Christian religions..Yet they keep building churches...This is a topic and a way of life that I find interesting and I feel it is worth looking into and learning about...As Christians, we were taught to "Not" judge others...



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          Rena Bennefield wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • To understand you need to be informed...This is a page copied and pasted off the net...

          “We are not evil. We don’t harm or seduce people. We are not dangerous. We are ordinary people like you. We have families, jobs, hopes, and dreams. We are not a cult. This religion is not a joke. We are not what you think we are from looking at T.V. We are real. We laugh, we cry. We are serious. We have a sense of humor. You don’t have to be afraid of us. We don’t want to convert you. And please don’t try to convert us. Just give us the same right we give you—to live in peace. We are much more similar to you than you think.” Margot Adler 4

           “If you take [a copy of] the Christian Bible and put it out in the wind and the rain, soon the paper on which the words are printed will disintegrate and the words will be gone. Our bible IS the wind and the rain.” Herbalist Carol McGrath as told to her by a Native-American woman. 5

           “I don’t think witchcraft is a religion. I would hope the military officials would take a second look at the decision they made.” G.W. Bush®, as Governor of Texas. Interviewed on ABC’s Good Morning America, 1999-JUN-24. He disapproved of Wiccan soldiers being given the same religious rights as others in the military.

           “We should educate people that ‘Witch’ is not evil but ancient and positive. The first time I called myself a ‘Witch’ was the most magical moment of my life.” Margot Adler. 4

           “When one defines oneself as Pagan, it means she or he follows an earth or nature religion, one that sees the divine manifest in all creation. The cycles of nature are our holy days, the earth is our temple, its plants and creatures our partners and teachers. We worship a deity that is both male and female, a mother Goddess and father God, who together created all that is, was, or will be. We respect life, cherish the free will of sentient beings, and accept the sacredness of all creation.” Edain McCoy  

           “Neo-Pagan Witches aren’t Satanists. The Christian anti-God, Satan, has no place in Pagan pantheons, either mythologically or theologically. Plainly and simply, to non-Christians, Satanism is the dark side of Christianity.” Otter and Morning Glory Zell 6

          About this section:
          Wicca is the largest of the Neopagan religions. Wiccans have great reverence for the Earth and for their Goddess and her consort, the horned God. Their main rule of behavior is the Wiccan Rede which forbids them from harming people, including themselves, except in some cases of self-defense.  

          Many, perhaps most, are solitary practitioners. Others form small groups of believers, called covens, groves, etc. Because of centuries of religious propaganda and misinformation, many conservative Christians, and others, associate Wiccans with Satanists even though the two belief systems are as different as Christianity and Atheism.

          Our essays on Wicca are very different from those on Christianity.  

           Wicca is a very decentralized religion; many Wiccans develop their own beliefs, rituals, and other practices. The latter are often not known outside the solitary practitioner or Wiccan coven. So we describe the beliefs and practices that most Wiccans hold in common.

           Most of Christianity is highly centralized within denominations whose beliefs, rituals, and other practices are well documented and available to us. So we describe the diversity of Christian beliefs in great detail.

          here is the link:    

          [Link Removed]


          Kataramoon, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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          Almostfive0 wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • Thanks Kat! Very informative and very well said.
          Peace.



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          Scorpion13 wrote Jan 13, 2009
        • I appreciate all the comments. It’s lack of knowledge that makes one distrust or fear another group. My understanding is that the devil is a christian concept, too. Some Christians interpret the bible as allegorical,not literal. In that case, the devil would be a symbol for darkness or lack of connection with god, not a “real” entity.  

          “Judge not lest ye be judged.” Jesus



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          Rena Bennefield wrote Jan 15, 2009
        • Bernadette... Well Put. I think that you have stated your point and purpose quite clearly. Great research. I will check the sites you have left for us..I think it is about time that other religions stopped hammering us because it's something they choose not to understand.It has always been the practice, even in this day and age with all the education and vast amount of technology we have at our disposal, still some people prefer to hide behind ignorance...It's just not acceptable. Once again "BRAVO"!!!!!



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          Scorpion13 wrote Jan 15, 2009
        • Well said, Bernadette.



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          Owlmaria wrote Jan 27, 2009
        • This is from an old man who was full blooded Blackfoot:
          Lots of Love and Respect
          May the Great Spirit Love and Protect you
          To The End of Time.

          Hatha Squoben Te Ma Ther

          O Great Spirit this I ask of You
          Aho



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          Owlmaria wrote Jan 27, 2009
        • Have you heard of the book “Pagan Pathways” by Graham Harvey & Charlotte Hardman?



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          Vasilia wrote Mar 16, 2009
        • “Witchcraft is really Womancraft! It is about taking control of your own life instead of letting others control you. It is defining yourself as a woman instead of being defined by those who seek to define, dominate, and oppress you. Witchcraft/Womancraft is about being a woman on your own terms. It is about women deciding who and what we are and should be instead of letting misogynous institutions force us into the roles they want for us.”

          Bernie, I couldn't have said this better if I tried!  What really drew me to Paganism and leaving the church (beside the fact that nature has always been my true holy place) is that by getting into Wicca, I found my own power and my own voice, especially as a woman. The world has always been threatened by strong, powerful women, and it felt great beyond measure to embrace a faith that embraced me .



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          (華娃娃) ChinaDoll wrote Mar 16, 2009
        • How does this fit in to the AA type of meeting? You see, they will say “I am powerless over my addiction“.  I am just thinking over what some of you have said “power“.  I am confused.



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