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What does it mean to be a PAGAN?

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Moongirl
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What exactly is Paganism and what does in mean to be a Pagan?

Definition on the Pagan Federation website:

A definition of a Pagan:
A follower of a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion.
A definition of Paganism:
A polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion

.

Further down on their website:

What makes a Pagan?
There are many answers to this; briefly Paganism encompasses the indigenous belief of a country. So before any human-centric religions developed there were many other spiritual traditions in each country. For example Druids in Celtic countries, Shamans in many countries including Native America and Siberia, Shinto in Japan, Witchcraft and Wicca, Norse Tradition and many other traditions.

From Wikipedia:
Paganism (from religions in particular.

But surely, the followers of the above mentioned traditions would call themselves Druids, Shamans etc. I’m a Wiccan and wouldn’t call myself a pagan in the first instance, however Wicca might be found under the Pagan umbrella definition.

So what does PAGAN mean to you and why do you call yourself a pagan? What Gods/pantheons do you worship? Do you call yourself pagan AND druid, pagan AND shaman and so on….? Some people also call themselves Neo-Pagans, but I’m not quite sure what they mean by that. :confused:

I’ve had this discussion with some friends recently and I’m curious on how other pagans define their believes. To be, the word PAGAN is quite vague and could literally describe anyone who worships nature.

It would be interesting to know your views on this! 🙂

BB
Moongirl

38 Replies
(@whispers)
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Joined: 18 years ago

Hi,

I consider myself to be pagan. I don't worship any Gods. Although I could say I worship Gaia, as I do worship Mother nature. I don't know what else to add really?

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Silverbroomrider
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I think what it could well be a umbrealla.

Although I am English I am British too. The Walsh, Irsh, Scotish are also British. You may be Wiccan but you are also Pagan. Druids, Shamans, Shinto, Witchcraft and Wicca (always thought Witchcraft and Wicca to be the same) all being an old crafts and so are Pagan.

I am just coming into this, although I think I have always lived by the wicca cede/rede/law is "an ye harm none, do what ye will." and that is what I have tried to do all my life.

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moongoddess
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Hi 🙂

Well I am fairly new to all of this too but I would class myself as Wiccan/Pagan, the wiccan being first and foremost and I do worship the gods/goddesses.

I agree that it can be very confusing at times although the belief system itself is a very basic set of beliefs, so I will also watch this thread with interest and look forward to hearing other peoples views. :022:

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Topic starter
(@moongirl)
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Thanks for your replies! 🙂

This is indeed a bit confusing, as 'paganism' is describing such a huge number of paths. Just out of curiousity, would hindus call themselves pagan as they are worshipping many gods and consider many animals sacred?
I'm pagan in the sense that I worship many godessess/gods and see nature as sacred and that is a big part of Wicca. However Wicca is a system with a bit more structure.
Just wondering if there are people out there who call themselves pagan and nothing else (ie wiccan, shaman, druid etc).

It's also possible to be a witch without being a wiccan, as I see witchcraft as one of the oldest practises in the world, along with shamanism.

Moongirl (who keeps in pondering while looking at people basking in the sun outside the office!)

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(@blackraven)
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Joined: 16 years ago

To be honest, in my opinion I think that all the umberella terms should put themselves down as Pagan - at least until we can get some proper recognition from the government. e.g. when they did the census, they gave a total for pagans, but did not include Wiccans etc in the total, which brought the total down really. If all the individual paths had put pagan then there were loads more than some of the smaller religions which are recognised.

As a pagan myself, I don't follow god/gods or godess. I am more nature and earth bound, whilst very scientific.

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(@pincher)
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Joined: 14 years ago

really dont know what i am ,but admit to being facinated ,but also really confused, def not christian, but havnt got anything against them, believe in right or wrong , be nice to sort out my head and know:confused:

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nishira
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would hindus call themselves pagan as they are worshipping many gods and consider many animals sacred?

probably not. I say this because in spite of the similarities of Paganism/Hinduism (there are many), there is a distinct difference too.

In so far as my understanding of Paganism goes, Paganism teaches to embrace life, passion, experiences, to live life to the fullest. My understanding (very limited) of Paganism is that is epouses followers to live a rich and rewarding life (whatever that means to a give follower, of course) and engage in whatever makes you happy as long as it does not cause harm or damage to others.

Hinduism on the other hand, tends to espouse detachment from life, passions, strong emotional bonds, etc. Hinduism generally believes that the more we entrench ourselves in the passions of life - the more we are bonded to this earthly existence and thus, continued reincarnation - so the goals of hinduism are generally to elevate oneself above the passions and/or to live all passions for God only, and in that sense - to then elevate their spiritual self.

The above is admittedly, very brief abstractions of both philosophies and i'm sure both philosophies could be expounded to no end in regards to the variations of thought that would exist for either given philosophy.

Personally, i feel that if we are drawn to a particular action - we probably need to act on it in some fashion because simply to dismiss the compulsion would not in and of itself negate the deeper inner desire or karma that propels us to wanting to engage in that action (hope that makes sense). So i think we do have to act on the action but the method and manner of the actions we choose to engage in - help to define our future karma. I'll stop there because this is, of course, a Pagan thread and i don't want to take too many liberties expounding on my take of hindu philosophy.

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purplewolf
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I call myself a Yogic Pagan, I don't worship any Goddess or God, but I am earthly aware and an avid moon watcher. I live in the city and watch the trees through out the year. I can smell the rain before it comes (great when you have to hang out washing) and feel the electricity before the storm arrives.
Occasionaly I sit alone in a small room on my own and cast a little circle around myself and chant/pray/cast spells.
My understanding of the Yogic Philopsophy overlaps my Pagan belief (although there are differences too)

It has been said often enough, it 5 Pagans in a room and ask them to define what i means to be Pagan and you will get at least 7 different replies.

Purplewolf.

p.s In response to Silverbroomrider - The Southern Irish are Irish, not British.

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oakapple
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I'm just a pilgrim......on my spiritual path, gathering information, but the path is littered with all manner of trials and tribulations....we have to manoeuvre over and around many obstacles to reach the summit perched on top of our ' Holy Mountain '....but once there it's plain to see........ ' the Divine ' .....is the same in all languages and religions.

Behold the One in all things.
It is the second that leads you astray.

Kabir.

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usoowsin9
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clarity77
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Paganism for me is a way of life. That follow me for everywhere I go or rather I follow it ;). It is on my backround, on my familyhistory, on my knowledge, on my actions, on my choices, it is stuck on me :D.

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*dreamer*
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I class myself as pagan to me it means free will to believe what you want.
🙂

If it harm none do what you will

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clarity77
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If it harm none do what you will

I thought so also and I was suprised when some people express it may offend if it does not harm anyone :confused: ...

I think it is connection just idea of tight free will...

I like to start topic about this subject but my english skills are not good enough to express what I actually am asking.

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holisticbabe
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I consider myself to be pagan eclectic, I suppose. I dont worship any gods as such but yes I do love and respect the universal energies and work with them daily and nature is a huge part of that. But I also work with angels and guides which is why I add on the eclectic..... I hope that makes sence

paula
xxx

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(@myarka)
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to me being pagan is being in tune with creation.

Myarka.

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Urban_Hippy
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I class myself as a Celtic Pagan, and like most here I don't worship Gods/Goddesses/Deities.

I feel connected with nature and work with animal guides and love learning about natural remedies.

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MadJack
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If anybody asks me i am just tell them i am a pagan and if they are still talking to me and not running for the hills, and ask a bit more i tell them i am Wiccan 😀 I think that the word pagan envelopes a multitude of beliefs, of which Wicca is just one of them. For me, being Pagan means i can practice my beliefs in any place without having to be in a '' religious'' place. I can be indoors or outside, it doesn't really matter as long as i can make a connection to the Goddess etc. And now i am rambling so i'll get my coat....................:wave:

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Richard Lawton3
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I would say that paganism has two distinct and often overlapping aspects.

First, that spiritual power is inherent in Nature (so, there may be power in a tree, and this is not some old beardy dude speaking through the tree). Animism holds that all natural phenomena have souls/spirits. Pantheism is the view that nature is god, and there isn't any old beardy dude.

Second is an embracing of what we might loosely term 'the old gods' - a rejection of monotheism (single old beardy dude) and an acceptance that the divine has at least male and female aspects, and maybe comes in multiple aspects: so, many gods - polytheism.

In my view a pagan believes at least one of these. Of course, everyone will have their own understanding, which highlights an underlying philosophy: most monotheistic religions are fascist. Pagans generally accept diversity and individuality - they do not believe that they and they alone have the real truth and that everyone else is wrong - and tend not to have the judgmental view that those with 'wrong beliefs' will burn in hell for etermity or get reincarnated as a slug.

As an aside, I find it highly amusing that the many monotheistic religions have struggled with the implementation of monotheism and in practice have male and female faces: Catholicism has Jesus and Mother Mary, while Islam has Mohammed and Fatimah. I would imagine that to many believers these human faces are more real to them than God/Allah.

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meadowsweet
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Paganism for me is having lots of lovely friends of similar outlooks in life who you meet with to celebrate nature, drink tea (or something stronger) and eat lots of cake. 🙂

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(@richard-lawton3)
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Paganism for me is having lots of lovely friends of similar outlooks in life who you meet with to celebrate nature, drink tea (or something stronger) and eat lots of cake. 🙂

Fairy cakes?

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meadowsweet
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Fairy cakes are good. nom nom nom. lol

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(@richard-lawton3)
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But are they good for your 'elf?

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Reiki Pixie
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What about angel cakes? Having said that half the pagans I know are not particularly into angels, more into dragons.

RP

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Reiki Pixie
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Yes Richard, we are all responsible for elf and safety in the workplace!

RP

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Richard Lawton3
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Yes Richard, we are all responsible for elf and safety in the workplace!
RP

Eating cake counts as work???

Goodness - I must have reached retirement age a long time ago! 😀

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Reiki Pixie
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Well Richard, with one colleague I meet up with occasionally, we do eat cake while discussing business!

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Richard Lawton3
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Ah, of course. And it's well known that cakes consumed during business proceedings contain no calories.

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Reiki Pixie
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Why would calories be an issue? There's more to our daily dietary than calories! 😉

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Moonfairy
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Could you all please get back to the topic of the thread.

Many thanks
Moonfairy
HPmods

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