The literal term pagan comes from the Latin word Paganus, literally meaning country-dweller or rustic. If you were to ask other Wiccans (pagans) they would probably give you a different answer, but they would all have a ring of familiarity with each other. The reason they would all kind of sound the same after a while is that most of our values are the same. Pagans are very peaceful people; one of their rules is “An ye harm none, do as ye will.” See harm no one is the one main rule that all pagans follow and yet we are persecuted as devil worshipers who sacrifice animals and people for magic.
WRONG! AS a fellow Wiccan I am quite upset at the way people treat us because if how the church has portrayed non-Christians or pagans for years. We believe in the threefold law if you have never heard it called this before it is because you wouldn’t think of it this way but karma will work however it desires. So remember “Three times three, what you put forth comes back to thee.”
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Wiccans have the Wiccan Rede, which speaks of the Sabbats, the guidelines of the use of magick, and the respect of higher powers. One of those Rules is pretty much self-explanatory “Three times three, what you put forth comes back to thee.” This is Karma; it can be good or bad depending on what you’ve done in life. You can see this a lot through paganism’s history and story’s. Another one is “An ye harm none, do as ye will.” As I mentioned earlier this rule is set in stone and is non-negotiable. This is how important another’s life is to us. Even if we do practice magick we would never use it to harm or negatively affect ourselves or another.
Pagans can be monotheistic (the belief in one god) or polytheistic (the belief of one or more gods) depending on the belief of the individual. This can also lead to Pantheism and Animism. Pantheism is the belief that the landscape itself is divine, that nature is an inherited sacred being. While Animism is the belief that everything including inanimate objects have a soul or spirit, that we are all connected on a spiritual plan or connected by energy.
Two of the most common deities are the god and the goddess. The Goddess is commonly associated with all maiden goddesses such as Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon and the hunt, and Diana, Artemis’ Roman aspect. She is known to rule the night sky and is the mother of the Earth. She has three aspects she is the Crone, the wise old woman stirring the cauldron, the Mother, who calls us all her children, and the Maiden, who is young, pure and kind.
The God is depicted often with the antlers of a stag, and so many assume that he represents the Devil. This is one of the reasons that the church gives us such a hard time but those antlers are associated with the Greco-Roman gods of Pan, god of nature, and Apollo, god of sun, music, archery, and healing. The god is represented as the midday sun and is in charge of the hunt. The god also has three aspects Sage, Father, and Son. Wiccans don’t worship trees or rocks but we can attune ourselves with them in order to link with nature and through it to our gods. The elder tree is the goddess’s sacred tree, and oak is the sacred tree of the god. Out of the two deities I mentioned the one I feel the most connected with at times is the goddess.
If you haven’t noticed by now that three is a magical number. It is the number of forms of the Goddess- Maiden, Mother, and Crone. It is also the same for the forms of the god; Son, Father, and Sage. It is also the number of times you can chant a charm, the number of times you walk around a circle and it is the basis for the three-fold law.
I personally have not had any form of bad karma in a long time thank goodness. Some of my personal experiences as a Wiccan are still just purely intellectual level. But that does not mean that I haven’t had some of that hate that I mentioned in my first paragraph. When I was just first learning about it I was still living with my church crazy aunt who thought that I was some kind of devil-worshipping child and took all my notes and everything that made me a Wiccan and brunt it in one of our brother’s brush piles fire, that he started again since it was fall.
It had taken me 2 years to get all of that stuff without her knowing and for her to find it and destroy my stuff hurt me deeply, especially since it had the tarot cards that matched me and it is really hard to find cards that fit me around here if you don’t know anyone else who is wiccan. So yeah the church does paint us in a bad picture but it doesn’t mean we are, no where do you see me getting mad at my aunt for destroying my stuff and putting a “curse” on her. I mean that is just silly things you hear it doesn’t actually happen.
Wiccans have many different festivals and rituals that we do. Some of the rituals are a baby blessing, marriages/Handfastings, and funerals. Baby blessings are quite different than what Christian baby blessings are, Wiccans don’t pledge an infant to be a member in that faith but that also depends on the individual and or the tradition. Handfastings are a little different they are like a trial marriage well they were back in the day, now wiccans use them as marriage ceremonies. There are actually eight different festivals that most pagans celebrate. They are Samhain (Halloween), Winter solstice, Imbolc (start of spring), Spring equinox, Beltaine (start of summer), Summer solstice, Lughnasadh (harvest ritual), and the Autumn Equinox.
There are three winter Festivals the winter solstice, autumn equinox, Samhain.
The Winter Solstice is the time to celebrate the return of the waxing sun and everything that is associated with it like plant life and animals returning. It is the darkest time of the year, the time of the longest night, but it shows there is a promise of the return of light. The Autumn Equinox is the pagan thanksgiving. Halloween or as we call it Samhain, is a festival that helps you look back and face the dark parts of the year before. It is also a time when the veil is thinnest between the worlds and we call on the spirits of the dead and invite them to feast with us on this day. It is a time of endings, but also a time of beginnings, as Samhain is the Pagan’s New Year’s Eve festival.
There is also three summer festivals called spring equinox, Beltane, and summer solstice. The spring equinox is the time of spring’s return, a joyful time of rebirth. Beltane symbolizes the start of spring; it is the time of year when crops begin to grow, when animals bear their young and when people come out of their houses after being cooped up for so long. One of the most recognizable things with the Beltane festival is the Maypole. To the Celts who started the custom, the maypole was the phallic symbol representing fertility. The summer solstice is when the sun is at its highest and brightest, and the day at it’s longest. It is a celebration of triumph light over dark.
Then you have your two in-between festivals called Imbolc and Lughnasadh. Imbolc is the welcome of the goddess come again as the flower maiden, showing that winter is gone and spring is almost here. Lughnasadh is the middle of the summer but the beginning of the harvest season. These two are in-betweens because they are in the middle of one season but show the start of the other season.
Throughout all the Festivals that are celebrated, they all have one thing in common. They all show faith in the Earth and in our deities. Never once is one of the rules broken or abused and that is because pagans stress personal responsibility and puts the burden of developing spiritual practices, beliefs, and ethics on to oneself. With all of their great rules to follow, we normally never cause trouble in the community.
The only time that trouble happens is when non-intelligent people try to play with Black magick. Playing with black magick is a very foolish way to gain power. This is why that the Christian church paints any pagan religion in a bad manner. Most pagans do not believe in Satan. As a Wiccan, I do not believe in Satan, but there are other pagans’ religions that do. Most pagans choose to keep no connection with the Judeo-Christo-Muslim Pantheon. They do not believe in heaven or hell, or that your soul will automatically go to hell if you’re a sinner. Pagans are not the bad guys that the church paints us out to be.
AllanGregg. “Tom HarpurOn The Pagan Roots Of Christianity.” YouTube. 06 Oct. 2011. YouTube. 16 Sept. 2012 www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqlSuvAAjkM
“Mission Statement.”About Handfastings. 16 Sept. 2012 www.handfastings.org/abouthandfastings.htm
MsButlerJ. “Irish Pagan Culture: Witchcraft, Wicca, Druidry.” YouTube. 13 May 2012. YouTube. 15 Sept. 2012 www.youtube.com/watch?v=pVYyWwBHzVs
“Spirit Walk Ministry”A Shamanic Studies Ministry” Spirit Walk Ministry. 16 Sept. 2012 www.spiritwalkministry.com/paganism/pagan_festivals
“What do “Paganism” & “Pagan” mean?” Meanings of the terms Pagan and Paganism. 15 Sept. 2012 www.religioustolerance.org/paganism.htm
“Witchvox Article.” Witchvox Article. 16 Sept. 2012 www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=usor
“Witchvox Article.” Witchvox Article. 16 Sept. 2012 www.witchvox.com/va/dt_va.html?a=uswa
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