A Brief Intro to Neo-Paganism

Jun 8, 2001 - © Tempest_Rayne In the everyday dictionary, Paganism* is defined as the worship of false gods or idols. Even though many Pagans are "anti-faith," if you said to a Pagan that their gods were false, it would be like telling a Christian that Jesus is make-believe. To understand the true meaning of Paganism, you have to dig deeper than a dictionary. Most Pagans today, often called Neo-Pagans*, are classified by the word 'witch'. A witch is a man or woman who practices an Earth-based religion that honors the divine aspects of the female as well as (or instead of) the male and takes part in magickal practices (including divination). The religion, usually Wicca, generally involves a deep respect for nature, worshiping of the many deities, and the practice of magick. There are many traditions of witches, ranging from Garderian Wicca (the most widespread form) to solitary, eclectic Wicca. There are numerous misconceptions about the Wiccan religion, as well as with other Pagan religions. For instance, since Wiccans are mainly defined as witches, many people relate that with Satanism or Demonism. Truth be told, Wiccans hold a strong belief in the good and kind aspects of humanity. They abide by the Wiccan Rede, which contains their major rule, "An ye harm none, do as ye will." Wiccans take part in magickal practices such as circle castings, and various forms of divination and rites. The many forms of Wicca embrace slightly different beliefs. Celtic Wiccans worship different deities than do Dianic, and so on. For the most part though, their practices embrace the beauty in feminism, nature, and the spiritual realm. In America today, there is an average of 200,000 or more Neo-Pagans. Groups besides Wicca, such as Asatru, Hellenic, Shamanism, Druid/ADF, and Santeria make up a decent portion of this number. Asatru, or Norse Neo-Paganism focuses mainly on honoring the two families of gods and goddesses, the Aesir and the Vanir, but also holds respect for ancestors and land spirits. Most follow the Nine Noble Virtues: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-reliance, and Perseverance. Many Asatru people practice in small groups called garths or felags, and they participate in religious ceremonies called Blots, which are held at pivotal points during the year, such as Yule and Midsummer's Blot. Outsiders tend to label the Asatru people as "Viking worshippers" because they hold high reverence for the Norse gods such as Odin and Thor. The branch of Paganism that is most often classified as Hellenic directs its worship towards the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. Their ideals include the complete rejection of dogmatism, conversion, religious persecution, and the concept of theirs being the only true and right faith. To Hellenists, religion is personal and not organized, therefore the only word to really describe their faith is "piety." Shamanism is the practice of appointed persons performing certain magickal duties for others. Shamans are healers and seers of all. Shamanism is widely practiced in Native

Also.American cultures. Olorun is the source of ashé. all life and all things material. like many forms of Paganism. more than one god is recognized either as a creator or other vital part of Earth and humanity. Neo-Paganism is misunderstood by today's world due to lack of knowledge in the subject and the vast array of subdivisions and classifications that come with the term. witchcraft. Though there are many other forms of Pagan/Neo-Paganism. or Ár nDraíocht Féin. Practicers of Santeria believe in one god. a psychoactive plant that allows them to experience a higher level of spirituality. Santeria is a form of Paganism with origins in West Africa. This view has yet to be accepted by other Pagans. It is a broad subject in which one could spend an entire lifetime studying. with some lesser than others (yet just as worthy of love and respect). with temples and public services dotted across the world. Olorun.) These practices include astral travel. The followers of Santeria pray. uses magick in conjunction with their religion. and the reverence of all things natural along with respect and acceptance of science and technology are the main aspects that Druids base their beliefs on. with orishas "being" saints. According to ADF. While slaves were supposedly praying to saints. with the exception of few. They value a sense of dogma. and offer sacrifices (or ebo) in order to keep close relations with the orishas. (Magick is purposely spelled with a k in order to set itself itself apart from magic. Druids embrace excellence . yet they are not monotheistic. Many Shamans take part in the usage of Peyote. but it is a sense completely different from the full-blown dogmatism of other mainstream religions (ex. Neo-Paganism will someday be a widespread and overall accepted form of religion. intellectually. artistically and spiritually. Unfortunately. Christianity). Santeria. Druidism and ADF is almost directly associated with the Celtic Pagan/Celtic Wiccan religion. First. is an eclectic organization of Druids that believe strongly in having one's own interpretation of the Paleopagan practices. ADF. they prayed to their gods. most Neo-Pagans practice or hold interest in magick. Multiple gods and goddesses. . Pagan. the spiritual energy that makes up the universe. Pagans are polytheistic. practice divination and rituals. and divination. Santeria hid behind a façade of Catholicism. the rulers of the forces of nature and humanity.physically. which is purely staged illusion. In order to avoid persecution in the New Age. a few general statements can be made about the subject as a whole. This god is believed to communicate and interact with the world through orishas. In every NeoPagan religion.

The copyright of the article A Brief Intro to Neo-Paganism in Paganism is owned by Tempest_Rayne. non-Jew" and "occultist." Related to the term heathen." *Neo-Pagan: Present day Pagan. "something stuck in the ground as a landmark." Latin word paganus. Permission to republish A Brief Intro to Neo-Paganism in print or online must be granted by the author in writing. or "country dweller.suite101. "to fix" and also.*Pagan: Pre-Latin pagus. which loosely means "non-Christian.cfm/paganism/67331/3#ixzz0d6cgdeQA . Read more at Suite101: A Brief Intro to Neo-Paganism http://www.com/article.

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