Paganism is a modern religious tradition based on the worship of nature and influenced by the religions of indigenous people. There are many different communities or types of Paganism. These include the Heathens, Wiccans, Druids, Odinists, Shamans, and Sacred Ecologists. With such a diverse range of subdivisions, Paganism involves a host of different practices and has experienced a rise in popularity in the past century.
The Renaissance of the 1500s reintroduced the Ancient Greek concepts of Paganism. Pagan symbols and traditions entered European art, music, literature, and ethics. The Reformation of the 1600s put a temporary halt to Pagan thinking. Greek and Roman classics, with their focus on Paganism, were accepted again during the Enlightenment of the 1700s.
Paganism experienced another rise in the 1800s and 1900s when modern forms of Buddhism and Hinduism were growing in popularity. Like those religions, Paganism revered nature. The 1900s also sparked the spread of indigenous religions and religions with indigenous bases, like Candomble and Santeria.
Hinduism and Taoism influenced modern Paganism during the 1960s and 1970s. With the hippie, ecological, and feminist movements of those times, more and more people turned to Paganism. Many environmentally conscious Christians today share the belief with Pagans that all forms of life have a soul.
Pagans see the divine spirit in all life, as do some members of other religions.THINGS TO DO
Pagans do not believe that they are set above, or apart from, the rest of nature. They understand divinity to be immanent, woven through every aspect of the living earth. Thus, Pagan worship is mainly concerned with connection to, and the honouring of, immanent divinity. The rituals are akin to a symbolic language of communication between the human and the divine: one which speaks not to the intellect alone but also to the body, the emotions, and the depths of the unconscious mind, allowing Pagans to experience the sacred as whole people within the act of worship. The approach is primarily mythopoeic, recognizing that spiritual truths are better understood by means of allusion and symbol rather than through doctrine.
Others vow to handfast for life while a few, in accordance with Pagan beliefs in reincarnation, do so for all their future lives as well. The ceremony will be held out of doors if at all possible, and will begin with the marking out of sacred space (usually in the form of a circle), the honouring of the Four Elements, and a welcome for all who are present. Rings will be exchanged and the ceremony will conclude with 'jumping the broomstick' - the couple leaping hand in hand over a broom held horizontally before them, thus crossing the symbolic boundary between their old lives and their new, shared, one. As with most Pagan rituals, a handfasting will be followed by feasting and celebration by the company.
Thus Paganism is defined as a love of Nature, and a commitment to live in harmony with the Earth and Her creatures. You need to feel in your heart that it is where your own spirituality is leading you.
Paganism is for Pagans, only you know if you are a Pagan in your heart. Practice your faith in small, simple, healing ways that will create a powerful spiritual energy within you and strengthen your connection with the Earths Wisdom and Spirituality.