Wednesday, 27 March 2013

What is Paganism? A definition of Paganism

What is Paganism? A definition of Paganism.

What is the definition of Paganism? The word pagan originates from the Latin paganus,  which means country dweller.  Many people will have different ideas regarding the definition of Paganism or who is a Pagan. Paganism can be traced back to Neolithic times and survived in large numbers up until the middle ages. It has recently experienced a surge of interest by people seeking to find their own path.

There are various different definitions of the word pagan.  I believe that being a Pagan means seeing the spirit within all of nature, following the turning of the wheel from season to season, living by our moon’s phases and regarding all life as sacred. We are on this earth to love it and take care of it not to destroy any part of it.  I don’t believe that being a Pagan necessarily means sticking to one belief and I feel there are many religions that offer insight and knowledge. I feel that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and there is no right or wrong way of thinking.

Paganism is about respecting all of us including our different outlooks on life or religious beliefs. You could follow a conventional formal religion or have no particular formal beliefs yet still follow the Pagan way of life. Paganism itself is not necessarily a religion; it is more a way of living your life and respecting and loving our earth. More information regarding Paganism may be found here: astarte-moon.co.uk

A Pagan will generally believe there is a bit of the divine in every corner of the earth. Pagans will often be polytheistic or pantheistic. Polytheism is the belief in many gods, and Pantheism is the belief that the divine lives in everything.  The God and Goddess are often symbols used to personify the great, unknowable energy that makes the seasons turn and brings life to the world. Pagans often believe that the image of a God and Goddess represent a harmony and balance of opposites within the universe, i.e. light and dark, male and female, similar to the concept of yin and yang. The real root of paganism as I see it is the respect and love for our mother earth, Gaia.

The cycle of seasons a lot of Pagans adhere to is commonly called the wheel of the year. Special events are often described using the Wiccan terms Esbat and Sabbat. Esbats are ritual celebrations of the moon phases. These are often performed on the nights of the full and the new moon. Sabbats are celebrations of the changing of the seasons. They occur approximately every six weeks, with every celebration a noting of the change in the seasons and celebrating all that we can give thanks for.

You do not have to live in the countryside to be close to nature and follow a pagan path.  There is beauty all around us every day: feeling the rain on your face, noticing the starlings squabbling for food, observing blackberries ripe for picking at the side of the road, and seeing the wonders of the sky at night.  We are very blessed to be on this earth and should look after and appreciate its myriad of wonders. Whenever possible all the Pagan activities that I post will be possible to conduct within a city just as easily as in the middle of the countryside.

Within the umbrella term of Paganism there are many different branches. Some worship the God, the Goddess or both; some believe in magic, some don’t. Examples of pathways
that may come under the term Paganism are: Wicca, Druidism, followers of Odin or Mithras, Budism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shintoism, Asatru, Native American, Shamanism, Followers of ancient Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Norse (Asatru) or Roman Gods and goddesses. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all Pagan religions but it gives you an idea.

Edain McCoy, a writer on modern Paganism defines it as follows: "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."
I believe that Paganism is about picking the path that is right for you, listening to your inner self and feeling in your heart where your own spirituality is leading you. 

Some wonderful books on Paganism that I would recommend reading are listed below. If you click on Paganism Book that you are interested in the link will follow to a summary and review of the book:


  The wonderful artwork depicted here is by Devildoll on DeviantArt, this piece is named 'Midnight Departure' More examples of this artist's amazing work may be found here: DeviantArtDevildoll I would thoroughly recommend you pay a visit.


  1. beautiful post, I really enjoyed this,

  2. Thanks Laurie, it's really nice of you to comment, blessings, Alison xx

  3. I agree with Laurie, a very beautiful post! Thank you Alison ;o) Blessings ;o)

  4. Thanks hun, hope you are enjoying your crow moon, she was beautiful last night, blessings xx

  5. ...yaY! ~ for the country dweller!...
    ...there's a little bit of country in every soul!...
    ...whether one lives in deep isolation beyond the mountains ~ or high up in tall skyscrapers within the enclaves of a city jungle!...
    ...blessed be! ~ dear kindred!...(0: