Getting to Know the Pagan Religion…..
I am sure the question “what is paganism” is running around your mind right now. So, let me set things straight. First, paganism is not synonymous with the Wiccan. Paganism per se is not a religion, just like Christianity is not a religion. To better understand what I am saying, Christianity is use to refer to various religions that believe in Jesus Christ, examples would be the Roman Catholic religion.
So, you see Christianity itself is not a religion but refers to a wide variety of religion that is based on the beliefs of Jesus Christ. This is likewise true for paganism—it is a broad term used to identify a variety of pagan religions and one of them is Wiccan, which is a widely known pagan religion.
Now, let’s move on to the definition of Paganism, according to a common dictionary definition, paganism is a religion that is not Islamic, Christian, or Jewish—which is definitely true. Many people also relate paganism as earth-centered or earth-based; this is true for some pagan religion like Wicca, while for some it’s not—so, it is seen as a narrow definition of paganism.
According to a self-confessed pagan, the best way to describe paganism is “A pagan religion is a religion that is not Islamic, Christian, or Jewish, and self-identifies as Pagan.
Pagan Religion Overview
To help you better understand or choose which pagan religion you want to embark on, here is a list of the various pagan religions out there:
Wicca is a contemporary Pagan religion spearheaded by Gerald Gardner in 1954. It is a pagan religion with no central authority, but coven s can have a high priest or priestess that serves as the head of each coven.
Their beliefs are mainly governed by the rede, which believes in “harm none.” Wiccans can practice magick or witchcraft, but it is not mandatory. Some Wicca sects believe in a god and goddess, while other sects believes and various deities.
Thelema is another pagan religion that is based on a philosophical law known as Thelema which states that “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.” The law of Thelema was created by Aleister Crowley in the 1900s, wherein he believes that he is a new age prophet.
Through him, he was contacted by Aiwass, a praeterhuman being and dictated a text known as “The Book of the Law.” Followers of the religion Thelema, refer to themselves as Thelemite. In Thelema, they believe in three main deities known as Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Hadit, and Nuit which is described by Crowley as a “literary convenience.”
Senistrognata literally means in Celtic “ancestral customs.” Senistrognata is a sub-tradition of a larger religion known as the Celtic Re-constructionist Paganism. This pagan religion was brought to life by IMBAS in 2000, which is a Celtic Re-constructionist organization based in Seattle.
The word imbas is an old Irish term that means “poetic inspiration.” Senistrognata promotes the spiritual path of the ancestral customs of the Celtic people and it is a religious path open to agnostics, Christians, and Pagans alike.
Religious witchcraft is a broad term that encompasses several groups, wherein one of them is Wicca. Basically, religious witchcraft revolves around several beliefs and customs like: shared practice rather than shared belief, recognition of cycles (like cycles based on honor or core myths, self-transformation, or seasons to name a few), interaction with deities in some form, and the use of folk magic or witchcraft usually using a European context.
Roman Reconstruction-ism (Religio Romana)
This is a modern Pagan religious movement that bases its cult practices and worship on the pre-Christian and polytheistic religion found in Rome and its neighboring tribes and cities. Just like with any reconstructed religion, the followers of Religio refers its beliefs and customs on primary sources like Ovid, archaeological and historical evidences, with an added concession of modern
Kemetic or Egyptian Reconstruction-ism Paganism (Kemeticism)
This is basically the reconstruction of Ancient Egypt’s religion which includes the revival of arts, literature, spirituality, belief systems and other relevant aspects. It is a religion based on the belief in Goddesses and Gods—the Neteru. It is also a way of living that upholds ma’at—a balance of the human society and that of the natural world and cosmos. It makes use of scholarly ways to recreate the practices and structures of the ancient religion and apply those within the contemporary era.
Hellenic or Greek Re-constructionist Paganism (Hellenismos)
This is one of the Neo-Pagan religions that center its cult practices and worship on Ancient Greece’s polytheistic and traditional religion.
Although the religion accepts personal intuition when it comes to spirituality, but the principal source of information comes from the works of ancient writers Hesiod, Homer, and the likes. The ritual practices of this religion are based on modern research on this religion as well as those taken from the aforementioned authors.
The Gwyddon religion is more of a worship base movement rather than magic. To the Gwyddons, magic is just secondary and their primary goal is to understand what he or she is and what deity is. As a seeker, or a person who is new to the religion, will notice that the religion does not have pages of instruction nor volumes of spellwork.
The student studies at his or her own pace, and a teacher is
only there to help with lessons. Thus, it always falls on a student the choice and responsibility to fail or succeed. Further, the Gwyddon teachings are exact and strict. And lastly, although the student’s path is sacred, this does not give him or her permission to change the Gwyddoniad teachings to suit him or her.
Feri can also be spelled as Fairy, Faerie, and Faery only strengthens the proof of the diversity of this tradition. Feri is a modern form of American Traditional Witchcraft taken from the teachings of Cora and Victor Anderson who passed on their teachings to various initiates.
This religion seeks to change a person via different practices of energy work, meditation, and ritual magic through a diverse and rich spiritual art. The religion draws power from different cultures and their corresponding magical systems like Greek gnosis, Yezidi Mythology, Christian Mysticism, Celtic Folklore, Tantra, Voodoo, Conjure, Huna, and others. The adherents of this religion are initiated ritually into its mysteries.
It is a pagan religion that seeks a spiritual practice and way that epitomizes the three greatest yearnings, namely: gain access to a source of profound wisdom, to commune deeply with the world of Nature, and to be fully creative in their lives. Each of these yearnings arrives from varying facets of yourself that you can personify as the Sage, the Shaman, and the Singer.
In Druidry the Druid teachings aid in developing inner wisdom, the sage who lives within each of us; Ovate teachings aid in nurturing the shaman—the lover of nature and the healer within you; while Bardic teachings aid in developing the storyteller, the artist, or the singer within us, the creative self.
This is a pagan religion based on the veneration of the Goddess of Chaos—Eris Discordia and all the ideals and archetypes linked to her. Discordianism was established after the publishing of the book written by Gregory Hill, along with Kerry Wendell Thornley on 1963.
The two wrote the book under the penname of Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst and Malaclypse the Younger. The religion is based on the concept of both disorder and order as illusions imposed by the human nervous system on the universe and that none of these illusions of apparent disorder and order is any more objectively true or accurate than the other.
Church of All Worlds (CAW)
In the United States the Church of All Worlds is one of the oldest incorporated Neo-Pagan religions. Their mission is to grow a network of experience, mythology, and information that gives a stimulus and context for reawakening Gaia and bringing together her children through tribal community dedicated to the evolution of consciousness and responsible stewardship.
Asatru or Norse Reconstructionist Paganism
This religion is the modern reconfiguration of the pre-Christian Germanic people’s religion. The religion honors various goddesses and gods as well as helpful beings and spirits. According to the religion’s beliefs there are 9 worlds which includes Asgard, the world of gods, and the Midgard, the world of the humans.
What binds together all nine worlds is the World Tree. Further, there are various afterlife choices which depends upon the gods you followed while living along with other factors such as how you died and what type of person you were to name a few.
Other Pagan Religions
As I have mentioned above, the pagan religions are quite varied and numerous and here’s the rest of the list: Voudon, Satanism, Santeria, Demonolatry, and Condomble.