I am a Pagan…I Think ?

March 20, 2013

merlin the wizard

I am a Pagan…I think?

For years, ever since people found out I had Pagan beliefs I have been asked so many questions from the curious, other believers or wannabees and even from those who would challenge my belief as an affront to their God.

I have been asked to explain what a Pagan is or, on a couple of occasions, even if I know what a Pagan is and at times I have to admit when I listen to and read a lot of the modern day twaddle on the subject of nouveau-paganism then perhaps I don’t.

Perhaps if I say right from the start what Paganism is not: It is not a Religion and never was nor in my view should people try to make it into a religion.
I believe the modern day dictionary definition for the word Pagan as a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions is a misnomer. To me Paganism is a way of life that has its roots in simpler times.

Plus of course, there is no true single definition of a Pagan since the word itself has no religious or spiritual meaning, it means only ‘Rural’ or ‘country dweller.’ It is based on a Latin word used by the ancient Romans to describe those beyond their recently acquired Christian faith outside the walls of their towns, those who carried on their own lives much as normal.

Other words used to describe Pagans; Savages, Heathen, Devil Worshippers, Witch, Etc. Were also mainly devised by the early Christian church to, at first segregate and then as an excuse to eradicate all those who failed to bow before their God. Over the years this became quite a nasty little European habit that they unfortunately exported around the Globe eradicating as they went and it has to be said they became very good at it.

So therefore by definition I suppose I am an ancient Pagan, one who believes in the origin of life as it was and in the true nature of the World.

How did I arrive at my conclusions that this was how all mankind should live or more simply how I should try and live my life? A question whose answer I find is extremely logical when you think about it.

It was when I start to read about the history and traditions of other, so called, Pagan cultures, such as the Native American Indians, the Aboriginal tribesmen of New Zealand and Australia, nomadic tribes wandering Europe and Asia as well as many African Bushman beliefs. I was immediately struck by the many similarities in those beliefs almost to a point where there exists a universal understanding that transcend ethnic, cultural and geographic boundaries.

To me the most amazing part of my discovery was that these universally common beliefs were in place centuries before International travel was even possible and therefore it had to have its basis in the common sense of understanding nature and our part in it.

All Pagan cultures refer to the creator of all life as Mother or Mother Earth and they hold all things of her creation as sacred. True Pagans respect nature and understand that we humans are but a small part and that every part of the Mother’s creation is dependent upon all others for survival.

Pagan culture accepts that all things are created equal and no animal, including man, holds dominion over any other part of creation.
Other common sense teachings that I found common across the many Pagan cultures of the World:

We should never take more than we need.
Always thank the Mother for what we have or what we will receive.
Use all of what we have; Give away or share what we do not need.

I discovered when reading about Native American cultures this paragraph:
“American Indians know to respect Nature, kill only what we eat and use every part of the animal. We do not waste life nor disrespect their spirits but honour and thank them for providing us with life.”

Pagan culture far from being the primitive savages they were accused of being actually freely gave of their knowledge. For instance through their society they had democracy long before the Greeks invented the word.. Although there was still an element of the hunter gather in most Pagan settlements when the European explorers first arrived many food resources such as grain, animal and fowl were already domesticated.

The extensive pharmacopoeia of today’s knowledge of healing medicines came from the Pagan understanding of the plants around them. Pagan healers, the Wicca, were once revered by all until their healing knowledge was outlawed and they were branded as devil worshipping witches by the Christian church. This was an act of such blatant arrogant ignorance by religious zealots as to put back mankind’s understanding of medicine and healing by centuries.

In their simple belief early Pagans understood that if mankind attempted to conquer nature it meant setting themselves against the Mother and would bring great suffering to themselves and all other life. Please take a moment to reflect and ask yourself this;…Were they wrong?

However, with the introduction of religion and after centuries of religious dogma mankind now considers they are the greatest and most important part of creation. Through religion mankind no longer considers them self part of the great animal Kingdom and that all other animals are therefore inferior to them and therefore theirs to use as they wish. In their supreme ignorance mankind has divorced himself from nature and will, I believe, live to regret it.

Many Pagans believe that man once spoke with the other animals but this ability and many other powers were lost when he elected himself as master of the World and claiming dominion over all things.. Many who read my Murder Mystery novels will find this a recurring theme as I explore the Paranormal elements of my stories.
With the loss of these powers we have also lost the power to understand animals or to consider their intelligence, or in our arrogance believing they have no intelligence at all.. That their intellect is different from ours is a given fact. Animals learn from their parents in different ways, they speak in different ways, much as we do.

However, when animal intelligence is measured in arrogant human terms, the animal does not do well, however when the test is reversed, we humans would fail to measure up to standards of our animal friends. Time from another extract from my Pagan research:

“Animals know the time and place to migrate, but man cannot find his way without a compass or a Sat Nav.
Animals live well without the need of tools or weapons. Man cannot.
Animals are happy and contented in their environment. Man is not.
Animals live among their families most of their lives. Man does not.
Animals have found the right way to live with their limitations and skills without rancour or strife. Man has not.”

In my research I have found a logic in Pagan beliefs that I can accept as the true nature of all things, I can accept and indeed would like to embrace their true harmony with nature.

True Pagan cultures believe all things in nature are connected and worthy of our respect. In some cultures this is called the “Great Circle of Life” and as we move within that circle we should attempt to hold these certain facts as true:
Everything on earth is alive;
Everything on earth has purpose;
Everything on earth is connected;
Everything on earth is to be embraced.

Many Pagan cultures were Sun worshippers, something else that makes complete sense to me, after all the Sun can be seen and its power over all things in nature can be observed and felt.

In all my research never once did I find reference to any Pagan society declaring war upon another in the belief that their Sun was more powerful than the other guy’s Sun!

If I can accept these things as true then surely that means I have more in common with our Pagan ancestors than the thinking of modern day man. I can live with that!

I can understand too that some readers may consider me to be as eccentric as the characters I write about in my Blogs, so be it, I am at least happy and content in my belief.

I do not preach, merely explain where I believe we came from and how we may have lost our way and perhaps, just perhaps, we need to take a time out for some serious reflection before it’s too late.

Therefore I leave you with a final thought that, unfortunately is not my own but somehow sums up how I feel sometimes when all around me the World seems to have gone mad.

I think I could turn and live with animals, they’re so placid and self-contained, I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition, They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God, Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things, Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago, Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

(“Song of Myself.” Walt Whitman,1819-1892)

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