In ancient times, the word pagan referred to country dwellers/villagers and was associated with peasants and commoners. Paganism is also known as the Earth religions and predates the Christian religions. Paganism covers a multitude of religions and practices that are highly individualized, unlike traditional religions that require a uniform belief and practice. When Christianity gained power in Europe, these religions were forced into hiding. Under the general description of non-Abrahamic, religions such as the Native American Indians, Chinese Folk and the Asian Indians religions are also associated with Paganism. Earth/Pagan religions do not try to convert people to their beliefs as they feel a person has to find their own spiritual path and that the various religions are different because people as individuals have different spiritual needs. Therefore, a person has a right to their own views regardless of what another may believe.
Pagan religions are very individualistic and widely diverse as far as deities that one chooses to worship, spiritual beliefs and practices. One common belief among Pagans is that the Earth, as well as all nature, is a source of universal consciousness and energy. Reincarnation is another belief, though concepts of what happens after death or if there’s punishment for deeds can vary. Magic, or magick, isn’t used by all Pagans, though magic is considered to be one’s ability to use their will to effect positive changes in one’s life. If you have read the book “The Secret,” then you know the concept of using intent to manifest; magic is just another method or technique of focusing one’s intent.
There are several misconceptions regarding Earth religions. Some include falsehoods such as all Pagans are devil worshipers or they do animal sacrifices. Everyone needs to forget the fantasy pagan or magic based movies, TV shows or fictional books as an indication of what Pagan religions are or what magic is when it’s used. One might also remember that Christianity marked all religions, including some Christian churches as pagans or heathens as a way to coerce conversion to their beliefs despite mankind’s God given freedom of will. It doesn’t matter what beliefs your family, parents, friends, etc., believe or choose. In the end it’s up to you as an individual to choose a path that offers the best spiritual growth and development for you.
Various Earth Religions of Paganism
- Norse religion
- Celtic Druidism
- Wicca (the most widely known today)