Paganism for Beginners: Controversies

Sleeping Under the Stars, Grapevine Hills, by Costa1973 on Flickr

Over recent years, there have been a number of controversies among Pagans which probably left a lot of newcomers to Paganism a bit baffled, especially when the terminology got a bit arcane. I think these controversies are interesting and illuminating because they raise important questions of who we are, how we relate to each other as a community and individually, what we hold sacred, and how we relate to deities and the world around us. [Read more...]

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Paganism for Beginners: Theology

PILGRIM ON A FOREST ROAD -- Into the Mist of Old Japan, by Enami

Pagan theology is non-dogmatic, experiential, and descriptive. You are ‘doing theology’ whenever you explain how magic works, describe what you think a deity is, talk about the soul, or what happens after death. You are ‘doing theology’ when you wonder why bad things happen to good people. [Read more...]

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Paganism for Beginners – Overview

Tree at dawn, Bucovina, Romania

Paganism is more of an attitude of mind than a fixed creed. It is always tempting to ask, “what do Pagans believe?” but a better question is “what do Pagans do?” [Read more...]

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If you build it, they will come

John William Waterhouse - The Crystal Ball

I would like to see Pagan weddings become legally recognised in England and Wales. I would like to be able to practice Pagan rituals in public without fear of harassment. I would like to see public bodies acknowledging Pagan holidays in listings of holidays both secular and religious. (In the UK, many employers send round lists of holidays from various faiths, but Pagan holidays are often not listed.) I would like to see a Pagan student society in every UK university, and a Pagan temple accessible to every Pagan who wants it. I would like to see Pagan traditions covered in education about religion (not indoctrinating children into it, just teaching them the facts about it). I would like Pagan traditions to be full participants in interfaith councils and bodies. [Read more...]

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The Pagan umbrella is leaking

A big tent?

The “Pagan umbrella” is leaking, but I think we need to look at ways to ensure that we don’t misrepresent each other’s traditions, and that we don’t assume that everyone else shares our values and perspectives. And maybe we need to change the metaphor from an umbrella to a big tent, or a party, or perhaps a (slightly dysfunctional) family, or something. And if someone could come up with a name that wasn’t applied to us from outside, maybe that would help too.
[Read more...]

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Three Legs on the Pagan Cauldron, or Must Pagans Be Polytheists?

Three sources for contemporary Paganism. Practitioners in the dark green area usually struggle the least with Pagan identity, and those in the white areas struggle the most.

In 2013, I think the three legs of the contemporary Pagan cauldron are these: polytheism, Goddess worship, and earth-based spirituality. These three focuses for belief and practice have all made a huge impact on what we think of as Paganism. [Read more...]

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