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Switch to Forum Live View I am sure others have asked
10 years ago  ::  Feb 11, 2008 - 6:41PM #1
Posts: 1
I'm sure other have asked, over time, for clarity. Let me start at the beginning. My wife suggested I do the brief-net thing, so I did.  I was raised in a very Roman Catholic family and to this day I feel somewhat drawn to it. I think only because the long history I have with it. Anyway, when my 1st wife and I split I found myself feeling like I lost a part of me that I had had since I was born. I knew that if I were to get devorved that the "Church" would not let me back into it, and that hurt. I remarried and had another child. We were going to a local Episcopal church. This was a very old and high order church. My wife was in the choir and we attended everyweek. About 5 years ago, a 80 year old member of the church was caught  trying to have imappropriate contact with 3 of the boys, the boys were between 11-13 years of age. My son would have been with them that night if he had not been sick. The church did not nothing to the member. They turned him into the victim and the boys in to the aggressors. We left the church and have not been back.

I say all of this, because recently I have been feeling something is missing from my life. My wife wants to be part of a religious organization, but I feel something different. I can not believe that if God exsisted he would say because you are divorced, you can not be part of my church; we are going to knowing blame the victim of a crime. I am a warden, as a profession, and I see the worst of the worst and I know that not all of them are truly bad. I know that if a child dies God is not going to say because you were not baptised you can not get into heaven, It has taken me many years to realize that there is more to our world that we know and that there is a greater force in play.

Now getting to my point, when I did the survey, it came back I was a Neo-Pagen (100%). The idea of being a Pagen or aligning myself with the belief feels right, but doing what I do for a living puts those beliefs at odds with what the idealized definition of Pagenism is; or at least what someone like me thinks I know about it.

Someone help me understand what is meant be being a Neo-Pagen, or at least what is meant by having the same core beliefs. I hope this makes sense. I want to undersatand so I can either pursue it or look elsewhere of my answers and directions.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 11, 2008 - 9:08PM #2
Posts: 2,084
It's spelled "Pagan" and refers to non-Judeochristian belief is an umbrella term for many different faith systems, not limited to but including Wiccans, Asatruar, Druids, Shamans, and eclectics. Your best bet is to start reading and reading and reading, and figure out what the label means to you. THere are lots of threads pertaining to this topic so I suggest you browse over them. Welcome aboard, and don't be shy. ^_^
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 12, 2008 - 9:10AM #3
Posts: 1,244
You will get many different opinions. This is mine based on 25 years of being a Pagan.

Neo-/Paganism is not a religion or a belief system. (The Quiz is based on generic answers to generic questions...) Paganism (which can be defined as synonymous or opposing to Neo-Paganism) is a term that has a long history and diverse meanings.

Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus (plural pagani) that meant civilian, namely someone in the Roman Empire who wasn’t in the military. Early Christians referred to themselves as ‘soldiers of Christ’ and came to use this term to mean anyone who wasn’t Christian. That included all the prior and contemporary religions, cults and beliefs, most of which had names of their own. As Christianity spread quickest in cities, pagani came to be found more often in rural areas, thus acquiring a secondary meaning of country-dweller. Latin and later venacular authors used the term pagan for many different purposes including labeling a broad spectrum of religious, customary or spiritual beliefs that was part of the fabric of Roman Empire itself. Ramsay MacMullen in his ‘Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries’ describes a spectrum of religious characteristics that he loosely terms the religion although it had no recognizable organization as such. He writes.. “the essential characteristics of religion in the empire were…the acknowledgement of innumerable superhuman beings, the expectation that they might be benevolent and would respond kindly to prayer (all but those who might be bent to wicked uses by magical invocation), the belief that some one or few of these being presided especially over each place and people and a substratum of rites addressing life’s hopes and fears without appeal to any one being in particular. This religion had no single center, spokesman, director or definition of itself: therefore no one point of vulnerability. Everyone was free to choose his own credo: anyone who wished could consult a priest, or ignore a priest about how best to appeal to the divine….these words, acts and arts were woven “into the deepest levels of daily life and culture, the secular included…..Over the course of many hundreds of years of peaceful stirring about, the mix (the constant movement of people within the Empire) became constantly more complex and intimate, at least in urban settings. Variety itself became a characteristic binding together of the whole fabric of religion into one whole…”This spectrum melded, adapted to and merged with Christianity in Western Europe along with the legacy of writings where paganism continued to be a term with various meanings.

There was a Paganism Movement in those early centuries when academics tried to meld Greek science with Christianity, unsuccessfully I might add.

Circa 16th to 19th centuries in Europe mostly but involving Britain, there was a second Paganism Movement. This was a literary academic rebellion against the hold of the Catholic Church and involved a number of pseudo-historical books that a century later ended up being taken as being historical references. Much of the mythological history found today in books on Neo-/Paganism can be traced back to these. By the 19th century, four main definitions of paganism existed. There was two involving the Roman and Greek Empires, first, great civilizations but lacking Christian ethics and second, having hedonistic liberal religions (history says otherwise). Then there was the Romantic Movement’s definition, the pastoral idealistic harmony between nature, religion and humankind, another source of myths for modern Paganism. The final definition for paganism, found notably in occult novels, was barbaric, idol worshipping heathens.

In the 20th century, combined and influenced by various European and British Movements such as Romanticism, Occult, Theophilosophy etc, a third Paganism Movement evolved. Paganism (sometimes called Neo-Paganism to distinguish it from the ancient definitions) became a broad spectrum, much like that Ramsey described. This evolution involves the conception of the Religion of Wicca, the re-definition of (Pagan) Witchcraft and the inclusion of Neo-Druidry (which has its own history) and even that of Reconstructionist Religions such as Asatsu although many in RR don’t use the term Pagan.

Outside of defined shared religions under the Paganism umbrella or autonomous groups who have defined what they believe in, the only four commonalties I have found amongst Neo-/Pagans are the following. They self-identify as such. They self-define what that means to them from the broad diversity of what is labeled as Neo-/Pagan. The validity of what they believe as ‘his or her religion’ is experiential, it comes from their own unverified personal gnosis or UPG. And finally, outside of what is agreed upon already, Neo-/Pagans cannot sufficiently agree on shared core beliefs to create a recognizable singular religion.

so the short answer to your query is that if you are looking for an organised shared religion, there are various candidates today you can research within Neo-/Paganism. If you don't require the shared aspect, many NP's are more generic having created their stand-alone versions from the diversity that exists. Essentially no one can tell you what being a Neo-Pagan is or isn't except you and depending on what you (or anyone) choses, you may be recognized by others as being Pagan or you might not.

No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 18, 2008 - 11:47AM #4
Posts: 1,076
Vargod, I posted this a good while back on the old B'net system and moved it over to the new one.  While it is a generic description of Wiccan core practices and beliefs, some of it also pertains to the general area of Paganism.  Not only does it have my views and commentary, it also has the views of others, agreement and disagreement, plus embedded links to the old boards and more discussion.  This will, at the least, give you a further idea of what is considered to be Pagan practices and how they might fit into your world/spiritual view.


This link is going to take you to the 'Welcome:Wicca' section - hust a heads-up in case you get lost during the shuffle.  Always feel free to ask questions... someone, sooner or later, is going to answer.
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6 years ago  ::  May 06, 2012 - 7:25AM #5
Posts: 14,245

I have given the Belief-O-Matic™ test to friends and acquaintances. And I found that within religious institutions, attendees had a diversity of opinions. And sometimes those personal beliefs varied dramatically from the "party line" dogma of the institution! So I realised that people attended those institutions for non-religious reasons. That was out of tradition, or habit, or for socialising--or even for "fringe benefits".

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