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7 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 10:18PM #1
Dogmafreehappily
Posts: 15
From what I know there are two definitions of Paganism:

An umbrella term for any earth-based, nature-based religion.

Or.

Anyone who doesn't follow a Abrahamic religion.

What I was wanting to know was if one could possibly identify themselves as a "general Pagan", meaning they could, say, believe in a God and Goddess, magic, nature, etc. Yet follow none of the Pagan religions? And what could they believe that would make them Pagan in the first place? I ask this because I'm not really into organized religion, yet I believe in a God and Goddess, representing balance in nature. I also practice magic, and divination. And I believe in spirits, and many other occult "things". So does this mean I can call myself a "general Pagan", in the sense of an earth-based, or nature-based belief/religion?

Thanks.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 10:25PM #2
Sacrificialgoddess
Posts: 9,496

Dogmafreehappily wrote:

From what I know there are two definitions of Paganism:

An umbrella term for any earth-based, nature-based religion.

Or.

Anyone who doesn't follow a Abrahamic religion.

What I was wanting to know was if one could possibly identify themselves as a "general Pagan", meaning they could, say, believe in a God and Goddess, magic, nature, etc. Yet follow none of the Pagan religions? And what could they believe that would make them Pagan in the first place? I ask this because I'm not really into organized religion, yet I believe in a God and Goddess, representing balance in nature. I also practice magic, and divination. And I believe in spirits, and many other occult "things". So does this mean I can call myself a "general Pagan", in the sense of an earth-based, or nature-based belief/religion?

Thanks.





You can call yourself a general pagan as long as you preface it by saying what you mean by general pagan. If you aren't careful, someone might interpret that as saying you are in the military! :D

Dark Energy. It can be found in the observable Universe. Found in ratios of 75% more than any other substance. Dark Energy. It can be found in religious extremists, in cheerleaders. To come to the conclusion that Dark signifies mean and malevolent would define 75% of the Universe as an evil force. Alternatively, to think that some cheerleaders don't have razors in their snatch is to be foolishly unarmed.

-- Tori Amos
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 11:20PM #3
tameless_heart
Posts: 2,084
A pagan military at that.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 8:47AM #4
CreakyHedgewitch
Posts: 1,244
[QUOTE=Dogmafreehappily;238946]From what I know there are two definitions of Paganism: An umbrella term for any earth-based, nature-based religion. Or. Anyone who doesn't follow a Abrahamic religion.[/QUOTE]

There are more than two definitions actually but those two are probably the most relevant to those today. However, think of Paganism not so much as an umbrella term for just religions but rather as a broad modern Movement since circa the 1930’s. (Actually historically the third Movement with that name…) Where someone defines Paganism as ancient, Neo-Paganism is the more common term used. There certainly are religions within this Movement although not all (like Wicca for example) are earth- or nature-based. Many individuals within that Movement are and remain solitary practitioners who have self-identified as Neo-/Pagan based on what they know about what is associated with the Movement regarding beliefs, practices and values. They may be religious or not, part of an established Pagan religion or not.

QUOTE=Dogmafreehappily;238946]What I was wanting to know was if one could possibly identify themselves as a "general Pagan", meaning they could, say, believe in a God and Goddess, magic, nature, etc. Yet follow none of the Pagan religions? And what could they believe that would make them Pagan in the first place?[/QUOTE]

There are four commonalties that I have found in the last 25 years for Neo-/Pagans. Each self-identifies as such. Each self-defines that that means to him or her from the broad associations out there. Each validates their beliefs and choices through experience (experiential) and finally outside of those organised religions, traditions and groups within the Movement, Pagans cannot sufficiently agree to create a singular shared faith or religion called Paganism.

So yes, you can identify yourself as a Pagan, self-define that that means to you and not be part of an organised Pagan religion.  As to what makes them Pagan in the first place, it is that self-identification.

QUOTE=Dogmafreehappily;238946]So does this mean I can call myself a "general Pagan", in the sense of an earth-based, or nature-based belief/religion?[/QUOTE]

Not if you are using that definition but as it isn’t applicable to many self-identified Pagans anyway, you don’t need to.

C.H.
No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 12:48PM #5
Dromahair
Posts: 559
[QUOTE=Dogmafreehappily;238946]What I was wanting to know was if one could possibly identify themselves as a "general Pagan", meaning they could, say, believe in a God and Goddess, magic, nature, etc. Yet follow none of the Pagan religions? And what could they believe that would make them Pagan in the first place? I ask this because I'm not really into organized religion, yet I believe in a God and Goddess, representing balance in nature. I also practice magic, and divination. And I believe in spirits, and many other occult "things". So does this mean I can call myself a "general Pagan", in the sense of an earth-based, or nature-based belief/religion?[/QUOTE]

General Paganism might be hard to attain as you'd have to base your beliefs on what generally most modern Pagans believe and depending upon what gauge you decide to use, that could be a very small set of common beliefs.  Generic Pagan might be a better term - not holding exclusively to any specific set of beliefs found within the Pagan sphere.  I doubt you'll find any who would accept that label since "generic" doesn't have the cashet that terms like "unique" and "individual" have.  :)

I would note that by expressing belief in 'a' God and Goddess you are already leaning toward the Wiccan side of things - it's not a general belief found within Paganism.  Belief in spirits and other occult "things" does not necessarily qualify as Pagan at all (depending upon what the "things" actually turn out to be).

Without more information I'd suggest you just call yourself Pagan or Eclectic Pagan (if you feel the need to be more specific).
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 12:48PM #6
Dromahair
Posts: 559
[QUOTE=Dogmafreehappily;238946]What I was wanting to know was if one could possibly identify themselves as a "general Pagan", meaning they could, say, believe in a God and Goddess, magic, nature, etc. Yet follow none of the Pagan religions? And what could they believe that would make them Pagan in the first place? I ask this because I'm not really into organized religion, yet I believe in a God and Goddess, representing balance in nature. I also practice magic, and divination. And I believe in spirits, and many other occult "things". So does this mean I can call myself a "general Pagan", in the sense of an earth-based, or nature-based belief/religion?[/QUOTE]

General Paganism might be hard to attain as you'd have to base your beliefs on what generally most modern Pagans believe and depending upon what gauge you decide to use, that could be a very small set of common beliefs.  Generic Pagan might be a better term - not holding exclusively to any specific set of beliefs found within the Pagan sphere.  I doubt you'll find any who would accept that label since "generic" doesn't have the cashet that terms like "unique" and "individual" have.  :)

I would note that by expressing belief in 'a' God and Goddess you are already leaning toward the Wiccan side of things - it's not a general belief found within Paganism.  Belief in spirits and other occult "things" does not necessarily qualify as Pagan at all (depending upon what the "things" actually turn out to be).

Without more information I'd suggest you just call yourself Pagan or Eclectic Pagan (if you feel the need to be more specific).
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