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An Overview of Paganism Today

grapevine
The Academy in Athens.


Introduction


Pagans in the Dark AgesPaganism is an umbrella term for the polytheistic, pantheistic, and henotheistic old religions of ancient civilizations and indigenous peoples. These forms of religious expression existed as a manifestation of their cultures, and they were truly the religions of the people. The religions of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Celts, Norse, Germans, Hawaiians, and many other peoples had their own unique religious systems.

Then in Europe, along came Christianity. It's ironic that from the usual Pagan perspective, Christianity and most European Pagan religions could have co-existed with little trouble. Each faith could have complimented the other, indeed, could have supported each other. Unfortunately, that was not to be. The Christians decided to make their faith as exclusive as their Jewish parent. So Christianity became strictly centrally organize, fanatically intolerant, and myopically self-righteousness. There was no room for anyone else.

Pagan religious traditions were systematically attacked; its leading followers were mercilessly persecuted, victimized, and during some periods of time they were murdered. Pagan temples across Europe were sacked and destroyed, including an unbelievable amount of priceless works of art. Christianity tied to destroy and eliminate every trace of Paganism in Europe. That is why there are so few statues of the great gods of ancient Greece and Rome in existence today. This is why the temples are in rubble.

This is, of course, an over-simplification of a long history of rank prejudice, violent persecution, organized destruction, and systematic eradication.

Pagan religions are not doctrine-centered, not "revealed" through prophet revelations. Rather, Paganism believes that truth is eventually revealed through a continuing process of observation and life existence. Certainly not necessarily during the present lifetime. Often, the essential spiritual truths find expression in a polytheistic, pantheistic, and animistic understanding of the Divine.


Today

Thankfully, during the dark ages of Christian subjugation, Paganism persisted in the hearts and minds of men and women. In the mid-twentieth century, this magnificent Pagan spirituality burst forth across Europe, North America, and the world as a modern pan-Pagan religious movement.

Today, as a whole, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, Traditional Witchcraft, and the Reconstructionist Religions of Europe, Hawaii, and elsewhere are the fastest growing religions in the world. Especially Wicca has been in the front of this noble movement.

Today, perhaps half of those in European-based Paganism are Wiccan.


Pagan Religions:

1) Wicca is divided into conservative and progressive Wicca.

2) The Reconstructionist Religions is an umbrella term for those that attempt to re-establish a religion of a specific culture in an authentic and relevant manner. Reconstructionist Religions include Asatru (Norse), Druidry (Celtic), Hellenismos (Greek), Huna (Hawaiian), Kemet (Egyptian), Mithraeum (Roman), Religio Romana (Roman), and other reconstructionists. See Other Pagan Traditions, which lists general Pagan groups with links to websites.

3) Neo-Paganism is a modern religious movement that is a generic, nature-centered spiritual path. It has been said that Neo-Pagans follow a center path of Earth-consciousness.

4) Other Polytheistic Religions

Traditional Witchcraft is often considered a spirituality because there is no central authority to provide structure, litergy, and to set other aspects of the Traditional Craft. Religions have this structure by definition. Also, Traditional Crafters usually honour specific Gods of their selection from those religions that share British history. The selected Gods are honoured by the rituals and traditions of their respective religions and traditions and are not considered part of Traditional Craft.





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