Religion… now this has always been a touchy subject for most.
I find this down to 2 main reasons… either non-religious people don’t want other people’s beliefs to be rammed down their throats, or the religious people don’t want to hear people discredit their beliefs.
Then you have that whole different angle, the stigma and prejudice that goes along with religion, especially those belief systems that are ‘different’ or that people are unable to understand.
Now I was talking to a friend today, and our beliefs came up and the fact that we have exactly the same religious beliefs and never knew it…I guess only a few of my friends, the ones that know me really well, know what my religious views are, but for those that don’t know me so well, I am going to publicly come out of the broom closet as it were, and define my religious standpoint…
I would describe myself as spiritual, nature loving, I believe in positivity, I believe we have the power to heal using things that nature gives us freely, I believe in and respect the sanctity of life, I believe in karma, I believe in the Rule of Three, I believe that all living things should respect all other living things and treat them as you wish to be treated, I don’t believe in being wasteful, I think we should share what we have an abundance of…
In a nutshell, I’d define myself as Pagan.
There, I said it… I worship nature… don’t laugh, I can prove it exists, and that we are totally unable to exist without it.
But the stigma attached to Paganism still exists, ever since the Christians wiped out Paganism from most of Europe, it’s become a word that is used as such a negative. Paganism was around long before Islam or Christianity. It has many similarities to Buddism, and Native American beliefs.
People still have misconceptions as to what Paganism is, or what we do.
We do NOT worship the devil, in fact, I don’t even recognise the existence of ‘satan’!
We do not cast evil spells on people, as I said, we believe in the Rule of Three, any negativity would come back to us threefold, a bit like karma.
New Age beliefs, those beliefs that herbs, plants, crystals, precious stones, meditation etc can cure ailments and make us feel better isn’t new at all…
We all know that many of our ‘Christian traditions’ are not in fact Christian at all, but they’re Pagan traditions and celebrations that the first Christians couldn’t wipe out of our strong Celtic-Pagan roots…
Sunday is the Pagan day of worship to the Sun God, Christians worshipped on Saturday, until the 4th Century when Roman Emperor Constantine, himself a Pagan at the time, ruled that the official day of worship in Rome would be Sunday. .
Easter was a fertility holiday, a time to worship the Goddess Eastre . As you can see this Goddess also gave her name to such things as Estrus, the female reproductive cycle, and Estrogen, a female hormone. This holiday was amazingly popular and in Pagan times, rabbits, and eggs, were fertility symbols used to celebrate this holiday.
Around the Mediterranean, even before Jesus, the death and rebirth of Attis, was celebrated at this time. Attis was born to a virgin (sound familiar?). He is the god of Vegetation, the lover of the fertility Goddess, and he dies and is reborn annually at this time (sound familiar?).
This holiday was too popular for early Christians to ban, so over time they simply reassigned meaning to the traditions and let people continue to celebrate.
Most people, even Christians, realize that December 25 was not Christs actual birthday. In the old calendar December 25 was the winter solstice, a day to celebrate the returning of the sun. In Rome December 17 was the start of a seven day holiday to celebrate the birth of the god Saturn. The Iranian sun God Mithra (also linked with Helios) was born of a virgin birth, on December 25. In many parts of the world the holidays’ original name was Saturnalia. Saturnalia was a celebration that lasted several days and involved feasting and the exchange of gifts. Evergreens, which represented life, were brought into the homes and decorated. Nearly every Christmas tradition, from the wreath to the star, have pagan origins, there are too many to list here, but a link is provided at the bottom. As with Easter the holiday was too popular, so rather than forbidding newly converted Christians from celebrating it, the Church renamed the day and over time reassigned meanings to the traditions, for example, the nativity scenes which were originally made to honour the birth of Saturn where now referenced to worship Jesus.
All Hallows Day was originally celebrated in the spring, but with the Celtic Holiday of Samhain being celebrated October 31, a move was made to place All Hallows Day on November 1. Thus October 31 became known as All Hallows Eve, eventually, Halloween. Indeed Samhain was a pagan holiday, one where people dressed up and reversed roles. They pulled pranks and partied with the people who had died during the year. Pagans were not afraid of their dead as many of us are today. Rather these spirits were welcomed.
Yes, Pagans do have rituals and ceremonies that may seem strange to some, but when you see the secret ‘Handfasting’ ceremony in Braveheart you probably didn’t realise this was an old Celtic-Pagan ceremony to bind the hearts of two people in love and there are many rituals and traditions that are equally wonderful and becoming more popular.
I guess the bottom line is this, don’t judge, just ask if you don’t understand something.
I don’t judge someone who believes they’ll go to hell because they’ve made some bad choices, I don’t have the same beliefs but each to their own.
I am just the same person as I’ve always been, If you know me and this is the first you’ve heard of this, you’ll see no difference in me. I still spend my days cooking and cleaning, I do the school run, I have a laugh and a joke and a gossip. There’s just more to me than you probably realised.
For more information on Paganism, take a look at http://www.paganspath.com/index2.htm or http://paganpages.org/content/2012/10/pagan-theology-35/