Ok, in my last post I outed my Pagan beliefs and this has obviously bothered some of my friends so I’d like to explain a little, particularly on behalf of my many, many Pagan and Wiccan friends.
I’d like to start by apologising in advance if anything I say here offends anyone, I can assure you this is certainly not my intention, I’d never wish to hurt someone’s feelings, least of all my friends.
Right, firstly there is obviously still a stigma that goes along with being Pagan/Wiccan.
Firstly I’d like to explain the word witch. The root wit in the word just means wise. The word witcraft was shortened to witch and it just means craft of the wise. You have to remember that the early Christians from Rome who bought Christianity to Europe were so determined in their quest to convert they used propaganda, torture and genocide. The ones who stayed strict to their Pagan beliefs were seen as rebellious and going against ‘God’ and were tortured and killed in barbaric ways. (drowned, burned alive, etc) people in those days saw this as entertainment. Laws were passed against witchcraft and were only repealed in 1951! So dedicated witches who wanted to preserve the religion were forced underground and formed secret ‘covens’.
“Although the word Witch is hated the word Pagan still rings alarm bells in the minds of many Christians or people in the sub-Christian culture. Why? Because Paganism was the enemy within. The church of Rome was determined to stamp it out by any means available and successfully built up an image of evil around Pagans so that even today ordinary people think Pagans and/or Witches sacrifice babies, perform evil spells and so on. The church also masked out or absorbed Pagan celebrations, for example Jesus was not born on the 25th December but was more probably born around April in 7 BCE. This was moved to the 6th January (the Eastern Orthodox church still uses that date). Then at the council of Niceae in 325 the western Christian church persuaded Emperor Constantin to move the celebration of the birth of Jesus to that other celebration of the birth of the sun, in Roman times the festival of Mithras, the God of Light at the winter solstice (which was thought to be 25th December).” (taken from Isle of Avalon, a great Pagan site with a wealth of information)
Witches were (and are) great healers, using the things that nature freely gives to us they were able to cure a great many ailments. This is a craft that is fast being recognised as the way forward. People are starting to use those age old ‘spells’ again!
Before I even realised I was swaying toward Paganism, I have a cupboard full of arnica for bruising/swelling, echinacea and garlic capsules to ward away those colds, lavender to aid sleep, willow bark to ease cold and flu symptoms, ginger root to help with sickness (I have had 5 babies after all!) and way too many more to go through! I would once have been told these were nothing less than witchcraft and if I wanted to feel better then I should just pray!
Anyway, my answer to those questions “But don’t you think being Pagan is a bit far fetched? I mean it is a bit weird isn’t it?”
Firstly no, I don’t think it’s far fetched to believe in a God and Goddess. It takes a male and a female to create life, so why would it seem strange to have a male God and female Goddess who each have different roles but are equally as important as each other? Don’t we want our children to be raised to know that men and women are equal?
It is my belief that Christianity in it’s early form (and even now in some ways) oppressed women. Men were allowed to be educated, women were not, women were forced to marry without having any say, women were not able to be important parts of the church (ie priests) and men were most certainly more ‘important’ than women. It has taken centuries for women to be accepted as equal in our society and in some ways society as a whole still has many prejudices against women.
I don’t think it’s far fetched to revere nature. We cannot live without it, simple. So if I’m thankful for nature, then I’m not being weird, I’m being grateful for something I know we can’t survive without.
I don’t think it’s far fetched to believe in reincarnation. We are made of energy, energy is transferred (scientific fact) so it makes sense to me that when my body is dead, my spiritual energy is transferred.
It’s much more believable than when I was raised a Christian that If I behave, I’ll go to ‘Heaven’ (when the Old Testament… the word of God, doesn’t mention humans going to heaven) and if I’m ‘bad’ I’ll go to hell. Forever…
Sounds like a way of regulating human behaviour to me.
Don’t sin… Love thy neighbour… as long as he’s not gay, having sex before marriage, having sex for enjoyment, using contraception, masturbating, lying, having an affair, wears clothing designed for the opposite sex, is a prostitute or reading Harry Potter!
Ok, I’m taking it to the extreme here, but this is what has been done to the Old and New Testaments in translation. It’s always interpretated by different people with different views which sends different messages. In translation the word for ‘inn’ has more than one meaning as does the word ‘hate’ (which can mean dislike strongly, or detached) so I always found it difficult to know what the interpretations were.
I found it hard to believe in a God that condemned people to death. Parts of the Old Testament (God’s word) are full of murder, rape, abortion and genocide. Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 20:9, Leviticus 21:9,Numbers 5:11-21, Numbers 31:17, 1 Kings 20:35-36, 2 Kings 2:23-24, Exodus 31:12-15, Hosea 9:11-16, Isaiah 13:15-18 are a few of the things that I find hard to imagine a God so right and true, would condone.
I think my big problem with Christianity, and my reasons for change, is that there was too much ‘demanding that man should do’ going on and then contradicting itself. The Old Testament was supposed to be God’s word, surely God’s word is final unless He gives it again? But then we are supposed to believe that God… God of the Jews (as Jesus was) takes his kingdom away from the Jews? God says bad people go to hell then (in the New Testament) it’s said that if they repent, they’ll not.
I put it to a Christian friend that if a 15 year old girl walked into her church and declared she was pregnant with God’s son but had never had sex, would they embrace her as the Mother of God’s son, or call social services and claim she was crazy… there was a lot of umming and erring but no definitive answer. Surely if you believe in the story of Jesus, then you’d embrace her? Just my opinion.
I have a problem with the Christian Sabbath being on a Sunday. The bible states that God rested on the seventh day, Saturday, and blessed that day as a day of rest. it is observed in the Ten Commandments so why was it changed to the day that many Pagan’s worship the Sun god?
Christmas is another contradiction. Yule is a Pagan festival, as Easter is a Pagan festival of rebirth.
The bottom line is this, No-one can (or should) dictate to another on what they should believe, nor mock them, calling them weird or far fetched. All religions are based on a belief system that cannot be proved no disproved. They all have the influence of man, who makes mistakes even when passing on a story however true, so things get altered or lost in translation.
I still respect my Christian friends, my Muslim friends, My Sikh friends, my Jewish friends and my athiest friends among others. I respect them and their beliefs, I don’t see them as weird or wrong, just as they are, their beliefs. I respect them as I do those who believe that their child is the most intelligent/best looking in the world. lol
Paganism is NOT bad, as with any religion it is open to abuses (as we’ve seen with the Christian Crusades or the Muslim Extremists for starters)
If you look at the history of Paganism, nature revering religions, most are looked at as being peaceful… the Native Americans, Aborigines, Ancient Greeks, Ancient Romans, Japanese, Indians, etc all have very similar beliefs, but they don’t have the stigma that we seem to have. Paganism is on the increase in Europe, people are looking into it and realising it makes sense to them.
To the friends who have contacted me to tell me they’ve been in the broom closet for years and are afraid to ‘come out’ to friends and family, well I hope that one day you’ll be able to practice your religion with pride. Until then, I’m always here.