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Paganism and Pagan Paths


Paganism is being on any path which is not Judeo-Christian-Islamic. Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American paths, Wicca, Hellenics, Druids, Asatru are some examples of these paths. Many paths are based on earth-based beliefs, but not all Pagans center their focus on "Mother Earth". Pagan History predates Christianity.

Satanism is not a pagan path, but is often wrongly used to describe any belief system that is not Christian.

When finding the path that is true to you, it is wise to speak with fellow Pagans and get their outlook on the various paths they may follow. Do your research!! Whether you use books, the internet, or discussion groups, and remember the old adage, "if it's too good to be true, then it isn't". Learning groves (groups) are a great source of information and a way to meet others who are still trying to find their own path. But I have found that if the person running it happens to tell you that what he/she believes is the only "true" way, or you should only believe in what he/she believes in, time to find another group. The only true path is the path that is true to you. Be openminded, and a good sense of humor helps also.

One website I believe gives the best in resources is The Witches' Voice. It is not just for "witches", but is a site for all paths in Paganism. You can meet people from your own area, find out what shops are around, classes to attend and meetings for groups.

Asatru: A path which embraces a reverence for the Gods of the Nordic/Germanic pantheon and their traditional means of worship. They distinguish themselves from Pagans by calling themselves Heathens.

Draconic: Utilization of the powers of dragons either by invocation (calling the power of the dragon into yourself), or evocation (calling the dragon to you, so it may join into your magickal workings).

Druidism: Was the religion of the ancient druids, the priestly class in ancient Celtic and Gaulish societies through much of Western Europe north of the Alps and in the British Isles. Druidic practices were part of the culture of all the tribal peoples called Keltoi and Galatai by Greeks and Celtae and Galli by Romans, cultures we identify by the modern words "Celtic" and "Gaelic".

Hellenic: A path which embraces a reverence for the Gods of Olympos and the traditional means of worship of the ancient Greeks. There are a number of subgroups and Mystery Cults of Hellenic Religion: Orphics and the Eleusinian Mysteries are two.

Kemetic, Kemeticism : A path embracing a reverence for the Pharonic/Egyptian Pantheon and their traditional means of worship. The root word for Kemetic/Kemeticism is "kemet", which in the Ancient Egyptian language, means "the Black Land," and refers to the black fertile soil of Egypt. Kemet is one word the Ancient Egyptians used for Egypt.

Nova Roma-Religio Romana : Paths focusing on the worship of the Gods of the Romans. Though many of the deities share a similar name with the Greek deities, the Romans had different ideals concerning their gods and goddesses.

Reconstructionism : A religious methodology which uses history, literature, art, philosophy, and other "academic" fields of study to recreate a religious tradition of an ancient culture. Asatru, Druidism, Hellenic, Kemeticism, Religio Romana and Slavic are Reconstructionist paths.

Slavic : Slavic Paganism is the reconstruction of Eastern European traditions which are based upon animism and dualism.

Strega, Stregheria : Stregheria has its roots in ancient Etruscan religion. There are surprisingly few elements in Stregheria that can be said to be strictly Roman influences. Modern Stregheria contains various elements of Tuscan peasant religion mixed with material Medieval Christian heresy sects, particularly those involving Saint worship. To modern Italian Witches, many Catholic Saints are simply ancient pagan gods dressed in Christian garb.

Thelema and The Golden Dawn : Two distinct paths which focus on different aspects of Ceremonial Magicks. Ceremonial Magicks draw upon ancient pagan (mainly Egyptian, but also some Greek) concepts, Qabbalah (Jewish mysticism), and elemental magicks. Aleister Crowley is known as the founder of Thelema, and was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

Witchcraft : A Witch is a practitioner of what could be termed the first religion, since it honors the Divine in nature and uses magick as a tool for personal and global transformation. This was the way of life for people predating Christianity, and women of the village were the major practitioners. Wizard and witch are terms a male can use to associate himself with his magickal self. The term "warlock" is a Scottish term meaning "oath breaker", and was used upon folk who were practicioners of the craft, but turned their backs upon it, often aligning themselves with the accusers of witches.

Wicca : a blanket term for the modern pagan movement which embraces a reverence for a Goddess-centered religion focusing on a cyclical calendar where each major holiday represents an aspect of the life cycle. There are many flavors of Wicca, such as Dianic (serious Goddess emphasis), Gardnerian, Alexandrian, etc. Although there isn't a single definition for Wicca, it is marked by an eclectic mix of ancient Celtic, late 19th and early 20th century Mysticism (such as Thelema, Golden Dawn, and Freemasonry), and Jungian theories about the nature of the Gods.

References:

Books: Here is a selection I can recommend for you that covers many of the paths I have mentioned. I do tend to dismiss books which interchange Wicca and Witch, as they are NOT one and the same.