February 12, 2015

Pagan by Design ~ Defined

By design, we're all inherently pagan. We're all born with a deep connection to nature, the elements, and to one another. This unity we share cannot be severed "at will", nor by following any particular religion, or lacking spirituality altogether.

Paganism pre-dates Christianity and organized monotheist religions by many hundreds of years. If you ask five people to explain its' meaning, you're likely to get five different answers. It is widely accepted that the term "Pagan" comes from the Latin "paganus", meaning rustic person or country dweller.

Prior to the 5th century CE, a "pagan" was a sharply critical term to insult anyone who held fast to Mithraism, or their Roman or Greek state religions, rather than be converted to Christianity. Some believe "paganus" was used during the early Roman Empire to mean "civilian", or "non-military". Christians during that time were referred to as miles Christi or "Soldiers of Christ". Pagani, on the other hand, were merely civilians, "non-Christians", or non-soldiers. There was no insult implied in this usage of the term.

For the purposes of this Blog, the term "Pagan" currently encompasses any non-monotheist earth-based path with a deep reverence for nature; observance and celebration of the natural cycles of life, death, rebirth, and natural law; and a strong desire to live in harmonious peace. An Atheist can be a Pagan. A Wiccan can be a Pagan. A Witch can be a Pagan. But being a Pagan does not automatically make one an Atheist, Wiccan or Witch. Even a Christian can be a Pagan at heart, but can't truly be both, or either, at the same time. See "Which Witch is Which" for further explanation of the differences between Wicca and Witchcraft.

Sadly, humans as a whole, are the only species consciously endangering the chances for continued survival - not only for ourselves, but for nearly every other life form sharing the Earth with us. If our actions, and inactions are not altered, we will most certainly meet our demise. For this reason alone, perhaps we should all reconnect with our Pagan roots.
Inspired by her Native American roots and Bradbury lineage, Polly Taskey is a writer and grandmother in the northern USA.  She shares her wisdom and pagan interests through Pagan by Design and The Moonlit Grove.


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