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Paganism is one of the more open-minded and tolerant of the religions, being a "wide church" and having been around for longer than the monotheistic dogma based religions. Pagans I have met have been friendly, reasonable, and of a balanced viewpoint. The Pagan religion is an EMPOWERING belief-set, in contrast to the disempowering monotheisms which seem to be an allegory of state control of the individual.
Pagans DO believe in:
* Spirituality of Nature. Essence in the physical world.
* Entities, Goddesses and Gods, a balance of them usually.
* Having joyous festivities 8 times a year, (not just at Yule and Eastre which are two of the Pagan rites adopted by the mainstream).
* Magic - sometimes spelt "Magick" - witchcraft, usually towards positive results.
Pagans DO NOT believe in:
* Worshipping the Devil. (The Devil is a mainly Christian belief, and misunderstanding Pagans to worship it is a bit like misunderstanding Christians having a communion as "drinking human blood")
* Sacrificing people. (However, if you want to see a religion that sacrifices people, look at religions that have "Holy War" and quazi-religious/political belief-sets that have a "War against [insert item here]").
* Barbaric primitive carryings-on. (They're not cavemen, and they don't generally have orgies like in the scripts of ill-informed movies)
If you're shopping around for a religion to believe in, Paganism is one of the better choices, and if you'd like to find out more about it, now's your chance to find out from the PAGANS themselves rather than hearsay from propagandists. Here are a few helpful references:
Celtic Connection - Wicca, Paganism, Witchcraft
Circle Casters - was http://circlecasters.yolasite.com/
Prick-Tees - PAGAN t-shirts!
AzureGreen Metaphysical Witchcraft and Occult Store MAGIC!
Autumn Moon - Pagan supplies - Incense, candles, gifts, spells, wicca, witchcraft, ritual items, divination, dowsing and books - was http://www.autumnmoon.net/ - which has apparently now been lost to cybersquatters!
- was http://www.paganbound.com/
Strega - a potential Wicca homeland City State
Also see ALTERNATIVE MARKETS and Gothic Shops , where Pagan paraphernalia is usually among the requisites available.
If you're wondering if Pagan beliefs are a Cult or Religion, it's worth considering these facts:
* Pagans believe in spiritual forces in nature, but they don't believe in an all-controlling hierarchical vengeful entity hellbent on judgement of people based on absurdly oldfashioned stuffy morality.
* In the Pagan way of things, you don't have to be subservient to someone else.
* There is no dogma or book of rules. It's a flexible system.
* Other belief systems are tolerated and attempts made to understand them. Pagan religion does not claim to be the "One True Way" or some such monopolistic thing to the exclusion of all others.
* A great many concepts in society have been borrowed from Paganism. Christmas is Yule (no-one knows what day Jesus was born), bringing pine trees into the house, holly, mistletoe, and having a festival in mid-winter are Pagan ideas. Oestra (Easter) is the Pagan festival of fertility, hence bunny rabbits, eggs, etc. Halloween is a variant of the Pagan festival of Samhain. April Fools, May bank holiday, Morris dancers, Mid Summer's day, etc; Paganism has inherent ideas ingrained in society.
* Pagans have festivities and celebrations where they dance around bonfires and have a right rave-up. Less formal than a church fete, so which kind of parties would you like to be invited to?
Now look, I'm not a religious Pagan person myself, and I'm not saying you should BELIEVE in Paganism. I'm saying it's worth finding out about and understanding. Religious belief is very much a matter of personal taste, and it's up to you to find out what's right for you.
The links on this page were last checked 2006/07/03 to eliminate cybersquatting and other problems of link hijacking. More about the BAD LINKS problem explained at bad link
At Yule 2009, I published the page of the Pagan Clock
In addition to Paganism as described on this page, referring to Pagan beliefs in places where Christianity is the default dogma, there is also Arabian Paganism, referring to Pagan beliefs in places where Islam is the default dogma, described at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabian_paganism . This could also be on the rise, because mainstream religions are usually authoritarian, whereas Paganism is more diversity-friendly and is more of a credodiversity