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What Is Paganism? - your contributions welcome....


Guest fizzyclare1
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i have just been reading a thread on the fb page for UKP and there is a rather heated debate (sort of) going off about what paganism (or the different types of) is. I must say there seemed to be very little in the way of information giving and alot of defensiveness by some. so i thought i would giive a brief definition of paganism, a few of the types of paganism that i have encountered to kick off this thread but i would welcome other contributions and information giving to people who are essentially new to paganism and who find the whole thing a bit confusing.

 

So what is paganism? paganism is an umbrella term for a whole group of people, who generally speaking, dont follow the big five religions, who may feel a strong connection to the land and the earth. Pagan's may believe in no god or goddess, one god/dess or many god/desses. A pagan may follow/reconstruct old religions such as the greek, roman, heathen beliefs and practices. Or pagans may generate their own beliefs and practices from inner experience or from more modern practices/beliefs such as wicca (seax, gardinarian and so on). Some pagans blend their own pagan beliefs with other beliefs such as christian wiccans.

 

other pagans may practice magic, herbalism, use divination (such as tarot reading), may be interested in healing (or not) and yet other pagans may not believe in magic at all.

 

Many pagans celebrate the changing seasons of the year or following some kind of celebration set on a calendar, some don't. some celebrate life, the changing seasons, their relationship with their god/desses, spirits in their own personal way.

 

okay thats enough to kick off, I am sure i have missed loads of stuff, so please feel free to add stuff.

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Here are some key points from a uni interfaith PowerPoint presentation that I made. It's in two halves covering 'paths' and 'concepts'. Keep in mind that these a from the slides and so don't cover everything.

 

What is Paganism?

-A modern religious movement.

-Paganism covers a wide range of traditions that frequently look to Nature and pre-Christian cultures of Europe for inspiration

-Some Pagans see their religions as being wholly modern whereas other seek to reconstruct or revive a specific historic religion.

-There are an estimated 40,000 Pagans in the UK according to the 2001 census.

 

Wicca a.k.a. Witchcraft

-One of the most influential and populous traditions of modern Paganism. As such more information and research is available about Wicca than other Pagan traditions.

-An initiatory tradition. There is no laity.

-Venerates the Goddess and God. They’re technically equals.

-The practice of magic plays an important role.

-The symbol most associated is the pentacle.

 

Wicca cont.

-Emerged in the late 1940s and was heavily publicised by Gerald Gardner.

-Gardner collaborated with others to develop much of the material for early Wicca.

-He valued and encouraged personal creativity.

-Wiccans who claim lineage from Gardner are known as Gardnerians.

-Over time Wicca has diversified into other traditions such as Alexandrian, Dianic and solitary.

 

Druidry

-There are multiple forms of Druidry not all are Pagan or even religious.

-Pagan Druidry draws inspirations from ancient “Celtic” culture.

-Venerates Nature.

-Poetry, prose, music and performance are seen as sacred and mystical.

 

Heathenry

-Also called Asatru.

-A reconstructionist/revivalist tradition based on Northern European pre-Christian culture.

-Polytheistic. Heathen gods are best known from Nordic Mythology.

-A number of our days of the week are named for these gods: Tuesday is named after Tyr, Wednesday after Odin, Thursday after Thor and Friday after the goddess Frigg.

 

Heathenry Cont.

-As well as gods Heathen recognise and relate to a wide variety of spirit beings often called “wights”.

-Two major categories of wight are “housewights”, that inhabit the home and “landwights” who occupy features of the landscape e.g. from and single tree to a forest , from a mound to mountain.

-Largest non-Christian religion in Iceland.

Neo-Nazis and white supremacists have on occasion co-opted Heathen imagery and manipulated Heathen source texts to suit their own ends.

 

Concepts

-Different Pagan traditions may share similar concepts or use the same terminology for different concepts.

-Here’s a number of concepts not tied to one particular Pagan tradition:

 

Wheel of the Year

-A cycle of eight festivals.

-Was first used by Wiccans and some Druid groups.

-Now followed by the majority of Pagans.

 

Paganism, Nature and the Sacred as Tangible

-Matter matters and it matters a lot.

-The divine is embodied in the material physical world.

-Paganism emphasizes the this-worldly, with the spiritual as embedded in nature; the living sensual world is integrated with the spiritual not denigrated in the latter’s favour.

-There is no true distinction between idol and icon.

 

Paganism and Magic

-Within Paganism there is a widespread, but not universal belief in what we call “magic”.

-What magic is and what it can be used for varies greatly. Some view it as an existing “force” that can be manipulated whereas others see it as being psychological in nature.

-For some it is central whereas for others magic plays a minor role, or even have no belief in magic what so ever.

 

Paganism and Gods

-Pagans can be polytheists, pantheists, animists, agnostics or even atheists.

-Polytheism is the most common amongst Pagans. Distinction is often drawn between “hard polytheism” and “soft polytheism”.

-Hard polytheism identifies all deities as being totally separate entities and soft polytheism identifies deities as be aspects of something greater.

 

Gods Cont.

Polytheist Pagans may frequently practice henotheism and monolatrism.

How gods are conceived and what constitutes and appropriate relationship with them varies.

Edited by Yarrow
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I'm sort of starting to see Paganism from how Mike describes. I am becoming increasingly unconfortable of seeing anything Pagan written down. I think it's becoming such a personal belief system in a lot of instances IMO the written word struggles to cope with meaning & definition. A lot of times I know what I mean but actually getting it on the screen or paper becoming inpossible.

My feeling is like the saying one man's meat another man's poison & then multiply that tastes or flavours then you come to what Paganism is today. Like there no set amount of god(s)/goddess(s)ie from 0 to thousand say, to actual methods of practice & then the frame work within some or many practice. I think just being on this messageboard highlights how different we all are, even one's who agree with each other.

 

I don't think we need to justify or tell anyone what we do ot think

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Paganism...... you know it when you see it, but impossible to satisfactorily define.

 

Mike

 

 

:o_claps: :o_claps: :o_claps:

 

Must remember that for the next time I'm asked!

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hmm

paganism is not a religion

wicca is not witchcraft

 

hmm

Paganism is a religion

Wicca is witchcraft

 

I'm sort of starting to see Paganism from how Mike describes. I am becoming increasingly unconfortable of seeing anything Pagan written down. I think it's becoming such a personal belief system in a lot of instances IMO the written word struggles to cope with meaning & definition. A lot of times I know what I mean but actually getting it on the screen or paper becoming inpossible.

My feeling is like the saying one man's meat another man's poison & then multiply that tastes or flavours then you come to what Paganism is today. Like there no set amount of god(s)/goddess(s)ie from 0 to thousand say, to actual methods of practice & then the frame work within some or many practice. I think just being on this messageboard highlights how different we all are, even one's who agree with each other.

 

I don't think we need to justify or tell anyone what we do ot think

 

The difficulty of putting religion into words is not a unique experience, but rather it's something all religions have to deal with. There are a number of problems for us Pagans. First is that the 'everyday' language of religion is dominated by Christian monotheism thus everyday language is not always suitable for us. Second is that most Pagans are not theologians, philosophers or scholars of religions studies and thus are unfamiliar or unaware of the 'specialist' language and concepts that already exists for describing and explaining the ineffable. Even in this arena you run into the problem of it being dominated by Christian thought and assumption. Theology at my uni is in fact Christian theology; you need to take religious studies if you want to look at other religions and even then most the RS modules relate to Christianity. I feel that it is becoming necessary create new terms and revive old ones to better express ourselves.

 

I think the greatest barrier to this is the self-centered obsession within Paganism with being unique that renders some unwilling or incapable of entering into a proper healthy dialogue with each other that amounts to something more then obnoxious shouts of me me me me.

 

As for these forums I think they present a rather distorted view of Paganism, they seem to draw out and highlight differences. Whereas the various Pagans I have met and research and studies of Paganism I have read do no fit the totally disparate model of Paganism that some here like to imagine. I have yet to meet a Pagan in the flesh who insists that Paganism is not a religion.

 

We do not live in isolation and there are times when we must justify what we think and do.

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hmm

paganism is not a religion

wicca is not witchcraft

 

hmm

Paganism is a religion

Wicca is witchcraft

 

 

No. Paganisms are an infinite number of religions. Paganism is a movement, not a religion.

 

Wicca involves a form of witchcraft but is not the whole of witchcraft. There are many other forms of witchcraft that are not Wiccan. Also, Wicca involves a strong framework of religious practice that is based on magic and upon a belief in the divine.

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Paganism...... you know it when you see it, but impossible to satisfactorily define.

 

Mike

 

 

Definitely!

 

I'd also say that it is for each individual to self-identify as Pagan, using the qualifiers that they feel most fit their own idea of what "Pagan" is.

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hi,ya.pagan=simple..it is not a religion.its a way of life.so just enjoy it and live it...xx :)

 

 

 

 

just don't complicate it..xx :) :) :)

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True True ,,

i am learning that all the time .

i do what i feel is right , and what represents myself.

As long as is causes harm to none .

blessed be

Trixie x

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FFS

religion is NOT obligatory on this planet, a bit of awe and spirit or numinous experience, even the occasional deity doesn't make something 'religion' especially when you regard yourself as equal and nothing as supernatural

get a bloody dictionary

 

wicca is not witchcraft, in my opinion (was in a so-called coven for a while) it loses that title because of rule of three and all that goodness stuff/no balance and poor understanding of shadow by most participants but mainly because it has goddess/god; it is re-created ceremonial magick of a simplistic variety/degree and it has a religious heirarchy with high priestess and all that nonsense. Of course some practitioners outgrow and understand more than that but they are (usually) no longer wiccans by then except maybe by personal choice. Even some christians achieve various degrees of spiritual enlightenment and measures of magickal ability. And yes, I have had this discussion with lineaged Wiccans of both Garderian and Alexandrian descent and they tend to agree despite this for briefness being a superficial description.

 

witchcraft is never religion

 

So do pagans have to have a witchcraft or religious background or belief system? Of course not. It is a just a loose conglomeration and will never be an entity. These discussions are stupid, frankly. If you want a voice, open your mouth, if you want a group, join the girl guides, if you need power then you are not a witch, join a political party. If you want/need god experience to be supernatural then bow down and kiss arse. You can be on equal footing with the buggers, can offer respect but you don't need to worship. I have as much awe of a decent human being (a few are) as I do for any deity I have met so far.

 

lets keep paganism as a loose, undefined group we accept by choice and not define it. then we can argue the subgroups all day if we feel like it

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Yarrow your stance is well known here. It is respected but if I remember the poll correctly the majority here disagree with it.

 

You say you have yet to meet a Pagan in real life who insists that Paganism is not a religion - I have to accept what you say but I find it inconceivable if you have been to an open moot rather than a single path one.

 

I don't want to go into the "is it / isn't it" argument yet again but I am intrigued as to why it is so important for you to assert your position. Your point of view is of course welcome; I just wonder why it is difficult for you to accept the views of others regarding their own Pagan world view. No one here has ever suggested that your Paganism isn't a religion - I'm certain that it is. My Paganism isn't.

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The problem is that Paganism is a consensus group rather than a defined group. We accept some people as pagan, such as Hellenists or Heathens but reject others such as Scientologists for no rigidly definable reason other than a gut feeling. However, most paganisms are not legalistic in the sense of the Abrahamic religions which makes "a gut feeling" and "consensus group" a valid way of working out who is in and who is out. If we were to resort to diagrams, most religious groups would have lots of circles in different shades of a single colour outlined in thick black marker pen. To make a diagram of Paganism would require many differently hued cans of spray paint applied from a few feet away through a sieve...

Edited by Badger Bob
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Dear Moonsmith,

 

Yarrow your stance is well known here. It is respected but if I remember the poll correctly the majority here disagree with it.

 

You say you have yet to meet a Pagan in real life who insists that Paganism is not a religion - I have to accept what you say but I find it inconceivable if you have been to an open moot rather than a single path one.

 

I don't want to go into the "is it / isn't it" argument yet again but I am intrigued as to why it is so important for you to assert your position. Your point of view is of course welcome; I just wonder why it is difficult for you to accept the views of others regarding their own Pagan world view. No one here has ever suggested that your Paganism isn't a religion - I'm certain that it is. My Paganism isn't.

 

I'm largely in agreement with Yarrow on this. 'Religion' as a term does not have a precise, universally agreed, definition. In the widest sense, it's used to describe the complexes of beliefs, attitudes and practices through which a culture or subculture interacts with what it understands to be sacred. Because nearly all of us grew up in a culture overwhelmingly dominated by Christianity, I think many of us instinctively assume that all religions will be similar to Christianity under different labels, and it's obvious that Paganism does not fit that model. But that isn't a universal model for religion. From within the perspectives of Religious Studies, Paganism is certainly a religion, and various sub-groups within it can also be categorised as distinct religions although they lack the cultural distinctiveness that in many ways makes ancient Paganism(s) easier to categorise.

 

While I've never met Yarrow, I believe the views they're putting forward derive not from arrogance but simply from examination of the religious studies/social anthropology resources available on the subject.

 

Yes, of course you can make a case for Paganism also being an umbrella term - but when you look at other religions as actual groups within society rather than as the theoretically homogenous abstracts their leaderships tend to present them as, it rapidly becomes apparent that they are also umbrella terms.

 

I also agree with Yarrow that the internet - not this Forum in particular,which is outstanding in the quality of debate it offers, but the internet in general - does give a very different impression of Paganism from that observable in the ... ummm..... world that isn't the internet :). Most of us love arguing, not just because it's great fun but because there's something in Paganism that really encourages us to think for ourselves and contribute our opinions to the community. But those differences of opinion seem, more often than not, to reinforce community rather than divide it. Labels such as 'religion', 'way of life', 'umbrella term' may not be synonymous but neither are they mutually exclusive.

 

I remain completely bemused by the arguments that Paganism is not a religion, but then I live in a country where it's widely recognised as one and has legal status accordingly. I participate in a community that's getting larger, better networked, and more confident each year, and is very recognisable as a faith community. And while there are certainly people in that community who'll argue that Paganism isn't a religion at the drop of a hat, the way they actually behave within that community accords with the pattern of a religion.

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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Dear Badger Bob,

 

The problem is that Paganism is a consensus group rather than a defined group. We accept some people as pagan, such as Hellenists or Heathens but reject others such as Scientologists for no rigidly definable reason other than a gut feeling.

 

Surely it's considerably more than a gut feeling. I automatically think of Hellenists and Heathens as Pagans because they honour Pagan deities, draw inspiration from the old Pagan literary and artistic traditions, almost invariably show a deep but unsentimental respect for the land, and hang out with other Pagans a lot. The other group you refer to (glances anxiously over shoulder) do none of those things and would probably be horrified by any suggestion they might.

 

However, most paganisms are not legalistic in the sense of the Abrahamic religions which makes "a gut feeling" and "consensus group" a valid way of working out who is in and who is out.

 

Agreed, though I might throw an extra capital letter in there. Applying a strictly legalistic approach to who is or is not a Pagan would feel a bit like applying a strictly legalistic approach to who is or is not one of your friends. However tidy some definitions of the various Pagan traditions might be, in practice the sense of belonging within a community seems a more important factor in creating and maintaining Pagan groups than a high level of agreed beliefs.

 

If we were to resort to diagrams, most religious groups would have lots of circles in different shades of a single colour outlined in thick black marker pen. To make a diagram of Paganism would require many differently hued cans of spray paint applied from a few feet away through a sieve...

 

So Paganism looks a bit like a graffiti artist, a tartan-weaver and a tie-dyer couldn't agree on which technique to use and decided to use all of them? I'm comfortable with that :).

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

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From within the perspectives of Religious Studies, Paganism is certainly a religion, and various sub-groups within it can also be categorised as distinct religions although they lack the cultural distinctiveness that in many ways makes ancient Paganism(s) easier to categorise.

 

I think I might shift position, as I watch this argument run again, but also rethink in the light of other developments on this board. ISTM that paganismmay include religions, but paganism is a spiritual movement, rather than a religious one. If it were to be a religious movement - and worse, a religion, then surely that would exclude the atheists?

 

Even within the monotheist religions, there is a religion that recognises both religion and culture: Judaism. Now the 'culture' is tied to race in that example, but, as everyone says, there is no reason why pagans cannot break the mold and create our own model - why we cannot have a religious and a cultural paganism, with the cultural built on spiritual rather than genetic lines.

 

I remember my rather excellent young tutor in History of Theology at Bible College telling us to take no notice of words - "Everyone uses the same words," he'd say, "but they all mean different things. 'Communion' is a very different conept to a Calvinist, an Anglican, A Zwingliist and a Roman Catholic. You have to get behind the words." Of course, the dear old C of E had four variety of communion service, each of which embodied a different concept of communion, so it served most people very well. A bit like paganisms, really. ;)

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Surely it's considerably more than a gut feeling. I automatically think of Hellenists and Heathens as Pagans because they honour Pagan deities, draw inspiration from the old Pagan literary and artistic traditions, almost invariably show a deep but unsentimental respect for the land, and hang out with other Pagans a lot. The other group you refer to (glances anxiously over shoulder) do none of those things and would probably be horrified by any suggestion they might.

 

Actually "the other group" in their odder mythologies do seem to believe that what they are doing will cause a greater harmony within the cosmos and with the earth and claim to draw upon a tradition far older than any currently accepted Pagan ones. This is the problem I have in defining Paganism - almost every definition I have seen can be said to include groups that are not traditionally Pagan. Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is very close to almost every definition of Paganism yet many Hindus would be horrified at the label. Thus a loose consensus (as you show in your post through the use of the phrase "hang out with other Pagans a lot") is probably the only way to define the group as a whole.

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Is paganism a religion, or is it an umbrella term for different pagan religions...?

 

A religion could be defined as a belief system...does paganism have a belief system....well there are aspects/views that most pagans would generally agree on. But the different paths, druidry, heathenism etc all have belief systems that will be generally agreed by all who follow. There will also be devotional or ritual observances and public and group gatherings - and these are also present in the definition of religion.

 

So why would these paths not be defined as religion?

 

If religion is defined as having a belief system, devotional/ritual observances, gatherings both public and private, worldviews, symbols, traditions, commemeration/respect for deity/deities, etc etc then how can pagan paths not be defined as religion....?

 

Paganism is an umbrella term for the different spiritual paths/religions that the word paganism encompassess. Paganism is therefore not a religion in itself but the term used to box together all the various pagan religions.....in my opinion.....

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The difficulty of putting religion into words is not a unique experience, but rather it's something all religions have to deal with. There are a number of problems for us Pagans. First is that the 'everyday' language of religion is dominated by Christian monotheism thus everyday language is not always suitable for us. Second is that most Pagans are not theologians, philosophers or scholars of religions studies and thus are unfamiliar or unaware of the 'specialist' language and concepts that already exists for describing and explaining the ineffable. Even in this arena you run into the problem of it being dominated by Christian thought and assumption. Theology at my uni is in fact Christian theology; you need to take religious studies if you want to look at other religions and even then most the RS modules relate to Christianity. I feel that it is becoming necessary create new terms and revive old ones to better express ourselves.

 

I think the greatest barrier to this is the self-centered obsession within Paganism with being unique that renders some unwilling or incapable of entering into a proper healthy dialogue with each other that amounts to something more then obnoxious shouts of me me me me.

 

As for these forums I think they present a rather distorted view of Paganism, they seem to draw out and highlight differences. Whereas the various Pagans I have met and research and studies of Paganism I have read do no fit the totally disparate model of Paganism that some here like to imagine. I have yet to meet a Pagan in the flesh who insists that Paganism is not a religion.

 

We do not live in isolation and there are times when we must justify what we think and do.

 

I think any seeker who falls under the umbrella term of Paganism needs to put any Xtain, Islamic or whatever indoctrination behind them & really dismiss it as nonsense & not compatable with the human mind. The seeker needs to be unique & be aware that what they do or belieive only effects them, it only exists for that individual but at the same time be aware that everyone's comes from the same standpoint, within Paganism & accept that.

 

I personally think these sort of forums are much better than moots or gatherings. We can talk in forums about the bare bones of a subject without being inflicted with prejudice against us of say what we look like or wear. My experience of moots are like school playgrounds goings on, inbued with petty jealousy & bullying when it get's really out of hand. We also tend to speak more, let on more that we believe at moots, that can lead to ridicule. We do this because people feel obliged to talk at gatherings & probably drink just enough to free the tongue.

 

We don't have to justify anything to anyone, we shouldn't feel obliged to tell everyone who cares & who doesn't care, what we do. I don't think we should have any outside images to say what we do & once an individual believes in what someone else believes, I would say they haven't even started on their spiritual journey.

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So Paganism looks a bit like a graffiti artist, a tartan-weaver and a tie-dyer couldn't agree on which technique to use and decided to use all of them? I'm comfortable with that :).

 

BB,

 

John Macintyre

 

 

Me too :D

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Is paganism a religion, or is it an umbrella term for different pagan religions...?

 

A religion could be defined as a belief system...does paganism have a belief system....well there are aspects/views that most pagans would generally agree on. But the different paths, druidry, heathenism etc all have belief systems that will be generally agreed by all who follow. There will also be devotional or ritual observances and public and group gatherings - and these are also present in the definition of religion.

 

So why would these paths not be defined as religion?

 

If religion is defined as having a belief system, devotional/ritual observances, gatherings both public and private, worldviews, symbols, traditions, commemeration/respect for deity/deities, etc etc then how can pagan paths not be defined as religion....?

 

Paganism is an umbrella term for the different spiritual paths/religions that the word paganism encompassess. Paganism is therefore not a religion in itself but the term used to box together all the various pagan religions.....in my opinion.....

 

So what about us Pagans who don't follow a rigid path (Heathenry/Wicca et al), don't take part in devotional/ritual observances, gatherings (public or private) and don't believe in any Deity?

Are we not Pagans too then?

As I have stated numerous times, I have Druidic leanings but am not a Druid, I practice witchcraft but am not a Wiccan, I give no reverence or worship to any Deity,

but,

I am most definately Pagan.

How does my path fit into the 'Paganism as a Religion' blueprint?

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Hi

As I said I think paganism is an umbrella term for a religious or spiritual path...

 

Im pagan....but Im a Druid. So I follow a 'Pagan' spirituality but my 'religion' is druidry

 

Your path is your own, your religion is your own. No doubt you have views/beliefs that fit within the pagan belief structure. Does your religion have to have a name? Its your personal path.

 

Thats just my view.....

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Im pagan....but Im a Druid. So I follow a 'Pagan' spirituality but my 'religion' is druidry

 

 

Is druidry a religion? An OBOD druid once told me that had no gods, so it was simply a spirituality, not a religion. Whereas others who might style themselves as druids follow a distinct religion, such as CR.

 

I'm presuming druidry is a spirituality. Or is it a craft, like witchcraft?

 

<cat, pigeon; pigeon, cat. MH sneaks off quickly :P >

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Im pagan....but Im a Druid. So I follow a 'Pagan' spirituality but my 'religion' is druidry

 

 

Is druidry a religion? An OBOD druid once told me that had no gods, so it was simply a spirituality, not a religion. Whereas others who might style themselves as druids follow a distinct religion, such as CR.

 

I'm presuming druidry is a spirituality. Or is it a craft, like witchcraft?

 

<cat, pigeon; pigeon, cat. MH sneaks off quickly :P >

 

Druidry has been officially regarded as a religion recently....but what you say is a fair point. You ask 3 druids what druidry is and you will get 4 answers!!!! It has core beliefs that fit in with a definition of religion, but to some it is a religion, to others it is a spirituality. Im afraid it does not really worry me! My druidry is for me and my path is my own

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Hi

As I said I think paganism is an umbrella term for a religious or spiritual path...

 

Im pagan....but Im a Druid. So I follow a 'Pagan' spirituality but my 'religion' is druidry

 

Your path is your own, your religion is your own. No doubt you have views/beliefs that fit within the pagan belief structure. Does your religion have to have a name? Its your personal path.

 

Thats just my view.....

I can go along with the view that mine is a spiritual path but I would never call it a religion and as I have stated, I don't follow any rigid or prescribed doctrines.

I also agree that Paganism is an umbrella term covering disparate beliefs and veiws from the Love n Light 'fluffies' to the axe welding hard liners but that doesn't make their beliefs religions.

Chritianity is a religion with many offshoots but all believe in the same basic tenet. The same is said for Judaism, Islam et al.

If you question two or more Pagans allegedly following the same path and you get them to agree on the correct time you're doing well let alone what it is they believe as a foundation

My path within Paganism cannot be described as a religion and within the present context of the word it would never be accepted as such.

 

Taken from OED

 

Religion

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power , especially a personal God or gods:

a particular system of faith and worship:

a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion:

 

I do not believe in Deity, I do not worship anything nor do I follow anything with great devotion therefore my path cannot be called a religion.

 

It's my path, that's all.

 

Why does it have to be a religion?

 

BTW What is the Pagan belief/structure? As far as I'm aware there isn't one set of guidlines that we all agree on :o_baeh:

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Hi

As I said I think paganism is an umbrella term for a religious or spiritual path...

 

Im pagan....but Im a Druid. So I follow a 'Pagan' spirituality but my 'religion' is druidry

 

Your path is your own, your religion is your own. No doubt you have views/beliefs that fit within the pagan belief structure. Does your religion have to have a name? Its your personal path.

 

Thats just my view.....

I can go along with the view that mine is a spiritual path but I would never call it a religion and as I have stated, I don't follow any rigid or prescribed doctrines.

I also agree that Paganism is an umbrella term covering disparate beliefs and veiws from the Love n Light 'fluffies' to the axe welding hard liners but that doesn't make their beliefs religions.

Chritianity is a religion with many offshoots but all believe in the same basic tenet. The same is said for Judaism, Islam et al.

If you question two or more Pagans allegedly following the same path and you get them to agree on the correct time you're doing well let alone what it is they believe as a foundation

My path within Paganism cannot be described as a religion and within the present context of the word it would never be accepted as such.

 

Taken from OED

 

Religion

the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power , especially a personal God or gods:

a particular system of faith and worship:

a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion:

 

I do not believe in Deity, I do not worship anything nor do I follow anything with great devotion therefore my path cannot be called a religion.

 

It's my path, that's all.

 

Why does it have to be a religion?

 

BTW What is the Pagan belief/structure? As far as I'm aware there isn't one set of guidlines that we all agree on :o_baeh:

 

Fair point! In my last meassge should have said does your religion OR spirituality have to have a name...it does not have to be a religion. Your path is your path.

 

As far as pagan belief structure...I mean that most (most!!!) pagans would agree that they follow a polytheistic/pantheistic nature worshipping type religion/spirituality. I agree there wont be one set of guidelines we all keep to but broadly speaking we shall share some common ground...wont we...??

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This is the problem with calling Paganism a religion. What I am can't really be considered a religion........ nor can witchcraft in itself for example. For some who are Pagan, theirs is undoubtedly a religion, but for others it might be a philosophy or an outlook on life. I can't understand why some aren't content to accept that the unbrella covers lots of approaches including some religions. Why the insistence on the idea that the actual umbrella is a religion when it patently isn't for everyone. As it stands now it is relevant as it covers all paths... religious or otherwise. It seems to me that insisting the Paganism is a religion is a bit like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole simply for the sake of neatness. Does it really matter if Paganism is considered a religion or not?

 

Mike

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