Pit Bull Informational
by Diane Jessup
|About The Old Religion
This contains "religious content"!
I've found that
most people have no idea what the pagan religion is about.
you are interested and secure in your beliefs, read on!
or Christian (or anything else), in my opinion the very best book on religion ever written is Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. It is an
interesting and challenging look at how we all think of "God",
Christianity has become. Written a couple of hundred years ago by
a man who truly loved "God", it remains the best book
on the subject.
DOES "PAGAN" MEAN?
The definition of pagan differs dependent upon
whom you are speaking with. To a pagan, it is the name given
to their belief system; today most often referring to early
Celtic and Northern European religions. Christians almost always
use the word incorrectly, either describing someone who does
not "believe in [their] god", or as someone who worships
the Christian deity"Satan". Nothing could be further
from the truth - the pagan religion is far older than the Middle-Eastern
belief system called "Christianity". Christianity
has taken from the pagan beliefs, and in the case of common
holidays such as Easter, May day, Halloween, Christmas and others,
has out and out "swiped" them! This mixing of ancient
religions occurred in Europe during the middle ages when Christianity
was imported from the Middle-East and forced upon the peasantry
by the ruling class. Christianity has remained since that time
an excellent tool for controlling the masses.
Christianity has often borrowed from pagan beliefs,
but the pagan religion was a going concern eons before Christ,
so it would be impossible for the older pagan religion to be
based on the much more recent Christian religion. There is no
Satan in the pagan belief, however Satan in the Christian belief
is often depicted as a representation of the "greenman"
or the male manifestation of Nature. Hence the horns, hooved
feet and other symbols of male Nature. No where in the bible
does it describe Satan as having these physical manifestations.
They are a direct result of early Christians attempting to make
anything to do with the older, established pagan religion "evil".
Just as there are untold thousands of Judeo-Christian
sects, so too there are countless variations on pagan beliefs.
Many world religions claim to have access to The Word of "God",
either on golden plates, tablets of stone, or in the person
of some likable (and often long dead) human. However, when push
comes to shove, these plates and tablets cannot be produced,
and a human is, after all, only a human, and as for long dead
humans, anything related by them at this point can only be considered
"hearsay". Not good enough for a court of law, and
certainly not good enough to attribute as being something as
important as "The Word of God". As Thomas Paine states,
surely it is an insult to "God" to attribute to him
no better way to spread his word? Unlike most world religions,
paganism is not based on man-made laws, scriptures written
by human hands and other oh-so human dogma.
Simply put, to be a pagan takes some spiritual
work - it is not a canned, "heat and eat" religion.
Paganism is not for those who wish to sit back and be preached
to, who believe that others have a closer, more intimate relationship
with a supreme being than they do. Paganism is not for followers.
It is not a religion which would be able to symbolize its followers
Pagans are born, never made. I've never known
a pagan who wanted to convert people to their belief system,
and I believe this is because you either are one or you
are not. I do know pagans (and I'm guilty of being one) who
do try, on occasion, to help someone break the bonds of fear
which hold them to some other religion. Most often this fear
is a belief, instilled in childhood, that a horrible retribution
will occur at death as punishment for not believing in a jealous
god. But no one can "make you" a pagan - the affinity
with The Mother is either there, or it is not. The only exception
to this are some sad individuals who try and "become"
pagans because they see it as a way to rebel against Christianity,
or authority, or they just think it seems cool. These folks
come and go. But, like the estimated five million people (mostly
woman) killed by Christians when the new religion was brought
back from the Middle-East by crusaders and forcibly pressed
on the European population, true pagans cannot be converted
to any other religion.
There are folks, like myself, who always were
pagans, but did not have a name to attach to our feelings. When
I found that how I felt was indeed the ancient religion of my
ancestors, it was a feeling of "coming home". Many
others have expressed this same feeling.
Basic Beliefs Of
Because of the lack of dogma,
paganism is incredibly difficult to describe. Each person follows
their own spiritual path, and hear different whispers. Like Christianity,
there are many, many variations on the theme, some more bizarre
than others. And, like Christianity, there are some who call themselves
pagans (as some call themselves Christians) who are unhappy, disturbed
people looking for answers and a peace they will never find.
There are two main types of
pagans. Those who believe they can manipulate Nature (magic) and
those who do not. I fall into the second category. The experiences
I have had with those in the first group lead me to the reluctant
conclusion that more often than not these folks are suedo-pagans,
unhappy people who, lacking control in their lives, seek to give
themselves status by belief in their ability to call upon "forces"
to do their bidding. For pagans like myself, nothing could be
So what is a pagan? Here is
the answer I will give you. Paganism is the name of the religion
practiced by natives of Europe up until Christianity forcibly
replaced it (for the most part, it has never died and thrives
today). While there are differences between say, Nordic and Celtic
pagan beliefs, it is safe to say that paganism can be defined
as being a "Nature-based" belief. While it is possible
today to find pagans who actually believe in supernatural beings
such as "fairies" or perhaps Norse gods, it is more
common to find that pagans who believe that "spirits"
exist in Natural things such as rocks, trees or mountains. The
word "spirit" today generally means an "unidentified
power source" or "unidentified consciousness".
The pagan path I follow is
based on an ancient Celtic "tree year". The tree year
is divided up into the 13 moons of a "year". (Hence
the Christian revulsion for the number 13). Each month is represented
by a tree, and each tree represents a virtue. It is a fine thing,
to me, to reflect each month on the virtues of the month-tree,
and to consider how these virtues feature in my own life.
Because the pagan world is
ruled by the phases of the moon, it may seem that Pagans worship
the moon. What they worship is all that is represented by the
moon; much as a Catholic will worship to a statue of Mary. (Mary
is a very popular deity, particularly in cultures recently forced
from paganism, because she so clearly represents "The Mother").
The moon represents the female
half of Nature. Planting, nurturing, growth. The Mother. We speak
of "Mother Earth", and indeed, the Earth is our mother,
but the moon has come to represent the cycles of life.
The Greenman is often the
cause of confusion where "devil" worship is concerned.
The male half of Nature is often represented by the mythical "Greenman"
complete with horns and oak leaves about his head. He is Nature,
but the wild, male side. The classical god "Pan" was
such a representative, with his hooved feet and horns. He was
the original Nature Boy!
The Greenman represents the
harvest, winter, the harder, harsher elements of Nature. All just
as essential as the softer female half.
Basic Beliefs Of
In general, most pagans do not celebrate the "normal"
Christian holidays- i.e.: Easter, Christmas, etc. This of course,
is not a 100% statement, as many Wiccans celebrate with these
holidays with their relatives who are not pagans. We have our
own ancient holidays known as Sabbats, and also celebrate Esbats,
or full moons. Sabbats occur at the quarters and cross-quarters
of the year, and some names and dates may sound familiar- Samhain
on Oct.31, Yule about Dec.21, Imbolc on February 2, Ostara about
March 21, Beltane on May 1, Midsummer about June 21, Lughnasadh
on Aug.1, Mabon about Sept.21. When Christianity was getting its
foothold on Europe, religious leaders took most of the Pagan holidays
and traditions and assimilated them into Christianity. Evergreens
in December, pumpkins in October, eggs at Easter, all of these
and lots more are Pagan traditions which were adopted by the church
to facilitate a smoother transition when they converted Pagans.
Incidentally, the term Pagan simply means "country dweller".
When the church was trying to fill it's pews, they found that
the city people were easier to convert than those out in the country,
so it became known as a derogatory term.
Do pagans worship satan at all - even a little?
No. Pagans do not believe in Satan, do not even believe he exists.
Satan is a Christian concept. Witchcraft predates Christianity,
therefore no pagans have ever worshiped Satan. Period.
The Nature of Our Way
as possible, hold rites in forests, by the
seashore, on deserted mountaintops or near tranquil lakes.
out wisdom in books, rare manuscripts and cryptic
poems if you will, but seek it out also in simple stones and
fragile herbs and in the cries of wild birds. Listen to the
whisperings of the wind and the roar of water if you
would discover magick, for it is here that the old secrets
contain words; trees contain energies
and wisdom books never dreamt of.
remember that the Old Ways are constantly revealing
themselves. Therefore be as the river willow that bends
and sways with the wind. That which remains changeless
shall outlive it's spirit, but that which evolves and grows
will shine for centuries.
can be no monopoly on wisdom. Therefore share
what you will of our ways with others who seek them.
not the rituals or spells of another, for who can
say yours are greater in power or wisdom?
that your actions are honorable, for all that you
do shall return to you three-fold, good or bane.
of one who would dominate you, who would
control and manipulate your workings and reverences.
all living things, for we are of the bird, the fish,
the bee. Destroy not life save it be to preserve your own.
this is the nature of our way.
Very Good Pagan Site, and the source for above. Click