Mudcat Café message #335163 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #27353   Message #335163
Posted By: hesperis
05-Nov-00 - 01:22 PM
Thread Name: BS: Paganism: an exploration
Subject: Paganism: an exploration
Mousethief said he would like to know more about other religions. So here is a little bit about the one I am the most comfortable with: Wiccae.

Paganism is usually based on recognition of the seasons of the Earth, a respect for nature and a respect for individuality. Pagans can be atheists, druids, wiccans, pagans or any other philosophy. As far as I know, it is mostly a grouping of Earth-based religions under one category.

There is usually an interest in spirituality, human development, 'magick', and psychology, although none of that is really necessary to call oneself a pagan.

I myself am drawn towards the Wiccan path of expression. Although Wiccae can have Churches where people exclude others unless they pass certain training and tests, most of Wiccae has a respect for people who go their own way, and create their own religion and way of life according to their own conscience.

Wiccans can be monotheistic, or polytheistic. (Or almost both.) We usually recognize that all comes from Spirit, and then we 'worship' the Goddess and the God, or any number of Goddesses and Gods. 'Worship' is generally just trying to live in a way that acknowledges the sacredness of all life, and being in company with the Creators in special rites, called 'Sabbats' or 'Esbats', or just 'The Circle'. (There are probably as many terms for these rites as there are people who do them.) At special times of year or times of the Moon, we make feasts and do 'magick'.

To a Wiccan, magick is merely an act of 'will' which lets you harness the powers of yourself and the universe in order to do what you need to do, whether it be healing or growth, or letting go, or celebration.

There are several kinds of techniques to do 'magick', which basically use the power of symbolism to create changes in accordance with your 'will'. Some techniques are in certain traditions, or borrowed from ethnic groups.

A Wiccan will often consider herself to be a 'Witch', although there are Witches who have been practising in certain older traditions who don't like Wiccans referring to themselves in that way. Witchcraft is hereditary, passed down by training in families, whereas Wiccae is usually found from a book and then incorporated into one's life.

Witches, both of ancient traditions and newer ones, also respect the power of the female, and mourn the Burning Times, when the Church of Rome killed many in order to seize their money and land. Some Wiccans still have a hatred of Christians for this, most recognize that the past happened, and it is more important to work with all peoples to bring harmony. There also is a Law of Silence, which was created, so they say, during the Burning Times, that the Old Ways be kept alive and passed on. Some people still adhere to that Law, out of fear or experience of other people's reactions. I want to exchange thoughts with others, and cannot keep silent in order to do so, so I speak of some things. You can never really tell someone else what actually happens in ritual, because it is so personal and so powerful, and there is always part of it that is beyond words. (To borrow from Taoism: The Way that can be told is not the Way.)

A good resource for starting to learn more about Wiccae, or Wicca, or whatever, is

Different people will have different ways of perceiving what paganism or Wiccae, or Witchcraft is, and I would be interested in other's thoughts as well.

Blessed Be,
Many Blessings of the Lady and Lord upon you,