right my fellow pagan folks a bit of solidarity here.....?
to give you my back story...
i am as near as i can guess... a pagan, but just what exactly is a pagan to all ye lot out here in electron ville?
myself i have a goddess of sorts (morrigan) who is a figure from celtic mythology strongly associated with germanic polytheism which puts me under the umbrella of belief systems known as paganism.
i observe the solstices and of course the usual bunch yule, samhain, beltane etc
so to copycat our christian brothers (we love them really) favourite question... "what does christianity mean to you"
im asking this one
what does paganism mean to you?
- Anonymous1 decade agoBest answer
I'm a naturalistic pantheist which means that "I believe in God/dess but spell it N-A-T-U-R-E." In other words, I am nontheistic. Knowing of the interdependence of nature (food cycle, etc.) as well as the interdependence of actions (ancestors' past actions affect my current circumstances and my actions will affect the circumstances of my descendents) fills with a sense of gratefulness which I demonstate both through my actions as well as concrete actions of respect and honor.
If you are interested:
These are the simple practices I developed based upon my exposure to such traditions as Reformed Druidry, Asatru, other forms of neopaganism as well as similar traditions within Buddhism, Hinduism and Shinto. I developed them to fit in better with naturalistic views but with the spirit of the traditions mentioned above. These cover a basic offeratory (libation and votive offering) service, a "Sacred Meal" practice, chanting, and meditation practices.
I. Naturalistic Spirituality Service Format
Create a small "altar" or "shrine" area with a picture of the planet Earth (or "Gaia" if you prefer). You can add candles, incense or other suitable decorations to the area if you wish. Light the candles or incense to provide mood and visual and olfactory stimuli.
(Out of respect for the interdependent forces of the Universe, wash both hands and mouth in a mindful manner before the service.)
(In front of the altar, chant "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace." a few times with hands in a position of reverence.)
3) Devotional drumming, singing, chanting, sharing, discussion, etc
(Do whatever devotional activities you or the group feels led to do. This can include drumming or singing along with recordings. This can include the chant of "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace." It can also include chants or songs from other cultures, religions, and spiritual traditions. A discussion or short talk can also be given if desired.)
4) Offering to the Interdependent Forces of the Universe
(Offer a cup or glass of water and a small portion of grain, bread, chips or crackers to the interdependent forces of the Universe by placing them in front of the altar while softly chanting "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace." a few times with hands in a position of reverence. Be in a grateful and thankful mood for the bounty that has been provided to you from Nature and from the work of others to provide that food and drink for your use.)
5) Sharing of the Bounty
(Everyone present can have a small sip of water and a taste of the grain. Be sure to leave a small portion of each in the cup and plate or bowl for offering back to Nature.)
6) Offering Prayer
(Take the remnants of the offered water and grain outside and respectfully and mindfully sprinkle them on the ground for the use of the plants, animals, and insects.)
"I (We) make this offering to the Earth and the Sun (Moon – if the service is at night), and to honor our ancestors who by their actions in the past continue to influence our present. I (We) thank the interdependent forces of the Universe for your many blessings. To you I (we) return this portion of your abundance, O our Mother, even as I (we) must return to you."
II. The Sacred Meal
Most spiritual paths utilise ceremonies similar to those of other faiths. I would like to present possibilities that may appeal to those who are attracted to the idea of naturalistic spirituality.
The purpose of any form of spiritual practice, whether interpreted in a supernaturalist or naturalistic vein, is the recognition of interdependence and being able to positively express one's identity while respecting that interdependence, rather than expressing one's identity in a negative way (which is known as egocentrism).
I would like to discuss a practice that is common to all people and so makes a very concrete, easy to follow practice - the Sacred Meal. This ceremony is a simple recognition that the food and drink of your meal is the result of the interdependent forces of the Universe. In more poetic terms we could say our food is composed of the physical body of "God", not in some strange archane mystical sense, but in reality. Furthermore, shared meals often serve as the basis of not only shared spiritual ideals, but also community building. This has
long been a practice in the bhakti yoga tradition so I would like to present it in a more universal, nonsectarian vein.
There are parallels to this tradition in many of the world's
religions and spiritual paths. For example, in Christianity, this is represented by Communion or Eucharist as well as within the earlier tradition of the agape meal. In Judaism, this tradition can be found in the Shabbat dinner and the Passover Meal. In many Hindu traditions and paths such as Krishna Consciousness, you will find the tradition
of prasadam where one offers the meal to the divine before one consumes it. In Sikhism, there is the tradition of the langar meal which provides spiritual benefit.
Here is simple form of the Sacred Meal in order to be more conscious of the interdependent origins of your food and drink. Create a small "altar" area with a picture of the planet Earth (or "Gaia" if you prefer). You can add candles, incense or other suitable decorations to the area if you wish. Before eating or drinking present your food to the interdependent forces of the Universe by placing it or a small portion on a serving dish in front of this picture while softly chanting "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace." a few times with hands in a position of reverence. Be in a grateful and thankful mood for the bounty that has been provided to you from Nature and from the work of others to provide that food and drink for
When you begin to eat or drink, be sure you recognize with your full consciousness just what you will be consuming and some of the factors that helped make it available to you. This includes the agriculture, the weather and soil, the human labor, harvest of the materials, packaging and transporting the goods, etc.
For maximum benefit the ceremony should be carried out before every meal, or at the very least, on one occasion each week.
III. Way of Oneness Chanting Practice
Being more musically inclined, I created a nonsectarian alternative to the combination of chanting a rhythmic phrase (or mantra) to a visual object (often a scroll, picture or statue). This is a more active form of meditation as compared to the silent form of meditation which is discussed below.
You are more than welcome to use this chanting practice if you think you may find it possibly useful. While there are many folks that seem to believe their particular mantra (which is a phrase which is repeated as a focusing device has "magical power", it really is the mindfulness that matters. The mantra is just one of the vehicles you can use to get there.
I recommend "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace." as the chanting and meditation mantra which is appropriate for nonsectarian, universal spirituality in the Way of Oneness. This phrase is a reframing and translation of the Hindu term "satchitananda" (which means pure being, pure consciousness, and pure bliss) and is another way of referring to the interdependent forces of the Universe.
I use two forms: "Be One. Be Peace." for those who prefer a four syllable "mantra" or more often I recommend "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace." for those who prefer the pace of a six syllable "mantra". As in drumming, people who like to chant are attracted to the rhythm and they find it an easy way to center themselves and become mindful.
The specific chanting practice method that I find helpful in the
vein of the Way of Oneness (the realization of interdependence) is to chant "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace" in a position of reverence (palms together in front of chest with fingers pointing upward - a traditional gesture of respect) to a picture or photograph of the planet Earth which is a wonderful visual representation of the interdependent forces of the Universe. Just chant this phrase loudly
or softly in a comfortable pace until you are satisfied.
IV. Silent Meditation Practice in the Way of Oneness
Meditation is simply learning to live in the moment, when nothing distracts you and when you are not tied to the past or anxious about the future. In meditation you become peacefully aware of your real self. The more you use it, the more aware you become. When you learn to live life for each moment, to enjoy and appreciate life to the fullest at that moment, you suddenly become impervious to the myraid
of doubts and fears that you've lived with all your life.
There are a couple of simple techniques for silent meditation as well. You do not have to sit on the floor. You can sit with erect back on a chair. Many people say try for 15 minutes twice a day. I say start with a simpler goal - 5 minutes twice per day. The benefits include stress management and relaxation benefits which help the body, increased mindfulness and focus, and increased energy. The mindfulness can be a benefit to your spiritual life, but
meditation also has "non-spiritual" benefits. Here are two easy techniques:
Breathing meditation - 1) Check posture. 2) Close your eyes and relax. 3) Focus on your breath entering and leaving your body. 4) Count breaths mentally one to four. Repeat. 5) Don't fight a wandering mind, but calmly direct it back to task. 6) Sit for a minute afterwards.
"Mantra" technique (choose a personal "calm" word or phrase that you will repeat in your meditation – I use the nonsectarian "Be One. Be Love. Be Peace.") - 1) and 2) as above in the Breathing meditation. 3) Listen to your breathing and let it relax you with each breath. 4) Once you are relaxed, mentally "hear" your "calm" word or phrase in your mind. Let it repeat in your mind. 5) Don't fight a wandering mind, but calmly direct it back to task. 6) Sit for a minute afterwards.
- tawniemarieLv 41 decade ago
I'm not really comfortable with how this question is worded, and the cynic in me isn't really comfortable with you. You didn't give much of a back-story, like how old you are, when you came to your religion, how you practice, and what it means to you. Also, and this might not be the case, I worry about your lack of punctuation, and the very poor grammar. Most Pagans, whether high school dropouts or PhD.'s are very well-read. Well-read people seem to write questions that make sense, and this really doesn't. If you are what you say, fine, but I for one don't believe everything that I read on the Internet and yahoo answers. So although paganism is very important to me, I don't want to share it with you because I don't trust you or your motives.
- MeatwadLv 61 decade ago
Paganism is an umbrella term that I use to describe the whole of my beliefs.
I consider myself to have Native American, Wiccan and Hellenic beliefs. I consider Paganism to be my own blend of my environmentalism (which I've always had) and religion.
Asatru calls to me as well, because I have the Bloodline, not because I WANT to be Asatru. I've thought about it and I've studied it and I still don't think it's the path for me. I am still studying to find my Final Answer.
I was christian for 22 years until I woke up one day and realized that 1) jesus was never real and 2) there is more than one God. And the Gods aren't only male, some are female as well.
I practice Wiccan, Hellenic and Norse rituals. The Greek Gods seem to click with me more, and Zeus has actually answered my prayers. I do believe in the Norse Gods, as Freyja came to me one night and spoke to me, but I'm still not convinced that it's the path for me. I have yet to see it for myself.
Though I've broken away from and cut my chains with christianity (and all other abrahamic religions) I can say with confidence that Yahweh is my Patron Deity. Strange, I know. But it's true and it explains a lot. The Father God is very deeply involved with my life right now, and the Mother hasn't been seen for a while. I assume She is still there, just watching from the sidelines.
I've always wanted to practice the ancient Native American religion (belief in Great Spirit, pow wows, belief in Mother Earth and Father Sky, etc.) but Native Americans are usually quite secretive about their practices and don't want to deal directly with White people who want into their religion.Source(s): A "white person" who's a... Wiccan Hellenic Polytheist
- 1 decade ago
Whoa -- the Morrigan is your totem goddess??? Hope you know what you're dealing with there. Paganism is my Indo-European roots, a direct connection from my heart to the natural world without my brain needing to be involved. The sun, the moon, the earth, the elements can speak directly to me on an emotional level. Which also opens the portal to the unseen elemental forces: the power which creates and sustains the universe, the small intelligences that constantly swirl around us, all the souls that have ever lived. Paganism also restores the balance of male and female energies by acknowledging mother earth and father sky, moon and sun, however you want to name them. Blessed be, sister!
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- Anonymous1 decade ago
To me being a Pagan is working with both the Goddess and God. The deities are important to me as not only am i interested in them through Witchcraft im interested in them through our Ancient History and archaeology having worked on several big Pagan archaeological excavations throughout Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
The Ancient British Deities are close to my heart along with Cernunnos.
At the moment i am researching our Pagan Anglo Saxon religion and will hopefully be writing a booklet with the results that will be for sale in the coming year.
- kriosalysiaLv 51 decade ago
I would say that Pagans in general:
1. Look to ancient polytheistic traditions in order to experience immanent Divine presence.
2. Tend to be (though are not always) earth-based in their spirituality and ethics.
3. Often (though not always) embrace the existence of magic, even if they do not practice it themselves.
4. Regard personal spiritual experiences to be important in their faith system. (As opposed to, say, believing what's written in a book.) This doesn't mean that books aren't important to Pagans, only that they are regarded differently than how Christians usually regard the Bible.
As far as what Paganism means to me personally.... in addition to all of the above, it is a freeing religion which allows me an unfettered search for truth and meaning, which is hard work but very rewarding. It allows experimentation and that is something I embrace.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Paganism is standing on your own two feet, and following "nature's road." Pantheistic gods are those aspects or qualities we honor or wish to include in our attitudes and interactions with life.
Most Christians appear to hang self-responsibility on Jesus and salvation--Mathew Fox is the only "christian" I agree with. He is an ex-communicated ecumenical monk from the catholic church who has sifted through original traditions based on life, earth, and feminine divine. I believe most christianities have been distorted by Nicean elements, and its original diversity and self-gnosis need to be healed and restored.
I'm a fellow Morrigan follower myself--really new though.
- AravahLv 71 decade ago
Morrigan can be a difficult deity to work with (or trio). You might be interested in Odin and Freya of the Germanic myths.
My heathenism means everything to me. It fits with my sense of honor as a Marine Corps veteran, it fits my love of the earth, my sense of being a warrior and it "fits" me more than Christianity ever did.
I attend my cousin's church at least twice a year (sometimes for a month at a time) and it STILL doesn't work for me.
Heathenism is a difficult path and paganism can be as well. You have to find what works for you, what path is yours, how it fits in your life - there are no churches, daily guides, and few weekly studies or books offering suggestions as there are in Christianity. A large number of books out there for us are..... lacking or downright in error and we don't have commandments or a bible to fall back on.
Personally - Celtic and Germanic aren't paths for the weak or sheep (or fluffy bunnies as someone put it)
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I'm confused by your rather lengthy run-on sentence there. So do you follow the Morrigan or do you follow germanic lore? Because you seem to equate the two as one and the same. Just wondering if you missed some punctuation there. Because the Morrigan is not German in the least.
- Saturn554Lv 41 decade ago
Paganism, to me is about freedom. Freedom from the judgmental attitudes of my God is better than your God. Its about believe my way, and my way is best! And if you don't do it my way then you will be punished.
I could never follow a path like that and Paganism to me says that, that is OK. You can find a path that works for you and it doesn't matter what anybody else does. You can follow Morrigane, or Zeus, or Isis or anybody and its ok. You can truly find what and who speaks to you.Source(s): )O(
- Anne HatzakisLv 61 decade ago
Paganism in general to me means a way of life and belief that may in some cases predate Christianity. It is not something that needs to be seen as being in conflict with other belief systems although it often portrayed as such.
In my particular case, I practice Hellenismos (in other words, I worship the Gods of Greece using a Reconstructionist methodology). What we do in simple terms is follow a path of service and devotion to the gods. We are polytheists who believe in the literal and individual reality of the gods. We support mysticism in its many forms (although we don't all practice it). We tend to favor reconstructionism as an approach to developing Hellenismos, although we also recognize the importance of personal experience and local cultus. And we are especially dedicated to fostering "real life" worship, through the formation of local groups, and of course through the building of shrines and eventually temples.
To accomplish this goal, we plan to:
· Provide a storehouse of information for curious seekers
· Provide practical guidance in religious matters
· Foster the growth of worship communities and public festivals
· Help build and maintain shrines, temples, and other sacred places
· And ensure that the worship of the gods will flourish and remain foreverSource(s): Myself http://www.neokoroi.org