What is Paganism

Pagan is a term coined from the Latin word Paganus. This term became common in the 4th century towards the end of the Roman Empire and was used as a derogatory term to define a traditional group of worshippers who did not ascribe to the worship of one God. Pagans of that time were seen as an irreligious group of people because of their unique set of religious beliefs and practices distinct from Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Islam, and Christianity).

The Latin word paganus in its original sense means a “country-man” or a “civilian.”It is believed that during this period of the fourth century, there was a section of the Roman Empire population residing in the countryside that did not adopt Christianity and instead held on to their ethnic or traditional form of worship. Incidentally, some early Christians of that time identified themselves as “soldiers of Christ” which then meant that if you were not part of this group you became referred to as a civilian. From here we see how the two words; “country-man” and “civilian” became synonymous with the term Paganus.

Heathen is also another term which can be used inter-changeably with the word pagan. Heathen basically denotes a group of people who do not identify with the God of the bible, and just like the word Pagan, it is believed to have originated from the term “country-dweller”, or a “heath-dweller” if you like.

Pagans believe in the worship of many gods or deities and in the sanctity of nature. They believe that the divine manifests itself in many forms and that it could manifest itself as feminine, masculine and also without gender.

There are various sects which fall under the pagan umbrella commonly referred to as traditions. These traditions share some common characteristics and beliefs. The shared beliefs among these traditions include;

– Polytheism (existence of many gods/deities/spirits)
– Immanence Spirituality (belief that the divine is present in everything as opposed to transcendence spirituality which believes that the divine is separate or exists outside the material world)
– Belief in having a direct relationship with spirits
– Belief in magic
– Reverence of everything tangible and the spirits inhabiting them
– Ritual practice

Some common pagan traditions include: Hellenism, Roman Polytheistic, Heathenry, and the eclectic modern ones but which borrow heavily from ancient pagan traditions such as Wicca, Discordianism, and Neo-Druidism.

Most people misconstrue Paganism for Satanism; perhaps this misunderstanding is because of its common tradition belief in magic as well as their unique symbols and practices. But this is far from true. While in paganism we see belief in the supernatural and its various manifestations, Satanism is more of an atheist philosophy which does not align itself with any other religion or philosophy which endorses belief in the supernatural.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *