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What Is Paganism?:

 

One important thing to remember is that Paganism isn't a religion any more than Monotheism is a religion. Both Paganism and Monotheism are collective terms used to group very different religions that happen to share a few important classifying traits in common. For example, Monotheism includes all the various forms of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (and many minor faiths).

The beliefs of the individual religions grouped under the term "Pagan" probably vary even more than (say) Reform Judaism differs from Shiite Islam. As Wicca is currently the most well-known modern Pagan religion, many people tend to assume that all modern Pagans share the specific beliefs of Wicca (e.g. belief in a God and Goddess, the eight festival "wheel of the year," the Wiccan Rede, etc.). That assumption is simply incorrect. People who make that assumption generally end up very confused when they encounter some of the many modern Pagan religions that are not based on Wicca.

You may have heard a number of definitions of Paganism mentioned in books, on TV, and in newspapers and magazines. Most of these definitions are far too narrow. For example, modern Pagan religions are often described as "earth-based" or "earth-centered." This is certainly true of Wicca and some other Pagan religions, but many Pagan religions are only "Earth-based" in the sense that their adherents live on the planet Earth.

The common dictionary definition of Paganism is a religion that isn't Jewish, Christian, or Islamic. With a slight modification, that's actually the best definition of a Pagan religion the author has seen: A Pagan religion is a religion that is not Jewish, Christian, or Islamic and self-identifies as Pagan. "Heathen" is an alternative word for "Pagan" that some groups, especially those of Northern European origin, prefer to use.


A Few Pagan Religions

When many people think of modern Pagan religions, they think of Wicca. While Wicca is probably the largest Pagan of the modern Pagan religions and certainly gets the most media attention, there are actually many Pagan religions. Listed here are a few of the religions that many consider to fall under the collective term "Pagan":

  • Asatru
  • Church of All Worlds
  • Discordianism
  • Druidry
  • Feri
  • Gwyddons
  • Hellenismos
  • Kemeticism
  • Religio Romana
  • Religious Witchcraft
  • Senistrognata
  • Thelema
  • Wicca 

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