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What Is Paganism?

What is Paganism and what is the Pagan origin? Understanding the Pagan groups and the neo-Pagan practice of Wicca…

The word Paganism is derived from the original Latin word ‘Pagus’ which means a small district of an area, or a city ward. A ‘Paganus’ is a local person, or a resident of a local place. The Paganism meaning has become an umbrella term that covers a large group of religions with spiritual beliefs and traditions.
Pagan beliefs are that their Gods and Goddesses are within us and also outside of us…


Paganism is a religion that is connected to and respective of nature. It is a religion of place and is often polytheistic, meaning it has many Gods and Goddesses. The Pagan origin is descended from Celtic cultures. What is Paganism? Pagan beliefs are that the divine is essentially in the whole of life and the universe, in not only human beings but in every plant, tree, animal and object that exists. Pagans lead their life in harmony with the seasons, the cycle of nature and in life and death. The Paganism meaning is that every living species whether human, animal or plant is important and relevant. Where most religious cultures believe their deities or Gods are above us in a supernatural sense, Pagan beliefs are that their Gods and Goddesses are within us and also outside of us, making nature and humankind connect and combine as one.
The Goddess represents the female and the God represents the male…



Paganism is believed to represent the modern philosophy of ‘Wicca’. Wicca is a belief system that is based on Pagan origin and pre-Christian traditions. It is a stronger appreciation of nature and a harmonious way of life that Pagans often describe as a oneness with the divine and all that exists. While many people may frown upon witchcraft, Pagans explain it as a tool to be a healer, a teacher and a protector of all things. Unlike many other religious cultures where the God or Deity is a masculine form, Paganism believes that the divine is male and female. The Goddess represents the female and the God represents the male. As ‘Mother Nature’ or ‘Gaia’ is seen as female throughout the world and in many cultures, the Goddess has a much broader meaning and importance, suggesting that all living things on Earth are seen as our siblings.




The Paganism meaning is now used to describe such a broad spectrum of religions, traditions and beliefs but there are several Pagan groups which can be categorised to explain the different practices:
RECONSTRUCTIONIST GROUPS: Many Druid groups are within this category. These groups seek to recreate the original religious systems of the pre-Christian time using an extent of historical origin. They may worship Roman, Greek, Germanic, Celtic or Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.
EARTH-CENTRED TRADITIONS: This group includes Druidism, Wicca, Goddess-worshipping, Animism and the most recent forms of witchcraft and eco-spirituality. This is the largest Pagan group and is increasingly growing throughout the world.
INDIGENOUS EUROPEAN RELIGIONS: This group is developed from existing European folk traditions and follows ethnic spiritual paths, family traditions and witchcraft. The most common areas are from Nordic ancestry, Romuva in Lithuania and Asatru, but some of the cunning-craft practices also originate from Cornwall, Scotland and Wales.
SHAMANISM: Shamanism includes those who practice and research traditional techniques with the belief that it will encourage spiritual awakenings using trance and an altered state of awareness. Modern Shamanism includes using imagery and visualisation techniques around the world, identifying themselves as Pagans who use original European traditions.
‘Do what ye will, harm ye none’


Wicca is a neo-Pagan religion, originally introduced by Gerald Gardner in the 1950’s and created from a combination of different beliefs and traditions. The Wicca Rede is the one rule or law that states; ‘Do what ye will, harm ye none’. The rule does not allow witches to hurt or harm each other, yet the fascination with Wicca is that many believe all Wiccans practice magick. Magick, also known as witchcraft is purposefully spelt with an additional ‘k’ to separate Wiccans from illusionists or magicians.
Not all Wiccans practice magick or witchcraft but those who do, claim that it has a similar purpose to a Christian prayer. While a Christian may pray to their deity, a Wiccan will use the power of their mind or their chosen God or Goddess to help them. Wiccan witches who practice magick prefer to be called a ‘white witch’ or a ‘nature witch’, disassociating themselves from Satanists who may promote negative witchcraft. There is an ongoing discussion within the Pagan community debating whether Wicca is truly the same method of witchcraft used in ancient Pagan practice. As Paganism has become an umbrella term that is used to describe many earth-based or nature respective religions, Wicca falls under the same category, even though not all Pagans use Wicca or witchcraft.



Are you interested in spirituality or want to know more about how you can link with nature and the universal energies? Would you like to know how to feel positive for the future and how to create more harmony in your life? If you need guidance on your relationship, a love issue, your work or family, speak to one of our gifted Readers at TheCircle. Focus on the future and empower yourself.


PUBLISHED: 10 October 2016

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