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(169 Posts)
petallus Mon 02-Jun-14 15:46:38

I recently met someone who is a Pagan. I have become quite interested in it. I like the idea of 'worshipping' nature and having rituals which centre on nature.

I wonder if any Gnetters are Pagans.

Marelli Mon 02-Jun-14 16:36:54

I tend to believe in the power of Nature more than anything, petallus. My daughter is Pagan and many of her friends are. I attended the funeral of one of her friends a few years ago, and it was really rather lovely.

Gagagran Mon 02-Jun-14 16:44:54

This seems to explain paganism in broad terms but it seems to have various strands to it. I'm not sure I'm any wiser really!

petallus Mon 02-Jun-14 16:50:23

Marelli one of our relatives had a Pagan wedding to a white witch recently and DD went to a Pagan funeral which she said was lovely.

Marelli Mon 02-Jun-14 16:59:13

It's something I'll never forget, petallus. smile

Galen Mon 02-Jun-14 17:12:47

My son is one!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 17:54:27

I can't separate God from nature.

But never Paganism.

HollyDaze Mon 02-Jun-14 18:07:45

I've read a little bit about it but, like Gagagran, I felt none the wiser. It would be nice to hear about it from someone who is pagan or has read about it - and understands it!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 18:16:02

For most people it will always have connotations of weirdness. Rightly so I think.

Clutching at straws comes to mind.

Iam64 Mon 02-Jun-14 19:08:04

Harsh Jingle shock. Faith is a very personal thing, and providing no harm is done in its name, each to their own surely

boheminan Mon 02-Jun-14 19:19:14

I don't think anyone truly of the old belief would admit to it on here anywaysmile

petallus Mon 02-Jun-14 19:34:37

Connotations of weirdness jingl? [smile}

That's a bit rich when you think of all the magical thinking that goes on in Christianity (superhuman being who created the world in seven days, angels, resurrection of the dead, and other miracles).

Marelli Mon 02-Jun-14 19:42:22

.....'and no harm done' - that's how the Pagan people I know like to live their lives. Can't be that bad, can it?
And why wouldn't they admit to it on here, boheminan? confused

Tegan Mon 02-Jun-14 19:58:24

There was a lot of witchcraft when I lived in Cornwall, but I kept away from it; not sure if that bordered on Paganism/is the same thing? Didn't a lot of the old beliefs get intergrated into Christianity many centuries ago? Must say it does fascinate me.

Ana Mon 02-Jun-14 20:05:24

I don't know much about either, but I do know that Paganism is not the same as Wicca.

MiceElf Mon 02-Jun-14 20:12:28

Slightly tangentially has anyone read Avalon by Marion Zimmerman Bradley? It tells the Arthurian story and in doing so describes many of the tensions between Christianity and what may have been pre Christian beliefs in early Britain. The ideas of transcendence / immanence are explored through the story without being explicitly addressed. It's beautifully written although I don't know if it's still in print.

Ana Mon 02-Jun-14 20:25:53

She seems to have written a whole series - Amazon has a few:


Silverfish Mon 02-Jun-14 20:38:58

Im very much into paganism as a subject , however, although not a practicing Christian I still believe there is a 'god' somewhere. I do believe though that we should respect and care for the earth and look after it. as a reiki healer some Christians say I am not being a good Christian. I keep an open mind. Im also into wicca and have several 'witchy' books but I would never ever dabble in black magic. I believe in the power of prayer and oten I light a candle and offer up thoughts for anyone I know who is sick or in trouble.. I keep an open mind

Tegan Mon 02-Jun-14 21:20:08

That sounds like my take on things Siverfish; a deeply religious friend of mine once told me that she thought I was a very spiritual person even though I didn't share her faith. I took that as rather a compliment.

Ana Mon 02-Jun-14 21:22:37

I don't understand how reiki can be thought 'non-Christian'. Didn't Christ lay his hands on people to heal them? There are some very closed minds out there...hmm

feetlebaum Mon 02-Jun-14 22:24:17

It's all just wishful thinking - all of it...

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 22:31:34

Most people associate paganism with witchcraft. And horrible things have been done to children in the name of that, even in this country. Best keep away from such things and stick to a religion grounded in love and kindness. Which is what true Christianity is.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 22:37:44

Does seem to be a fact that most people need to believe in something. But Thor, the God thunder with his hammer - come on! grin

Sorry Micelf but Marion Zimmerman Bradley is the one Arthurian writer I can't stand!

Ana Mon 02-Jun-14 22:38:09

'Most people associate paganism with witchcraft'. Well if they do, they shouldn't. They should read up on it!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 22:38:27

of thunder

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 22:39:04

Why bother?

Ana Mon 02-Jun-14 22:40:17

Suit I said, lots of closed minds out there!

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 02-Jun-14 22:44:12

My mind is definitely closed against anything which could be connected to witchcraft. And paganism could well be. It is wrong.

boheminan Tue 03-Jun-14 00:41:42

Marelli. I'd say a lot of people who are truly 'in' to old Paganism are not really into advertising themselves. Witchcraft was considered illegal until the 1950's and Pagan's were by nature underground up until (and beyond) that time for fear of being persecuted. There's a trend now of 'New Age' Paganism, with pentagrams and spells and suchlike, which is very trendy, but far removed from its true origins. I think true old Pagans are insular folk, who have no need, or indeed want to go out to sell their beliefs to a very (seemingly) hostile world

Iam64 Tue 03-Jun-14 08:08:59

Jingle is right to point out that children have been hurt in the name of witchcraft.

All the faiths will have individuals who exploit their situation to gain access to children for the purpose of meeting their own perverted sexual desires.

HollyDaze Tue 03-Jun-14 09:01:02

My mind is definitely closed against anything which could be connected to witchcraft. And paganism could well be. It is wrong

But wouldn't a belief in witchcraft, in that sense, mean you believe they could turn people into toads or some such?

From what I have read, the whole 'witchcraft' accusation was nothing more than a failure to understand the properties of the natural world that others did understand - for example: healing qualities of plants (or harm that could be done I suppose). The Christian church was very fond of shouting 'heresy' at anything it didn't understand. When some Medieval physicians started to show an interest in physiology and, gasp in astonishment, anatomy (when everyone knew that the correct way to diagnose and cure people was to draw up a horocscope of the ill person - not want to dabble with their innards or, even worse, their blood or urine) was accused of heresy.

petallus Tue 03-Jun-14 09:17:49

And the church went ballistic when someone suggested the world was round instead of flat!

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 03-Jun-14 10:08:51

Well, if we're going that far back, I'll bet there are some appalling pagan rituals we could dig up. grin

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 03-Jun-14 10:09:24

Horse sacrifice anyone?

HollyDaze Tue 03-Jun-14 10:14:25

More 'up to date':

Giordano Bruno was the last person to be burned alive at the stake on orders from Rome, executed in 1600 for a collection of heretical beliefs including Copernicanism, belief of an unlimited universe with innumerable inhabited worlds, opinions contrary to the Catholic faith about the Trinity, divinity of Christ, and Incarnation.

Not like Copernicus knew what he was talking about was it wink

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 03-Jun-14 10:22:13

Oh yes. Pretty well yesterday that.

Ariadne Tue 03-Jun-14 10:22:57

The argument seems to be between a belief in things natural and ancient, and a belief in a fairly new religion which saw torture on a cross as redemption. Both sets of beliefs have had adherents which perverted the basic tenets.

Satanism is often called "witchcraft" but it is black witchcraft and overtly celebrates evil. Wicca celebrates living things, and that "wisdom and spirit of the universe" which Wordsworth talks about. Can't see much wrong in that.

HollyDaze Tue 03-Jun-14 10:39:08

* Ariadne*

and a belief in a fairly new religion which saw torture on a cross as redemption

Also as a means of gaining compliance - on my first holiday in Adelboden, I saw a small building (can't remember if it was a chapel or not) and there is an old mural on the one wall that is still clearly visible. The mural is a scene of what happens to people who got to hell - one of the few occasions my jaw dropped - talk about explicit shock strangely enough, it had a lot to do with bottoms blush

TriciaF Tue 03-Jun-14 10:41:20

Some of the older farmers round here talk about "la Nature" as if it was a spiritual thing, a powerful force. They're otherwise completely secular, so it seems to be a substitute for religion.
The forces of nature dominate their lives, decide what the work of the day is, determine whether they get a good harvest etc. Maybe they have superstitions about it too - I'll have to ask them.
But the word paganism to me is linked with satanism.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 03-Jun-14 11:22:17

It just seems a bit, as a religion. I love nature, sometimes. But what do you actually worship? Or pray to?

I must admit I prefer a nice Archbishop of Canterbury, or even a Pope, to some local female chanting and waving her arms around.

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 03-Jun-14 11:23:06

I meant "a bit vague as a religion"

Purpledaffodil Tue 03-Jun-14 11:51:25

I agree with you Jingle flowers

Tegan Tue 03-Jun-14 12:26:39

I think man created God [or Gods] not the other way round out of a need for something spiritual in their lives and it's up to us to decide in which form that takes. Problem is, being mankind there are always people that abuse those beliefs for their own gain in numerous ways. If I pray [which I do] or light a candle [which I also do] I'm not sure who I'm praying to or lighting the candle to either; there is just a primevil need in me to do so. I do think that, of all the religions, Christianity is the one that evolved more from Paganism than the others because it's basis is love and respect for all things.

Galen Tue 03-Jun-14 13:22:05

Didn't someone say 'if there wasn't a god, we'd have to invent one?'

Galen Tue 03-Jun-14 13:23:06

Read and loved all of Marion ZM's books

jinglbellsfrocks Tue 03-Jun-14 13:50:51

Funny, I loved her books when I was much younger. Can't stomach them now. Barbara Cartland of Arthurian fiction.

Silverfish Wed 04-Jun-14 09:36:45

Reiki is the healing energy passed through the healers hands, the universal energy that is all around us. I have had arguments with several members of the church who disagree and say that the energy could be taken over by 'evil spirits'. This is rubbish as we are trained to have the intention of love and caring, when we heal. One vicar said she had a parishioner who had become mentally ill after reiki. I think that this guy was probably mentally ill before his treatment and maybe imagined all sorts of things would happen. Reiki is not magic it cant make illness go away, or the lame walk. It is not what Christ is supposed to have done.
It is non denominational and we are not pagans or wiccans, although as I said earlier I am very interested in those subject.

Lilygran Wed 04-Jun-14 09:58:27

What's the origin of Reiki?

Galen Wed 04-Jun-14 10:58:29

Don't believe in it myself. Reckon it's like pink aspirin and blue aspirin, placebo effect

Silverfish Wed 04-Jun-14 11:03:55

hundreds of years ago(would have to look up the exact year), a Japanese priest called Mikoao Usui went into the wilderness to meditate and as he was on his return journey he was stopped by a huge bowl of light and he felt the rays of light go through his body and felt empowered to be a healer, which is what her did and Reiki has been handed down through the ages by each healer empowering the new student. I was given a 'family tree' of names of healers who had passed the skill down through the years. Look up;
or, there are many more

Tegan Wed 04-Jun-14 11:17:07

I once asked a horse whisperer if he could help with the arthritis in my hands; he held my hands for a while and when I went back to the car I all but got an electric shock from it as I touched the door. Make of that what you will, but it's never happened since. I've had Reiki a couple of times and each time I've felt very warm in that part of my body, as if the circulation has been improved. Can't say if the arthritis was any better for it but in both cases there was some sort of physical change due to the treatment. I was told that Reiki practitioners can't recieve payment but can have gifts.

Ana Wed 04-Jun-14 11:18:41

Nothing to do with the subject, but I often get a shock up my arm when I open the car door on a hot day - static electricity?

petallus Wed 04-Jun-14 11:22:25

I did have a strange experience once when I was chatting to a reiki practitioner.

I asked him how it worked and he demonstrated by running his hand down my arm about six inches above my bare skin. I was sceptical and therefore surprised to suddenly feel a strong tingling in my arm.

feetlebaum Wed 04-Jun-14 12:29:33

Sympathetic magic, isn't it? Mystic gestures, and sometimes mumbled incantations... recorded whale 'music'... candles...

feetlebaum Wed 04-Jun-14 12:38:57

From the Skeptics Dictionary : "The word 'pagan' is derived from the Latin word for country dweller. The pagans were the Greek and Roman polytheists who followed the cults of Mithra, Venus, Apollo, Demeter, etc. Today, however, Christians generally reserve the appellation for those who belong to no religion or who belong to one of the New Age nature religions or anti-Christian cults."

Lilygran Wed 04-Jun-14 12:39:24

Thanks for the links, Silverfish. The first gives me 'not found' and the second appears to be a blog (in Japanese) which in this case is about a cat. I can't find 'Reiki' in my Japanese dictionary. Wiki says Usui invented Reiki in 1922. I believe some people do have the power to heal but not sure if it has anything to do with whatever Reiki is. I often get static shocks from my car door handle and from my hair on cold dry days. You can make your cat bristle by stroking it with a silk hanky.

BeeWitch Wed 04-Jun-14 14:39:02

Each to their own. Terrible things have been done throughout history in the name of religion. All of them.

janerowena Wed 04-Jun-14 14:50:59

My mother went on a very determined quest to find a religion that suited her, from when I was about ten, and she hauled me along with her to everything because she was too shy to go alone, I think. I saw some pretty strange things and met some very odd people. I would have loved to have believed in a few of them, but simply couldn't.

Wicca's World (so called by a young priestess not much older than me when in our teens) was the one that appealed most, although there was a Paganist group in the same area at the time we didn't like the sort of things they got up to, but in the end I really don't believe in any of them but do like most of the moral guidance provided by the CofE, apart from its stance on homosexuality, and its misogyny. It's a very flexible and forgiving religion.

My mother and two of my sisters, however, are now spiritualists and my mother married the worst medium I have ever come across. Lovely man, and very kind, but oh dear...

So I have to put up with a visiting sister saying things like 'nanna is just behind your right shoulder, she says how lovely to see us all together.' To which my usual reply is that I didn't invite her. I get quite irked because they keep trying to convert me. Their argument is that I have a closed mind, but I don't. I had years to study and watch, and made my own rather too well- informed (by any standards) opinion.

There are definitely times of grief when I wished I did have something that I could believe in, but my brain tells me that it's simply not logical. Science has even come up with an explanation for the light at the end of the tunnel that I saw when I was having a bad time during childbirth, and that was my last doubt finally eradicated.

Silverfish Fri 06-Jun-14 23:01:06

Lilygran, Usui may have founded (not invented ) reiki in 1922 but it is an ancient Japanese healing from hundred of years ago. Just type in 'reiki' to google and you will find lots of sites. Hope you do as its a lovely thing to practice and most people love having a treatment.

Ana Fri 06-Jun-14 23:05:58

I agree, Silverfish.

Silverfish Fri 06-Jun-14 23:12:18

I do not charge for reiki but many people do as they say that they have to live, so the giving of reiki or any holistic treatment is an exchange where they do the treatment and are given money. It is also said that if we give a free treatment then it is not appreciated by the client, whereas if they had to find the money they would value the treatment more.
I understand London prices for reiki is about £30-£60 a treatment and where I live its about £20.
I do not mumble or chant, stay silent unless the client speaks to me and yes I play new age music but its relaxing and calming, however if someone wanted to play pop music or classical then I would do so.
Many people think its a fraud but they are entitled to think what they like, however, everyone I have treated has felt a heat or tingling sensation as I do the treatment. By the way you do not take off your clothes nor do I.

rosesarered Sat 07-Jun-14 10:15:38

I don't think there is a better religion to follow than Christianity. Not in any narrow way, but in the broader sense. If you live your life as Jesus intended you to, it would be a very kind, honest way to live, not very easy however,because we are not naturally made that way, but I can't think of a better.Forget the church rulebooks though, go to church if you want to, or not at all, it's not as if we can't follow Christianity any other way because we can.It IS hard to believe in life after death, it doesn't seem logical, but then we just don't know anything much really do we?Life, death, the nature of the universe, how and why all was created, it's still a mystery to us.I would say don't get drawn into things [paganism, druidism etc] just because you are searching for some meaning to your life.
Somebody once said [who?] 'when people stop believing in God, they don't then believe in nothing, but in everything!' Which is true.As Dave Allen used to say ' Goodbye, and may your God go with you'.

janerowena Sat 07-Jun-14 11:37:48

I do remember him saying that, although I was very young - or maybe they were re-runs? And I thought, what a sensible and wise man.

Lilygran Sat 07-Jun-14 11:53:48

Tiggums26 Tue 14-Apr-15 13:32:44

I know this is an old thread, but........
I am pagan and proud of it. I do not have any issues with people who follow other religions or paths. Everybodies beliefs are valid for them, and that is all that matters.
I would like to point out that paganism predates christianity and a lot of pagan rituals and celebrations have evolved or been adapted as christian.

Also, when you look at how many wars have been and still are fought in the name of religion, pagans do not figure.
As to witchcraft, all witches are pagan, but not all pagans are witches.

I am a witch and basically I work with herbs and candles and revere this planet we live on. I would never cause harm to anyone or anything.

Marelli Tue 14-Apr-15 15:54:24

Tiggums26, my daughter is pagan as are most of her close friends. Although her lifestyle is different to mine, I respect her choices and the things she stands up for in her life. Her (late) closest friend was a witch.

whitewave Tue 14-Apr-15 16:07:33

There are lots of interesting and colourful beliefs out there but none that I am interested in. I am more informed about Christianity because I live in a Christian country. What worries me about some of the beliefs is what is done in their name. From that point of view Paganism seems quite benign to me.

absent Wed 15-Apr-15 04:04:48

jingle, is turning someone into a pillar of salt as a punishment merely for looking over her shoulder as she runs away from the destruction of her home any more believable than a god of thunder?

absent Wed 15-Apr-15 04:07:53

Sorry – I hadn't noticed that there were lots more posts after your comment about Thor.

NotTooOld Wed 15-Apr-15 10:39:59

I think Humanism is the way to go. I went to a humanist funeral last summer and it was beautiful.

feetlebaum Thu 16-Apr-15 08:18:18

Well I suppose all these beliefs are harmless enough, but still... can you really see that 'working with candles and herbs' is going to have any effect at all on a planet that couldn't care less about its being able to support this strange infestation called 'life'?

Whitewave - you do know that Christians are a minority in this country now? Or are you perhaps somewhere in the Bible Belt of the USA?

soontobe Thu 16-Apr-15 08:24:47

Even if there is only one left, that still matters to a city. God took notice of that in the bible.

Ariadne Thu 16-Apr-15 09:13:06

My friend is a witch - a priestess, so she can perform marriages and so on. I went to her wedding some years ago - a beautiful ceremony on a hillside in Kent (a "significant" place) at sunset on October 21st - a "significant" date.

A week later my daughter (who had also been at the other wedding) was married in a lovely big garrison church, where ancient battle honours hung, with all the military ceremony - swords, uniforms, music.

Both marriages seemed to me to be equally valid, although my daughter's was the most moving because she's my daughter!

Lilygran Thu 16-Apr-15 09:28:43

Anyone can perform a wedding anywhere but it has to be registered to make it legally valid. If you don't have a church wedding that means going to the register office or having the registrar at the ceremony - if it's in a place licensed to hold weddings.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 09:33:43

Perhaps there is a bit of the pagan in most of us. I have splashed water from an ancient spring in Herefordshire on my leg excema (it worked) and kissed the thorn tree at Glastonbury. (not sure that was supposed to do) (there was no one else near at the time hmm)

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 09:34:15

not sure 'what' that...

Elegran Thu 16-Apr-15 09:49:27

Maybe Ariadnes friend is licensed as a registrar?

Marelli Thu 16-Apr-15 09:51:42

My daughter's late friend (who was a witch), carried out weddings (hand-fastings), too. When she died, she was cremated and DD and the 'sisters' held hands, surrounded her coffin and sang to her. They all wore beautiful ethereal clothes. Her husband wore a long green cloak and their old lurcher dog also attended the funeral wearing a posy of flowers in her collar. Her friend, who's a priestess, carried out the funeral and it was really quite beautiful. A few days later, when they had possession of her ashes, they had a big party in a field near where she lived and worked, and sent her ashes into the air in a firework! This was what she'd asked for. smile

whitewave Thu 16-Apr-15 16:34:05

feetle when I say Christian country I meant it in the widest sense. So our laws and values are based on Christianity and I was brought up in the Christian faith. In that sense because it is a Christian country, you sort of absorb what it means to be a Christian.

feetlebaum Thu 16-Apr-15 16:57:01

What Prof Dawkins called 'cultural christianity'? But no religion can lay claim to morality, although they certainly try - believe or or not, murder and theft were frowned on before any Ten Commandments were promulgated! Mankind has always lived in groups, and for that you have to have evolved some form of acceptable behaviour.

Ariadne Thu 16-Apr-15 17:16:13

Well said, feetle!

thatbags Thu 16-Apr-15 18:30:24

All social species have moral values. We aren't unique in that.

What feetle says, with knobs on wink

thatbags Thu 16-Apr-15 18:30:57

I think we're the only species to have invented gods though, including pagan ones of course.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 18:38:55

Why do all unbelievers quote Professor Hawkins? Are there no other pop atheists in print? confused

Lilygran Thu 16-Apr-15 22:11:28

Yes, but he's the Archbishop of atheism.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 16-Apr-15 22:52:02

And I did type Dawkins. I swear I did. hmm

soontobe Thu 16-Apr-15 23:25:46

Who gave us a sense of morality?

thatbags Fri 17-Apr-15 06:37:11

It evolved.

We don't ask who gave use brains. We know they evolved. Our sense of morality did too, in those brains.

thatbags Fri 17-Apr-15 06:37:53

I don't think I've ever quoted Stephen Hawkins.

petallus Fri 17-Apr-15 07:47:07

He's the dumbo of atheism.

soontobe Fri 17-Apr-15 07:52:52

Why did right largely win over wrong, in your theory?

baubles Fri 17-Apr-15 08:01:12

Possibly because it made living in groups easier?

Elegran Fri 17-Apr-15 09:07:17

Being antisocial works fine when you are on your own in a cave, or just have your browbeaten mate and subordinate offspring (even they will eventually beat you at your own game or leave to find their own territory) but when you live in a group with others as big and strong as you are you soon find that unless you all work together, someone gets no mammoth meat but is turfed out to eat grubs in the desert. The others don't like it if you chase their mates or tell lies about them either, and if you kill one, his friends make sure you join him.

thatbags Fri 17-Apr-15 09:28:07

What baubles and elegran said. The societies of social species (ants, bees, meerkats, wolves, etc) would not work if it were a free for all without morals and ethics. It's a survival mechanism. Fewer individuals would survive without socially cohesive rules or, to put it, positively, more individuals survive in a society where there are basic rules of rightness.

thatbags Fri 17-Apr-15 09:28:50

Too many commas. Soz.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 17-Apr-15 09:33:00

Bags who is Stephen Hawkins? Should I know? confused

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 17-Apr-15 09:36:29

I think right began to win out over wrong (where it has) when society as a whole became more educated. Education gives more power to the ordinary people.

thatbags Fri 17-Apr-15 09:39:16

I meant Hawking. Apologies.

soontobe Fri 17-Apr-15 09:52:50

Mankind has always lived in groups, and for that you have to have evolved some form of acceptable behaviour

It is perfectly easy for someone to kill all the members of say a tribe. And that mentality to be reproduced all over the planet.
[I am forgetting my own point by the way]

Elegran Fri 17-Apr-15 10:08:01

That happens when the other tribe is perceived as "not like us" so it is not included in the prohibition against killing. The same happens when someone transgresses against the group rules - they have put themselves outside the community so the others no longer have to use the group rules with them. Hence the death penalty.