What do you think of when you think of Pagans? In setting up this Guest Post from Anne Morgan (bio below) I did a search for images using the word witch. So, which witch springs to mind when you you think of Paganism?
Is it a Witch-on-a-Broomstick kind of Witch like this?
Or an old hag kind of Witch?
Or a harmless, even benevolent kind of Witch?
Or someone more run-of-the-mill, ordinary, even pedestrian like this?
Wiccan and Pagan
Say Paganism and most people think witches with pointy hats and broomsticks.
Ask 100 Pagans what Paganism is and you will get 100 different answers.
Okay, slight exaggeration there, but only slight, mind you.
The common theme that runs throughout all the Pagan beliefs is a reverence for the countryside and nature, and a strict moral code. Paganism is not religion, as such, having no dogma or creed attached to it or its many branches.
Pagans do have Gods and Goddesses and they are representations of the forces of nature. Take for example the Sun. It is referred to by many names including the Creator, Maintainer, Destroyer of Life and the father figure, revered all over the world. On the other hand, the Moon rules the natural cycles of life and is honoured as the mother.
The most well known groups of Pagans are the Wiccans, and they are divided into the Gardnerian and the Alexandrian witches. Witches can be hereditary, where family traditions of herbalism and healing are passed down from generation to generation. In the past, these witches were the wise women/healers/midwives of the village and well versed in the cycles of crop planting, harvesting etc.
Hedge witches, unlike the Wiccans who work in covens and have initiations, work alone, living according to the cycles of nature and phases of the moon.
Around the world, Paganism takes the form of Druidism, honouring of the Norse, Greek, Roman and Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. In the old world Shamanism is still wide spread and presents in many forms including the Sammi in Scandinavia, the Witch Doctors of Africa, Tribal Elders of Australia and the First Nation people of North America.
Pagan groups generally perform rituals that involve offering of food and drink, and asking the nature spirits for help and protection. The food and drink offering is the fore-runner to the Christian bread and wine ceremony of the Eucharist.
Today, Paganism is compatible with most if not all religious thought, and is accepting of all people.
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About Anne Morgan
Anne is a long-standing member of the community here at Psychic Revolution and she is a Pagan. Anne was brought up in the Church of England faith, although in her teens she stopped resisting the questioning voice in her head and started exploring what else the world had to offer. In the 60s Anne met an old couple who were Theosophists and Freemasons and they encouraged her to pursue of her truth.
Anne is a member of the Chesterfield Pagan group. This group holds a monthly moot (a meeting in a local pub), and private rituals are conducted at the 8 points of the year i.e. the spring and autumn equinoxes, summer and winter solstices and the Wheel of the Year festivals of Beltane, Samhain, Yule and Imbolc.