- Category: Pagan / New Age Articles
- Written by Mel Mystery
In its broadest sense, Paganism refers to any religious or spiritual belief system outside of the three Abrahamic religions – Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. When referring to Paganism though, we generally also exclude Hinduism, Buddhism, and other such large non-Christian religions. While these religions share some elements of Paganism (such as polytheism), they are major religions in their own right. New Age beliefs, while similar and sometimes overlapping with Pagan beliefs, are also usually considered separate. Some Pagans, particularly those who follow Norse practices, prefer to be called “Heathens.” The term “pagan” itself is comes from the Latin “paganus” which means “rustic” or “country dweller.” “Pagan” and “heathen” have been used as derogatory terms by Christians from the early times of the Christian Roman Empire. This is probably because the rural, country folk of the time were more likely to hold onto their older religious beliefs and folk practices and less likely to be Christian than the urban, city dwellers.
Pagan religions tend to be polytheistic and nature based. They also typically celebrate the cycles of the year including the solar solstices and equinoxes, as well as the lunar cycles. Pagans often honor nature spirits and their ancestors, too. Paganism is generally very individualistic and many Pagans are “eclectic” drawing their practices and beliefs from a number of traditions.