- 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 exclude Hinduism, Buddhism, and other such large non-Christian religions because 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 “Heathen.” 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 rural, country folk were more likely to hold onto their older religions and folk practices and less likely to be Christian than the urban, city dwellers of the time. Pagan religions tend to be polytheistic and nature based. They also typically celebrate the cycles of the year including the solar solstices and equinoxes, four holidays between these solar observances, and the lunar cycles (usually full and new moons).