When people hear of paganism, they often don’t really know what it means. They instantly start to think about ancient folklore of witches who use eyes of newts in their potions and eat children, which are the stories that were originally spread to justify burning witches at the stake. In reality, however, paganism, wicca, and druidism are accepted spiritual beliefs followed and practiced by people all over the world, including Dayanna Volitich. Like many others, she feels it is important that people gain a greater understand about paganism, what it means, and what it is.
Dayanna Volitich on the Basics of Paganism
One of the most important things about paganism is that it isn’t dogmatic. This means that people can interpret it as they see fit and follow traditions that are right for them. It is about having a personal and direct divine experience, rather than believing in a singular divine entity. Modern paganism is made up of various different traditions. So many, in fact, that it would e impossible to describe them all. Overall, however, it is about worshipping nature, be that in a pantheistic or polytheistic manner.
So what is paganism? Followers believe that it is humanity’s most ancestral religion. It is found across the world, in complex civilizations such as India and Japan, and in tribal societies. It traditionally existed across Europe, particularly before the rise of Christianity. Similarly, it existed across the Arab countries until the rise of Islam.
Veneration – Nature
One of the most important elements of paganism is spirit of place. This is often personified in the natural beauty of springs, lakes, and mountains. Additionally, it is seen in the passing of seasons, with each season being an opportunity for a different form of spiritual growth. Within paganism, different festivals are held to honor those opportunities for growth and renewal. Additionally, there are festivals that honor specific divinities. Pagans can choose whether or not they wish to follow those divinities. All, however, agree that the most sacred is the Earth itself, something that the Ancient Greeks agreed with, despite the Earth not having a temple or priesthood.
Diversity and Pluralism – Polytheism
Pagans recognize a wealth of different deities to represent how diverse nature is. How pagans recognize these deities varies. Some see them as a community, in the same way as the Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians did. Others see all the different gods that exist as one great god or goddess. Others believes that there is a guiding supreme divine principle that can be followed, often based on Isis (Ancient Egypt), rather than Zeus (Ancient Greece).
Lastly, pagans believe in the sacred feminine and see it as divine. All pagans have a female goddess, although some also include allegiance to male gods. However, even those do not deny that there are other goddesses and gods as well. The concept of the female divinity is perhaps what sets paganism apart from Abrahamic religions more than anything, more so even than the concept of their being multiple gods.