Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Happy International Pagan Coming Out Day!
In case you didn't know, I'm Buddhist Pagan. Once I started studying about a year ago, I realized that I had always been pagan but it was suppressed due to my strict Christian upbringing. Since paganism is a religious minority, today has been designated as International Pagan Coming Out Day. Those that openly declare their pagan faith are said to be out of the broom closet. No, we are not making fun of our LGBT brethren; we realize that we have a lot in common with them.
In honor of today, this post will be about myths and facts related to paganism as I understand them. I invite everyone to do his/her own research on paganism to avoid the knee-jerk reaction which seeing a pentagram or hearing the word witch. The best info on paganism comes from pagans, not a holy book from one of the Big Three religions. If I wanted to learn more about Islam, would I go to a Muslim or to a Christian?
Myth: Wiccan and Pagan is the same thing.
Fact: Wiccan is to Pagan as Catholic, Protestant, and Mennonite is to Christian. All Wiccans are Pagan, but all Pagans are not Wiccan.
Myth: Pagans worship the Devil.
Fact: The Devil as Satan aka opposer of God is a Christian belief. Pagans do not believe in the Christian Devil; therefore we do not worship him.
Fact: Many if not all Christian and secular holidays have Pagan roots. For example, the December solstice is celebrated by cultures all over the world. Christmas is just the most popular. The reason for the season is earth's axial tilt. No winter solstice = no holiday celebrations.
Myth: Satanists are Pagan.
Fact: This one is difficult. I would like to hear from a Satanist to clarify. Satanists believe in and worship Satan. By definition, Pagans do not believe in Satan. However, to be Christian is to follow Christ. I'm not even sure if Satanists recognize Christ or the God of the old/new testament.
Myth: Pagans sacrifice babies.
Fact: There are historical accounts of cultures sacrificing humans (think Mayan) in the past. Pagans today are actually Neo-Pagan. We live in the modern world and we follow modern laws. So no, we do not sacrifice babies, children, humans, animals, or aliens.
Myth: All Pagans are witches.
Fact: All Pagans are not witches, and all witches are not Pagan. I am too inexperienced to fully define what a witch is and is not. Witches practice magic. Paganism is a nature / earth-based path.
Myth: Witches are female.
Fact: That's like saying nurses are female and doctors are male.
Any other facts / myths you want to share?