Who Are the Pagans? by Barbara Ardinger

Barbara ArdingerIt has occurred to me that it’s possible that some of the bloggers and readers of this site may not know very much about pagans, so here’s a little New Year’s lesson. The first thing to know is that pagans are almost by definition rebels. That means any generalization anyone may make will almost certainly have a thousand exceptions. You may have heard what Will Rogers wrote in 1932: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” Well, the same goes for pagans: many of us joke that we don’t belong to an organized religion. “Pagan,” by the way, is the generic term. Witches, Wiccans, and eclectics (among others, see below) are specific terms. Many of us belong to what are called traditions, which are somewhat analogous to the Protestant denominations. Some traditions are said to go back to the Middle Ages (or further back), but this is generally nonsense. Paganism as it is practiced today is a modern religion looking for (and—voilà! finding!) roots in the ancient and classical pantheons or in Old Europe, where archaeology shows us that the Goddess was worshipped thousands of years before Abraham met his god, ca. 2000 BCE (see Marija Gimbutas’ text for more information on this). Continue reading “Who Are the Pagans? by Barbara Ardinger”

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