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Paganism | Secret Societies

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Paganism

Paganism

on Sep 15, 2010 in Paganism

Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning “country dweller”, “rustic” is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions.

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Paganism represents a wide variety of traditions that emphasize reverence for nature and a revival of ancient polytheistic and animistic religious practices. Some modern forms of Paganism have their roots in 19th century C.E. European nationalism (including the British Order of Druids), but most contemporary Pagan groups trace their immediate organizational roots to the 1960s, and have an emphasis on archetypal psychology and a spiritual interest in nature. Paganism is not a traditional religion per se because it does not have any official doctrine, but it does have some common characteristics joining the great variety of traditions. One of the common beliefs is the divine presence in nature and the reverence of the natural order in life. Spiritual growth is related to the cycles of the Earth and great emphasis is placed on ecological concerns. Monotheism is almost universally rejected within Paganism and most Pagan traditions are particularly interested in the revival of ancient polytheist religious traditions including the Norse (northern Europe) and Celtic (Britain) traditions. Many Pagan traditions are intentionally reconstructionist in that they aim to revive many of the lost rituals of the ancient traditions, including holy days and seasonal celebrations. Besides Nature, many Pagans also worship a variety of gods and goddesses, including spirits which can represent national and local heroes as well as deceased family members. In this sense, many Pagans try to honor their ancestry and ancestors.

Some Pagan traditions include ritual magic, but this practice is not universal.

Pagan

History Channel series “Lost Worlds” features the Pagans of The Orkney Islands. Locations: Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

The term pagan is from the Latin paganus, an adjective originally meaning “rural”, “rustic” or “of the country.” As a noun, paganus was used to mean “country dweller, villager.The semantic development of post-classical Latin paganus in the sense “non-Christian, heathen” is unclear. The dating of this sense is controversial, but the 4th century seems most plausible. An earlier example has been suggested in Tertullian De Corona Militis xi, “Apud hunc [sc. Christum] tam miles est paganus fidelis quam paganus est miles infidelis,” but here the word paganus may be interpreted in the sense “civilian” rather than “heathen”. There are three main explanations of the development:

 

(i) The older sense of classical Latin pāgānus is “of the country, rustic” (also as noun). It has been argued that the transferred use reflects the fact that the ancient idolatry lingered on in the rural villages and hamlets after Christianity had been accepted in the towns and cities of the Roman Empire; cf.

 

Orosius Histories 1. Prol. “Ex locorum agrestium compitis et pagis pagani vocantur.” From its earliest beginnings, Christianity spread much more quickly in major urban areas (like Antioch, Alexandria, Carthage, Corinth, Rome) than in the countryside (in fact, the early church was almost entirely urban[citation needed]), and soon the word for “country dweller” became synonymous with someone who was “not a Christian,” giving rise to the modern meaning of “pagan.”

 

This may, in part, have had to do with the closeness to nature of rural people, who may have been more resistant to the new ideas of Christianity than those who lived in major urban centers and were cut off from the cycles of nature and the forms of spirituality associated with them. However, it may have also resulted from early Christian missionaries focusing their efforts within major population centers (e.g., St. Paul), rather than throughout an expansive, yet sparsely populated, countryside (hence, the Latin term suggesting “uneducated country folk” until a bit later on.

 

The more common meaning of c

lassical Latin pāgānus is “civilian, non-militant” (adjective and noun). Christians called themselves mīlitēs, “enrolled soldiers” of Christ, members of his militant church, and applied to non-Christians the term applied by soldiers to all who were “not enrolled in the army”.

 

The sense “heathen” arose from an interpretation of paganus as denoting a person who was outside a particular group or community, hence “not of the city” or “rural”; cf. Orosius Histories 1. Prol. “ui alieni a civitate dei..pagani vocantur.” See C. Mohrmann, Vigiliae Christianae 6 (1952) 9ff.

 


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