What is paganism/a pagan?
The words paganism and pagan come from the Latin "paganus,"
meaning "country dweller." Neopagans hold a reverence for the Earth
and all its creatures, generally see all life as interconnected, and
tend to strive to attune one's self to the manifestation of this
belief as seen in the cycles of nature. Pagans are usually
polytheistic (believing in more than one god), and they usually
believe in immanance, or the concept of divinity residing in all
things. Many pagans, though polytheistic, see all things as being
part of one Great Mystery. The apparent contradiction of being both
polytheistic and monotheistic can be resolved by seeing the God/desses
as masks worn by the Great Mystery. Other pagans are simply
monotheistic or polytheistic, and still others are atheistic.
Some people believe paganism to be a religion within itself;
others see it as a belief system (such as monotheism) that can be
incorporated into religions like Wicca or Druidism; others see it as a
broad category including many religions. The fact that we are
re-creating religion for ourselves after centuries of suppression
makes us very eclectic and very concerned with the "rightness" of a
particular thing for the individual. So when you see some people
calling it a religion and others not, when you see it capitalized in
some instances and not in others, don't be confused -- we're all still
basically talking about the same thing.
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