In the world of lables i have always stayed away from trends until unfortunately my interest or way of life becomes just that, a new trend, a fad, much like veganism with mashed potatoes full of bovine emulsifiers, again i jest at how backward life has become, a slave to consumerism and marketing, which many religions, have succumbed to money profiteering or those who pertain to have such beliefs to sell you something you already have inside, you just need to unlock that information.
My parents have always been pagans and taught us about nature, As i child i used to live in Sussex which was rich maypole county, Fond memories growing up as a child dancing around the maypole, with ribbons flowing in the wind on a beautiful sunny day.
For me, the ways that i use paganism in my life seems so natural that i feel most people or many that are becoming spiritual conscious use paganism without knowing it. I wont go into depth on the whole Christianity being derived from paganism because everyone knows and its no new information. for me paganism is about being in tune with nature, mother earth and the universe. Now i dont do any rituals like most avid pretenders, with their many posts on beltane on social media, for me its much more private and like the other skills I have learned over the years, all help to guide me to being complete in oneself and selfsuffiecient in every aspect of my life.
The Pagan seasonal cycle is often called the Wheel of the Year. Almost all Pagans celebrate a cycle of eight festivals, which are spaced every six or seven weeks through the year and divide the wheel into eight segments.
Four of the festivals have Celtic origins and are known by their Celtic names, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.
The other four are points in the solar calendar. These are Spring and Autumn Equinox (when the length of the day is exactly equal to the night), Summer and Winter Solstice (longest and shortest days of the year). Neolithic sites such as Stonehenge act as gigantic solar calendars which marked the solstices and equinoxes and show that solar festivals have been significant dates for hundreds of thousands of years.
(The seasonal differences between the hemispheres mean solar festivals are celebrated opposite different dates in the southern hemisphere.)
The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world.
Ancient people were hunters and spent most of their time outdoors. The seasons and weather played a very important part in their lives. Because of this many ancient people had a great reverence for, and even worshipped the sun. The Norsemen of Northern Europe saw the sun as a wheel that changed the seasons. It was from the word for this wheel, houl, that the word yule is thought to have come. At mid-winter the Norsemen lit bonfires, told stories and drank sweet ale.
The ancient Romans also held a festival to celebrate the rebirth of the year. Saturnalia ran for seven days from the 17th of December. It was a time when the ordinary rules were turned upside down. Men dressed as women and masters dressed as servants. The festival also involved decorating houses with greenery, lighting candles, holding processions and giving presents.
The Winter Solstice falls on the shortest day of the year (21st December) and was celebrated in Britain long before the arrival of Christianity. The Druids (Celtic priests) would cut the mistletoe that grew on the oak tree and give it as a blessing. Oaks were seen as sacred and the winter fruit of the mistletoe was a symbol of life in the dark winter months.
It was also the Druids who began the tradition of the yule log. The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.
Many of these customs are still followed today. They have been incorporated into the Christian and secular celebrations of Christmas.
Imbolc (pronounced 'im'olk' also known as Oimelc) comes from an Irish word that was originally thought to mean 'in the belly' although many people translate it as 'ewe's milk' (oi-melc).
Imbolc was one of the cornerstones of the Celtic calendar. For them the success of the new farming season was of great importance. As winter stores of food were getting low Imbolc rituals were performed to harness divine energy that would ensure a steady supply of food until the harvest six months later.
Like many Celtic festivals, the Imbolc celebrations centred around the lighting of fires. Fire was perhaps more important for this festival than others as it was also the holy day of Brigid (also known as Bride, Brigit, Brid), the Goddess of fire, healing and fertility. The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. For the Christian calendar, this holiday was reformed and renamed 'Candlemas' when candles are lit to remember the purification of the Virgin Mary.
Imbolc is still a special time for Pagans. As people who are deeply aware of what is going on in the natural world they recognise that there is strength in cold as well as heat, death as well as life. The Horned God reigns over the Autumn and Winter and although the light and warmth of the world may be weak, he is still in his power.
Many feel that human actions are best when they reflect the actions of nature, so as the world slowly springs back into action it is time for the small tasks that are neglected through the busy year. Rituals and activities might include the making of candles, planting spring flowers, reading poetry and telling stories.
Spring Equinox celebrates the renewed life of the Earth that comes with the Spring. It is a solar festival, celebrated when the length of the day and the night are equal (this happens twice a year, at Spring and Autumn Equinox).
This turn in the seasons has been celebrated by cultures throughout history who held festivals for their gods and goddesses at this time of year. Aphrodite from Cyprus, Hathor from Egypt and Ostara of Scandinavia. The Celts continued the tradition with festivities at this time of year.
Today, Pagans continue to celebrate the coming of Spring. They attribute the changes that are going on in the world to an increase in the powers of their God and Goddess (the personifications of the great force that is at work in the world). At the time of Spring Equinox the God and the Goddess are ofter portrayed as The Green Man and Mother Earth. The Green Man is said to be born of Mother Earth in the depths of winter and to live through the rest of the year until he dies at Samhain.
To celebrate Spring Equinox some Pagans carry out particular rituals. For instance a woman and a man are chosen to act out the roles of Spring God and Goddess, playing out courtship and symbolically planting seeds. Egg races, egg hunts, egg eating and egg painting are also traditional activities at this time of year.
Beltane is a Celtic word which means 'fires of Bel' (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.
Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.
Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.
Other festivities involved fire which was thought to cleanse, purify and increase fertility. Cattle were often passed between two fires and the properties of the flame and the smoke were seen to ensure the fertility of the herd.
Today Pagans believe that at Beltane the God (to whom the Goddess gave birth at the Winter Solstice) achieves the strength and maturity to court and become lover to the Goddess. So although what happens in the fields has lost its significance for most Pagans today, the creation of fertility is still an important issue.
Emma Restall Orr, a modern day Druid, speaks of the 'fertility of our personal creativity'. (Spirits of the Sacred Grove, pub. Thorsons, 1998, pg.110). She is referring to the need for active and creative lives. We need fertile minds for our work, our families and our interests.
Fire is still the most important element of most Beltane celebrations and there are many traditions associated with it. It is seen to have purifying qualities which cleanse and revitalise. People leap over the Beltane fire to bring good fortune, fertility (of mind, body and spirit) and happiness through the coming year.
Although Beltane is the most overtly sexual festival, Pagans rarely use sex in their rituals although rituals often imply sex and fertility. The tradition of dancing round the maypole contains sexual imagary and is still very popular with modern Pagans.
The largest Beltane celebrations in the UK are held in Edinburgh. Fires are lit at night and festivities carry on until dawn. All around the UK fires are lit and private celebrations are held amongst covens and groves (groups of Pagans) to mark the start of the summer.
Every year on 30th April on Calton Hill in Edinburgh thousands of people come together for a huge celebration to mark the coming of summer. The evening begins with a procession to the top of the hill led by people dressed as the May Queen and the Green Man (ancient God and Goddess figures representing fertility and growth).
The May Queen crowns the Green Man, in a ritual similar to that carried out by Wiccan Pagans (who follow a structured set of rituals). The winter ends when the Green Man's winter costume is taken from him and he is revealed in his spring costume. A wild dance takes place and the Green Man and the May Queen are married.
The main element of any Beltane celebration is fire. On Calton Hill torchbearers carry purifying flames and fire arches are used to represent the gateways between the earthly world and the spirit world.
Most of the imagery used in the costumes and rituals comes from the Celts and from Scottish folklore. Other influences come from indeginous people world wide. For instance, the symbol of Ogun, the Yoruba god of iron, can be seen on the faces of some of the performers, and the Geisha traditions of Japan are evident in the dress of the White Women (assistants of the May Queen). Due to the ecclectic nature of the celebrations, Edinburgh's Beltane is not recognised as a religious ritual by many practising Pagans.
Solstice, or Litha means a stopping or standing still of the sun. It is the longest day of the year and the time when the sun is at its maximum elevation.
As the sun spirals its longest dance,
As nature shows bounty and fertility
Let all things live with loving intent
And to fulfill their truest destiny
Wiccan blessing for Summer
This date has had spiritual significance for thousands of years as humans have been amazed by the great power of the sun. The Celts celebrated with bonfires that would add to the sun's energy, Christians placed the feast of St John the Baptist towards the end of June and it is also the festival of Li, the Chinese Goddess of light.
Like other religious groups, Pagans are in awe of the incredible strength of the sun and the divine powers that create life. For Pagans this spoke in the Wheel of the Year is a significant point. The Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. For some Pagans the Summer Solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and see their union as the force that creates the harvest's fruits.
This is a time to celebrate growth and life but for Pagans, who see balance in the world and are deeply aware of the ongoing shifting of the seasons it is also time to acknowledge that the sun will now begin to decline once more towards winter.
When celebrating midsummer, Pagans draw on diverse traditions. In England thousands of Pagans and non-Pagans go to places of ancient religious sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury to see the sun rising on the first morning of summer.
Revellers typically gather at Stonehenge, the ancient stone circle in Wiltshire, to see the sun rise. The Heel Stone and Slaughter Stone, set outside the main circle, align with the rising sun.
SUMMER SOLSTICE AT STONEHENGE
The remains of Stonehenge lie on a sacred site dating back 5,000 years, predating the Druids
It is believed to have been used as an astronomical calculator, as certain stones align with key dates in the seasons.
At dawn on 21 June - the summer solstice - the central Altar stone aligns with the outer Heel stone and the rising sun.
In addition to the large events at major sites such as Stonehenge, many more Pagans hold small ceremonies in open spaces, everywhere from gardens to woodlands.
In this clip the Sunday Programme follows the Oak and Feather Grove, a Druid group whose members come from across Lancashire, as they visit a stone circle at Turton Heights near Bolton to celebrate the Summer Solstice.
Midsummer day is marked around the time of the summer solstice but should not be confused with it. European celebrations of Midsummer take place on a day between 21st June and 24th June, depending on regional traditions. In the United Kingdom Midsummer day takes place on 24th June, the feast of St John the Baptist.
Lammas, also called Lughnasadh (pronouced loo'nass'ah), comes at the beginning of August. It is one of the Pagan festivals of Celtic origin which split the year into four.
Celts held the festival of the Irish god Lugh at this time and later, the Anglo-Saxons marked the festival of hlaefmass - loaf mass or Lammas - at this time.
For these agricultural communities this was the first day of the harvest, when the fields would be glowing with corn and reaping would begin. The harvest period would continue until Samhain when the last stores for the winter months would be put away.
Although farming is not an important part of modern life, Lughnasadh is still seen as a harvest festival by Pagans and symbols connected with the reaping of corn predominate in its rites.
Autumn Equinox (also known as Mabon or Harvest Home) is celebrated when day and night are of equal duration before the descent into increasing darkness and is the final festival of the season of harvest.
In nature, the activity of the summer months slows down to the hibernation for the winter. For many Pagans, now is time to reflect on the past season.
It is also a time to recoginse that the balance of the year has changed, the wheel has turned and summer is now over.
Astrologers will recognise this as the date the sun enters the sign of Libra - the Scales of Balance.
Samhain (pronounced 'sow'inn') is a very important date in the Pagan calendar for it marks the Feast of the Dead. Many Pagans also celebrate it as the old Celtic New Year (although some mark this at Imbolc). It is also celebrated by non-Pagans who call this festival Halloween.
Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows' Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.
To most modern Pagans, while death is still the central theme of the festival this does not mean it is a morbid event. For Pagans, death is not a thing to be feared. Old age is valued for its wisdom and dying is accepted as a part of life as necessary and welcome as birth. While Pagans, like people of other faiths, always honour and show respect for their dead, this is particularly marked at Samhain. Loved ones who have recently died are remembered and their spirits often invited to join the living in the celebratory feast. It is also a time at which those born during the past year are formally welcomed into the community. As well as feasting, Pagans often celebrate Samahin with traditional games such as apple-dooking.
Death also symbolises endings and Samhain is therefore not only a time for reflecting on mortality, but also on the passing of relationships, jobs and other significant changes in life. A time for taking stock of the past and coming to terms with it, in order to move on and look forward to the future.
Not only did the Celts believe the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead dissolved on this night, they thought that the presence of the spirits helped their priests to make predictions about the future.
To celebrate Samhain the Druids built huge sacred bonfires. People brought harvest food and sacrificed animals to share a communal dinner in celebration of the festival.
During the celebration the Celts wore costumes - usually animal heads and skins. They would also try and tell each other's fortunes.
After the festival they re-lit the fires in their homes from the sacred bonfire to help protect them, as well as keep them warm during the winter months.
by Kevin Dixon December 28, 2017 in Community News
Torbay’s many fine churches show how important the Christian faith was to local people. Yet there was a time before Christianity, a pagan Bay, and the debate continues over whether pagan beliefs ever fully went away. Development has mostly wiped away archaeological evidence of our distant past. Nevertheless, traces remain of the pre-Christian religions and magic which was practiced by the small rural communities that came together to become Brixham, Paignton and Torquay.
Our belief in the supernatural goes back to our very beginnings. Kent’s Cavern and Brixham’s Windmill Hill cave were occupied by Palaeolithic hunter gatherers from as far back as 450,000 BC. Across Europe cave paintings and ceremonial burials indicate that our ancestors had a belief in a life after death.
Ancient peoples in the Bay put a great deal of effort into burying their dead. Constructed sometime between 3400-2400BC there is a chambered tomb at Broadsands and a bowl barrow on Beacon Hill near Marldon. Other evidence of occupation can be found on the Churston limestone plateau, in the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age field system (1200-700BC) on the cliff tops at Babbacombe’s Walls Hill and in earthworks at Warberry Hill, Great Hill and Gallows Gate.
These are the settlements and religious sites of the Celtic Dumnonii people. There are also enclosed hilltop sites at Milber Down and Berry Head. These were originally thought to be forts, yet such earthworks are often too large to be defended or in places that were exposed to the elements. Consequently, they are now being seen as places where religious rituals were carried out.
The priests of the Dumnonii may have been the enigmatic Druids. Our ancestors also practiced animal sacrifice. We know that the pre-Roman British honoured a large number of gods and goddesses. These were often associated with particular places so sites across Torbay probably had their own deities.
The Dumnonii outlasted the Roman period and continued until the seventh century. By then they were largely Christians. Evidence of the conversion of the Bay’s scattered settlements may be seen in the name of Preston, ‘preosta tun’ the priest’s farm – possibly a mission station.
Other hints remain of a time when the Dumnonii were pagans. For example, the recently renovated St Michaels Chapel opposite Torre Station may have been built on an older place of pre-Christian significance. The Archangel Michael was the field commander of the Army of God in the Books of Daniel, Jude and Revelation and led God’s armies against Satan’s forces during his uprising. Accordingly, Torre’s early Christians could have acquired an original pagan site for their new religion. Also, across the valley and the Teignmouth Road is Daison Rock. Intriguingly, it’s been suggested that the word Daison derives from the Old English daegsan meaning ‘a sacrificial stone’.
By the eighth century waves of Saxon invasions seem to have displaced the Dumnonii. Yet, While Paignton, St. Marychurch, Torre, Cockington, Churston and Brixham are known to be Saxon settlements, they could well be much older. For example, Torre Church was originally dedicated to St. Petrox, a Celtic saint, and was located next to a spring – wells being particularly significant to pre-Christian religions. It was changed to St. Saviours after the Norman invasion. Similarly, wielle refers to a spring, hence Edginswell is ‘Ecgwulf’s spring’, could be another possible focus of reverence.
There’s long been a debate over whether the coming of Christianity extinguished our belief in the old gods, or whether some aspects survived. Indeed, it was once believed that there was a witch religion which became the focus of the many witch trials of the seventeenth century – one of the last English hangings being in Bideford in 1682. Yet, scholars now don’t believe in the existence of any alternative religion to Christianity during the middle ages or later.
In 1735 the Witchcraft Act abolished witchcraft as a crime – the state had decided that maleficence didn’t exist. Local people, however, seemed to continue to believe in the power of witches. When an old house in Watcome was being renovated in the 1970s a mummified cat was found behind the fireplace – the animal placed there to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits. Each community had a practitioner of magic, a cunning-man or woman, who could offer protection from supernatural threats. These cunning-folk were usually to be found in rural areas, some becoming well-known figures: in the 1860s John Collander, the ‘white witch of Newton Abbot’, was apparently quite popular with women. Unlike witches, however, cunning folk weren’t seen as the enemies of Christianity, but often allies. They faded away as medicine and education provided other explanations and cures. Nevertheless, in 1875 the clerk of Torquay’s magistrates received an application by a poor old woman in Chelston, who believed that her husband had died from the effects of witchcraft.
Despite the entreaties of our educated elite who dismissed such superstitions, the great enemy of humanity still continued to cause fear. Legend had it that he lived in the caves beneath Daddyhole Plain – Daddy being the old English for Devil. In February 1855 panic was caused when the Devil’s supposed cloven footprints were found in overnight snow in Barton.
Another popular folk tradition was that a race of pre-Christian beings was still around. Before the mid-nineteenth century, pixies and fairies were taken seriously in Devon with books describing peasant beliefs being filled with incidents of such manifestations. There was even a theory that pixies were a local memory of the dark-complexioned Dumnonii who had been pushed out of their villages by tall fair-haired Saxons.
These mythical creatures were believed to inhabit ancient underground sites such as stone circles, barrows or caves. Places were named after them, such as Chudleigh’s Pixie’s Cave. According to John Britton’s ‘The Beauties of England and Wales’ (1803), the caves are said “in the traditions of the peasantry to be inhabited by Pixies, or Pisgies, a race of supernatural beings, invisibly small”. The belief faded away in an increasingly urban Bay though some stories lingered, such as that of a dog lost in Kent’s Cavern finally emerging having lost all his fur to the grasping hands of those subterranean dwellers.
In the late nineteenth century there was revival of interest in the little people. This was stimulated by the Cottingley Fairies photographs of little folk gambolling in a wooded glade. Later revealed as hoaxes, they were believed at the time by the Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle. It’s from the Torquay spiritualist Violet Tweedale that we get one of our few modern sightings of local pixies, here quoted by Conan Doyle in his ‘The Coming of the Fairies’ (1922):
“One summer afternoon I was walking alone along the avenue of Lupton House, Devonshire. A few yards in front of me a leaf was swinging and bending energetically, while the rest of the plant was motionless. Expecting to see a field-mouse astride it, I stepped very softly up to it. What was my delight to see a tiny green man. He was about five inches long, and was swinging back-downwards. His tiny green feet, which appeared to be green-booted, were crossed over the leaf, and his hands, raised behind his head, also held the blade. I had a vision of a merry little face and something red in the form of a cap on the head. For a full minute he remained in view, swinging on the leaf. Then he vanished.”
During the nineteenth century urbanisation, science, medicine and mass education gradually eroded traditional folklore. Torbay’s urban intellectuals dismissed the beliefs of the rural working class and preferred the new ideas of scientific occultism – animal magnetism, spiritualism and telepathy.
We’re now in the twenty-first century. Yet, while each day more of Torbay becomes built over, not everything is modern and rational. Some names and places can still remind us of our pagan past.
Chadbourn, B. C. (2013). "Is Paganism a Religion? Exploring the Historical and Contemporary Relevance of Paganism." Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse, 5(12). Retrieved from http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/a?id=828
By Betsy C. Chadbourn
2013, VOL. 5 NO. 12
Years of adversity and oppression have pushed the once thriving practice of Paganism into the shadows. Even in our contemporary world of so-called religious freedom, some are still afraid to admit to their beliefs or to identify as a Pagan. To many, it may come as a surprise to find groups of otherwise ordinary people who refer to themselves as Witches and ask to be treated seriously as members of a religion, on a par with Jews, Methodists, Catholics, and the like. Should we bypass our ignorance as such a traditional society and embrace these alternative movements? Is this contemporarily revived religion one of pure modern creation, or influenced by the past? Is Paganism even a religion at all? In this paper I will be exploring the historiographical relevance of Paganism, looking particularly at the subcategory of Wicca, and whether we can define it as a "religion."
To aid in addressing these questions, I interviewed three self-identified Pagans, two in the UK and one a citizen of the U.S. I asked them fifteen questions concerning Paganism and whether or not they believe Paganism ought to be classified as a religion. Their answers proved surprisingly similar. I will summarise the most important findings throughout.
It is necessary to define what we mean by the term "Paganism." By studying the etymology, we can see how the terms and their associated religions have developed over time. There have been many claims about the original meaning of the term Pagan. However, it is more useful to understand the role these ideas have played than to insist on a historically accurate interpretation.1 When we translate from the Latin – "Paganus," "Pagana" and "Paganum" – we reach definitions closer to those of antiquity – rustic, unlearned, heathen. Originally, "Pagan" meant country-dweller, neutrally referring to those people who lived rurally, close to nature. However, it later took on a pejorative connotation that these people were unlearned. This set the scene for Christian usage of the term to refer to people who wilfully refused to join the new religion.2 In modernity, 'neopagan' is used to denote the group of movements claiming influence from historical Pagan beliefs.
A Slavic neopagan ritual in modern Russia.
"Wicca," or "Wicce," also held considerably more negative connotations in antiquity than it does contemporarily. "Wicce" literally translates as sorceress or witch; an ugly old hag, an alluring or charming woman, one that is credited with malignant supernatural powers, and a practitioner of Wicca.3 Our problem here is that each definition contradicts the next. However, for our uses in this paper, we shall be looking at the fourth definition only, as this is what we view the term to mean today.
We can see that problems with definition arise because of such heavily negative connotations. So why did Pagans choose to adopt these terms as descriptors for their religion? Surely they would want to move away from the burden of their past? In truth, Pagans decided on such a term because they wanted to reclaim it for themselves. Only when the Christian missionaries of antiquity settled the Pagan communities with plans of conversion and indoctrination, did the term "Pagan" become one of negativity. It was used as an identifier for those who refused conversion. Today, there is far more acceptance and understanding associated with the term. Wicca offers a similar explanation. Many witches prefer to call themselves Wiccans rather than Witches, and say that they practice Wicca, rather than Witchcraft, because the words do not carry the negative stereotypes attached to Witch and Witchcraft.4 It is all well and good defining what the term Pagan means to us contemporarily, but the real question still stands of how to categorise Paganism itself; where does it lie on the religious spectrum?
If we are to be deciphering whether Paganism is a religion itself, it seems logical to first examine religion as a broader topic. What is religion? How do we define religion today? Religion is most commonly understood as a system of beliefs and practices focused on an ultimate being, such as gods or angels, or ultimate realms that are thought to be beyond the physical, like heaven; supernatural rather than natural.5
Michael York suggests that something can only be defined as a religion if it is officially recognized by government standards.6 Fortunately, Paganism now falls into this category, both by the National Board of Religion in the UK, and under the First Amendment clause of freedom of religious practice, in the USA. This means that large federations and Pagan communities are exempt from paying taxes on places of worship.
For me, religion means something quite different to the majority definition. It is the connection between both the spiritual and the self; the way one chooses to live their life, the moral code they do this by, their beliefs, the way one keeps grounded and at peace in times of crisis. Religion is a very personal thing, in my eyes. Only we can define what religion is, because it is vastly different for each individual. It is not something that can be "officially recognized" or categorized under one umbrella definition. Status is certainly not something that is important to me, as a religious individual. Research suggests that many Pagans feel much the same way.
There is much debate to whether Paganism is an official "religion" or more of a "life path"; a loosely outlined way in which certain individuals choose to live their lives, much like vegetarianism, or celibacy. Academically categorized as a new religious movement, this label often suggests connotations of being less serious, respectable, spiritual, or valid than longer established traditions.7 Yes, religion, conventionally, is taken to mean a set of beliefs or a system of values and practices that relate to some kind of "ultimate meaning." However, Paganism is not a revealed, scriptural, priestly, supernatural or dogmatic religion. Its chief sources of authority are in the observable cycles of the planet and the experienced cycles of the body.8 Many Pagan movements also adamantly oppose the idea of a paid, professional clergy, and unlike "traditional" religions, are non-hierarchical or dominated by males. In this sense, then, Paganism does not fit into the category of religion. But it also seems too organised, as we will see from the evidence, to be considered a "life path." At this point, we can speculate that Paganism is very much in between these two definitions, which does not offer any helpful conclusions. Therefore, we should delve a little deeper into Paganism both historically, and as it appears in modernity. Let us begin with the origins.
Pagans often emphasize their affinity with ancestral religions. They address deities from the literature of ancient Assyria, Egypt, Greece, Rome, alongside deities referred to in Icelandic, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Saxon sagas, poetry and histories. They insist on the value of literal inheritance from ancestors and places.9 Neopaganism, and more specifically Wicca, was developed in the UK in the 1950s as a highly ritualistic, nature venerating, polytheistic, magical and religious system, operating within a predominantly western framework like that which emerged during the occult revival from the 1880s onwards.10 It was cultivated by a descendent of the original Witches of antiquity, Gerald Gardner, who insisted that there were a small number of Wiccans who had survived the witch trials and continued practicing in secret. Along with Margaret Murray, he formulated the beliefs and practices that are used today, adapting ancient ideas to fit with modernity. Despite these assertions of linkages to ancestral, pre-Christian religions, most Pagans are happy to acknowledge that Paganism is a new religion. The term "reconstruction" rather than "revival" is gaining in popularity as a way of expressing the dynamic link between old and new origins.11
Gardner and Murray, amongst others like Aleister Crowley and Doreen Valiente, have worked hard to develop Paganism as a "religion"; to move past initial definitions like "movement" or "spirituality." Lewis suggests that because most Neopagans are first generation, it seems like a community of converts, and therefore may seem dubious as a religion. However, he says: "you don't become Pagan, you discover that you always were. Our experience is that of finding a name for this spirituality that has moved us all our lives."12 It is clear that Lewis sees Paganism as a religion; as something magical that sets itself apart from everything else and that has developed from its origins. The contemporary resurgence of magical religion can be seen, then, as an attempt to enrich the "psychic ecology" of contemporary culture by remythicizing our world and the living beings that make it up. It is part of a collective effort whose ultimate goal is to end the divorce between conscious and unconscious, psyche and techne, culture and nature, empathetic identification and critical distance, faith and skepsis.13 What has fuelled this development is another story. On the social side of religion, at the level at which Wicca interacts with popular culture, there appears to be a certain amount of "trendiness" attached to identifying oneself as Pagan and, especially, Wiccan. Historically, Wicca has been regarded as a core group around which Paganism has emerged.14
It is this "newness," relaxed attitude, and movement away from the norms of religion that has helped Paganism to adapt to modernity, and spread universally. It slowly became more widespread and public after the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951, meaning that individuals could not be prosecuted for its practice. But the instant spread of Paganism came about almost wholly because of Wicca; Gardner himself was convinced from the outset that publicity was the key to the survival and spread of the religion, and it was Wicca's ability to intertwine well-defined practices and beliefs with a trendy image, that helped make this idea a reality. Witchcraft can represent a religion designed to suit the needs of the religious consumer15; the modern individual, so to speak. According to Waldron, the public profile of Witchcraft as a religious movement is becoming defined in terms of its "manifestation in purchasable products and its representations in popular culture and the mass media."16 The internet, popular culture, and teen culture have taken Witchcraft far beyond its esoteric sources; sites like WitchVox, films like The Craft, and television shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, have propelled Wicca into the spotlight. The movement has united exclusively with a series of powerful cultural trends in a current that has carried neo-Witchcraft to the verge of mainstream acceptability. And as Witchcraft becomes more mainstream, Witches have used that status to link their religion with the international inter-faith movement – a connection that has helped witchcraft gain "worldwide acceptance as a legitimate religious expression."17
Neopagan is the preferred term in academic circles, in order to differentiate between the paganism of the ancient world and modern Paganism. All religions seem to have both foundation stories – which almost always claim to be historical in order to propose a meaning for the religion – and actual histories. The foundation story of Wicca has grown up around Gardner's claim that in the late 1930s he was initiated into one of the very last of the English covens, and that he later built upon its system of worship and magic to create the Gardnerian system that has formed the basis for almost all of modern Witchcraft.18 Neopaganism as a religious concept is based on a desire to recreate the Pagan religions of antiquity, usually not as they actually were, but as they have been idealized by romantics since the Renaissance. The gap between ancient reality and modern reconstruction is exhibited most clearly by the fact that all classical Paganism – like first-temple Judaism – was based on animal sacrifice, which is avoided by all modern Neopagans.19 There are four direct lines of connection between ancient Paganism and the present: high ritual magic, hedge witchcraft, art and literature from the ancient world, and folk rites. Wicca proposes a very similar story. The religion of modern witchcraft is not historically connected to its medieval namesake, but it is connected to the speculations about witchcraft that began to emerge once the phenomenon itself had disappeared. In fact, Neopagan witchcraft today consists in large part of concepts, claims, and terminology that originated during the two hundred years between the end of the Enlightenment and the beginning of the twenty-first century.20 Out of the debate came one of the most important concepts associated with modern witchcraft: the belief that Medieval witchcraft was actually a surviving form of pre-Christian paganism.21 However, the alleged academic disproof of the thesis that early modern witches were Pagans has begun to change the story most Pagans tell about their ancestors, but it has not destroyed their identity or their sense of connection to earlier generations.
Let us look now at the actual Theology of Paganism, to help us gain a better understanding of whether it fits to the traditional standard of religion. The Wiccan Rede, or commandment if you will, behind the entire Theology of Paganism states: "Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfil, if it harms none, do what ye will." This one rule summarises the ethics for the entirety of Paganism. To Pagans, the pursuit of well-being, happiness and responsible living in this world is more important than any supernatural idea or transcendent afterlife.22 Traditionally, Paganism is a duotheistic religion, intertwined with the pantheistic concept of dual aspects of a single godhead; the Horned God and the Triple Goddess. However, because of the nature of Paganism, different Pagans believe different things. Some are polytheistic; they take aspects and deities from several associated subcategories, like Ancient Egyptian religion or Norse tradition, for example. Others, such as Dianic Wiccans, believe in just one deity. Whilst there are some that refute the supernatural altogether, and simply understand that deities are psychological archetypes of the human mind, which can be evoked and interacted with.
Concerning tradition, Paganism draws on ancient and modern practices and ideas to engage with some of the major concerns of today,23 such as the environmental crisis. Many traditions require formal initiation into an established coven to be considered a true Pagan or Wiccan; these are autonomous and headed by a High Priest and Priestess. Another tradition, concerning practice, is eclectic Paganism. Eclectics often draw on ancient traditions to create their own religious structure by worshiping independently. In Wicca, these practitioners are called "hedge" Witches. For eclectic Pagans, worship is traditionally carried out using a magic circle, which is conjured by calling on the elements. Covens, on the other hand, conduct their religious ceremonies in sacred woods or oak groves, which serve as natural temples.24
Paganism has been described as a term that "implies a polytheistic nature religion whose deities are meant to be personifications of nature, often as they were found in the ancient pantheons."25 The veneration of nature in modern Paganism, the concern for the earth as deity and the pantheism of seeing the divine in all of nature has led modern Pagans to maintain an attitude of reverence for the wild, and of sadness or revulsion at human estrangement from this ideal, living in towns and cities away from the land. "Nature religion" typically contrasts Paganism with religions that are particularly focused on divine beings or transcendent realities rather than on the ordinary, physical world. Wicca offers similar components; it is a religious movement with a significant spiritual component, which links, in a typically romanticist style, images of the divine with nature and the feminine in opposition to patriarchy, industrialism and science.26
If we are going to define Paganism as a religion, should we go one step further and subcategorise it as a nature religion? Does this make a difference? Just as categorising Christianity, Judaism and Islam as "world" religions does not tell us anything specific about them as religions, classifying Paganism as a nature religion offers a similar dilemma. However, Pagans consider their connection to nature as vastly important. During my interviews, there was a consensus that if categorisation was to happen in any capacity, being labelled as a nature religion was the most attractive option. And with the rapid increase in identified Pagans across the world, there seems no better time to choose such a category.
Demographically, Paganism is one of the fastest growing religions in the world. In the USA alone, it is estimated that adherents number 300,000 not including members of related movements.27 It is not possible to be completely certain how many Pagans there are worldwide, because some identify with more than one tradition, whilst others do not openly label themselves as Pagan; but the more widespread rejection of Gardnerian origins today has not undermined the movement or diminished its numerical growth. In the 2011 UK census, 56,260 identified as Pagans, with most falling between the ages of 25 and 45. But judging by the number of publications by and for Witches, and by the predominance of Wicca in academic publications about Paganism, it is clear that Wicca is among the best known among the Pagan traditions. It, therefore, may also have the most members; 11,766 identified as Wiccans in the same UK census.28
With such growth, there is no question as to why Paganism is becoming more immanently interesting academically. During my research, I encountered a number of standpoints concerning Paganism as a religion. Most scholars remained neutral in both their views and their language; a variety of terms, such as religion, movement, and culture were used. The main concern was not whether we should recognise Paganism as a religion however, but that, academically, Paganism should be understood as a "new religion"; the debate between antiquity and modernity stood at the forefront. Michael York, a scholar writing on invented religion, was alone in his adamant disapproval of Paganism being classified as a religion. He said that unless a religion can be officially recognized as such, by a government or similarly legitimate board, then it has no right to be called a religion. However, his article was published in the late twentieth century; as was aforementioned, Paganism is now officially recognized in both the UK and the USA. Woodhead also positively comments on Wicca specifically, explaining that the terms Wicca and Wiccan distinguish practitioners of neo-Pagan Witchcraft from practitioners of folk magic and other forms of witchcraft. They signify an organized religion with a set of beliefs, tenets, laws, ethics, holy days and rituals.29
It seems more important, somehow, to discuss how Pagans define themselves. After all, they are the ones who live the religion. A common saying among the Wiccan community is that: all Wiccans are Pagans, but not all Pagans are Wiccans. Similarly, all Wiccans are Witches, but not all Witches are Wiccans. Rosemary Guiley, a Wiccan herself, explains that "'not all contemporary Witches are Witches in the religious sense; many are simply practitioners of sorcery, ceremonial magic, or folk magic."30 Many followers of Paganism understand it as an umbrella religion, covering a plethora of smaller religions, all of which have similarities enough to be considered under the umbrella, but also present enough differences to have their own subcategories. Much like Christianity with its subcategories of Methodists, Baptists, and Evangelists; all show similar properties, but differ in the slight. It is well-known amongst the Pagan nation that definition is not as important as would seem from the perspectives of the academic community. They do not work with official labels, and many are happy to define only themselves by their own opinions and beliefs. As long as they are free to practice what they please without oppression, categorisation holds no immanent concern. Many Pagans do not even want to "come out of the broom closet" themselves, let alone have others recognize them for what they are.31 Pagans are known to be immensely proud and private people; conversion and indoctrination do not hold a place in Paganism as they do in world religions.
As Paganism has grown considerably in popularity, it has come to consider itself autonomous and distinct from Wicca. Some Pagans see Wicca as one type of Witchcraft, which is one type of Paganism, while others treat all three terms synonymously. There are many who identify as Witches but not Wiccans.32 And there are various reasons why Wicca remains small despite the growth of Paganism. Although some Pagans perhaps desire initiation into a Wiccan coven, many regard Wicca as hierarchical in structure, and elitist in that it requires initiation of "the chosen few," retaining "secrets" which it does not share with the rest of the Pagan community, leading to claims that Wicca constitutes an elite Pagan "priesthood."33 Additionally, Wicca creates and maintains extremely resilient boundaries, operating through unstructured, changeable networks containing small, closed autonomous groups, with no overarching organizational structure. However, part of the attraction of Wicca is that it simplifies what can be a cumbersome and hierarchical structure, especially concerning the more orthodox strains of modern Paganism.
It seems that we have enough information, now, to conclude whether Paganism should be classified as a religion or not. First, however, we should address system versus class. A system is a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole. A class, on the other hand, is a set or category of things having some property or attribute in common and differentiated from others by kind, type, or quality. From these definitions, it seems clear that we can categorise Paganism under system. It also seems clear that religion in general could fall under system. Does this, therefore, make Paganism a religion? Wicca falls under the definition of class, under the system of Paganism. From this we can conclude definitely that Paganism is a system from which the classes of Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, and the like, span. The categorisation under religion still seems unsure.
To most persons in the modern day, Paganism remains a dark and mysterious subject. It is often regarded with fear. Popular ideas about Paganism have been shaped largely through the media, which perpetuates stereotypes based on the gross exaggerations of centuries past. To complicate matters, Paganism and Wicca today is eponymously connected only to the witchcraft of the Inquisition.34 Modern Witches view themselves as healers and helpers. Their religion has a diverse heritage of Pagan religions, the Western esoteric tradition, folk magic, and, more recently, Shamanism and tribal religions. It has no connection with Devil-worship or Satanism. Wicca, or the Craft, is a religion that emphasizes worship of the Goddess and the practice of a magical craft that is to be used for beneficial purposes, not to harm.35 It is for these reasons that we should banish the negative connotations to the time of persecution, and re-evaluate our views towards the unfamiliar.
Neopaganism is a movement which is intrinsically defined by the inter-relationship of Romanticist cultural and political themes within the broader current of an Enlightenment-dominated construction of Western modernity.36 This intrinsic definition reflects the limited need for an etic definition. Pagans themselves promote this idea.
Paganism is a new religion. All of its traditions were initiated in the 20th century after about a century of foment and anticipatory rumours among poets and esotericists. All the ancient and historical sources that are undoubtedly of vital importance to particular Pagans are utilized creatively to mould and evolve a religion that arises from and addresses key issues of the contemporary world. It seems that few religious scholars up to now have heard, or at least been academically aware, of the contemporary Neo-Pagan movement at all; a limited and skewed picture of Pagans has been presented to the academic community. "Even fewer are thinking about what our reappearance means, about what insights our very different worldview might offer to a culture and planet in crisis."37 Maybe we should be thinking less how to categorise said new religions and more about what they can teach us in this modern day.
In conclusion, religion, conventionally, is taken to mean a set of beliefs or a system of values and practices that relate to some kind of "ultimate meaning." In a secular society, religion is partly substituted by ethics, the discourse about what it is to live a good and decent life. The problem with the ethical is that it assumes a modern, rational subject, one who is capable of choosing and acting on decisions based on moral and intellectual considerations. This model is flawed: there is a realm of the psyche – the unconscious, in psychoanalytic terms – that is beyond the control of the rational individual self.38 The Pagan traditions, at least as they have been reinterpreted in our time, suggest that we can communicate with this "other realm" through dream, myth, story, ritual, and the body. The precise mix of sources and a range of personal and group preferences in ways of performing rituals and narrating important ideas determines the style of each tradition and the evolution of the whole religion.39
In this sense, Paganism has certainly evolved as a religion. And it has created its own definition of the term. We have seen that our problem of categorisation has come from the rigid structure of religion in the traditional sense. Yet Paganism is called a "new religion" for a reason, and while it may be 'new,' it is also modern: it is a practice defining its own boundaries, definitions, and methods in which followers practice. Just because Paganism does not fit exactly into the constructs of our classic world religions does not make it any less of a religion. As the Pagan community has expressed, they do not need or want official recognition. However, Paganism certainly deserves the validation of being categorised as a religion. It has suffered a long and tumultuous history from antiquity to modernity, even in its revision. Academically speaking, we can indeed call it a religion. This concerns Wicca, also. So, in answer to our question proper, "can we define Paganism as a religion?," the answer is most certainly yes.
Arin Murphy-Hiscock. "Solitary Wicca For Life: A Complete Guide to Mastering the Craft on Your Own."(USA: Provenance Press, 2005).
Brandon J. Harwood. "Beyond Poetry and Magick: The Core Elements of Wiccan Morality." Journal of Contemporary Religion 22.3 (2007) Print.
Chas S. Clifton. "Her Hidden Children: The Rise of Wicca and Paganism in America." (Maryland: AltaMira Press, 2006).
Graham Harvey. "Contemporary Paganism: Religions of the Earth from Druids and Witches to Heathens and Ecofeminists." (New York: New York University Press, 2011).
Homayun Sidky. "On the Antiquity of Shamanism and its Role in Human Religiosity." Method and Theory in the Study of Religion 22.1 (2010) Print.
Ian K. Iles. "Advanced Wiccan Spirituality." Spirituality and Health International 5.1 (2004) Print.
James R. Lewis. "Magical Religion and Modern Witchcraft." (New York: State University of New York Press, 1996).
James R. Lewis. "Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions." (California: ABC Clio, 1999).
Jeffrey B. Russell and Brooks Alexander. "A History of Witchcraft: Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans." (London: Thames & Hudson, 2011).
Joanne Pearson. "Belief Beyond Boundaries: Wicca, Celtic Spirituality and the New Age." (Bath: The Bath Press, 2002).
Moira Rose Raistlin. "Should Pagans Build Churches?." PaganSquare November, 2012. Print.
Rosemary Guiley. "The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft." (Oxford: Facts on File Limited, 1989).
Teresa Moorey. "Faeries and Nature Spirits." (London: Hodder Arnold, 1999).
Teresa Moorey. "Paganism." (London: Hodder Arnold, 1999).
Teresa Moorey. "Witchcraft." (London: Hodder Arnold, 1999).
Wendy L. Hawksley. "Coming Out Pagan." PaganSquare December, 2002. Print.
Invented Culture/Invented Religion: The Fictional Origins of Contemporary Paganism Michael York Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions Vol. 3, No. 1 (October 1999), pp. 135-146. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.19188.8.131.52
"Going Native in Reverse": The Insider as Researcher in British Wicca1 Jo Pearson Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
Vol. 5, No. 1 (October 2001), pp. 52-63. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2001.5.1.52
Witchcraft for Sale! Commodity vs. Community in the Neopagan MovementDavid Waldron Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions
Vol. 9, No. 1 (August 2005), pp. 32-48. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/nr.2005.9.1.032
The term ‘druid’ refers to a member of the learned class among the ancient Celts. These people acted as priests, teachers as well as judges.
The earliest-known records of the Druids come from the 3rd century BCE. Their name might have come from a Celtic word that means “knower of the oak tree.” Very little is known for certain regarding the Druids, who kept absolutely no records of their own.
According to Julius Caesar, who is the main source of information regarding the Druids, there were two groups of men in Gaul who were held in honour: the Druids and the noblemen (equites). Caesar said that the Druids took charge of public as well as private sacrifices. Many young men consulted the Druids for instruction.
They judged that all public and private quarrels. Druids decreed penalties. If anyone did not obey their decree, he was barred from sacrifice, which was considered as the gravest of punishments.
One Druid was made the chief and upon his death, another was appointed. If, however, a number were equal in merit, the Druids voted. Although they often resorted to armed violence.
Once a year, the Druids came together at a sacred place in the territory of the Carnutes. This was believed to be the centre of all Gaul. Here, all legal disputes were submitted to the judgment of the Druids.
When exactly druidism began is not known. Cunliffe, who is an emeritus professor of European archaeology at the University of Oxford, notes that the earliest written reference to druids goes back approximately 2 400 years. While druidism certainly goes back much earlier than this, how far back is not known.
Ancient druidism continued up until about 1 200 years ago, slowly being supplanted by Christianity. There is a renewal movement of modern-day druids; however, Cunliffe, together with other scholars, is cautious to highlight that there is a gap of nearly a millennium between the demise of the ancient druids as well as the appearance of this revival group.
Today, people often associate Stonehenge with druidism. However, Stonehenge was built mainly between 5 000 and 4 000 years ago while the initial written reference to the druids goes back to around 2 400 years ago. So, again, there is a break in time. The question of druidism existed when Stonehenge was built, and if so in what form, is an open one.
In 1912, a group of radical socialists established the Druidic order of the Universal Bond in order to campaign for peace as well as fellowship between the world’s different religious faiths and social justice. These were the individuals who held public ceremonies at Stonehenge at the summer solstice until 1985. They still do so in off-peak seasons.
From the 1980s the image of the Druid has become a rallying-point for significant numbers of British people who are looking for a sense of reunion with the natural world as well as with the ancient people of the islands. It can act as an antidote to the twin prevailing modern deprivations of feeling cut off from nature and from the past.
Numerous schools trained noble youth to become Druids. Depending on which type of role one was trained in, the Druidic educational system could take up to 20 years, significant schooling when life expectancy didn’t extend much past the age of 40. Still, it was considered highly esteemed to become a Druid, and despite the patriarchal nature of that era, women were made Druidesses with equal roles to men. The Druids worshipped female goddesses and a Druidess could take part in a battle or divorce her husband.
There were three roles that a Druid-in-training could aspire to prophet, priest, or bard. At school, all lessons were taught and memorized through lore. Song, poetry, and storytelling were of utmost importance, as Druids kept no written record, instead encoding their teaching into folk tales. This is part of the reason bards were so necessary for Druidism, as their songs served not just as historical records, but were also thought to have magical powers including the ability to induce sleep, change moods, and even cause illness or death.
Today, the practice of modern Druidism is alive and well in two different branches of neo-Druidism. The Druid Order was the most well-known contemporary society of modern Druids until the early ‘60s when a new order, known as the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) was established. This division has since gained notoriety across the world, claiming a 20,000-person membership.
OBOD runs online mentorships, classes, and workshops to develop its three disciplines, described as a spiritual practice that speaks to creativity, nature and wisdom. The three categorizations of OBOD are alternatively described as the Singer, Shaman, and Sage.
The Druid Order is known for the ceremonies conducted at Stonehenge throughout the year during Solstices and Equinoxes. They have conducted these for over a century and look to the cycle of the seasons as a regulator and key to unlock inner harmony.
They see modern Druidic beliefs not as a religion, but more as a fraternity or esoteric society that accepts all religions. They also pride themselves in observing and minding their own business. Only when asked for advice will a member of the Druid Order give his opinion.
Druid Symbol of Awen
One of the basics of the Druidic beliefs is the idea of Awen or the divine inspiration. It is otherwise described as gnosis, or the intuitive wisdom derived from the practice of Druidism. It is thought to be unique in every individual and is described as poetic inspiration. Awen is used to describe the poetry used by bards to pass down the story of the Druids, and modern usage describes poets and musicians in the same way. The symbol of Awen is depicted by three rays representing harmony and universal balance.
Some theorize that the ancient Druids built Stonehenge, given their reverence for it, as well as other sacred monolithic sites. This idea was first posited by John Aubrey in 1640 and later perpetuated by William Stukeley. Though, theis theory has supposedly been discredited as radiocarbon dating showed the stones date back to 3,100 BC, while the known history of the Druids begins around 300 BC.
Still, there is no definitive proof or credible theory as to who built Stonehenge that has been widely accepted, leading some to believe that an ancient sect of Druids may have in fact, constructed the site. In more esoteric beliefs, an alleged group of ancient Druids from Atlantis are thought to have possibly constructed Stonehenge using some exotic, or anti-gravity technology.
Stonehenge in Britain
Merlin, the legendary wizard in Arthurian lore, is sometimes credited as being responsible for moving the 10- 20-ton stones transported hundreds of miles to build Stonehenge. But some believe Merlin to have been a Pheryllt druid, named Taliesin, having practiced magical alchemy or who possessed anti-gravity technology.
Pheryllt was an esoteric sect of Druidism sometimes alluded to by bards. Its eponymous, esoteric text, the Lost Book of the Pheryllt, is thought to detail a common origin between many of the major ancient civilizations. The Pheryllt were said to have arrived in Wales after the sinking of Atlantis and share many similarities in their beliefs with Eastern dharmic religions.
The connections between Druidism and Hinduism are particularly striking. One similarity is found in the Druid’s sacred Awen, which looks and sounds much like the Hindu word Aum — both words representing the primordial sound of the universe. The Pheryllt also spoke of a female goddess, Cerridwen, who shares many parallels with the Hindu goddess Kali. Cerridwen’s divine feminine energy is often referred to much like Kali’s Kundalini energy.
Copyright © 2022 The Royal Dragon Court - All Rights Reserved.The Royal Dragon Court, The Dragon Legacy and The Dragon Cede. By Nicholas Devere & Abbe Devere.
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