Articles/Essays From Pagans
November 10th. 2016 ...
What Exactly Is Witchcraft?
A Witch in the Bible Belt: Questions are Opportunities
On Death and Passing: Compassion Burnout in Healers and Shamans
What I Get from Cooking (And How it’s Part of My Path)
October 10th. 2016 ...
Witchcraft from the Outside
September 11th. 2016 ...
How Did I Get Here? (My Pagan Journey)
Wild Mountain Woman: Landscape Goddess
September 3rd. 2016 ...
Rethinking Heaven: What Happens When We Die?
What is Happening in My Psychic Reading?
August 12th. 2016 ...
When Reality Rattles your Idea of the Perfect Witch
Hungarian Belief in Fairies
Designing a Pagan Last Will and Testament
July 13th. 2016 ...
What Every Pagan Should Know About Curses
Magic With A Flick of my Finger
An Open Mind and Heart
Finding and Caring for Your Frame Drum
June 13th. 2016 ...
Pollyanna Propaganda: The Distressing Trend of Victim-Blaming in Spirituality
Living a Magickal Life with Fibromyalgia
My Father, My First God
Life is Awesome... and the Flu
May 15th. 2016 ...
Faery Guided Journey
How to Bond with the Elements through Magick
Magical Household Cleaning
Working with the Elements
April 2nd. 2016 ...
An Alternative Conception of Divine Reciprocity
Becoming Wiccan: What I Never Expected
The Fear of Witchcraft
Rebirth By Fire: A Love Letter to Mama Maui and Lady Pele
Blowing Bubbles with the Goddess
Magic in Sentences
The Evolution of Thought Forms
March 28th. 2016 ...
Revisiting The Spiral
Lateral Transcendence: Toward Greater Compassion
Spring Has Sprung!
January 22nd. 2016 ...
Coming Out of the Broom Closet
Energy and Karma
Community and Perception
December 20th. 2015 ...
Introduction to Tarot For the Novice
Magia y Wicca
October 24th. 2015 ...
Facing Your Demons: The Shadow Self
The Dream Eater--A Practical Use of Summoning Talismans
Native American Spirituality Myopia
A Dream Message
Feeling the Pulse of Autumn
October 16th. 2015 ...
Sacred Lands, Sacred Hearts
September 30th. 2015 ...
September 16th. 2015 ...
Vegan or Vegetarian? The Ethical Debate
Nature Worship: or Seeing the Trees for the Ents
August 6th. 2015 ...
Lost - A Pagan Parent's Tale
July 9th. 2015 ...
Love Spells: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
The Magic of Weather
June 7th. 2015 ...
A Pagan Altar
A Minority of a Minority of a Minority
The Consort: Silent Partner or Hidden in Plain Sight?
Why I Bother With Ritual: Poetry and Eikonic Atheism
May 6th. 2015 ...
Gods, Myth, and Ritual in Naturalistic Paganism
I Claim Cronehood
13 Keys: The Crown of Kether
March 29th. 2015 ...
A Thread in the Tapestry of Witchcraft
March 28th. 2015 ...
On Wiccan Magick, Theurgy, Thaumaturgy and Setting Expectations
March 1st. 2015 ...
Choosing to Write a Shadow Book
Historiolae: The Spell Within the Story
February 1st. 2015 ...
Seeker Advice From a Coven Leader
The Three Centers of Paganism
Magick is No Illusion
The Ancient Use of God/Goddess Surnames
The Gods of My Heart
January 1st. 2015 ...
The Six Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned on My Path as a Witch
Manipulation of the Concept of Witchcraft
Publicly Other: Witchcraft in the Suburbs
Pagans All Around Us
Broomstick to the Emerald City
October 20th. 2014 ...
Thoughts on Conjuring Spirits
A Microcosmic View of Ma'at
October 5th. 2014 ...
The History of the Sacred Circle
Abandoning Expectations and Remembering Your Roots
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Never the Twain Shall Meet
Article ID: 3146
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 5,842
Times Read: 6,078
Author: Gwen Gardner
Posted: December 10th. 2000
Times Viewed: 6,078
As I read the essay question for this month I was surprised. I had asked this question of my teacher just hours before. As someone new to Montana, I had discovered a peculiar phenomenon among the "Pagans" here, something that I had never encountered before. To my complete surprise and astonishment I was running into pagans left and right who also claimed to worship Jesus and/or the Christian god. I had developed a friendship with a gal who was training to be a druid, while still actively incorporating the idea of a one true god. She complained that her druidic friends just didn't understand. Well, considering the almost complete decimation of the druidic orders by the Christians, I can see their point. However, she was adamant that the two very different paths, in my view, could easily coexist. Her argument was something along the lines that she, as a Druid, was simply worshipping nature and that was ok because her Christian god had created nature so it was ok to worship it, as it was a form of worshipping him. I can understand her rather circular argument, but the question then becomes, is she really Pagan? Also, how could she possibly consider herself a Druid? What exactly is the definition of being Pagan? I was under the impression that Paganism is the worship of multiple deities, at least a god and a goddess (although the Dianics kind of threw the god out with the bath water). But she was claiming to really only actually worship one god. When I looked the word pagan up in my Webster's Third New International Dictionary I found the usually reference to "the country dweller" and "heathen" followed by a notation, "especially a follower of a polytheistic religion". There, I knew that part was in there somewhere. How could someone who worships just one god be pagan? But then we are back to another question. Would not someone who only worships, say, Odin, be considered Pagan? How is that justified if one must be polytheistic to be pagan? And we have the ever complexing Dianic example also to deal with. So the real question is; What are the criteria for being Pagan? Do you simply need to believe in a god or goddess other than the Christian god? Even with that as the criteria my new friend doesn't qualify, she only "really" worships the Christian god. Another person I have met claims to have a wonderful relationship with the Lord and Lady, but also claims to "know" that her Christian god is all powerful and the creator of all. I have no idea how one could reconcile those two ideas if one truly believed in either one of them. If you truly have a wonderful relationship with the Lord and Lady why would you even consider the notion of a one( and especially a male) god creating the universe all by his lonesome? On the other hand, if you truly believed your god was all powerful what is the purpose of your relationship with the Lord and Lady? Is not your god providing you with everything you need? Who do you think the Lord and Lady to be? The Christian god is a very intolerant and jealous god. He specifically bans worship of any other gods and I think we can safely assume that would include goddess's, also. If one truly worshipped this god, I would think that having a "wonderful relationship with the Lord and Lady" would be a rather treasonous act. This, actually, is the more important argument that explains why, I believe, one can not be Pagan and Christian at the same time. The simple reason is that belief in the one automatically excludes belief in the other, if one Truly Believes. Pagans worship many gods. The Christian god demands exclusive worship. Pagans are free to decide for themselves on issues such as morality, sexuality, marriage, types of food to eat, what holy days to celebrate and how, according to their own personal choice of deities and beliefs. The Christian god has decreed in a book exactly how the people who worship him are to behave and what they are to believe. Pagans believe that our energy will continue to exist after our bodies cease to function, most believing in some form of reincarnation. The Christian god tells his followers that they must live to a certain standard or they will be punished after death, by being denied his presence and their "soul" sent somewhere awful. These examples of the differences in the two religious paths helps to demonstrate how the two are simply NOT compatible. However, I also believe that both of the people in my earlier examples really want them to be compatible so they are taking the bits and pieces that they like of each and making something new. This has happened many times before, that's why there are so many differing versions of Christianity, not to mention Santeria, Pow-Wow, and some forms of Voo-do. Are these two people really Pagan? The answer to that question lies in the beliefs of the person you ask. Are they Christian? Most Christians would probably say no, and they themselves might think not, and so they say they are Pagan. Pagan is a catchall kind of thing these days. It includes pretty much everyone who at least believes in something(other than the Christian god) and is working in a positive (hopefully) manner in their life. But are they truly Pagan as well as Christian? I would argue no, they are not Pagan in that neither of them fits the most basic criteria of Paganism, a belief in multiple deities. They both want the magic and the freedom provided to followers of a Pagan path but neither can let go of their belief in a one god that rules over all else. They want the safety net of a belief system that is comfortable and familiar, but want to be more than sheep following the good shepherd. The way I see it you are either a sheep or a goat, there is no such thing as sheat or a goep. A choice must be made, a conscious decision reached, there really is no middle ground. You are Pagan and worship multiple deities or you are some form of Christian and worship one deity ( for the sake of this argument, i.e.:Christian or Pagan, I am leaving out any other religious choices). I do think, however, that many people do not and will not ever see it so clearly and that there will continue to be people who will want to somehow take the parts they like from each and mix and match them to fit what they want to believe. That's something those people need to look at in themselves. By only using the parts that are easy or convenient aren't they missing out on the learning experiences brought about by truly honoring the vagaries of the god or gods or goddesses of particular paths? I believe they are missing out on what it truly means to be Pagan. Yes, it can be a lot of fun, but there is also a serious side that needs to be recognized. True dedication to the Pagan path will require the decision to be made. Until then, these people are neither Pagan nor truly Christian and perhaps should go by a different label, if they choose to label themselves at all. The really weird part about this whole debate is that there is any debate at all. Like I said in the beginning, I thought this was an anomaly to Montana, it is unfortunate that it appears to be even more widespread than I would have ever guessed. However, being the ever optimistic Pagan that I am, I hope to show these people and others, by example, how a true dedication to the Pagan Path can be so much more rewarding.
Location: Kalispell, Montana
Author's Profile: To learn more about Gwen Gardner - Click HERE
Bio: My name is Gwen Gardner. I have recently moved to Montana after living for 9 years in Seattle. I have been a practicing witch for about 12 years and consider myself to be of the green witch variety. I love plants and grow a huge garden every year, with great success. I have trained in the Sylvan Grove tradition, although I do not follow that path currently. I am of Scottish descent and am currently part of an eclectic Celtic Magic group here in the Flathead Valley.
Other Listings: To view ALL of my listings: Click HERE
Email Gwen Gardner... (Yes! I have opted to receive invites to Pagan events, groups, and commercial sales)
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