What is a pagan? If you are like most Americans, you’re probably thinking witch on a broom, thief on a cross, or worse, Goth in the public bathroom. Yikes, tell me it isn’t so.
Truth is, being a pagan isn’t all that different from being a Christian, Muslim, or jew; we drive cars, take vacations, and sometimes even vote for racist presidents, just as the other faiths do; however, where we differ, is in our acceptance of others. Another way of saying this is, we are a faith that builds bridges, not walls. We are willing to hear the other side, and will even go so far as to pray with them to their god/gods. For in the old days whenever a pagan traveled to another village, that’s what you did: you respected and honored the gods of that village, for you knew there were many gods. Conversely, As a pagan, you also knew that there was only one ultimate divinity, and that the other “gods” were different manifestations, or stages if you will, of this single “unidentifiable” creator.
No, the pagan wasn’t interested in denouncing your god, but in his/hers direct experience with the god. Above the sanctuary at the Oracle of Delphi were inscribed the words “Know Your Self.” And this is what pagans intend to do with their time in this existence. For it is through this self-knowledge that we become the Oneness with god we seek.
The Pagan philosophers of the past taught that everything is a part of the interconnected whole. All things are subsumed within the supreme Oneness that is God. God is the mind of the universe and his/hers creation is the body. God is “Apollo” meaning “Not-Many” and also “Pan” meaning “All.”
Sounds like a bunch of philosophy mumble jumbo, now doesn’t it?
But consider this:
The word “Philosopher” means “lover of Sophia, the goddess of wisdom.” And out of wisdom, we pagans discover the god within. That is to say: the Higher Self that lies behind the ego-self. The old Pagan sages recognized this wise inner teacher as their identity and so saw themselves as immortal gods, not transitory bodies destined to dirt, as some would have you believe.
The Pagan philosophers of old taught us that by cultivating goodness, we can purify ourselves from selfishness. By cultivating goodness, we break the chains that bind us to our illusionary ego-self, freeing us to experience our true divine nature. Central to the Pagan path is accepting whatever life brings us as our divinely decreed fate: surrendering the illusion of personal power and recognizing ourselves as “puppets of God.” This is not a passive resignation, but an actively engaging one accepting things as they are by being a willing vehicle of God’s unfolding purpose in the universe.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
So then, where did all the pagans go?
In a nutshell, pagans of old were much like the small town businesses of today who meet the needs of the people of the town with food supplies, hardware goods, pharmacy prescriptions, animal feed, etc., until, that is, the Walmart, Super Store, comes to town and puts them out-of-business with its one-size fits all merchandising; this is what the major monolithic faiths did when they came to town and replaced the local religions with a One-God-Fits-All religion, which, unlike they want you to belief, didn’t start from the bottom up, but from the top down. The town leaders backed by the landowners and warlords brought the monolithic faiths to town through edicts. The town’s people had no choice but convert, or die. The old rites became capital offenses, and those who still supported the previous pagan emperors, executed. A few people, a previous life of mine if you must know, kept the truth they knew in their hearts to themselves, they pretended to go along with the new faith, but kept the pagan practices alive when safely alone. Others, hid in the woods and trees, some became solitary practitioners, midwifes, others herbalist, hermits, and all would soon be defined as witches, ogres, and devils by the new bullies of faith, who until this very day are still threatened by the very word Pagan…
What are they afraid of?
Join me next time when we talk about Donald Trumps wall: is it to keep them out, or keep you in?
Think about it.
Mote it be, brothers and sisters, mote it be.