Today, every pagan is different from other pagans in some way. Pagan is an umbrella term as well as a fixed term. One who is Wiccan is considered pagan, but someone who is pagan is not Wiccan. Some Native Americans and Buddhists accept being under the pagan label, and some do not. Some who are Atheists feel pagan. Some see Paganism as a religion, and some are, and some see Paganism as just a sense of spiritual being that is in string connection with the earth and nature.
So what exactly is a Pagan? Ultimately that is up to the individual. No matter how much a 'liberal' pagan may explain the fuzzy parameters to a 'fundamental' religious person, that person will hold on to their own definition....well, that's not entirely true. There are people who will listen and learn. However, I'm speaking about those who are just sticks in the mud.
For me, being pagan is about the natural world, what we know and what we don't know. My father was a scientist who worked to preserve a part of the Amazon rainforest. My affection for earth and life upon it must be in the blood. The animals, the plants on this planet and the rocks and gasses that are light years away, yet can be seen, all fascinate me. It is life, it is energy, it is creation- the Universe and everything in it is my 'god'.
I honor and am an observer and of the Universe and all that is within it. I like to say that the only laws I follow are the laws of Nature, they are the only ones that can't be broken. I am an unofficial scientist who loves and is curious about my subjects. But it goes beyond formal science, beyond modern science, and even back to ancient science....and lets not forget Alchemy.
But then there is the unseen, the non-tangible, yet, often encountered, consciousness, love...and Spirit.
Sometimes there is a conflict between science and religion, or religion and science (might be the better way of phrasing it).
There must be something more if for thousands of years humanity has created all kinds of concepts that link physical us with something unseen that is 'out there'. I think at the core, and when true to the faith, religion has a good grip on the Spiritual. But it is man and his mind that muddles things by throwing in stories to prove a point. Someone misses the point and looks to make a point out of a different part of the story.
I think science is on the right track towards figuring it out, but they are not seeing it from the right angle and there are areas that are not put together, ignored or disregarded that are part of the science of Spirit.
The alchemists had the right idea for their time. To perhaps paraphrase what a spokesman for the association of alchemists would say, had there been one, "We know the Ether (spirit/god) exists. We do not understand it and are likely never meant to understand it because it is so big and vast we could never fully comprehend it, but we still accept and acknowledge its existence."
Spirit was a part of science at one time. Many of the early scientists were also astrologers. For many years astrology was accepted as truth. Then modern science came along and said 'no way, not possible' but astrology endures and survives through the criticism. We have been learning that planetary energy does have it's effects over great distances. Hard to imagine for some that a round ball of elements floating millions of miles away could effect earth. Why? Why is it hard to imagine. We see the effects of the Moon. Yes, it's closer. It feels more within our physical realm because we can see it. There is no reason why another stellar body would not also have an effect on us, in ways we cannot see....the astrologers see it, but they are looking at the tangible; the planets and their positions, and determining from years, centuries of observations and writings, what these effects are.
....to be continued
Part 2 of My Pagan Way
Part 2 of My Pagan Way