Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Most Popular Religions in Paganism

Hello Everyone! I deeply apologize for how late this blog is coming out but changes are abound and I'll strive to ensure you get at least two posts every week. Regardless, lets focus on the topic for today. What are the most Popular Religions in Paganism? Obviously this list is fairly biased based on my own experiences and a little searching on the internet, and if there are any that you feel deserve a spotlight, please list them in the comments below.



Before I go on, it's also important to note something that has been brought to my attention recently, and that is not everyone who follows these religions likes being identified as a Pagan.

"It is crucial to stress right from the start that until the 20th century people did not call themselves pagans to describe the religion they practiced. The notion of paganism, as it is generally understood today, was created by the early Christian Church. It was a label that Christians applied to others, one of the antitheses that were central to the process of Christian self-definition. As such, throughout history it was generally used in a derogatory sense." - Owen Davis "Paganism: A Very Short Introduction"

Given it's history as a derogatory term, it's understandable. However there are those who do take pride in the title, so it's difficult to discern what is appropriate to say at times. If anything, asking a person what path they follow tends to be a safer route. 

Wicca

 When it comes to alternative religions, I think many peoples first taste comes from Wicca. It's been a popular movement since the 20th century, drawing their practices from resources on the ancient Celts, Scots and Welsh. Wicca is a religion focused on nature and harmony, a deep appreciation of the things that many people overlook on a day to day basis, a sunrise/sunset, how the trees sound when a warm breeze flows through them.. You get the idea. One of my favorite things that I can take from Wicca is a (Very small) excerpt from the Wiccan Rede which states "An Ye Harm None, Do what ye will". It's probably the most well known verse out of the whole version, which I highly recommend to research. 

Witchcraft and Wicca

There is a common misconception that every Wiccan is a Witch and vice versa. As far as I've been able to determine that is not always the case. You can be a Witch and not be Wiccan at all. You can also be a Witch and be a Wiccan. You can be a Witch and a Heathen etc. While Wicca draws its foundation from Witchcraft, it is not wholly involved in it.

Heathenism/Asatru

Another movement, one in which I am personally more apart of, is the Heathen/Asatru religion. Asatru ( Meaning 'Faith to the Gods') is a Norse/Scandinavian-focused religion that is more attuned to the Aesir and the Vanir. Heathenism is more of a generalist term for those who, perhaps, follow those ways but aren't necessarily bound to the Aesir/Vanir (Gods and Goddesses recognized in Norse beliefs) as others might. Honoring your ancestors is a pretty important aspect for this branch, being honest and finding strength are key values that many follow.

It is important to note that there are some individuals who like to promote Asatru as a racially exclusive sect. This is not the case. If you come across a group who claim that they follow this sect but promote white supremacy or the inferiority of other races/sexualities, then stay FAR away from them. They are not promoting anything but hate and tarnishing the name all together.

Hellenism

Hellenism or Hellenismos is a re-constructionist movement that focus's on worshiping the Gods of Ancient Greece and working towards imitating rituals that were performed back in that time period. To those who follow this path, the Gods are a very important aspect of their practice, so it would only be a good idea to take up this path if you intend on worshiping a divine. ( See my blog about the Divines you here.)
Most of the Gods and Goddesses should come off as familiar, those like Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite and Hermes are but a few. From what I've been able to research, honoring these Gods and Goddess's is more of a personal matter on how but public worship has rituals.

Druidism

Modern-day Druids follow a movement that bases it's teachings of the Druids from 2000 years ago. Sadly there hasn't been much information regarding their teachings, everything having been passed down orally until the Roman invasion where they recorded their views on the practice. What we do know is that it was originally male exclusive but that's changed with it's revival.
Druidry is focused on Nature (similar to Wicca), recognizing that all life is sacred and that a human life is no more or less important than that of a tree or insect.  They can be Polytheistic, Monotheistic, or Duo theistic, being an open minded spirituality that encourages personal growth.

These are only some of the religions or spiritualties that are more common within Paganism. If you didn't see one that you're curious about, leave a comment and I'll try to write a post about it! Until my next post, Bright Blessings and have an awesome Fourth of July.