To many people the word Pagan stirs up images of blood, lust, human and animal sacrifice, and the like. One recalls hearing of missionaries striving to root out the so-called evil pagan practices in the native religions o folk about to be “converted”. Like witchcraft, the word has come to have unpleasant connotations due to the popular press and prevailing religious institutions. This chapter will be a discussion of what paganism really is; the reader can assess for himself how “evil” it is.
The basic ethic in paganism is simply: DO WHAT YOU WILL IF NO ON IS BEING HURT BY YOUR ACTION. This differs considerably from the prevalent Judaeo-Christian ethic which speaks in terms of an absolute morality, stating that some things are blanketly right or wrong. To the pagan, for example, sex outside of a marriage is only wrong if someone is being exploited or otherwise harmed by it. While, in many respects, the pagan ethic seems looser, easier to adhere to then the traditional values it is, in many ways more difficult. While one has more freedom to act and to choose, it is always important to live a life where no harm is being done to anyone or anything. Hopefully, this would mean no taking of life (possible exception for mosquitoes and cockroaches), and no use of anyone else for one’s personal advancement, etc. This is quite differently from certain religious views which actively or at least passively condone our intervention in Indo-China with its thousands of deaths on both sides and at the same time lash out against proponents of abortion. In short, the pagan way of life is one of harmlessness.
The pagan does not believe man is either conceived or born in a state of sin. At birth we are neither bad nor good, except in terms of what we being to this life from past lives, and varies from person to person. The concept of “sin” is harmful to human nature and it is not relevant in the pagan way of life. A preoccupation with sin leads one to think in terms of prohibitions and constraints on human nature, perhaps artificial forms social control devised by powerful religions and government to force people to behave in certain ways to further their own interests. If one truly live in accord with the pagan ethic, then the ideas of sin is totally irrelevant.
Aside from that which was just discussed and a strong belief in reincarnation there is nothing which can be described as fixed or dogmatic in paganism. The follower is not bogged down with a series of absolutes; rather one is free to seek his own truth and within a loose, basic framework, to practice in the way most meaningful to him.
We are involved in a worship of nature and it must be stated the we, everyone of us, are a part of nature. To do anything harmful to nature is to harm mankind. Every person, every animal, every planetary body, ever tree, in short everything is all magnetically linked to everything else. We are all a part of One Life, and this includes all forms of divinity, from the highest — Absolute, that which governs fate and providence but which we cannot see, and can never really know as it is Unmanifest, to the God and Goddess, the elements of the four quarters, and the universe itself. Thus, it follows that an member of a pagan group would be an active supporter of ecological measure which might hopefully get the earth back on its feet once more.
On the topic of ecology, one aspect which deserves special mention is the problem of over-population. This is a plague of the presence of too many incarnate bodies on earth. Therefore the pagan is obligated to restrain from producing that which he cannot support or which would add to greatly to the problem of over-population.
The powers of the universe which can be called “Gods” exist as a basic part of man. The pagan acknowledges the God within and the God without, or the immanent and transcendent deity as it is know in theology. This may make understandable and basic principle in the occult which states “That which is above is that which is below”. The powers and forces which exist on higher, more subtle levels of existence also exist right here on earth and within man. Sometimes this is easier to understand if one thinks in terms of what which exists here as also existing above.
In order for man to contact these powers of the universe he must learn to live in harmony with himself and the totality of existence.It is only at this point that one can hope to understand these powers, the Gods, let alone contact them, direct them or derive any benefit from them. One must work toward living a life free of serious internal and external strife. This does not mean we must only think “pure” thoughts as some of the “spiritual doily knitters would have us believe. On the contrary we must be aware of the demonic as well as the so-called “beautiful” side to ourselves. Few persons have evolved to the point to being free of all anger and negative emotions; what is important is to recognize them and deal with them in a way that will not inflict harm on anyone or anything. The movement of the natural powers or forces, sometimes called “tides” directly affect our lives, the evolution of humanity and the direction of the manifested universe. Again, it is important to state, that in both the manifested universe and the unmanifested universe we are being affected by these tides and that we are all magnetically linked to everyone and everything else. The pagan celebrates the movement of these natural forces and identifies with them on a cyclical basis through the calender of the year which contains various festivals. That is, the pagan festivals on one level commemorate the seasonal changes and the related phases of agricultural activity, and on another level relate the story of the conception, birth, maturity, decline and death of the gods. These festivals are attuned to the tides, and in addition reflect the eternal problems of man as hr has moved forward upon the path of light regarding his on evolution.
A harmony with and subsequent ability to direct these natural forces is what is know as magic. It then becomes evident that there is no such thing as the “supernatural”. Magic, in spite of what the institutions of education, religion and scientific research tell us conforms totally to natural law. Even if one does not know “how to” do magic, the pagan would intuitively recognize the veracity of these statements.
The pagan recognizes and harmonizes with the law of nature called polarity. Everything is a duality: hence it will not seem illogical to recognize that two perfectly contradictory statements, ideas, even facts can be of equal validity. Instead of thinking in terms of “either-or” one should orient oneself to the idea of “both-and”. Everything in the universe exists in polarity. You cannot have male without female, and vice versa, the same for good and evil, etc.
Within each of us is a spark of life, variously known as a Divine Spark, or Monad. This spark never dies; it has always existed, initially on a gas or mineral level of life, progressing through the plant kingdom ad the animal kingdom and through all levels of human life until it has evolved to the point at which no more incarnation is necessary and is can join the Divine or the Great Unmanifest. It takes vast numbers of incarnations on each level of existence to reach the eternal existence above all existences. It is particularly on the human level of being that we must struggle through many, if not most, of the various possible experiences available to mankind in order to gain the knowledge one needs to fully evolve to the state of no longer needing to exist on an incarnate level.
We must return to a worship of the ancient gods, those forces who were freely worshiped prior to the suppression by Christianity. It is only by linking with these forces that we can once again become fully human recognizing our places in the universal order and identifying with that which underlines the mysteries of birth procreation, and death.