19 September 2010

Describing Paganism

I was asked today to describe Paganism. So I gave them a short description. What I said was "Take a large canvas of philosophy, paint on the myths look at it with the outer eyes of anthropology and psychology and the inner eye of mysticism, frame it all with basic rituals and a reverence for nature."

I had wanted something simple and yet spoke to the different traditions without getting bogged down in those differences. That can all come out in future conversation. So I am wondering what people think of that description. Is it fair and effective for the most basic intro? I would hope that it would be sufficient for those who aren't really interested, yet also inspire questions in those who really want to know more.

1 comment:

  1. Expanded version...

    Think of Paganism as a large painting.

    The canvas is the huge tapestry of philosophy, from the preSocratics (those who came before Socrates in ancient Greece) through Plato and Aristotle up through the ages to modern times. This is the foundation on which Paganism is painted and the picture is that of the myths of old.

    Much like any painting, it is less the subject then the way we look at it that matters. The way we as Pagans look at the image of the myths is that of anthropology (which is the study of humans and includes history, archaeology, etc) and psychology (with strong leanings to Jungian psychology, but not limited to any one theory of psychology). The third eye (a term for the psychic center of the mind) is that of mysticism (which is the personal experience of God, there are strong traditions of this in all religions)

    Framing and defining the space of the picture are the basic rituals we use (there is a very basic framework used by many, though not all) and a general reverence for nature and the environment.