Paganism

“Pagan” has traditionally been a derogatory term for irreligious people, but in modern times many people have adopted the label in order to reclaim the pre-Christian heritage of Western Europe. They value ancient sacred sites (e.g. Stonehenge), and observe ancient festivals and seasons such as Beltane and the Summer Solstice. Paganism sees itself as holistic, believing in the divine as immanent in all things and rejecting the dichotomy of “physical” versus “spiritual”.

Witchcraft or “wicca” is a feature of paganism. Pagans believe that witches were feared and punished in the past because they were a survival of the old religion that Catholic Christianity superseded, and because they represented the empowerment of women. Witchcraft, they believe, is not evil, but simply a way of exercising supernatural power to deal with crises in life, to find guidance, to heal sickness, and so on.

Pagans today contribute to environmental concerns by their reverence for Mother Earth and their stress on living in harmony with the forces of nature rather than seeking to exploit them in an alienating way.


Information

The Chaplaincy to the University of Glamorgan provides the following information from its own researchers. Each page has been checked by the chaplaincy advisor from the relevant faith group. Within every major religion, there are differences of opinion between leaders, and between leaders and followers. We only aim to provide an overview.