For my non-witches out there, I’ll try to explain the biggest differences between Pagans and a Judeo-Christian religion.
** Pagans (the umbrella religion witchcraft traditions fall under) do not believe there is just a masculine god. We believe there is both feminine and masculine divine energy– a god and a goddess. Women are not inferior to women within Paganism. In fact, many ancient Pagan cultures were more reverent of their goddess than they were her male counterpart. The goddess was the creator… she gave birth… not only to humans but to plants and animals as well. Fertility, giving and nurturing life were her domain; and within these cultures there was nothing more sacred than this. And where sex is something shameful within the Judeo-Christian traditions, within Paganism, it is beautiful, sacred and celebrated. The very act of sex is a way of honoring our god and goddess and celebrating their union.
** Just as Sally says to Gary in the movie, “There is no devil in the Craft.” Contrary to propaganda put out by the Church, Pagans do not worship Satan. In fact, we don’t even believe in the concept of Satan or hell or eternal damnation. While some Satanists like to call themselves Pagans or Witches, I think I can speak on behalf of the greater majority of the Pagan community in saying that we do not consider Satanism to fall under the category of Paganism. I’d like to note here that many do not realize that the branch of Satanist that belong to the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LeVay in 1966, do not actually worship Satan either. They are atheists. They do not consider themselves a part of the Pagan community or any other religious community. They do not believe in hell, either, nor heaven… or life after death. So, to recap: Witches do not believe in Satan. Period.
** We hold nature to be sacred. Unlike the Judeo-Christian traditions who tend to believe man is here to conquer and dominate this planet, Pagans consider Mother Earth to be our mother (Mother Nature) and most Pagans are strong advocates for the environment. We live our lives to the rhythm of the seasons and our holy days are the solstices and equinoxes.
** Where protestant Judeo-Christian faiths pray in a passive manner, we are more interactive in our worship like the Catholics are. This is where magick comes into play. Our spells and rituals are really not all that different than the rituals practiced by the Catholic Church. In fact, all there rituals were adapted from previous Pagan practices. Many of us use prayer beads (like a rosary), we burn candles (like the votive candles lit in cathedrals), burn incense, chant, consecrate our implements and bless the things we use in our rituals such as salt and water. Spellcraft is really nothing but a form of prayer. Just as a Catholic priest sincerely believes sprinkling holy water in a haunted house to rid it of demons, Witches believe our practices to be just as holy and effective.
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