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Question for Pagans

What exactly is paganism? Could someone explain it to me in laymans terms? Is it different than wiccan?

I ask because I used to have a neighbor that said she was pagan. I always thought that paganism had a big nature loving aspect to it, yet she polluted her yard and her side of the woods (we shared a woodline) with things like dirty diapers and just straight trash, old car parts, etc. So maybe I was wrong.

To make sure there is no bashing, please leave the answers to pagan moms only. Thanks.


Asked by ave.maria. at 12:29 PM on Oct. 22, 2009 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 4 (29 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Neopaganism is what most modern Americans mean when they refer to paganism. It is a general term for a variety of religions that reconstruct pre-monotheistic Western or Middle Eastern religions. Wicca was one of the earliest of these movements to gain followers. The Neopagan movement has also been strongly influenced by ceremonial magic -practices originating in the Middle Ages (or perhaps earlier) that are not specific to any one religion & Eastern religions. Since most pre-monotheistic religions were bound to agriculture & hunting, reverence for the natural world was a significant part of those religions & thus a part of the reconstructions of those religions. Most Neopagan religions thus would deplore your neighbors treatment of her grounds. Though there is no authority to condemn her. Paganism also refers to the ancient religions & a few existing religions that are not reconstructions like Hinduism.


    Answer by nysa00 at 1:10 PM on Oct. 22, 2009

  • Paganism is an Umbrella word used for those who practice a belief outside the normal mainstream religions... such as...Christianity, Islam, Judaism
    Many types of beliefs fall under this umbrella including Wicca, Hinduism, Buddhism, Druidism etc.. there are many and many under those too...
    So if someones says they are Pagan, they practice outside mainstream lines of Relgion...
    Here is something you may like to read this only a bit of what is considered Paganism...



    Answer by gmasboy at 12:41 PM on Oct. 22, 2009

  • Just like any other religion we have our bad apples too. Your neighbor should have taken care of the yard and woods better no matter what her religion is. Yes many of us do consider nature to be very important and we take care of Mother Earth by recycling, picking up trash, composting etc... Again unfortunately your neighbor was not practicing good karma as a child of this universe.


    Answer by pnwmom at 12:49 PM on Oct. 22, 2009

  • Not every religion that gets lumped in with Paganism is a nature religion. There are multiple definitions and each one is more or less inclusive, but you never know which definition someone has in mind unless you ask them to spell it out. Some people use it to mean nature religions and some use it to mean "anything not Christian, Jewish or Muslim." Pagan can also be shorthand for Eclectic Pagan, which means someone who takes pieces of different religions and blends them together, so she could've been an eclectic who managed to cobble together a bunch of pieces of nature religions while managing to exclude all the bits about respect of nature.

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:49 PM on Oct. 22, 2009

  • It's Different things to Different people. Ask a dozen Pagans what Paganism is...and you'll get at least 13 answers.  Because it's a very personal and individual path.  There is no Dogma, no Commandments, there are "Laws" and some common practices...but each group, each individual will believe things differently, will do things differently. 

    some good websites:



    Answer by MamaK88 at 12:52 PM on Oct. 22, 2009

  • Incidentally, the term pagan has also been used in the past in a way similar to the terms "heathen," "infidel," "barbarian," "heretic" (etc) to mean anyone not following the primary religion of a region. In modern America this is a somewhat outdated usage, as Paganism often refers to a specific (if large) set of beliefs & religions. So when someone now tells you they are Pagan you should assume they mean one of the reconstructionist religions, not just Non-Christian, unless they explain otherwise.


    Answer by nysa00 at 1:16 PM on Oct. 22, 2009

  • Dang froze b4 I could finish..
    I agree with pnwmom... all groups of religion have a few bad represtations (people/followers) of their beliefs.
    As for your neighbor she (if she claimed to be pagan) was sorely lacking in the caring of all that is Nature to her...


    Answer by gmasboy at 1:16 PM on Oct. 22, 2009