with Heather Marseillan
According to the Random House dictionary and many others:
Pagan (pe’gen), noun 1. a person who is not a Christian,
Jew, or Muslim. 2. an irreligious person. – adjetive 3. of
Pagans or their religion. – Pa’gan’ism. Noun
So according to Random House, Pagan is to be with out religion and is a religion at the same time. The best that they seem to be able to come up with is that a Pagan is not a Christian, Jew or Muslim. Where does that leave us?
In order to answer that question we have to go back to the beginning, all the way to the beginning. Back to when humans first started to think about the world that they lived in, back to being cavemen and cavewomen.
Paganism really began with the first human thoughts and exploration of our world. Those ancient people found the divine in the female form and worshiped a creator Goddess. Just as many Pagans still do today but how did we get that information. Its been proven by archaeologists time and time again that ancient people world wide worshiped a creator Goddess of one form or another. Sometimes she was a sole creator and sometimes she created with assistance of a male God. Even in Christian umbrella of religions, which are only about 3,000 years old, there is a female that is worshiped, the Virgin Marry.
To understand how the creator Goddess came about and how Paganism started I would like you to imagine, for a moment, that you are one of these ancient people with the first thoughts about your world and your being. You have no defined language, no writing, and you live in the prehistoric world. In fact, I want you to first imagine yourself as a man. As a man you are bigger, faster and stronger then a woman, so your dominate right? WRONG! Woman does not need man, she does not need to kill to survive. She can make clothing from plants and skins, she can find shelter in a cave or next to a tree or a hill. Woman is creative and full of thought. Here’s the big one, she bleeds, but she bleeds with out injury and she does not die from it! Frightening stuff in a time when an simple injury could mean an infection and death. Also she can create a new being inside her body, and then produce food from her body to feed the new being! She requires no instructions on how to produce this new life, give birth to it or care for it. Every single female of all species has this primal knowledge. Still seeing yourself as a caveman, I want you to look at the world around you, all things female can do this too! Think of the world that you live in, everything has been created with out needing instructions, woman must have created it, she is the creator. She is the creative force, a great mother Goddess, who in part, lives, breaths, and creates everyday inside each living thing.
Lets take a step forward and time and imagine ourselves as female. You have the creative force within you and you can feel that but you also know that a great creative force created this world and you have learned to call on this force when you need help and with the help of that Mother force you have learned to use plants to heal. You are a very special member of your tribe and connect easily with your Mother force. This knowledge is passed from you to your children and their children and so on. Now advance a thousand years or so, and you still have all of the knowledge that has been passed through the many thousands of years. You are discovering the male forces, and have found uses for them too. You know that everything has special energy and a force of its own and in order for you to use that energy you have to call on it specifically. You have found a variety of energies such as earth, air, fire, water, love, hate and so on.
These forces and energies are the Gods and Goddesses of today. You call them by names like Isis, Artemis, Giai, Thor, Zeus, and Inanna. As we have grown from the prehistoric man through the years we have given names to the energies and forces in our world and we have learned a lot from them and how to call on them for guidance. We worship them and build things in their honor.
Moving forward, it’s now about 200 CE and you have had thousands of years and you and your people have a rich culture and religion. However, this is no longer a good time. Christianity has been created, a new religion. They only worship a man. This is very confusing and makes no sense. How could he have created this world, a man cannot have babies and therefore does not have the creation energies required to have built this world? The new religion teaches people that there is a higher power and that it is not of this world. We understand higher powers and male energy but this is not a male energy that makes sense to us, as though it goes against nature itself and therefore against the great creator Goddess. About a hundred years later a powerful king decided that the new religion would be now be the religion that all of the people will fallow and any one who disagreed or was caught practicing the old religion would be killed. This is his way of controlling people. The old gods are turned into snakes and monsters by the king and it doesn’t take before people say they believe him.
Most of the people would not convert to the new religion but they did not want to die either. To please the king they built big beautiful buildings to practice the new religion in and wrote the books that he ordered. Many book twisted the old religion and took the tales of different areas and called them its own. All in order to make it seem that this new religion was really there all along. This was the violent creation of Christianity. The practice of killing those that believed differently was practiced through the end of the Salem Witch Trials and still continues today in small impoverished countries.
Those of us who call ourselves Pagan still feel the primal forces of the world around us. When the breeze catches our attention and when we feel the warmth of our Mother’s embrace. We know, all of us. Now you may call yourself and Asatruar, Wiccan, Druid, just Pagan or any one of many Pagan religions but we all come back to the same beginning, the same thoughts from the ancient people. Primal Paganism is honoring those beginnings, the gods, energies, the Great Mother and everything that is or has ever been a part of this world. It is about looking inside of yourself and finding that primal connection to the earth and to the past. We all have the same set of primal instincts that tell us the truth about the gods and the world that we live in. They give us instructions on what to do at any given moment in order to survive. Listen to your primal you.