Pagan Rules

pentagram on a tree
Do you often wonder what the rules are to being Pagan? The Pagan path gives you such freedom and flexibility to worship and connect with the Divine in a way that feels right to you. But it’s also comes with no guide book, no official buildings and no main deity.  You really are on your own – even if you belong to a group of like minded people there are no official rules.

I popped on over to dictionary.com and looked up the word ‘pagan’.  Here are the definitions:

  1. one of a people or community observing a polytheistic religion, as the ancient Romans and Greeks.
  2. a person who is not a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
  3. an irreligious or hedonistic person.

Hmmm…interesting.  But no help whatsoever. When you think of the whole world then minus the said Christians, Jews and Muslims you’re still left with a whole bunch of Pagans.  And they’re all very different.  Pagans can be, by definition, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus and other people, you know, the ‘Pagan’ Pagans.

I often ponder on what exactly makes me a Pagan and witch. Just for the record it isn’t hedonism – having kids sort of makes that impossible!  But seriously, what is that vital spark or criteria which puts you firmly into the Pagan category?  What are you rules you follow?

When I have to break it down, these are my 4 personal rules to being a Pagan:

  • Finding the Divine everywhere and in everything
  • Reconnecting with the Divine feminine
  • Taking a step back from modern day life and looking towards our ancestors for guidance
  • Being tolerant and accepting of others

But those are my logical, left brain statements. When I connect with my heart I’m Pagan because it feels right and, as an added bonus, I love to make my own rules!

What are your rules? Do you have any?  Or does it just come from the heart?

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16 Comments

  1. A large part of being Pagan, for me, is being my own high priestess. Nobody is there to interpret the Divine for me – I have to do it myself. I have to find the gods and my own connections with them. It's a bit harder than just sitting back and letting someone else tell you how things are, but it's far more rewarding.

  2. * Finding the Divine everywhere and in everything

    * Reconnecting with the Divine feminine

    * Being tolerant and accepting of others

    I follow these principles as well. I also use tarot as the main expression of my craft practice. The different types of energy form part of my Craft philosophy (eg. Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Spiritual). Tarot forms the major part of my craft practice as it is something I can do by myself.

    I have cerebral palsy which affects my mobility and I rely heavily on my mother as my carer. Any expressions of my faith I must be able to do in my bedroom, and not involve creating more work for my mum. Water purification meditations for example would have to involve her fetching and carrying the water for me.

    Writing and digital art also form of my practice, especially the former. I mostly write prose and screenplays, but when I write poetry I find it affirming as it speaks what's in my heart.

    I'm still making things up as I go along. I find listening to music my favourite exercise. I suspect I am unusual in liking to meditate while listening to Queen (the rock band). I find Freddie Mercury's lyrics of his latter songs speak to me.

    Regarding ancestry I am adopted so… *shrugs* I am in the process of learning Welsh.

    Sorry this is longer than I intended. Hope I didn't bore you.

    • Oh my Goddess Stacey, you did not bore me. I loved hearing your story and how you bring your beliefs into your life.

      I don't think you have to have direct blood links to work with ancestors – after all, we're all related to one another somewhere along the line. Perhaps spirits of the past would have been a better description?

      And I'm seriously impressed you're learning Welsh :-)

  3. I follow the same principles (I'm terrible at following rules, hehe!) but also make it a principle to reconnect with nature and be a good steward of the Earth.

    I've been a pagan since before I knew the word for it, so defining myself has never been high on my list of priorities. It's something that resonates within, something that has always felt right to me.

    • I feel the same way, Danni, about being 'a pagan since before I knew the word'. I wonder how many others have had that 'aha' moment when a word and beliefs clicked together?

  4. Good subject!! I have been avoiding using the term pagan because it means different things to different people, so I call myself a witch because I am not Wiccan. (not going to get in the discussion of the differences!!) I am "pagan" because even though I was brought up Christian, from a young age I didn't "buy it." When I discovered paganism later in life it like deja vue. It resonated with me immediately. But how to define it – well, to be honest, I think there is more personal responsibility in paganism – pagans work with nature /spirits/gods instead of petitioning gods for help and mercy. We are more aware and in tune with nature, fate, the light and the darker parts of life. We have and understanding of death, a respect for the dead and we do not fear it, as we do not believe in a judging damning god. Pagans do not feel powerless – in fact we know we can manipulate circumstances through magic and ritual because we understand that everyone/thing has the ability to do so. So, I could probably go on and on – there's just no short easy answer. But there is a love of life that comes with being pagan. I think pagans for the most part have their priorities in order.

    • I really love your definition, Aine. I think personal responsibility is missing in a lot of religions – much easier to blame the higher ups or other religions etc. than take responsibility.

  5. I am new and just learning, thus I am by far no expert. I just read the complete idiot's guide to paganism. Throughout the book that was almost a major theme…no real rules.

    worship the Goddess & God or just Goddess

    try to do even the smallest of rituals from time to time, even if it is just meditation

    spend time with sky, trees and soil

    do no harm ( to anyone or anything)

    I want to go back thru the entire book and take notes…there are lots of resources and a ritual or 2.

    Then I am going to read Native American Spirituality, then the Complete Idiot's Guide to Witchcraft & Wicca

    I did find out there are neopaganistic hybrids…Christopagans and Jewitches. I am not sure where I stand yet, but this was interesting to me, because when i first started researching my son (one foot in atheism and one foot in Wicca) said to me "Mom, you can not be a proper Wiccan with one foot in Christianity." I said "what if God/Jesus is the god of the sky and is married to the Goddess of the earth" or "what if God is the creator and the Goddess is the manager." He shook his head, meaning he had no answer for me. then a week or so ago. Wendy put a poem and a picture or 2 of her dream journal up on her blog. The poem spoke of God being in one's heart, and she had a "Star of David" on her Dream Journal, so i asked her a few questions. She said she was going to make a post and see what everyone's answers were. It has not happened yet, but when I read the last chapter of the book, and found those 2 hybrids listed, I thought to myself, obviously I am not the only one to wonder.

    The author went on to say that not all pagans take too kindly to these hybrids, so not to blurt out that is what you are feeling, until you know the moment is right, just like being careful about when to tell others you are pagan—which he said is getting easier to do all the time.

    Susan

    • You've brought up an interesting point on hybrid religions. I know they can be successfully combined…. actually might write a post on this. And I do know some groups do get infuriated because hybrid means it's 'less pure'.

  6. I consider myself a "pagan witch." To me they are two different yet harmonious concepts and practices. The paganism is about revering and recognizing the divine in everything, the rocks, the animals, the land and of course others…Pagan originally meant "one who worships in the countryside" like "Paganini." And I'm not saying that being a Witch doesn't include the divine in all, but Wicca itself is a certain way of performing rituals and using magick in a formal manner. Again, these terms are different for everyone. And I hate that word "rules" as I tend to break anything which is limited and set up by another. Guidelines, suggestions, sound more individual to me. We have enough rules imposed upon us within our own selves, so I'm a rebel that way. Really thoughtful and insightful post as usual, Lyn : )

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