The Magickal Universe

Where Magick is a way of life!

FAQ

Paganism 101

  1. Do Pagans have a Sacred Text?

    Unlike most other mainstream religions, Paganism does not have a central holy book or book of scripture that we follow or revere. We do not have a 'Bible' in any true sense of the word. There have been many excellent books written on Paganism (or other branches of Paganism) that are commonly looked at as valuable resources, but these books are not holy by any means.


     

    There is a book titled "The Witches' Bible", written by Janet and Stewart Farrar. This is not really a Bible, but simply a thorough reference book. The closest thing we have to holy writings would be a few pieces of poetry and prose that have been written by prominent Pagans over the years. Some examples are: The Pagan Rede and The Charge of the Goddess. However, these texts are not holy, and are generally seen as guidelines if anything.


     

    It does seem strange to most people that we don't have a Sacred Book such as the Bible or anything even close. But by not being bound up by doctrine, rules and vague instructions, we are able to cultivate our own personal relationship with the Divine without restrictions.


  2. Can you be both a Christian and a Pagan?

    You cannot truly blend Paganism and Christianity. Paganism has a dual Divinity (God and Goddess) whereas Christianity clearly has a single God. This single point alone is enough to put the two religions at odds with each other. You could bend the rules a little, and proclaim Mary to be a Goddess. But when you start to bend rules, you change the nature of the religion.


     

    Worshipping Mary as a Goddess is perfectly acceptable (in my Pagan mind) but is it truly Christian? If you choose to do so, you should realize that 'Christian' is no longer a label you should use for yourself.


     

     

    Christianity still has many restrictions against sorcery, witchcraft, and divination. The one most people are familiar with is Exodus 22:18 (Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live). Again, if you wish to ignore certain verses in order to fit your witchcraft practices into your Christianity, you may want to rethink calling yourself a Christian.


    There are those out there who do practice what may be termed "Christian Paganism" - that is Gnostic Christianity, and although very similar to Paganism it is definately a Chrisitan faith. However you really need to look at what you believe and why you believe it before trying to merge to contradictory belief systems into one.


     

    Bottom line, creating your own personal path from 2 (or more) different religions is perfectly fine. But you need to realize that you should not still refer to your own eclectic path by either of the original names of the faiths from which it was devleoped..

     

     


  3. Can I write my own spells and rituals?

    You most certainly can.


    A lot of people get confused about spells and rituals, thinking that there is something that makes only certain spells 'real'. Think of it like cooking. There is no such thing as a 'real' recipe. You can get recipes out of a book, or just whip something together using your own cooking knowledge and skills.


    Same with spells. And just like cooking, you need to at least have a basic understanding of the techniques and ingredients or you will end up with a mess.


    Yes, you can write your own spells but you need to know what a spell is, how they are created, and what correspondences work towards which intentions.


    Spell and Ritual creation are tasks for the educated Pagan - that is gain the basics before you attempt to try putting magick to work for you!

  4. Do All Pagans belong to a Coven

    Simple answer is no....


    Sometimes the whole 'coven' concept is brushed aside as a stereotype, but many witches or Pagans do belong to groups that we call covens.


    Some traditionalists say that you need to belong to a coven in order to refer to yourself as "Witch", but it's becoming more and more accepted that Paganism can be practiced alone.


    People who do not belong to a group are called 'solitaires'. Also, covens do not have to have 13 members, nor do covens always gather on full moons. Coven arrangements are quite variable and can range from a very structured group, to a loose and informal group.


    It is important to remember that not all Pagan groups are based around the Wiccan model, although it is the most well known. Some groups meet in (or call themselves) 'Groves (Druids), Temples (Many GrecoRoman based Pagan Groups), Lodges (Asatru), Circle's (Woman's Mystery groups) Tribes (Shamans) and Clans (Primordial Wytches) just to name a few....

  5. Can all Pagans do Spells?

    Yes, but not all do.


    Magick 9is a choice within Pagan belief, not all Pagans choose to use magick nor do all believe in the ability to use it. However those who do beleieve anyone has the ability to cast a spell.


    But keep in mind that the 'spells' you've seen on TV and in the movies are not based in reality. We are not like Harry Potter, who can make extraordinary things happen with a simple wave of a wand and a phrase in Latin. Spells are sometimes considered to be similar to prayers, but that's really only a loose comparison. A prayer asks a Deity for assistance, where a spell provides a way for the practitioner to help themselves.


     

    A spell is a ritual where the caster can focus their will and intentions, to create a change in their lives. By using stones, herbs and oils, the amount of energy in a spell can be increased.


  6. How do I become a Pagan?

    Sorry but Im afraid, if you don't know this then should probably be doing more research before deciding to BE Pagan.


    As with any other religion, you can call yourself a member if you have the same beliefs and follow the same practices. Paganism is a specific religion and NOT simply a catch-all term for any random beliefs.


    These days, there is a great deal of information available on Paganism via books and web sites. Only through reading and research then puytting into practice what you have read, can you learn what it means to be Pagan.


     

    Many traditionalists feel that the only way to truly become Pagan is to be initiated into an existing coven, and to be trained and guided by the people who have already learned.(I do agree with this to some degree, simply as there are some things within a coven that need to be experienced to truely be understood and can not be grasped by a single practitioner, no matter how experienced.).


    However, If you want to try a solitary Pagan path (and there is nothing wrong with that), you can perform a dedication ritual on your own but remember that only so much can be learned from books and if you can gain access to a teacher o guide you your spiritual  growth will be greater.

  7. How do I hide Paganism from my Parents?

    This is a tough question.


    There is no right or wrong answer, so please remember that the following is only my opinion on the matter, as a Parent and grandparent.....


     

    If you are a minor living at home, you should abide by the rules set down by your parents. You can complain all you want about personal freedoms, but you should respect your parents and their decisions.


    Stuffing books under your bed will only lead to further suspicion if/when they catch you. However being mature and upfront and honest with your parents, about it will show that you are serious, and not just trying to be rebellious.


     

    If your parents are still not agreeable then you could just read books at the library, and leave them there. Have a few sacred items in your room, but don't try to construct an altar just so you can hide it. The Gods have been around for a long time, and they will still be around when you get a little older and have a place of your own.


    Damaging the relationship with your parents by hiding and lying about your beliefs isnt a good start as it goes against the whole principle of 'harming none'......


     

    For parents who are concerned or worried about Paganism, you might want to find a copy of  "When Someone You Love is Pagan" and let them read it.


     

    It's a great book to explain the basics to parents and friends.


    There are also pages on this site where you can show your parents what it is we believe and why, it may also help to let them know its not a cult (eg show them my credentials page) and if they still have questions you can't answer then I am always happy to answer questions via our contacts pages)

     

     


  8. Is Paganism a Womens Religion?

    The general answer is - No,however within Paganism there are some groups who are either gender based (womne's mysteries - Dianic Wiccans) and those which are sexually orientated based such as the Fairy Covens - Gay Men's Coven) these groups obviously are not open to all people .


    Men are just as welcome to follow the Pagan religion as women. There are more women who are Pagan mainly because the Pagan religion allows for female-oriented worship, where most other mainstream religions do not.


    Pagans believe in both a God and a Goddess, so practitioners of the religion can focus on either one depending on their own needs. Women tend to worship the Goddess, and men tend to worship the God. Of course, this is not set in stone. We all relate to the Divine (either male or female) in our own way.

  9. Are men called warlocks?

    The term 'warlock' isn't actually used by anyone within Pagan practices, at least not anyone who is actually familiar with Paganism or witchcraft.


    The stereotypical meaning is 'male witch', but in fact all witches are just witches whether they are male or female.


     

    There are tjhose who believe the term really means 'oath-breaker' and was used to describe anyone who betrayed their coven. But many people with historical knowledge have claimed that is not true either.


    Regardless of the true origins and meaning of the word, it is not commonly used today to describe people who practice witchcraft.


  10. What are the 'Commandments' of Paganism?

    This may come as a shock, but there are no rules to live by in Paganism.


    We are not bound by some official list of commandments that tell us what is allowed and what is not.


    Considering these types of rules in other religions are always being debated/argued over, it's likely for the better.


     

    Many people feel that a lack of rules means we all run amok in our lives, committing all kinds of terrible acts. Believe it or not, it is possible to know right from wrong on your own without having it laid out in front of you by someone else.


     

    The last line of the Pagan Rede is the closest thing we have to a commandment: "An it harm none, do what you will". Not all Pagans follow this to the same degree, but it's generally interpreted that anything is OK as long as no one is harmed.


    For more answers to this complex question please see our Ethics pages


  11. Which Gods do I worship?

    This can be a difficult concept to grasp for anyone used to a simple, monotheistic faith. There is no confusion or questioning when there is only one God to deal with.


    But what about when there are hundreds to choose from? First of all, don't worry about it. If you find that the numerous pantheon are too complex to work with at first, there is nothing wrong with simply worshipping the God and the Goddess as unnamed Deities.


    Many Pagans believe that "All Gods are one God, and All Goddesses are one Goddess" meaning that all the various Deities really just boil down to a single Being anyway.


     

    If you prefer a more individualistic approach, you will want to work with a specific God or Goddess. So how do you choose? One way is to spend some time in meditation, and ask that a Deity make themselves known to you.


     

    Then watch your life carefully for any signs that a God or Goddess is trying to get your attention. This passive approach works for some, but not for everyone. Remember, this is a very personal religion you've chosen and many experiences are different from one person to the next. If there doesn't seem to be any signs, then it's up to you to take the matters into your own hands.


     

    Take some time and research the various pantheon (groups of Gods, such as Greek or Egyptian) and get a feel for them. Choose a God or Goddess that you feel would suit you.


    Don't choose based on some immediate need either. You're going to be developing a long-term relationship here. Learn everything you can about that God or Goddess, and then approach them. Invite them to your rituals, add items to your altar that reflect their qualities, spend more time in meditation looking to connect with them.


    More Information on Deities can be found on our Pantheon Pages.

  12. Do I have to choose a new name?

    While is it somewhat customary for someone who is Pagan or Pagan to select a second name for themselves, it's by no means necessary.

    Many people practice Paganism for decades and never feel the need to identify themselves any other way besides their legal names. We choose our magickal names for a variety of reasons.


     

    Mainly, as a way to separate our spiritual selves from our everyday selves. In this modern age of the Internet, a lot of Pagans use their magickal names as their online identity in order to remain anonymous. Some people have a third name to use on the Internet, while keeping their personal magickal name more private.


     

    If you do decide to select a second name for yourself, the only limits are your own imagination. Gods, Goddesses, animals, astrology, herbs, stones and even fictional characters are all sources of inspiration when creating your name.


     

    You could create a name that represents who you are, or who you are trying to become. It's up to you.


    More detailed information on choosing a Magickal name can be found in 'Choosing a Magickal Name'


  13. Why do Pagans spell magic with a 'k'?

    The 'k' is used by some Pagans (but not all) to refer to true magick, to differentiate from Illusion or stage magic.


     

    Modern usage of this spelling is attributed to Aleister Crowley, who supposedly added the 'k' for numerological reasons as well. 'K' is the 11th letter in the alphabet, and 11 is a powerful master number. From a numerological perspective, 11 represents intuition, creativity, and inspiration. Qualities that he felt were suited to the word 'magic'.


     

    Also according to Crowley, magick is defined as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." I think that sums it up nicely.


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