Pagan Book Study – Part 1

In my quest to learn more and start anew, I’m reading through the book Paganism: An Introduction to Earth-Centered Religions by Joyce & River Higginbotham.  There are several areas in the book that contain exercises and questions for reflection, so I thought since I’m already writing these things out I might as well include my process here on my blog.  I hope you enjoy the journey with me.  Before I move to my questions, though, I thought I would share a part from the book that helps define just what Paganism is and that I found particularly resonant.

Paganism is Spirituality.  [It is] a way of living, praying, and connecting to the flow of the universe.  Pagan spirituality addresses the existence and nature of Deity, the relationship of ourselves and the universe with the Divine, the nature and scope of human existence, what happens to us after death, the nature of the physical and nonphysical universe, and our relationship to that universe.

Today’s blog entry focuses on the questions in the first section of Chapter 1 around Pagan Holidays.

Ever since I was on the younger side of teenage years, my favorite season always used to be Spring.  As I’ve gotten older I have considered changing it to Summer, if only for the fact that it is the time I am warmest and I so hate being cold, but I believe that deep down my favorite season is still Spring.  I remember walking along and just feeling happy and content that change was happening.  Even now, it is the time I feel most happy because Spring, to me, is indicative of hope and promise of better things to come.  I remember dewy grass and bright sunshine and, of course, the Easter egg hunts from childhood; how the mornings were always chilly on the cheeks, but warm under the sunshine.  The magic of finding that bright pink or yellow egg hidden in the dark green grass.  As an adult I still celebrate the season with those quiet walks and introspection, but I don’t so much celebrate Easter anymore.  Usually the Easter holiday falls during Sakura Con weekend, so I spend it in costume with friends (perhaps celebrating it in a different way than in years past).  I think I’d like to mix the two a bit, though, and start to once more celebrate Easter/Ostara.

I have never actually been to a Pagan holiday ritual (as this is all very new to me).  Part of me thinks that I’d like to, but the other part of me struggles.  I have never been comfortable in religious crowds because I’ve never felt of the same mind, even as a child.  Church always made me supremely uncomfortable.  It’s nice knowing that celebrations in the Pagan world are much different, but knowing myself as I do – especially as regards new group situations – I think this will take a lot of warming up to do.  Eventually I’d like to be part of at least one celebration if only for the new experience.  This, like with all things, will come with time.

Paganism includes celebrations of fertility into its sacred year.  My thoughts on this are that it makes sense and I find it a good thing to celebrate.  We want our grounds to be fertile for crops, and women, particularly those that actually wish to have children, should definitely find cause to celebrate fertility.  I don’t know that I would celebrate it much except on behalf of the Earth and others.  I do think it offers something positive to the culture – a celebration of life and of women creating a togetherness and wholeness.  Without the fertility of women (and the Earth), we are nothing. We wouldn’t be here.

I also really like that Paganism includes the processing of death into its sacred year.  Death is such a huge part of life and it’s a very positive thing to openly celebrate and acknowledge it.  So often death is the thing that people don’t want to talk about – it’s almost taboo.  I think, by having celebrations around it and acknowledging it as just another part of life, it helps people process it better.  It’s more likely to create a positive, or at least healthy, outlook on one’s own life cycle and its inevitable end.

***

A/N: Are you a Pagan? How long have you been one? What’s your favorite thing about being a Pagan?  If you are not a Pagan, what religion or belief system do you subscribe to, and what’s your favorite thing about it? Share in the comments!

 

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2 thoughts on “Pagan Book Study – Part 1

  1. Hey Shannon, very cool that you are reading this book! I was raised Catholic but in my teen years quit going to church. I always felt uncomfortable. Many, many years have gone by and I have come to the realization that there is much I don’t agree with in regards to organized religion. I have embarked on a spiritual path and found my home. It’s called Carmel Temple and I began attending the energy healing group (found on Meetup). I liked it so much that I began attending the Sunday service and it feels like home. The Temple itself is old, has a musty smell and has green shag carpet! I love this place. The energy and love I feel when I’m there surpasses anything I’ve ever felt in any church (nothing)….We are of a belief that there is divinity in each one of us, that there is God inside us and love is the path and anyone is welcome. It’s about positivity, helping others, energy and good vibes. We have a very diverse group. I started going regularly in November of last year. I became certified Reiki level 1 last month and plan to continue into level 2. My very favorite thing is when the service is over, we gather in a circle and send the energy into the center where there is a crystal bowl which is filled with the names of people who need healing. We hold hands and feel the energy- I feel it in my body as all tingles and it comes in waves. And then we hug each other, I also love this because after sharing so much energy, my head feels like it’s in the clouds and the hugs ground me. I wish you well in exploring and finding your path.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sandra! Your comment made me smile and filled up my heart. I’m so thrilled to hear you’ve found your spiritual home! I especially like the ritual you have for healing-it sounds so uplifting! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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