Paganism as Practical Spirituality
As increasing numbers of people in industrial or post-industrial societies refuse or withdraw from traditional religions, there are some who have begun to blend some of the best traditions from the pre-Christian era with new inspirations. Paganism is a significant social movement with millions of participants worldwide. It is syncretic, very flexible in organization, and does not discriminate based on birth, sex, sexual orientation, health or handicap, or other religious commitments. Pagans say “Yes” to embodied life on Earth and celebrate the many ways we have to enjoy it; yet, in many cases, they also make a serious commitment to renewing the land and seeking social justice. Paganism promotes self-confidence, responsibility for one’s actions, research skills, and stewardship of the natural world. Beliefs, rituals, and observations vary, but they are usually based upon solar and lunar cycles and thus help Pagans attune themselves to the specificities of where they are in time and space, reminding practitioners of the many blessings they enjoy. There is not a simple answer to how Pagans relate to deities, but it has been generalized that they often experience an awakening or enhancement of their powers in partnership with these deities, which they may or may not regard as objectively real. Paganism is committed to the use and enjoyment of humankind’s only truly unlimited resource: our imagination, and to cultivating the virtue of gratitude, which will enable us to make the most of everything else.