POLICE PAGAN 

ASSOCIATION

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07948 518 958

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Hemel Hempstead Police Station

Combe Street

Hemel Hempstead

Hertfordshire

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The Police Pagan Association adheres to the definitions of Paganism as defined by the Pagan Federation.

 

Paganism is defined as a polytheistic or pantheistic nature-worshipping religion.

 

Paganism is the ancestral religion of the whole of humanity. This ancient religious outlook remains active throughout much of the world today, both in complex civilisations such as Japan and India, and in tribal societies worldwide. It was the outlook of the European religions of classical antiquity - Persia, Egypt, Greece and Rome - as well as of their neighbours on the northern fringes. The Pagan outlook can be seen as threefold. Its adherents venerate Nature and worship many deities, both goddesses and gods.

 

Paganism is not Satan worship, nor is it black magic. Although certain aspects of Paganism such as Wicca are relatively modern revivals based on ancient practices and rituals, Paganism is not a new age religion. Although Pagan rituals have remained relatively unchanged since their inception, no pagan rituals today involve the harming or sacrifice of animals or humans. Paganism is very different to the exaggerated imagery and practices portrayed in the media.

 

The Veneration of Nature

 

The spirit of place is recognised in Pagan religion, whether as a personified natural feature such as a mountain, lake or spring, or as a fully articulated guardian divinity such as, for example, Athena, the goddess of Athens. The cycle of the natural year, with the different emphasis brought by its different seasons, is seen by most Pagans as a model of spiritual growth and renewal, and as a sequence marked by festivals which offer access to different divinities according to their affinity with different times of year. Many Pagans see the Earth itself as sacred: in ancient Greece the Earth was always offered the first libation of wine, although She had no priesthood and no temple.

 

Polytheism and Pantheism

 

The many deities of Paganism represent a recognition of the diversity of Nature. Some Pagans see the goddesses and gods as a community of individuals much like the diverse human community in this world. Others see all the goddesses as one Great Goddess, and all the gods as one Great God. Yet others think there is a supreme divine principle which is the Great Goddess Mother of All Things, as the Great Goddess is to many Western Pagans nowadays. Yet others believe in an abstract Supreme Principle, the origin and source of all things. But even these last Pagans recognise that other spiritual beings, although perhaps one in essence with a greater being, are themselves divine, and are not false or partial divinities.

 

Pagans who worship the One are described as henotheists, believers in a supreme divine principle, rather than monotheists, believers in one true deity beside which all other deities are false. Pagan religions all recognise the feminine face of divinity. Some Pagan paths, such as the cult of Odin or of Mithras, offer exclusive allegiance to one male god. But they do not deny the reality of other gods and goddesses, as monotheists do.

 

Other Characteristics

 

The many divinities of Pagan religion often include ancestral deities. The Anglo-Saxon royal houses of England traced their ancestry back to a god, usually Woden, and the Celtic kings of Cumbria traced their descent from the god Beli and the goddess Anna.

 

Local and national heroes and heroines may be deified, as was Julius Caesar, and in all Pagan societies the deities of the household are venerated. These may include revered ancestors and, for a while, the newly dead. They may include local spirits of place, either as personified individuals such as the spirit of a spring or the house's guardian animal. A household shrine focuses the cult of these deities, and there is usually an annual ritual to honour them. The spirit of the hearth is often venerated, sometimes with a daily offering of food and drink, sometimes with an annual ritual of extinguishing and relighting the fire.

 

Through ancestral and domestic ritual a spirit of continuity is preserved, and by the transmission of characteristics and purposes from the past, the future is assured of meaning. One consequence of the veneration of Nature, the outlook which sees Nature as a manifestation of divinity rather than as a neutral or inanimate object, is that divination and magic are accepted parts of life. Augury, divination by interpreting the flight of birds, was widespread in the ancient world and is in modern Pagan societies.

 

Pagans usually believe that the divine world will answer a genuine request for information, but the practice of magic for unfair personal gain or for harm to another is forbidden, exactly as physical extortion and assault are forbidden everywhere.

 

Modern Paganism

 

With its respect for plurality, the refusal to judge other ways of life as wrong simply because they are different from one's own, with its veneration of a natural world, and with its respect for women and the feminine principle as embodied in the many goddesses of the various pantheons, Paganism has much to offer people today.

 

In the present day, the Pagan tradition manifests both as communities reclaiming their ancient sites and ceremonies, to put humankind back in harmony with the Earth, and as individuals pursuing a personal spiritual path alone or in a small group, under the tutelage of one of the Pagan divinities. To most modern Pagans the whole of life is to be affirmed joyfully and without shame, as long as other people are not harmed by one's own tastes. Modern Pagans tend to be relaxed and at ease with themselves and others. Modern Pagans, not tied down either by the customs of an established religion or by the dogmas of a revealed one, are often creative, playful and individualistic, affirming the importance of the individual psyche as it interfaces with a greater power.

 

There is a respect for all of life and usually a desire to participate with rather than to dominate other beings. What American playwright Eugene O'Neil called "the creative Pagan acceptance of life" is at the forefront of the modern movement. This is bringing something new to religious life and to social behaviour, a way of pluralism without fragmentation, of creativity without anarchy. Here is an age-old current surfacing in a new form suited to the needs of the present day.

 

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