Editorial - March 26, 2000 by Royce Carlson
Neo-Paganism is a growing nature-based spiritual movement that is attracting increasing attention these days. The term neo-pagan applies to a whole class of earth-based, nature-based and Goddess systems of belief. Included in this category are Witches, Wiccans, Druids, Pagans, Heathens, Goddess worshipers and more. The critical similarity is that they all honor the earth as opposed to the Judeo-Christian religion, which presents nature as something to be overcome or as inherently evil in some way.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the earth religions. Paganism, witchcraft, and Wicca are considered by Christians to be heretical and evil. Christianity’s standard propaganda campaign against all other religions has taken its toll. What you must know is that these earth-honoring spiritual practices are not Satanism. The concept of Satan is a Christian concept and has no place at all in neo-pagan cosmology or understanding. In fact there is a broad but powerful code for many of the organized neo-pagan groups that promotes a very spiritual approach to life that does not conflict with the key teachings of Jesus regarding how we should behave.
The Witches Rede is a code adopted by many neo-pagans: "An It Harm None, Do As Ye Will." Rather than a bunch of vengeful people ritually casting evil spells against their enemies, they are practicing a golden rule of treating all life well and living with consideration that everything they do should be done for the benefit of all and do harm to none. In addition there is the Law of Three which states, "Any energy you send out will come back three-fold." This reinforces the concept that positive actions will reap positive results and negative actions will produce negative results.
The most well known symbol of the neo-pagans is the pentacle, a five-pointed star within a circle. The pentacle symbol is over 5,000 years old and symbolizes the bringing of spirit to earth among other things. Once again, this is not a symbol of Satanism, although a very few people who call themselves Satanists have used the symbol upside-down.
The neo-pagan belief systems promote peace, treating each other well, honoring the earth that sustains and supports us and also supports the idea of ritual spiritual acts, invocations and prayers that are designed to have a positive effect on all lives. Far from being evil, neo-pagan beliefs may be among the most important ones to live by if we ever hope to live in harmony with each other and with nature.
A few of the best sites to visit if you want to learn more about the earth-based religions are: Witches Voice , Neopagan.net , Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship Also, you may want to visit the Earth Religions category at Zenzibar Alternative Culture for more interesting sites.