The term paganism has a ridiculously simple origin. The pagans remained so on their own that, apart from the second word, they gave rise to an incorrect interpretation.
As a result, the pagans began to be perceived as admirers of a certain faith, “paganism”. But we are just talking about ordinary ancient people. Even the Slavic faith is called pagan. It is also good if this word is understood only as a stage in development, before the adoption of a world religion.
But it also happens that a pagan is considered a dangerous person, lost in his faith, almost a Satanist. As a result, a myth about paganism was born, woven from pieces of truthful information. Having examined the main misconceptions in detail, you can get to the bottom of the truth.
Paganism is a simple and understandable topic, there is nothing to talk about. In fact, the conversation about paganism turns out to be difficult and therefore interesting. After all, this phenomenon is very heterogeneous, literally woven from many different directions. In addition, each pagan independently composes his own picture of the world, attaching there detail by detail. Such elaboration never stops, so paganism should be perceived as a process, not as a phenomenon. You can even say that there are as many varieties of paganism as there are pagans themselves. It is possible to assume that it is not worth talking about a subject, only if you know everything about it, or you do not know anything about it. Agree, the first case occurs much less often than the second.
Paganism, as an integral concept, does not exist, since we are talking about individual perceptions. On the one hand, in paganism there really is no single center or leader, like the Pope among Catholics, and there is no generally recognized code of sacred texts, like the Bible or the Koran. However, such polymorphism can be perceived not as weakness, but as flexibility and strength. Indeed, to any even the most complex question of a changing world, some of the currents of paganism will certainly find a worthy answer. Unified ideological currents with an unshakable structure are good for periods of stability that are in the past. And for a polymorphic world, there is nothing better than a polymorphic ideology.
The most important thing is that behind individual perceptions of paganism, one can consider its integrity, because all directions form a conceptual unity. Someone believes in Perun, developing his features, but for someone the ideal is the image of Veles. There are people who understand paganism as the need to live in the wilderness and create everything with their own hands. There are also people who are trying to grasp the advanced essence of this faith. After all, it is not only in primitive thinking and worship of the old Gods, but also in understanding the principles of the universe and the place of man in it. Such views can come in handy in a modern city, and even in a space station. After all, all pagans are united by a careful attitude to the heritage of their ancestors, an understanding of continuity and a desire to continue the affairs of their ancestors.
Although paganism has various manifestations, one common ideal can be traced: the harmony of the world is free and duty. People really learn to live and accept external conditions, to develop in them, being ready to sacrifice their interests for the sake of higher ones. That is why you should not be surprised at the variety of pagan trends - everyone chooses for himself how to realize his path to the ideal. In other words, the principle described above casts a shadow over every Gentile.
Paganism is a rejection of the possibilities of a developed civilization, a slide into the Stone Age and towards its values. Certain conservative and ecological trends in paganism are indeed wary of progress. But this view can be understood - society is ruining nature and the planet. But these people advocate the preservation of ecology at least in its modern form and the return of a person to the tried and tested way of life. In general, paganism does not deny the achievements of science, on the contrary, this system of values may turn out to be ideal for the cosmic future of mankind.
Do not think that conservatives dominate the pagans. But their point of view is important, because on the way of progress it will be possible to assess possible difficulties. And as a supporter of progress, it cannot be denied that we use many of its achievements extremely ineffectively. What would be better for a student - to kill his time at the computer or to live the old fashioned way in a hut in the fresh air? In modern paganism, the position of progressors is quite strong. They understand that once the construction of a wooden house, together with the forging of iron, was a highly advanced technology. If the Vikings survived to this day, they would go on their campaigns on powerful submarines.
Pagan reenactors try to recreate those samples of ancient material culture, while progressives accept reality. In the conditions of the modern world, they are trying to cultivate the spirit and philosophy of life that was present in our ancient ancestors. Thus, we pay our predecessors, continuing the baton they started. It is worth noting the fact that in paganism there are many specialists who, by virtue of their profession, move science forward. These are programmers, physicists, and engineers.
Paganism is stupidity, who in our time worships Perun and prostrates himself in front of wooden idols? Modern pagans themselves will not argue with a part of this statement. Worshiping Perun is really stupid, but no less stupid than worshiping pop idols and stars of show business, cinema. Pagans have a widespread view that their gods should not be worshiped, but simply honored. Yes, and strong, brave gods would be unpleasant to see people humiliated for their sake. After all, we are their continuation, students, and not slaves. The pagans see in each of their gods not a tyrant, who must be teased and prostrated before him, but an ancient relative and ancestor. In this regard, the faith of the pagans is in perfect harmony with the materialistic point of view of the emergence of religions from the worship of real people who lived at one time or another on the planet. So what's wrong with honoring the ancestors, of whom not even a trace in the form of graves remained, but the ancient culture has survived?
The main thing for paganism is the understanding that there is no insurmountable and fundamental difference between man and gods. This belief calls not so much to fulfill the will of higher beings, but to realize oneself, cultivating the qualities that the gods possess. So if someone falls down in front of wooden idols, then it has to do with the personal psyche of a person. There are individuals who just need someone to worship in this way, but what does paganism have to do with it? It is customary to praise the gods with creativity, knowledge, friendship, love, raising children and merry games.
Paganism is not necessary for a modern person, since this belief system was formed in a completely different historical era. If this were really so, how would the number of followers of paganism multiply? Recently, young people admired robots and astronauts, and today everyone is interested in elves, gnomes, magicians and hobbits. Tolkien, who stood at the origins of such a culture, did not even suspect how massive the interest in his work would be.
Slavic paganism is especially close to us. We all grew up on the tales of Baba Yaga and the Gray Wolf, as a result, the cultural tradition is close to us from childhood, without requiring additional interpretations or scholarly books for understanding. For a modern Russian person, Slavic myths, in which ideas and the universe are laid, are natural. Paganism was created by ardent lovers of life who liked our world and existence in it. These people appreciate the beauty of nature and are ready to sing it here and now, and not hope for happiness after death. In the images of the gods, truly human traits are personified, albeit brought to a high level in legends. In the pagan world, a person finds examples of how one can behave in life situations, which the modern world is rich in. In addition, there are so many gods in the pantheon of paganism that everyone can choose someone who is personally close to him.
The last century has become very significant for civilization. Humanity has survived two world wars, mastered flights in the sky and in space, and reached other planets. The man was taken aback by the surging changes, not understanding how to live in new conditions. That is why the time has come to think about who we are and where we are going. It is worth stopping and looking back at the landmarks invented and tested by our ancestors. The times may have been different, but the methodology is worth paying attention to. To master the gifts of science, it is worth becoming philosophers, blossoming the idea with colorful images.
Paganism is a cruel religion devoid of love for man. In paganism, there really is no love, but we are talking about a compassionate feeling for a person simply for the fact of his existence. When it comes to love, it's easy to fall into the trap, because many people understand this word in their own way. Most modern pagans are not at all devoid of love for people. But this feeling acts as an admiration for opportunities for self-realization, and not pity for the unfortunate. The poor can simply be helped, according to pagan views, but one cannot bathe in a state of unhappiness, elevating suffering into virtue. This logically follows from the position of our ancestors, whom religion helped to survive in a hostile environment. It was assumed that love must be earned, be worthy of it.
The same systems that promote love for any person give it out as if in advance. Pagans, however, initially treat all people simply benevolently, leaving love directly only to those whom they know well. The principle of "justice above mercy" is fully consistent with the views of the pagans. After all, it is not difficult to imagine a world in which any deed entails just retribution. Perhaps this is not the most pleasant image, but it is certainly honest. But it will be rather difficult to imagine a world based on one love. After all, then you will have to forgive both evil and hatred. So, truly human-loving can be called just the system that calls on a person to develop and strive to become like gods.
Paganism is a cult of dark forces, for example, the goddess of death Marena is worshiped here. It is not worth discarding such a statement, you just need to clarify some points. In paganism, it is not customary to paint the world in black and white colors and divide it into good and bad. There are much more gods here than two, while there are no those who are the personification of good or harm. In pagan myths, if they talked about the struggle of two forces, it was not about good and evil, about preservation and change.
And each such force can serve both good and bad. Is it bad to preserve accumulated wealth and land, knowledge and traditions? On the other hand, forcibly holding on to something that is no longer needed and prevents one from moving on is evil. Old people are replaced by young people, young growth appears instead of old trees. In the same way, change can do good - the wasteland turns into a blooming garden, we ourselves change our lives, gaining new knowledge. But you can't get carried away with this process for the sake of the very idea of change - you need to let the planted tree bear fruit. There is also a time for birth and for death. This is a part of the universe, to which paganism pays fair attention. In this role, the forces of change perform a powerful destructive function.
It would be wrong to say that paganism reveres deadly forces. Almost all rituals are based on the dual symbolism of birth and death, their unity is emphasized. It is quite logical that in spring and summer holidays there are more often birth motives, and in autumn and winter - death. Observing nature, the ancient pagans realized that every time nature comes to life after death. Such a cycle makes it clear that each death is only the beginning of a new life. Further existence is impossible without temporary death; birth refreshes life. The stories about a dying and resurrected god or hero are based on this. Even in fairy tales, you can find the swallowed and saved Little Red Riding Hood, the resurrected Sleeping Princess and the hero revived with the help of special water.
In ancient pagan rituals, special attention was paid to initiation - the transition of a person to a new status. At the same time, the symbolic death in the previous status and the birth in the new one were emphasized. For example, with the help of a veil, the bride was considered as if she were a stranger in the world of people, being, as it were, in a burial shroud. Dropping it meant a new birth. Even jumping over fire, a well-known Slavic tradition, symbolizes the death and burning of everything superfluous and old, the birth of a young and pure spirit.
Pagan rituals are real orgies. Sexual orgies of rituals are for those who want to see just such a subtext here. After all, you can admire the beauty of a naked ancient statue, seeing either the skill of the creator, or perhaps a lustful object. In pagan rituals, the naked body does indeed occupy a certain place. It was allowed to swim naked under the light of the moon or dance around a fire without clothes. What matters is why this is done. In any ritual, it is important that the performed action changes the internal state, mood. Nudity in paganism helps to feel the unity with nature, to overcome those boundaries between people that are imposed by society and etiquette.
Part of our psyche has a strong connection with wildlife, feelings of freedom have been formed in us for thousands of years. This powerful unconscious component cannot be ignored or suppressed. Indeed, even today, city dwellers are attracted by primitive entertainment - a fire, a walk in the woods, swimming in the river. Until recently, hiking was popular among young people. So what's wrong with allowing your body to fully touch nature?
Young people become pagans in search of self-affirmation, this will pass over the years. Among those who adhere to ancient Slavic beliefs, there are many serious scientists, writers, and military men. And teenagers looking for the meaning of life can be found in any club, no matter whether it is sports or philosophical. Over time, some of these people will drop out, and some will settle down and become the pride of the club. Over time, such young people will grow up the very scientists and engineers who are imbued with faith.
The real, ancient paganism is lost. What people believe today is the product of fiction, not confirmed by reliable sources. In fact, there are quite a few such sources left, which made it possible to consider pagan traditions as preserved, in addition to reconstruct worldviews and rituals. On the other hand, it is worth recognizing that Slavic paganism has much fewer monuments left than the ancient Scandinavians or Greeks. But our ancestors had powerful temple complexes comparable to the Greek ones. At each settlement there were wooden statues of gods dug into the ground, but nothing has survived to our days. Alas, we are not Greece. There remained the works of Homer, Euripides, Hesiod, and from ancient Slavic literature, an ordinary person can remember only about the "Lay of Igor's Host."
However, not everything is so bad, the death of temples and idols does not mean the death of tradition.There are old fairy tales that are carried over from generation to generation. In fact, experts find a lot of interesting things there. Surprisingly, Christian teachings against this faith tell in detail about paganism. The clergy's instructions describe which rituals and beliefs the priest should fear and avoid. At the same time, some of the teachings date back even to the 18th century, which testifies to the strong roots of paganism among the people.The fact is that after the baptism of Rus and the subsequent Christianization, the Slavs acquired a complex worldview set, which is appropriate to call dual faith. The church has never been able to eradicate the beliefs and rituals that have been called Orthodox traditions. For example, the Bible does not indicate the date of Christ's birth, and the church celebrates Christmas on a day very close to the pagan Kolyada, the winter Solstice. So the holiday of Ivan Kupala turned out by superimposing the image of John the Baptist on the Slavic holiday - the summer Solstice. Elijah the prophet on a chariot merged with the thunderer Perun. Veles is honored by the people under the name of St. Nicholas.
Another source of knowledge about ancient paganism is a comparative analysis of myths and legends of Indo-European peoples. It turns out that in the legends there are many similar plots, images and motives, even if the names of the heroes differ. The Greek Hermes resembles Odin or Loki among the Scandinavians, Thor is similar to Hercules. However, there is a single essence behind all this. Even the etymology of the names of the gods points to a single root. While benchmarking cannot fill specific gaps, the big picture is understandable. And who said that you have to adhere to the old rules? Modern paganism should become a logical continuation of ancient models adapted to current realities.
For the general reader, all information about paganism is a set of books in the fantasy genre. Anyone who really wants to touch on this topic will not be difficult to find quite a lot of serious literature on this topic. For example, the works of B.A. Rybakov's names are "Paganism of the ancient Slavs" and "Paganism of ancient Russia". There is a lot of research on this topic by historians, linguists, and religious scholars.