Few people know that most Western and Christian festivals are based on the old Pagan ones. Early Christians used the same date for festivals as Pagans to help them change from an old religion to a new one e.g. Christmas, Harvest festival, Easter etc. But what exactly is Paganism?
The term Pagan actually covers a whole host of religions, Druids, Wiccans and Shamans to name a few. They all have one thing in common a belief in the spirituality and energy of the earth and all the riches it brings us, along with the worship of gods and goddesses. The cycle of the natural year, celebrating the different seasons, or the wheel of the year is seen by most Pagans as spiritual growth and renewal, and as a sequence marked by festivals celebrating different god and goddesses who influence the changing seasons. Pagans are deeply aware of the natural world and see the power of the divine in the ongoing cycle of life and death. Pagans try to be eco-friendly, seeking to live in a way that protects nature and the world around them.
Some Pagans see the goddesses and gods as a community of individuals much like the diverse human community on earth. Others worship certain deities and some feel there are one god and one goddess. But all Pagans believe that other spiritual beings should be worshiped for their influence over the earth.
The goddesses worshiped are all about the nurture and care of mother earth here are a few -
Astarte - Greek Fertility Goddess whether you wish to bear children or have a magnificent garden
Ceres - Roman Goddess of the Harvest.
Demeter - Earth mother goddess - good to have at your side while giving birth
Flora - the goddess of spring and re - birth
Morgan - goddess of water and magic said to be married to Merlin
The gods worshiped by pagans are all about the cycle of life - have a look at these guys -
Adonis - Greek God of rebirth and vegetation
Cernunnos - Celtic God of the Wild Hunt, fertility and masculine energy.
Eros - Greek God of sexuality and fertility
Herne - British God of vegetation, vine, and the wild hunt
Lugh - Celtic God of smiths and artisans, harvest god
Sunna - Norse Sun God
There are of course many many more and most will sound familiar from Greece ,Egypt, Celtic ,Gaelic and Norse god and goddesses too. They have shaped our language like the days of week. But no matter what you think about Paganism they can teach us a thing or two about nature and the changing of the seasons and more importantly the preservation of our earth.