Photo by Royce Engeldrum

A Historical Timeline of Paganism

Source: N.P., BBC,, IFA, Douglas Linder

"What is a Pagan? What is Paganism?"

Curated by Rafaelina Siri

Source: Pinterest

From a Christian viewpoint, pagans are generally characterized as true hose who are caught up in any religious ceremony, act, or practice that is not distinctly Christian. Correspondingly, Jews and Muslims also use the term pagans to describe those outside their religion. Others define the term paganism as any religion outside of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity; whereas some argue that a pagan is anyone with no religion at all.

If we focus on what Paganism means today, we can look at several different aspects of the word’s meaning.

In general, when we say “Pagan,” we’re referring to someone who follows a spiritual path that is rooted in nature, the cycles of the season, and astronomical markers. Some people call this “earth-based religion.” Also, many people identify as Pagan because they are polytheists – they honor more than just one god – and not necessarily because their belief system is based upon nature. Many individuals in the Pagan community manage to combine these two aspects.

So, in general, it’s safe to say that Paganism, in its modern context, can be defined as an earth-based and often polytheistic religious structure.

Many people may ask, "What is Wicca?” Well, Wicca is one of the many thousands of spiritual paths that fall under the heading of Paganism. Not all Pagans are Wiccans, but by definition, with Wicca being an earth-based religion that typically honors both a god and goddess, all Wiccans are Pagans. Be sure to read more about the Differences Between Paganism, Wicca and Witchcraft.

Source: Witchy Words

Other types of Pagans, in addition to Wiccans, include Druids, Asatruar, Kemetic reconstructionists, Celtic Pagans, and more. Each system has its own unique set of beliefs and practice. Keep in mind that one Celtic Pagan may practice in a way that is completely different than another Celtic Pagan, because there is no universal set of guidelines or rules.

Some people in the Pagan community practice as part of an established tradition or belief system. Those people are often part of a group, a coven, a kindred, a grove, or whatever else they may choose to call their organization. The majority of modern Pagans, however, practice as solitaries – this means their beliefs and practices are highly individualized, and they typically practice alone. Reasons for this are varied – often, people just find they learn better by themselves, some may decide they don’t like the organized structure of a coven or group, and still others practice as solitaries because it’s the only option available.

In addition to covens and solitaries, there are also significant amounts of people who, while they usually practice as a solitary, may attend public events with local Pagan groups. It’s not uncommon to see solitary Pagans crawling out of the woodwork at events like Pagan Pride Day, Pagan Unity Festivals, and so on.

Many Pagans – and certainly, there will be some exceptions – accept the use of magic as part of spiritual growth. Whether that magic is enabled via prayer, spellwork, or ritual, in general there’s an acceptance that magic is a useful skill set to have. Guidelines as far as what is acceptable in magical practice will vary from one tradition to another.

Source: Pinterest

Most Pagans – of all different paths – share a belief in the spirit world, of polarity between the male and female, of the existence of the Divine in some form or other, and in the concept of personal responsibilities.

Finally, you’ll find that most people in the Pagan community are accepting of other religious beliefs, and not just of other Pagan belief systems. Many people who are now Pagan were formerly something else, and nearly all of us have family members who are not Pagan. Pagans, in general, don’t hate Christians or Christianity, and most of us try to show other religions the same level of respect that we want for ourselves and our beliefs.

Pagan comes from the Latin word paganus, which means “country dweller”; paganism can refer to polytheism or the worship of more than one god, such as in ancient Rome. A pagan is also considered to be one who, for the most part, has no religion and indulges in worldly delights and material possessions; someone who revels in sensual pleasures; a hedonistic or self-indulgent individual. Another, more modern term is neo-paganism, which refers to some of the contemporary forms of paganism such as Wicca, Druidry, and Gwyddon.

These modern “pagan” practices are actually similar to their ancient counterparts in that they rely heavily on hedonism—sensual gratification and self-indulgence and the pursuit of happiness and pleasure to the exclusion of everything else. In ancient times, sexual ceremonies were a major part of pagan religions. The Old Testament references these perverted religions in such passages as Deuteronomy 23:17, Amos 2:7–8, and Isaiah 57:7–8.

Though they are numerous and varied in their practices and beliefs, pagans do hold to some similar beliefs. For example:

• The physical world is a good place, one to be taken pleasure in by everyone.
• Everyone is considered to be part of this Mother Earth.
• Divinity reveals itself in every facet of the world.
• Every being, man and animal, is a derivative of the Divine. As such, all are gods and goddess.
• Most pagan religions do not have gurus or messiahs.
• Doctrine is superseded and revealing by one’s own responsibility.
• Solar and lunar cycles are significant in pagan worship.

Pagan Symbols

Source: Pinterest


Paganism Misunderstood

By Rafaelina Siri

Photo by Rafaelina Siri

Why Is Paganism Misunderstood?

Because Paganism represents only a small portion of the population, the fact that Pagans worship more than one god whereas most of the other world's religions only have one, as well as the practice of Magick, makes Paganism an easy target for the other religions to harrass. However, Pagans do not attack other religions because they are able to believe that other religions, as well as their own, can be correct.

The fact remains that Paganism is the world's oldest religion and that it wasn't until modern organized religion appeared that Paganism was regarded as being "bad." Most modern religions refuse to acknowledge that any other religion can lead to salvation and this causes great turmoil for Pagans in certain circumstances. The loss of friends, loved ones, and family refusing to talk to you are all possible outcomes of people's misunderstandings of Paganism.

Let me cast some light on those dark thoughts many have about these subjects.

Do Witches worship the Devil ?


The entire concept of “the devil”, the personification of a supreme spirit of evil and unrighteousness, is a man made creation of Middle Eastern fundamental religion including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Worship of “Satan” would be seen in the eyes of those practising these religions as profaning their religion’s symbolism and is thus a religious heresy rather than anything to do with “Pagan religion”. Historically, the gods of an older religion are branded as the devils of a newer one in order to promote conversion.

Source: Pinterest

The pagan gods and goddesses are in no way connected with any Satanic practice. Most Witches do not even believe there is a Satan and certainly do not worship such an entity .

Lunar Abundance

Create a Regular Moon Ritual: Setting intentions in tune with the moon

Source: Energy Muse

It is truly sad that so many believe that Witchcraft and/or Pagan life is all about darkness, evil, and satanic worship. This is entirely untrue. You may be asking yourself, “Why does it have such a bad name?” “No smoke without fire?”

This is where religious prejudice comes into play.

During The Crusades, (where “brave knights” rode through Europe and the Middle East putting those to death who didn’t convert to Christianity..) and ever since, many Christians and other organized religions were intent on putting their religion into peoples heads above all others.
Source: Emaze
They insisted they were right, everyone else was wrong and that the God in which most pagans worship was their creation – Satan.
So, the Crusaders thought that by telling Pagans that they were worshipping evil, it would actually trick them into believing in Christianity, their perceived true and pure god.
A true Christian by the Bible’s definition wouldn’t do this ( turn the other cheek, do unto others as you would etc…love thy neighbour and all that. )

In the developing world, Pagan festivals, feast times and symbolism were hijacked with Christian symbolism and relevance (Yule became Christmas, Ostara became Easter.. there are more.)

In these ancient times some misguided souls decided, that anything that was not within “their” religion was evil. Maybe to justify their evil deeds on their crusades.

And so, through the many hundreds of years since, pagans, druids, mediums and witches have been given a bad name.

Pagans have been killed, turned into outcasts, and threatened. Pagans till are subjected to “stigma” today, often from members of their own families.

All largely due to prejudice and ignorance begun thousands of years ago, spread by bigots and bullies.

Don’t believe the hype, Pagans are just the same as anybody else, they aren't weird, perverted, goat slaughtering, devil worshippers, they live their lives in harmony with the cycles of Mother Earth, with nature, and they respect others. Is that so strange?

Everyone has the absolute right to believe in organized religion, or nothing at all – these are just my own personal views based on my own research, experiences and enlightenments over the years!

Christian Magic

By Royce Engeldrum

Photo by Royce Engeldrum
THE BRONX — “Tonight we celebrate the Oak Moon,” said Carolyn Casey, a 51 year-old funeral director and mother of three.“I call on the strength of the oak tree to make it through the trials of the dark half of the year.” She said, turning to light one of the three candles placed carefully on her makeshift alter. With the flame from the tall white candle she lit a wad of incense and waved it in each corner. The smoke twisted and twirled around the room as the smell of sage and sandalwood filled the air and made it sweet. “Kind of feels like you’re at church, doesn’t it?” she said, grinning through the noxious haze as the candlelight danced around on her freckled face. “Would you believe me if I told you I send my kids to Catholic school?”

​Many pagans claim that the similarities between their ancient practices and those seen at a Catholic mass are blatantly obvious. While the Catholic Church officially denies they exist, neopagans like Carolyn have come to embrace the similarities between their ancestral roots and their traditional Catholic upbringings. Many Christian holidays coincide closely with pagan holidays. The latter of which are celebrations of lunar/solar events such as equinoxes and solstices. Halloween is Samhain, the Celtic festival of death and the traditional beginning of the dark half of the year known to us as winter. Christmas coincides with Yule, a Celtic/Germanic holiday celebrating the Wild Hunt.

Photo by Royce Engeldrum
​ “We may be celebrating Jesus with everyone else at work or school or whatever, but we never forget that it’s really Yuletide that gives us all the familiar trappings of Christmas,” Carolyn said. According to the popular witches website,, decorating pine trees, hanging mistletoe from your doorway and the exchanging of gifts are all Yuletide traditions that predate Christmas. Symbols such as the Celtic cross and the trinity have pagan routes. Three is an important number in both European paganism and Christianity. The presence of a female (Mary) and a male (Jesus) deity is essential to understanding the world’s dual nature.
Source: Pinterest

​Many people in the wider world of witchcraft and neopaganism believe the Christian holidays and traditions were purposefully aligned in such a way as too obscure or overshadow pagan rites that were occurring almost simultaneously. The Catholic Church vehemently denies it. “It’s a fallacy to believe that since many of these pagan celebrations predate Christianity, the Church was purposefully trying to snuff out these local traditions,” said Deacon Michael Salvatorelli, a member of the clergy at Saint Benedict’s Roman Catholic Church in the Bronx. “I think the Church really gets a bad rap when it comes to how it dealt with Pagan populations. How eagerly they converted is also often misrepresented in history.”

​The fact remains that there are witches all over the world that fuse their ancient pagan ways with Christianity in order to fit in or make sense of a religion that is often thrust upon people unwillingly. Santería, a Caribbean religion that blends elements of the African Yoruba peoples’ traditional religion with those of Roman Catholicism is a perfect example of synchronicity of a pagan religion with Christian beliefs. You have the worship of God, saints and African deities all at once.

​With witch hunts still being a reality is some parts of the world and the continued misrepresentation of pagans in movies such as Hocus Pocus (1993), The Craft (1996) and countless others, it isn’t hard to see why Carolyn chose to adapt Christianity as a second religion of sorts. “I wanted to give my kids the chance to choose for themselves. I showed them the best of both worlds.”

Source: Disney Movies
Source: The Toast
​Carolyn let out a long sigh as she stepped out of the smokey room and stared at the night sky. “I’ll be going to Church on Sunday.” she said, searching for the Oak Moon through the thick clouds. “My daughter’s confirmation is coming up soon. She’ll be a full fledged Catholic but you better believe she’ll know about her Celtic roots.”

Showcard Gothic

The Quiet Growth of Witches

By Ralph Chery

Enchantments, popular witchcraft store in NYC. Photo by Bria Fisher
According to the American Religious Identification Survey, witchcraft was the fastest growing religion in the United States in the 90s to the early 2000s, however most non-practitioners don’t truly know what they do, nor even believe in them.

City College of New York student, Carlos P., could’ve bet his tuition money that witches don’t exist.

“No,” Carlos P. firmly said when asked whether witches exist or not as he was standing in the dim hallway of the NAC building, wearing his beige hoodie and blue jeans.

Carlos P. is not alone, he’s one of the 79% persons living in the U.S who would say no to that question. A 2005 poll by Gallup News Service states that only 21% of Americans believe in witches.

“I don’t really believe in supernatural stuff,” the junior continued. “It was probably made up or they can’t explain what’s going on so they just blamed it on witches.” When Carlos P. was informed about the most popular witchcraft store in NYC, Enchantment, and the witches workers there, he still wouldn’t accept their existence.

“I wouldn’t believe you,” the junior said. “I mean, there’s people that believe in it but that doesn’t really change my view not believing in it.”

Fact is, not only do witchcraft exist but it’s the fastest growing religion in the United States. According to the American Religious Identification Survey, witches grew 42 times more from 1990 to 2008.

Started From The Bottom Now They Here

Witches growth from 1990 to 2008 in the U.S.

Source: American Religious Identification Survey

Based on this chart witches were estimated to reach a number of 580,000 in the current year of 2016.

Unlike Carlos P., another student at City College, Marcus Allen, is well aware of the witchcraft practitioners.

“People who believe and practice witchcraft do exist but I cannot say their practices have results,” Allen said. “The understanding of witchcraft as it is in TV and cartoons where it’s like a green woman stirring a pot, it’s not that but it’s more of like people trying to use corrupted powers in a way.”
City College of New York student Marcus Allen. Photo by Ralph Chery

After hearing about the previously mentioned rapid growth of witches from 1990 to 2008, a perplexed Allen had to think of possible reasons of the excessive increase of the number of wiccans in his native country.

“I think it could be more popular in rural areas and from the rural areas can come into the city,” the junior said.

“It probably doubled because the information is easier to access in the internet, someone could share it on their Facebook, on Instagram or just like pass it around in school saying ‘Oh, it’s not real but you should check it out,’ then people start to get really into it.”

As Allen said, the largest population of witches in the U.S are found in rural areas such as Salem, Mass., or Cassadaga, NY. And the development of the Internet is one of the leading factor of the rapid growth of Wicca as most witches pass their information via websites such as, and so on.

Although Allen believes in witchcraft and has an idea of how they’ve grown over the years, he’s unknowledgeable of the witches’ actual practices. All the 21-year-old could mention about wiccan’s practices is that they “contact dead people.”

Indeed some witches do call people from the dead by lighting a candle and saying an incantation. They believe that the heat of the flame provides energy that attract the dead person’s spirit.

However most wiccans normally perform simpler spells such as: love spells, money spells, revenge spells, hurt spells (cause harm to others) and healing spells. Most spells involve the use of a candle, a potion, crystals, a sigil (a magical sign) and the saying of an incantation. The instructions to perform witchcraft spells are easily accessible via the internet—by simply typing the spell on google or YouTube.

Strangely enough, in the late 1600s, witches were so widely known that 200 people were accused of witchcraft and 20 executed in Salem, Mass., but now that witchcraft is more viral through the Internet only about a quarter of people living in the U.S believe in them.

Source: "Started From the Bottom Now We Here" Infographic Data:

Source: "Looks like more people believe in Santa Claus than witches" Infographic Data


As Told To's: The Believers and Non-Believers

By Bria Fisher

Photo by Bria Fisher

Jake W. | 23 | Enchantments, NYC

I’m not even from here, Ohio is my home but I had to leave ASAP. Weird vibes -- I think I’m adapting to the city. I highly doubt there are quote on quote witches where I come from but I wouldn’t be surprised, you know what I mean? I don’t know if witches like to even be called that, what do you think? It’s pretty chill here; I’ve been here for 2 years. I just really needed a job when I came to New York but I really like it. This place interesting in its own way, kind of unexplainable to the average ear, you know what I mean? One of the most moving parts of this job is when people come in with real-life problems and look to us for guidance. You know we all have different roles – the older ladies who work here are really into ancient spells and rituals believe it or not, then there are the guys in the back who make incents and potions, and people like us who have the information people need when they come inside. A lot of people who come here for the first time are usually nervous as all hell so we have to tell them it’s ok to enter and explore. We actually welcome a lot of people and try to help in any way we can. I spend a lot of my time here telling people what to expect or listening to their general interests and sending them in the right direction. A young blonde woman came in and poured her little heart out about all of the negative energy in her life and unluckiness with men. She went to the back and waited in line for about 30 minutes – it gets pretty crowded here in this little space – but anyway, she went to the back and got about 3 different potions and skulls that helped her through that situation. Oh yeah, it’s absolutely rewarding knowing that hundreds, if not thousands, of people believe in what we do. She came back some weeks later and said she was feeling better. That was pretty awesome.
Photo by Bria Fisher

Juan A. | 26 | New York City

I have no idea what Paganism is honestly. Oh, witches? Why didn’t you just say that? Oh, it’s crazy that it’s a religion – good crazy – you know? I don’t know if I completely believe in witches, it all depends. I believe there are people that are more in tune with the higher power than most, but I don’t call them witches. Well, I guess, yeah, I do believe in them, but I’ve always felt like being called a witch is a judgmental name. I know “witches” have been stigmatized since forever. Like, people used to be called a witch and then be killed. It’s crazy. But there are definitely people more in tune with things like reading cards or energies and stuff. I’ve actually encountered a couple of people that wanted to read my tarot cards – an older woman over the summer actually read mine in her apartment. Someone randomly told me to go see her and I went. I thought it was a business but it was a house! But I went in anyway and sat on her bed. She was a Dominican woman watching Novellas and reading my cards. I was in denial at first, I thought she got lucky, but she started getting too real. I was going through a time where I needed a job and needed to move – and all of a sudden she said she felt as though I was going to get an interview and land a new job – and I ended up getting it a month later. She also was talking about my love life and getting into these details that I wasn’t even sure how she knew. I wouldn’t necessarily think she could tell the future but I feel like she was really in tune with a higher power. It was mind-blowing.

More About Paganism

Source: YouTube

Introduction to Paganism

An Introduction to Different Pagan Paths

Pagan 101

Glossary of Pagan Terms

Pagan Symbols and Their Meanings

Types of Religion - Paganism

Page by Rafaelina Siri, Bria Fisher, Ralph Chery, and Royce Engeldrum

Created By
Rafaelina Siri


Rafaelina Siri, Bria Fisher, Ralph Chery, and Royce Engeldrum

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