How is Paganism and Wicca incorporated into Today's Society?
The influence of paganism can be seen in every country throughout the world, even in the United States. Though it has been judged and fought against, it has remained an important piece of history and still carries value in today's society. A branch of it, Wicca, has introduced this age's youth to a religion of peace and a balanced way of life. With both having links to Roman, Greek, and Christian religions, it is no wonder than many are confused about it's ancient ways. As an earth-based religion, Wicca dates back to pre-Christian times, originating in Ireland and Scotland. Its teachings appear in our daily lives more than we know, and the truth about it is still a mystery to mainstream America.
According to an article found on the web site www.willowgrovemagic.com in 2005, modern society has "borrowed" certain holidays and yearly traditions from pagans. In our everyday speech, some of the words used are from pagan origin, like cereal and insomnia. Cereal derives from Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, harvest, and grain while insomnia comes from the god of sleep, Somnus. Everyone has heard of December 25 as the day of Jesus's birth, and if one takes a closer look, they would find that its pagan counterpart is Mithras, a celebration held for the Persian god of light and truth, who's description sounds like two of the characteristics given to Jesus himself. Easter falls on the Wiccan holiday, Eostar or Ostara, which is a spring fertility festival. Even Groundhogs Day
seems to be taken from the Wiccan sabbat, or holiday, Imbolc. The shooting of fireworks relates to the pagan fire festivals held every year. It is also an annual tradition to celebrate the fall harvest, whether it is with Thanksgiving or Lammas. Another similarity is the modern days of the week. Sunday relates to the sun, and Monday to the moon. Tuesday was taken from the Germanic god, Tiu, Wednesday from Woden's day, a celebration held for the Norse god of the hunt. When researching further, you can see that the months are linked as well. The Roman god Janus is the god of new beginnings, so it is no wonder that the first month is January. March comes from the Greek god, Mars, and June from the goddess, Juno.
As another idea, further investigation reveals that paganism has worked its way even further into our lives. Everyone knows of the U.S. Government and it's buildings. A closer look once again shows touches of the ancient, pre-Christian religions. For example, on the right of the main entrance of the U.S. Capitol Building, a statue of Mars, the Roman god of war and agriculture, can be found. The Great Hall of the Justice Department Building is the home of a statue of Justina, the goddess of justice. Even in the military, signs of the ancient divine can be found. The Roman goddess of wisdom and martial prowess, Minerva, is on the Army's Medal of Honor. In the vast realm of corporate America, disposable razors are named for the beauty goddess, Venus whilst cars are named after Saturn, Taurus,
Equinox, and Solstice. Even Nike, a brand of athletic shoe, has dipped into paganism by naming their company after the Greek goddess of victory.
Another idea, by Herne from www.wicca.com, is that many ideas and beliefs of Christianity seem to be adopted from Wicca. Wicca, also known as witchcraft, is an earth-based religion that is based upon the reconstruction of pre-Christian traditions. For the past several years, witchcraft has been associated with evil, heathenism, and Satanism. In the dictionary, the definition for witch is 'a woman supposedly having supernatural power by a compact with the devil or evil spirits'. The men and women who follow this religion indeed do not believe in the devil. These misinformed fears have been carried through history with the help of the medieval church, medical science, and Hollywood itself. In wicca, it is believed that there are three forms of the divine: the all-powerful One, the God, and the Goddess. The One holds the same characteristics as the Christian God the Father while the Wiccan God is the same as the son and the Goddess is the Holy Spirit. The One is infinite; to the point that the human mind cannot understand it's vast abilities, much like the Christian God the Father. The Goddess and God of witchcraft are portrayed as both the feminine and masculine forces of nature, and can also be related to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were created by God, as was the God and Goddess created from the One. They represent balance, unity, and equality. In
this pre-Christian religion, it is believed that no matter which religion one chooses, they all lead to the same place, whether it is heaven and hell, the otherworld, or summerland. Herne specifically writes in his article, "God's words were very clear in this regard. 'For all who believe in me shall find the kingdom of heaven.' There were no stipulations or limitations," he wrote, "to a particular belief or path given here."
There is a large list of similarities that can go on and on, but to understand those commonalities, one must understand Pagan and Wiccan's way of life. One of their lifestyles is honoring the changes of nature and the cycles that it goes through. Wiccans learn to respect nature by celebrating the cycles of the moon, sun, and seasons. It is not a cult and it is not satanic. They do not sacrifice animals and they do not steal the life force of other living being to achieve supernatural powers. They do not use the forces of nature or the universe to curse people. All of these are subjects of gossip, fear, and movies; yet another way paganism and Wicca have influenced today's society in without meanings to. By telling the population that these harmonious believers are demonic sorceresses who dabble in the evil occult, they have inflicted upon today's society a fear of those who are different and unique.
In closing, pagans and Wiccans alike have made a large contribution to today's cultures. Through time it has been brought
down by those who wish to destroy it and yet it remains, keeping its roots deep into current society. Literature and movies continue still to give this earth-based religion a bad reputation, when in truth it is nothing of the sort. If anything, it is linked more closely to Christianity than one thought. Signs of it are everywhere, on buildings and in our military. The ghosts of the past haunt America, and the world, reminding us of these lost but reemerging ways. Cultures around the world have attuned themselves to the same basic principals of paganism and witchcraft. Both have influenced today's society; helping to create a better, more open minded generation.
Our pagan world. (2005, -- --). Retrieved from http://willowgrovemagick.com/our-pagan-world.aspx
Herne. (1997). Herne's ramblings "an open letter". Retrieved from http://www.wicca.com/celtic/ramble/opletter.htm
Herne, . (1997). What is wicca. Retrieved from http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wicca/wicca.htm
Herne, . (1996). The concept of deity . Retrieved from http://www.wicca.com/celtic/wicca/concepts.htm