Master of Paganism Essay
Rev. Sue Bellworthy
Where to start? This was such an immense course that it impossible to pick just certain fragments for this short essay. The course was very much an overview – a quick dash through the practices of paganism, but was no less valuable for this. Perhaps one of the most powerful lessons was that on sacred space – the ways of creating a special and sacred place wherever you want it, moving the place of devotion or spiritual exercise from the Churches, making it real, personal and accessible. The lesson on sacred nature follows on from this – emphasizing that the divine is everywhere and may be found in every thing – living or inanimate, in all parts of creation.
Fundamental to paganism is the Great Rite, the hieros gamos or divine union. This represents the union of the Goddess and the God, the act that precipitated creation. It is regularly re-enacted in ritual in symbolic form plunging the athame (male principle) into the chalice (female principle). A seemingly simple act but one that is so very powerful. Although sometimes enacted in the flesh, usually by couples in private, the hieros gamos is more usually celebrated in the symbolic form. Historically, hieros gamos may be seen throughout history in many different pantheons the world over. It has been suggested that Mary Magdalene was a priestess of Ianna ( who were sometimes referred to as prostitutes in the old, not modern, meaning) and that she performed the hieros gamos with Jesus and thereafter became His wife according to custom.
No review of paganism would be complete without discussing magickal workings, the use of intent – the energy of the mind, to create an effect. This process may be helped by correspondences – for example candles of an appropriate colour or use of crystals, to all augment the power. Ethics are all important here, based on the wiccan rede. The fundamental ethos is that all magickal working should be ethical, intended for good and should "harm none". Many pagans adopt the policy of limiting magick to acts that create good such as healing, and avoid harmless workings of a more frivolous nature. Key to this passage is the power of the mind, the concept that all is energy, and that thought is also energy, and that energy fields of different things are affected by contact with another. Thus the energy can alter the energy field of the "target" achieving the effect.
In conclusion I can only congratulate and thank the course creator for such an interesting and complete study of paganism.
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