Addressing Christian Concerns on paganism: Satanism, Devil worship & Human Sacrifices
As Halloween approaches, the media circus of sensationalizing the perceived dangers and apparent darker sides of cults start to surface. It sells papers and TV shows!! But the ill-advised people who embark on such stories for their selfish 15 minutes of fame & fortune (a trait that is actually more related to Satanism) deliberately end up harming nature-based religions such as Paganism.
Paganism & Wicca have absolutely nothing to do with Satanism!
We have come across numerous misconceptions and hyped-up media propaganda about the perceived `Satanist nature’ of pagan groups, Witchcraft covens and other such new age groups. Those who level such propaganda and attack clearly have not done their studies or research (and tend to twist truths to suit their on personal group gain). Satan is a concept that is found only within the Christian Religions. No pagan or Wiccan ever worships `Satan’ or the `Devil’.
There are ancient Horned Gods such as Pan (Greek), Cernunnos (Celtic), Herne (English) and other such mythological god figures that take centre-stage in pagan worship, as well as Triple moon related Goddesses (Diana the Huntress, Selene, Hecate) and even horned Goddesses such as Isis & Hathor (Egyptian Cow Goddess). Ancient spiritual systems contained within themselves worships of animal & elemental powers – because ancient human was in awe of such powers. Horned animals were specifically revered as they often portrayed stature, status, protective and defensive powers. Pagan traditions that have horned God or Goddess stems from this belief. Horns were considered as symbols of power, not symbols of evil.
When one levels stories and accusations at Pagans working with Satan or Devil, and adds `evidence’, it must be born in mind- that no religion in the world has conclusive evidence of it’s authenticity as coming from the divine itself, other than by here-say and words written or preached by prophets, followers and Saints.
Religion ultimately deals with belief in a divine. As no evidence ever exists that one god from one religion is more real than another god or goddess from another religion, all beliefs – while they can be followed and respected- can not and should not be taken as `gospel’ or ultimate truth over another.
All Journalists, Teachers, Parents and learned people should do well to heed the old saying, `One Man’s God in another man’s Devil’, before spreading accusations that one religion is good and another is evil.
As to the stories of human sacrifices often reported in media- these are not the beliefs or practises of any Pagan, Witch or Wiccan!
In ancient times, many old tribes around the world have practises human or animal sacrifices as part of their religious beliefs and customs. They were trying to avoid the `wrath of their gods’ and also appease their gods. What was most valued by them was life, and they offered life, in exchange for better harvest, better divine protection against their enemies, and safety from destructive natural forces and so on. What history called `Witchcraft’ was those ancient tribal practises. Modern day pagans do not follow these. What we call Wicca & Witchcraft now is something very different.
Modern practises of Wicca & Witchcraft involve using herbs, crystals, healing, and divination using tarot & runes, astrology, meditation, attuning to trees, rivers, land and seas and so on.
Just as the word `Gay’ has now gained a totally different meaning to what it originally was (Happy), and just as modern day Christians can not be held responsible for the Crusades and great massacres old Christians undertook, and just as modern day Germans can not be held accountable for other Germans who attempted genocide of the entire Jewish Race – so Journalists and others can not and must not tarnish the modern day Pagans and Wiccans with primitive witchcraft practises of ancient tribes that had lived thousands of years ago. In all cases, the names remain, but meanings, practises and underlying beliefs have changed!
(This `article’ is an extract from an upcoming publication).
(c) Mani Navasothy. 2012