Pagan Definition

Defining a word can be tricky. Definitions can often be complex depending on the word’s usage and history.

Pagan Definition:

There are many definition’s for the word pagan. The more recent word, Neopagan, is used to describe a pagan person from the the 20th and 21st century. Today, the words Pagan, Neopagan and Neopaganism are known to millions as “umbrella terms” or words that simply describe people who:

  • 1) do not explicitly follow Islam, Judaism or Christianity.
  • 2) and may choose to weave together one or many different Belief Systems.

Neopaganism is in its essence the worship of the powers of this world. Beautiful or terrible, but all in a circle under the turning sky above, which is One.— C.A. Burland, Echoes of Magic (1972)

Here’s the pagan definition as recorded historically in dictionaries and encyclopedias and in today’s modern search engines:

Here’s a modern pagan definition from Google:

google's pagan definition

And here’s a pagan definition from

Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning “a country dweller or rustic”) is a term that has been used from antiquity to derogatorily denote polytheistic faiths. Since the term was typically used as a blanket statement to circumscribe all non-Christian (or, more broadly, non-monotheistic) faiths, it served the same pejorative purpose as the Jewish term gentile, the Islamic notions of infidel and kafir, and the multipurpose term heathen.Due to these historically problematic connotations and usages, ethnologists and anthropologists avoid the term “paganism” when referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring to utilize more precise categories (such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism). Thus, the term’s connotations are both stark and polarizing, as it has been used to criticize and demonize the adherents of non-Christian faiths since the first century C.E.

pagan definition

Since the later twentieth century, however, the words “pagan,” “heathen” and “paganism” have been somewhat rehabilitated, as they are now widely used as self-designations by polytheistic reconstructionists and Neopagans that explicitly define themselves as contrary to the dualistic ethos that spawned these terms in the first place.

In this new understanding, pagan traditions are defined by:

  • the absence of proselytism
  • the presence of a living mythology that explains and informs religious practice.
  • Neo-pagans generally profess to respect nature, and to hold all life sacred.

And here is an older definition of paganism:

1913 US Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary.
Pagan (n.) One who worships false gods; an idolater; a heathen; one who is neither a Christian, a Mohammedan, nor a Jew.

Pagan (n.) Of or pertaining to pagans; relating to the worship or the worshipers of false gods; heathen; idolatrous, as, pagan tribes or superstitions.

Pagandom (n.) The pagan lands; pagans, collectively; paganism.

Paganic (a.) Alt. of Paganical

Paganical (a.) Of or pertaining to pagans or paganism; heathenish; paganish.

Paganish (a.) Of or pertaining to pagans; heathenish.

Paganism (n.) The state of being pagan; pagan characteristics; esp., the worship of idols or false gods, or the system of religious opinions and worship maintained by pagans; heathenism.

Paganity (n.) The state of being a pagan; paganism.

Paganized (imp. & p. p.) of Paganize

Paganizing (p. pr. & vb. n.) of Paganize

Paganize (v. t.) To render pagan or heathenish; to convert to paganism.

Paganize (v. i.) To behave like pagans.

Paganly (adv.) In a pagan manner.

Understanding the definition of Paganism

To understand the meaning of the words Pagan and Paganism one must realize that many of the people that use these words today are often using them to describe their antiquated meanings. That is to say, certain people are using these words in judgemental ways. To be excruciatingly precise, by that I mean that many of the people that use the words pagan and paganism today are using them to describe what they believe these words to mean, not what they really mean today. To confuse matters even more I might add that the old definition above of pagan and paganism are actually true on all but one account. Let me explain:

Pagan (n.) Of or pertaining to pagans; relating to the worship or the worshipers of false gods; heathen; idolatrous, as, pagan tribes or superstitions.

Paganism (n.) The state of being pagan; pagan characteristics; esp., the worship of idols or false gods, or the system of religious opinions and worship maintained by pagans; heathenism.

see also: Paganism – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

see also: What Neo-Pagans Believe – Central tenets of neo-paganism, based on the questions in the Belief-O-Matic quiz.

To say that Anyone who worships false gods is clearly an archaic form of thoughtless judgement.

First of all, let’s suppose that:

All gods come from Belief Systems.

All Belief Systems come from Mankind.

How can a god be false? Whether or not our species originated from the elements of Earth or we were created somewhere else and came here or were put here OR any combo of both of these ideas really can’t concretely explain the Origin of Us. Not just yet. Maybe some day. But for now, we really need to understand that the creation of the words pagan and paganism really came from people that thought they had all of the answers and that anyone else who thought differently than them was spiritually wrong, unenlightened or evil. These condemnatory people are still here in the 21st century and sadly to report, in very large numbers. Maybe they are control freaks?

To get a good idea of what I am saying here is easy. Just turn on a TV and within an hour you’ll find gross misrepresentation regarding pagans, paganism, indigenous peoples, and generally any form of spirituality as portrayed by The Big Three: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Here in the west, Christianity’s satanic stereotypes run deep and are found abundantly in all media forms, especially film, where they are eagerly consumed by mislead masses visually enthralled with witchcraft, pentagrams, pagan rites, pagan holidays and generally any ceremony that involves a lot of candles. It seems that a thousand years of tyranny and villainy trying to equate the idea of their Satan with Paganism has created a very negative and powerful force against any people who happen to hold different beliefs. In today’s media this hateful propaganda agenda is being reinforced, bought and sold, on a massive scale that reaches millions of people every hour on the hour.

“Fear again. If you want to control someone, all you have to do is to make them feel afraid.” – Paulo Coelho

People Evolve, Words Evolve

I’m happy to say that there are growing numbers of people on this planet that are discarding these old meanings for these words, pagan and paganism, and are using them to describe people(today’s Neopagans) that are by and large just plainly not adhering to Big Religions’ built-in control factors. Many pagans means many paths. For as many rolling hills there are on this good green Earth there are that many different pagan perspectives; pagan paths. The idea that there can only be One God coming from the mouth of someone who believes in a Triune deity and who refuses to accept that someone else on this planet might just see God everywhere, or nowhere, or in three, five or a thousand different faces and or things and places absolutely riddles me.

But I’ve figured out that riddle. They we’re just being judgmental all along. For control purposes. Control Purposes. Today, many of these “pagan” people who stopped or never did believe in the Major Religions super-charged hype of negative and spiritually debilitating control edicts have uncovered and rediscovered that Any path or Any belief or Any God that brings a human being closer to love, peace and understanding is Good.

Exploring the Bridge of Spirituality without Condemnation

Many of today’s pagans are striving to reach out and teach the more judgemental religions that the many paths of Neopaganism all have one thing in common:

This doesn’t mean that pagan’s don’t often disagree with other religions or spiritual paths. It just means that even a fundamentalist pagan, if there is such a person, won’t condemn another person’s spiritual point of view just because they believe in something different. It’s just not built into the accepted concepts of Neopaganism to condemn.
In fact, I would further say that if there were one core tenet agreed upon and shared by all Neopagans it would be:

  • to accept, unconditionally, a right to believe, in anything while agreeing to disagree without condemnation

Belief Systems

In recognizing that “the big three’ religions all share the tenet of “love thy neighbor”, many Neopagans choose to study and or utilize the Bible, the Koran and the Torah while respectfully choosing not to follow certain passages of these books. Still others, having been subjected to years of religious mental abuse have decided to ignore these religions altogether and move on to different belief systems. Once free to roam an open spiritual field, Neopagans find that true paganism has as many paths and belief systems as there are people in the world today. By allowing the heart and mind to combine and pursue differing belief systems a person can access as many answers as it takes to discover and achieve their purpose, find inner peace, or communion with deity.

What’s really interesting is that Christianity is an ancient Pagan religion and formed from the old “pagan” religions. Maybe they were trying to consolidate many people to control and..we’ll, it’s not so different when you think of or look at the evolution of The New World Order..

The fact that Neopagans allow and encourage the concept of god or gods having many faces and many forms comes hand in hand with the underlying difference between the Big Three and Paganism. That is, the Big Three preach that if you don’t live exactly as their books say then ye shall be condemned whilst Neopaganism teaches that there are many spiritual ways and paths to live by, thrive by, arrive by, –and all without all the fear..X