Paganism is an ancient practice, religion, or spiritual belief system that existed before Christianity rooted itself in the “one true god” philosophy.
It is quite difficult to categorize or conceptualize ancient paganism briefly because of its rich history. Historians have never stopped debating its existence, maybe because the idea of humans living in harmony with our natural surroundings seems too good to be true.
According to Teresa Moorey, the author of A Beginners Guide to Witchcraft, evidence suggests that a mother-goddess was worshiped as a part of paganism as far back as the stone age. The mother-goddess was the fertility provider, food source, and many other psychic bonds between humans and nature.
It is important to note that pagans were not always labeled according to their beliefs. People who did not believe in Christianity were labeled as pagans or heathens in a derogatory way due to their faith in natural entities instead of true gods.
Ancient pagans were also known as those who lived off the land. Like modern-day paganism, their beliefs were firmly rooted in their close relationship with their natural surroundings. Most pagans were farmers, hunters, and gatherers who were highly dependent on rituals to bring about food sources and other entities that represented life.
The Celts were also considered pagans because they believed in many gods and goddesses, the most prominent one being the Great Mother. The Celts also used the moon as a source of time and planned most of their existence around the telling of the sky.
Ancient Pagan Beliefs & Practices
Ancient pagan beliefs and neopagan beliefs do not hold a lot of significant differences. The main difference would be that modern pagans do not participate in many group rituals and often use modern technology to aid their practices.
For example, as modern beings, we do not hunt for our food and, therefore, do not see hunting rituals as a necessity. Unless you feel like doing a ceremonial dance in the nude in front of your local grocer, then you are hitting it old school.
The two do submerge in a way. It is important to note that modern or neopaganism does not exist without ancient pagan beliefs. These beliefs are more commonly known as “the old ways” and involve many more ritualistic periods of worship.
The Celts, for example, believed that the spirit world walks amongst us, and we can still view them out of the corner of our eyes. They also thought there is more than one reality and that logical thinking could only get them to a certain point and no further.
The Importance of Ancient Beliefs
These ancient beliefs and practices are carried over to the modern-day or neopagan belief systems. Some of them have integrated more than others, but they still hold significance in the power of paganism.
Practices like herbal medicines, cleansing/smudging, festivals, and nature-worshipping are still widely practiced by pagans today.