Pagans like to celebrate more rites of passage than the prevailing culture.
Most people see two rites of passage: coming of age (18 or 21) and marriage.
Christians also get a first one, the Christening, though the subject is unable
to experience it. The Pagan equivalent of a Christening is a Naming ceremony.
Other rites of passage may include Child - celebrating change from baby to
child, Puberty and so on. Marriage is called hand-fasting and this may be
arranged for eternity or just for a year-and-a-day, renewable. The latter is a
great stabilizer against casual relationships and divorces, providing some level
of commitment yet recognizing that some relationships will not last.
THE MOON - changes it's face roughly every 28-29 days, at about the same rate
that female humans menstruate, it has long been associated with the feminine and
hence the Goddess - Artemis and Hecate.
THE SUN - The God symbol - Apollo and Jesus.
THE CHALICE: is a cup used in rituals
It is a container and is associated with the womb and vagina, and hence a
symbol of the Goddess. Two examples of Chalices in myth are the Cup that Jesus
had drunk from at the last supper, and the Holy Grail, which the knights of the
round table had to search for in order for Arthur (and the land) to become whole
THE ATHEME: is also used in rituals, primarily to focus and concentrate
power. It is a phallic symbol and as a cutting tool a divider, and thus
represents The God. Magic swords are another version of the Atheme and are
popular in fantasy novels and myth. One example is Excalibre, which King Arthur
uses via "divine right". Another is Stormbringer, as used by Elric in the
stories written by Micheal Moorcock. Note the dual imagery. Excalibre was used
as a force for order, Stormbringer drank souls and was a force for Chaos. Tools
are only as good as their user.
THE FIVE POINTED STAR: Pentangle or a Pentagram
For neo-pagans this is symbolic of the four elements: air, water, earth, fire
+ spirit. See the qualities page for details. Pythagoras held the number 5 to be
the sum of the feminine element (2) and the masculine element (3), so it is also
symbolic of a union of masculine and feminine. The symbol also has meaning in
Taoism, Hinduism and Islam.
The overlapping arms (which does not appear in all versions) shows how each
part is interconnected with the others. The circle around the star represents
unity, the self, and wholeness.
One mode of understanding is that the pentagram shown as above (with one
point at the top) represents the Goddess, and inverted (with two points at top)
the God. Of course the inverted pentagram in Christian belief represents the
Devil -- not suprising since the versions of Pan and The God were used to
This is an ancient Egyptian symbol representing eternal life. It is said to
be taken from a simple sandal strap. Regardless of that, it is also a symbol
representing the Goddess and the God and this a Neo-Pagan symbol.
This is an ancient Egyptian symbol. It has three elements. The circle
represents the Goddess; the vertical line represents the God, and the horizontal
bar is the "scroll of knowledge". Join them together and you get an ankh.
NEO-PAGANISM - 2
"Neo-Pagan" means "new pagan" (derived from the Latin paganus ,
"country-dweller") and hearkens back to times before the spread of today's
major monotheistic (one god) religions. A good general rule is that most
Wiccans are Neo-Pagans but not all Pagans are Wiccans.
Neopagans hold a
reverence for the Earth and all its creatures, generally see all life as interconnected, and tend to strive to attune
one's self to the manifestation of this belief as seen in the cycles of nature.
Pagans are usually polytheistic (believing
in more than one god), and they usually believe in immanance, or the concept of divinity residing in all things. Many
pagans, though polytheistic, see all things as being part of one Great Mystery. The apparent contradiction of being
both polytheistic and monotheistic can be resolved by seeing the God/desses as masks worn by the Great Mystery.
Other pagans are simply monotheistic or polytheistic, and still others are atheistic.
Some people believe paganism to be a religion within itself; others see it as a belief system (such as monotheism)
that can be incorporated into religions like Wicca or Druidism; others see it as a broad category including many