Here are are some thoughts, not particularly original, on
the nature of Paganism, and some beliefs common to most modern
Pagans.  This is part of what I teach to beginning students.  Any
additions, comments, criticisms or outright disagreements are

        Pagans view the entire universe, Seen and Unseen, as a seam-
less unity with structure inherent throughout.  This structure is
often expressed simply: "As Above, So Below".

        A fundamental tenant of Paganism is love of ourselves, of
others and all of Nature.  We feel that the natural world is
inherently good.  A Pagan does not believe that human beings are
born innately sinful and holds that the concept of "sin" is
harmful to human nature.  Nevertheless, we do recognize the
reality of specific acts that are evil, and by extension identify
attitudes and patterns of behavior that we consider wrong.  We
consider ethics to be an important part of our philosophy of
life, but do not try to impose a morality on others.  A
fundamental ethic espoused by almost all Pagans is "Do as you
will, so long as none are harmed".  By implication, Pagans are
expected to exercise thoughtful good judgement, as well as being
loving people.

        We are aware that many of the powers of the universe are
persons, we call them Gods, and they are not only "out there",
independent of us, but are equally within us and part of us.
Ours is an experiential religion; by living in harmony with
ourselves and the universe we can get in contact with the Gods
and benefit from the experience.  When we do this through prayer
or ritual it is called worship.

        We hold that there are natural cycles in the universe that
directly affect our lives, the evolution of humanity and the
course of direction of all that is manifest.  We celebrate,
through regular rituals, the lunar cycle and the seasonal cycles
of the year, and through them other less obvious cycles, thus
attuning ourselves to the ebb and flow of the tides of Nature.

        Pagans recognize and harmonize themselves with those
fundamental patterns of the universe that we call polarity and
complementarity - masculine/feminine, light/dark,
positive/negative, force/form, etc.

        Through training, study and ritual we bring ourselves into
harmony with the great natural forces of the universe and can
effect changes in the world and ourselves at need.  This is
called magic.

        Paganism is not fixed or dogmatic.  Our ideas are constantly
evolving, and we learn from one another.  In our differences is
our strength.  We recognize that the Gods are ultimately beyond
our understanding and respect the different aspects that others

        Most Pagans believe that our essential selves, the core of
the spark of life that is within us, shares divinity with the
Gods and does not end with our deaths but returns into
incarnation again and again, learning from each lifetime's
experience.                                .....Robin
........from R.M.P.J. 8/86

This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal.
Each issue of the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal is published by
High Plains Arts and Sciences; P.O. Box 620604, Littleton Co.,
80123, a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, under a Public Domain
Copyright, which entitles any person or group of persons to
reproduce, in any form whatsoever, any material contained therein
without restriction, so long as articles are not condensed or
abbreviated in any fashion, and credit is given the original