Pagan Paths (Best-Known Pagan Belief Systems)

Are you interested in the Best Known Pagan Belief Systems? Then this guide is for you!

In the world today, there are many Pagans that follow different paths.

As a result, there’s a wide range of Pagans groups to choose from for your studies or spiritual practice.

Let’s look at some of the most common groups to help you determine their similarities and differences.

But first, let’s understand what paganism is all about.

What is Paganism?

pagan-paths

Since some Pagans do not believe that their way of life is a religious path, it is hard to come up with a definition that is agreeable to all.

Many Pagans regard the term religion as too confining or subjective. Instead, they prefer to refer to their way of life as a philosophy, doctrine, or spiritual.

A good number of Pagan groups are guided by creeds that do not honor a divine being. However, some Neo-Pagans believe that life is driven by nature as well as divine forces.

Most Pagans hold that there’s a feminine divine force that helps with issues of ecology – such as environmental conservation, global warming, energy issues, and the weather.

All Pagans believe that the natural world is superior to any other that you can subscribe to. This means that nature is more revered than gods or deities.

Regarding reward and punishment, Pagans believe you reap what you sow. Therefore, they do not attribute good or bad luck to divine beings.

Pagans believe you have to take matters into your own hands to transform your life. They do not wait on divine providence to change their lives.

What Are the Common Types of Pagans?

Monotheistic Pagans

This is the belief in one GodGod – popular with some mainstream religions such as Christianity and Islam. Gods and goddesses are seen as a single reality.

This is not a very popular notion with most Pagans.

Duotheistic Pagans

This is the belief in two gods, usually a god and a goddess. Things considered masculine are attributed to God, while feminine things are instigated and supervised by the Goddess.

An excellent example of this pagan concept is the belief in the Horned God and the Moon Goddess.

Polytheistic Pagans

These Pagans believe that deities are individual entities that have a conscious existence outside of their own psyches.

These deities are controlled by a Godhead figure who rules over all the other gods.

Good examples of this concept are found in the systems of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks.

Animist Pagans

This is the earliest form of religion and was practiced by our ancestors. Unlike in modern religions in which GodGod is given human attributes, animism does not subscribe to the notion of gods.

This type of Pagan believes that everything in nature has spiritual energy. This energy is responsible for the natural phenomena we witness – such as the seasons and life cycles.

A good example of animist pagans is the European Cunning Craft. Most traditional African cultures also follow this system of belief.

Pantheistic Pagans

Pantheism holds that the Universe is controlled by a pantheon of angels who work as one. These gods have the same goals and purpose – although they may use different approaches to achieve them.

Usually, these gods are controlled by one of their own – the one with more power and stature than the rest.

A good example of this concept is found in the ancient Norse religion.

The Best Known Pagan Belief Systems

#1 – Druidism/Druidry

Druidism is a tradition and belief system from ancient Celtic ways of life.

The druids were old men of wisdom who acted as the custodians of natural and spiritual knowledge of the ancient Celts.

Modern Druidism pegs its belief on the supremacy of nature in all things. However, it’s important to note that this branch of paganism should not be confused with Wicca. They hold more or less similar beliefs.

#2 – The Asatru Tradition

These pagans observe the beliefs and cultural practices of the Norsemen before the Christianization of Europe.

When Christians arrived in the land of the Vikings, they referred to the inhabitants as heathens because of their religious practices.

As such, the Asatru prefer to be referred to as heathen and not Neo-Pagan. Theirs is a movement that has revived the ancient Germanic religions and spiritual practices.

#3 – The Alexandrian Practice

This tradition emphasizes ceremonial magic. Alex Sanders founded the Alexandrian tradition in the mid-20th century in England.

Today, this school is populated by a healthy number of pagans in Europe and the US.

#4 – The Saxon Wicca (Seax-Wicca) Pagans

This tradition was started by Raymond Buckland to give Pagans a wider choice of covens.

The seax-Wicca emphasizes Solitaires – a provision for lone witches who do not wish to do all their practice in covens.

For this reason, this tradition is not too keen on one’s initiation into the coven.

Most other Pagan covens require a new member to appear before the old members for a proper initiation ceremony.

In some covens, one can only be admitted or initiated after a period of study under the guidance of existing members.

This is not the case with the Saxon Wicca Pagans.

#5 – Celtic Wicca Pagans

This school of Pagans relies heavily on the Celtic pantheon as part of its rituals and practices. These Pagans frequently reference the elements Earth, Sky, and Water.

The Celtic Wicca believe in the magickal healing of nature, gnomes, little people, elemental spirits, fairies, plants, flowers, and stones.

#6 – Religio Romana Pagans

This tradition of Pagans borrows heavily from the Roman culture and religion that existed before Christianity.

Religio Romana adherents insist on honoring the old gods as they were honored during Roman times.

The structure within the spirituality of this tradition sets them apart from Wicca.

#7 – British Traditionalist Pagans

This tradition is subdivided into sub-classes whose practices are unique to a particular demographic area or geographic region.

They welcome new recruits by taking them through well-structured training with several layers and processes.

The British traditionalists include a number of deities in their belief system.

#8 – Kitchen Witchery

This tradition teaches its members to use kitchen recipes and equipment to conjure magic.

These Pagans believe that using kitchen magic can attract more money for your home, create good health, and invite love and luck in abundance.

The practice of kitchen witchery is gaining in popularity these days; many view it as a pagan power center.

#9 – Frost School of Wicca

This is a correspondence school in the US – possibly the most prominent school in America. It teaches its students the art of magick and Wicca.

However, this school does not regard Wicca as strictly pagan, but rather as a Monotheistic practice that relies on nature.

The Frost School of Wicca supports many pagan covens within the US and abroad.

#10 – Gardnerian Tradition

It is believed in some quarters that this tradition started way back before the witch burnings of the middle ages.

It existed in secret until the mid-20th century, when it surfaced in England under the stewardship of G. Gardner.

A good number of people who became pagans in the 1950s to 1980s gladly aligned themselves with this school of paganism.

Many felt that its approach to teaching about the worship of the Lord and Lady did not require them to change their way of life drastically.

#11 – The Stregheria Pagans

This tradition celebrates the rituals and beliefs of the ancient Italian tribes.

It borrows heavily from the Old Religion (La Vecchia Religione), which existed way before Christianity became predominant in Italian lands.

The Stregheria tradition has sub-classes that adhere to a different set of guidelines.

Much of the history and dynamics of this tradition are captured in modern works of literature about witches, paganism, and the occult.

#12 – The Strega Tradition

The Strega traditions started in Italy in the mid-14th century by a witch called Aradia.

Although these pagans are not widespread globally, their teachings are very impactful. Therefore, you may want to consider them for your studies or practice.

They provide a beautiful and rich source of information on paganism.

#13 – Hellenic Polytheism

This is a reconstructive Neo-Pagan movement that venerates the gods and practices of the Hellenes. The ancient Greeks first practiced this path of paganism, who followed the Hellenic religion.

The Hellenic tradition of paganism is growing quite fast, particularly in Europe and the US.

#14 – Nordic/Teutonic Paganism

The Teutons follow the religious teachings and traditions of the old Germanic culture.

This culture was an amalgamation of several languages that included Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, English, and Dutch.

The ancient Germanic religion heavily relied on nature and several deities to fully express the essence of life.

#15 – Kemetic Reconstruction/Egyptian Paganism

Some modern Pagans have structured their groups to follow the teachings and culture of the ancient Egyptian religion.

These traditions, referred to as Kemetic Paganism, venerate the Neteru – an array of deities that help man create the right balance in the natural world.

New converts to Kemetic Paganism spend most of their time poring scholarly sources for information about the ancient Egyptian religion.

#16 – The Dianic Tradition

This tradition of paganism emphasizes the superiority of the female Goddess over all other gods.

Although this tradition may have started earlier, it became active in the 1950s and 1960s with the rise in the feminist movements in Europe and America.

The Dianic covens of pagans and witches tend to involve themselves in the fight for women’s social and political emancipation.

#17 – The Zande of the Congo

Although most African communities believe witches and Pagans are evil beings out to cause harm, the Zande of the Congo is an exception.

These Pagans conjure supernatural powers they use to protect themselves and their world. They cast spells, use magic, and administer potions to counter the effect of bad sorcery.

However, the Zande have the capacity to perpetrate evil – mainly because they practice sorcery and dark magic.

Conclusion…

The list we have provided here is not exhaustive. However, we have tried our best to capture the important pagan paths you may be interested in.

A lot more pagan traditions and paths exist, and you can discover them with a little more digging.

A take-home point is this: not all Pagans are Wicca or witches.

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