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Paganism is a general term which is usually understood as denoting any religious act, practice or ceremony which is not Christian. Anyone practicing paganism is usually known as a pagan. The word pagan comes from the Latin word paganus which means a country dweller. As Christianity grew the term pagan took on a different definition and unsavory connotations. Gradually a pagan referred to anyone not being a Christian; and paganism came to mean a non-Christian belief or religion. The Christian Church has vigorously attempted to eradicate it by implying that pagans are unsophisticated, uneducated and worship false gods.

Present day pagans or Neo-pagans, as some refer to themselves, find a unison with the ecstatic and mysticism of the pre-Christian religions which they find missing in the mainstream Western religion. Neo-paganism brings them closer to both nature and the Divine Force. The Christian God seems remote or alienated to them, and they see most Christians as viewing nature as just something to be exploited. Most pagans and Neo-pagans view paganism as a religion chiefly worshiping the Mother Goddess, God and nature. The religion also is polytheistic having many deities in the pantheon. To some these goddesses and gods are more than just deities, they represent archetypes of the collective unconsciousness. A.G.H.

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