Paganism (from Latin paganus, meaning "country dweller, rustic") is a term which, from a Western perspective, has come to connote a broad set of spiritual or cultic practices or beliefs of any folk religion, and of historical and contemporary polytheistic religions in particular.
- He offers a handshake, crooked five fingers
They form a pattern yet to be matched
On the surface simplicity
But the darkest pit in me is pagan poetry
- Puritanism and paganism — the repression and the expression of the senses and desires — alternate in mutual reaction in history. Generally religion and puritanism prevail in periods when the laws are feeble and morals must bear the burden of maintaining social order; skepticism and paganism (other factors being equal) progress as the rising power of law and governments permits the decline of the church, the family, and morality without basically endangering the stability of the state.
- Paganism was a term of contempt invented by Christianity for people in the countryside who lived close to and in harmony with Nature, and whose ways of worship were spontaneous as opposed to the contrived though-categories constructed by Christianity’s city-based manipulators of human minds. In due course, the term was extended to cover all spiritually spontaneous culture of the world – Greek, Roman, Iranian, Indian, Chinese, native American. It became a respectable term for those who revolted against Christianity in the modern West. But it has yet to recover its spiritual dimension which Christianity had eclipsed. For me, Hinduism preserves ancient Paganism in all its dimensions. In that sense, I am a Pagan. The term "Polytheism' comes from Biblical discourse, which has the term 'theism' as its starting point. I have no use for these terms. They create confusion. I dwell in a different universe of discourse which starts with 'know thyself' and ends with the discovery, 'thou art that'...
- The heroes in paganism correspond exactly to the saints in popery, and holy dervises in MAHOMETANISM. The place of, HERCULES, THESEUS, HECTOR, ROMULUS, is now supplied by DOMINIC, FRANCIS, ANTHONY, and BENEDICT. Instead of the destruction of monsters, the subduing of tyrants, the defence of our native country; whippings and fastings, cowardice and humility, abject submission and slavish obedience, are become the means of obtaining celestial honours among mankind.
- David Hume, The Natural History of Religion (1757), Part X - "With regard to courage r abasement".
- This fact, that the opposite of sin is by no means virtue, has been overlooked. The latter is partly a pagan view, which is content with a merely human standard, and which for that very reason does not know what sin is, that all sin is before God. No, the opposite of sin is faith.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death (1849), Part Two: Despair Is Sin, pp. 114 - 115.
- What a dangerous objection it would be against Christianity, therefore, if paganism had a definition of sin which Christianity had to acknowledge was correct.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death (1849), Part Two: Despair Is Sin, p. 122.
- Hesiod, the oldest author to have written on theogony, asserted that the gods and men are created by unknown natural forces. We can therefore consider paganism as a superstitious form of atheism.
- Pierre-Simon Laplace, "On Causality" (manuscript), in Roger Hahn, Pierre-Simon Laplace, 1749–1827: A Determined Scientist. Harvard University Press, 2005, p. 232.
- I have always considered myself, when I learned what the word meant, I've always considered myself a Pagan.
- We saw ourselves as anthropologists from the twenty-first century inhabiting a time module set somewhere in the dark ages of the 1960s. On this space colony we were attempting to create a new paganism and a new dedication to life as art.
- I have heard that Paganism is for broken people, but life cracks everyone in some way. We are a religion of healing people.
- Thomm Quackenbush, Pagan Standard Times (2015)
- All my life I have been attracted by Catholicism. But what attracted me was not its Christianity, but its paganism. The Scholastic Philosophers entertained me not because they were apologists for Jesus but because they were refinements of Aristotle. The liturgical life of the Church moved me because it echoes the most ancient responses to the turning of the year and the changing seasons, and the rhythms of animal and human life. For me the Sacraments transfigured the rites of passage, the physical facts of the human condition — birth, adolescence, sexual intercourse, vocation, sickness and death, communion, penance. Catholicism still provides a structure of acts, individual and at the same time communal, physical responses to life.
- Notwithstanding, the disciples of Jesus, excepting John the Revelator, suffered ignominious deaths, they sowed the seed of the Gospel among, and conferred the Priesthood upon men, which remained for several generations upon the earth, but the time came when Paganism was engrafted into Christianity, and at last Christianity was converted into Paganism rather than converting the Pagans. And subsequently the Priesthood was taken from among men, this authority was re-called into the heavens, and the world was left without the Priesthood-without the power of God-without the Church and Kingdom of God.
- Pagan renaissance is overdue. It is necessary for Europe to heal its psyche. Under Christianity, Europe learned to reject its ancestors, its past, which cannot be good for its future also. Europe became sick because it tore apart from its own heritage, it had to deny its very roots. If Europe is to be healed spiritually, it must recover its spiritual past--at least, it should not hold it in such dishonor.... For self-recovery, these countries have to revive their old gods. But this is a task which cannot be done mechanically. They have to recapture the consciousness which expressed itself in the language of many gods... In my book, 'The Word as Revelation: Names of Gods', I spoke of a new kind of pilgrimage: a return to the time of the Gods. Meanwhile, European scholars can do a lot. They should write a history of Europe from the Pagan point of view, which would show how profoundly persecuted Paganism was. They should compile a directory of Pagan temples destroyed, Pagan groves and sacred spots desecrated. European Pagans should also revive some of these sites as their places of pilgrimage.
- Ram Swarup, Interview in the June, 1996, issue of Antaios, 
- The Hindu pantheon has changed to some extent but the old Gods are still active and are still understood though under modified names. Hindu India has a sense of continuity with its past which other nations, that changed their religions at some later stage, lack. It is also known that the Hindu religion preserves many old layers and forms. Therefore, its study may link us not only with its own past forms but also with the religious consciousness, intuitions and forms that prevailed in the past in Europe, in Greece, in Rome, in many Scandinavian and Baltic countries, amongst Germanic and Slavic peoples and also in several countries of the Middle East. In short, the study may reveal a fundamental form of spiritual consciousness which is wider than its Hindu expression.
- Ram Swarup, The World As Revelation: Names of Gods
- I must say that the Pagan movement will have a lot to do. The opposing forces are very powerful, and they have a long tradition of using force and repression. But I believe that a new spirit is rising and once the Pagans begin to speak, they are going to be heard.
- Of Hindus, Pagans and The Return of The Gods Hinuism Today
- That men who find Christianity too hard of belief should come to believe in Paganism, sounds, I know, like an absurdity. But nothing is so incalculable as the credulity of incredulity.
- Francis Thompson, "Paganism: Old and New", A Renegade Poet and Other Essays (Boston: The Ball Publishing Co., 1910), p. 48.
- Our patriotism comes straight from the Romans. … It is a pagan virtue, if these two words are compatible. The word pagan, when applied to Rome, early possesses the significance charged with horror which the early Christian controversialists gave it. The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism.
- Simone Weil, Prelude to Politics (1943), p. 220.
- “India, Rome, Ireland and Iran” [are the] “areas in which priesthoods are known to have been significant” ... “Long after the dispersion of Indo-Europeans, we find a priestly class in Britain in the west, in Italy to the South, and in India and Iran to the east. Though these cultures are geographically distant from one another... they have striking similarities in priestly ritual, and even in religious terminology. For example, taboos pertaining to the Roman flAmen (priest) closely correspond to the taboos observed by the Brahmans, the priests of India.” [Like the Indian priesthood, the curriculum of the] “Celtic Druids … involved years of instruction and the memorization of innumerable verses, as the sacred tradition was an oral one”.... “Celts, Romans and Indo-Iranians shared a religious heritage dating to an early Indo-European period…”
- Shan M.M. Winn: Heaven, Heroes and Happiness: The Indo-European Roots of Western Ideology by Shan M.M. Winn, University Press of America, Lanham-New York-London, 1995.
Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology,, (1877) edit
- Summoning back the long-forgotten memories of the Mosaic laws, the Romish Church claims the monopoly of miracles, and of the right to sit in judgment over them, as being the sole heir thereto by direct inheritance. The Old Testament, exiled by Colenso, his predecessors and contemporaries, is recalled from its banishment. The prophets, whom his Holiness the Pope condescends at last to place, if not on the same level with himself, at least at a less respectful distance,‡ are dusted and cleaned. The memory of all the diabolical abracadabra is evoked anew. The blasphemous horrors perpetrated by Paganism, its... phallic worship, thaumaturgical wonders wrought by Satan, human sacrifices, incantations, witchcraft, magic, and sorcery are recalled and demonism is confronted with spiritualism for mutual recognition and identification. Our modern demonologists conveniently overlook a few insignificant details, among which is the undeniable presence of heathen phallism in the Christian symbols. A strong spiritual element of this worship may be easily demonstrated in the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mother of God; and a physical element equally proved in the fetish-worship of the holy limbs of Sts. Cosmo and Damiano, at Isernia, near Naples; a successful traffic in which ex-voto in wax was carried on by the clergy, annually, until barely a half century ago.
- We find it rather unwise on the part of Catholic writers to pour out their vials of wrath in such sentences as these: "In a multitude of pagodas, the phallic stone, ever and always assuming, like the Grecian batylos, the brutally indecent form of the lingham . . . the Maha Deva." Before casting slurs on a symbol whose profound metaphysical meaning is too much for the modern champions of that religion of sensualism par excellence, Roman Catholicism, to grasp, they are in duty bound to destroy their oldest churches, and change the form of the cupolas of their own temples. The Mahody of Elephanta, the Round Tower of Bhangulpore, the minarets of Islam — either rounded or pointed — are the originals of the Campanile column of San Marco, at Venice, of the Rochester Cathedral, and of the modern Duomo of Milan. All of these steeples, turrets, domes, and Christian temples, are the reproductions of the primitive idea of the lithos, the upright phallus. "The western tower of St. Paul's Cathedral, London," says the author of The Rosicrucians, "is one of the double lithoi placed always in front of every temple, Christian as well as heathen." Moreover, in all Christian Churches, "particularly in Protestant churches, where they figure most conspicuously, the two tables of stone of the Mosaic Dispensation are placed over the altar, side by side, as a united stone, the tops of which are rounded. . . . The right stone is masculine, the left feminine." Therefore neither Catholics nor Protestants have a right to talk of the "indecent forms" of heathen monuments so long as they ornament their own churches with the symbols of the Lingham and Yoni, and even write the laws of their God upon them. Vol. I, Chapter I, p. 5
- Another detail not redounding very particularly to the honor of the Christian clergy might be recalled in the word Inquisition. The torrents of human blood shed by this Christian institution, and the number of its human sacrifices, are unparalleled in the annals of Paganism. Another still more prominent feature in which the clergy surpassed their masters, the "heathen," is sorcery. Certainly in no Pagan temple was black magic, in its real and true sense, more practiced than in the Vatican. While strongly supporting exorcism as an important source of revenue, they neglected magic as little as the ancient heathen. It is easy to prove that the sortilegium, or sorcery, was widely practiced among the clergy and monks so late as the last century, and is practiced occasionally even now. Vol. I, Chapter I, p. 5
- More than ever arrogant, stubborn, and despotic, now that she has been nearly upset by modern research, not daring to interfere with the powerful champions of science, the Latin Church revenges herself upon the unpopular phenomena. A despot without a victim, is a word void of sense; a power which neglects to assert itself through outward, well-calculated effects, risks being doubted in the end. The Church has no intention to fall into the oblivion of the ancient myths, or to suffer her authority to be too closely questioned. Hence she pursues, as well as the times permit, her traditional policy. Lamenting the enforced extinction of her ally, the Holy Inquisition, she makes a virtue of necessity. The only victims now within reach are the Spiritists of France. Vol. I, Chapter I, p. 5
- Another detail not redounding very particularly to the honor of the Christian clergy might be recalled in the word Inquisition. The torrents of human blood shed by this Christian institution, and the number of its human sacrifices, are unparalleled in the annals of Paganism. Another still more prominent feature in which the clergy surpassed their masters, the "heathen," is sorcery. Certainly in no Pagan temple was black magic, in its real and true sense, more practiced than in the Vatican. While strongly supporting exorcism as an important source of revenue, they neglected magic as little as the ancient heathen. It is easy to prove that the sortilegium, or sorcery, was widely practiced among the clergy and monks so late as the last century, and is practiced occasionally even now. p. 6
The famous Catholic theologian, Tillemont, assures us in his work that "all the illustrious Pagans are condemned to the eternal torments of hell, because they lived before the time of Jesus, and, therefore, could not be benefited by the redemption"!! He also assures us that the Virgin Mary personally testified to this truth over her own signature in a letter to a saint. Therefore, this is also a revelation — "the Spirit of God Himself" teaching such charitable doctrines. p. 8, Vol. II, Chapter I,
- Without going very far back into antiquity for comparisons, if we only stop at the fourth and fifth centuries of our era, and contrast the so-called "heathenism" of the third Neo-platonic Eclectic School with the growing Christianity, the result may not be favorable to the latter. Even at that early period, when the new religion had hardly outlined its contradictory dogmas; when the champions of the bloodthirsty Cyril knew not themselves whether Mary was to become "the Mother of God," or rank as a "demon" in company with Isis; when the memory of the meek and lowly Jesus still lingered lovingly in every Christian heart, and his words of mercy and charity vibrated still in the air, even then the Christians were outdoing the Pagans in every kind of ferocity and religious intolerance. p. 32, Vol. II, Chapter I, (1877)
- Draper's assertion that "Paganism was modified by Christianity, Christianity by Paganism,"§ is being daily verified. "Olympus was restored but the divinities passed under other names," he says, treating of the Constantine period. "The more powerful provinces insisted on the adoption of their time-honored conceptions. Views of the trinity in accordance with the Egyptian traditions were established. Not only was the adoration of Isis under a new name restored, but even her image, standing on the crescent moon, reappeared. The well-known effigy of that goddess with the infant Horus in her arms has descended to our days, in the beautiful artistic creations of the Madonna and child." p. 48 Vol. II, Chapter I,
- All the civilized portion of the Pagans who knew of Jesus honored him as a philosopher, an adept whom they placed on the same level with Pythagoras and Apollonius. Whence such a veneration on their part for a man, were he simply, as represented by the Synoptics, a poor, unknown Jewish carpenter from Nazareth? As an incarnated God there is no single record of him on this earth capable of withstanding the critical examination of science; as one of the greatest reformers, an inveterate enemy of every theological dogmatism, a persecutor of bigotry, a teacher of one of the most sublime codes of ethics, Jesus is one of the grandest and most clearly-defined figures on the panorama of human history. His age may, with every day, be receding farther and farther back into the gloomy and hazy mists of the past; and his theology — based on human fancy and supported by untenable dogmas may, nay, must with every day lose more of its unmerited prestige; alone the grand figure of the philosopher and moral reformer instead of growing paler will become with every century more pronounced and more clearly defined. It will reign supreme and universal only on that day when the whole of humanity recognizes but one father — the unknown one above — and one brother — the whole of mankind below. Vol. II, Chapter III, p. 150 (1877)
- The inference to be drawn from all this is, that the made-up and dogmatic Christianity of the Constantinian period is simply an offspring of the numerous conflicting sects, half-castes themselves, born of Pagan parents. Each of these could claim representatives converted to the so-called orthodox body of Christians. And, as every newly-born dogma had to be carried out by the majority of votes, every sect colored the main substance with its own hue, till the moment when the emperor enforced this revealed olla-podrida, of which he evidently did not himself understand a word, upon an unwilling world as the religion of Christ. Wearied in the vain attempt to sound this fathomless bog of international speculations, unable to appreciate a religion based on the pure spirituality of an ideal conception, Christendom gave itself up to the adoration of brutal force as represented by a Church backed up by Constantine. Since then, among the thousand rites, dogmas, and ceremonies copied from Paganism, the Church can claim but one invention as thoroughly original with her -- namely, the doctrine of eternal damnation, and one custom, that of the anathema. Volume II, Chapter VII.
- The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for every thing, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.——Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.
- William Wordsworth, Poems in Two Volumes (1807)