This article is excerpted from the Rocky Mountain Pagan Journal. Each issue of the Rocky M

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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 author.! THE MEN'S CIRCLE 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 welcome. 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 worship. 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


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