Pagan Religions

Common Pagan beliefs and practices.


Religious authority

Paganism nationally and internationally has no central religious authority. Communities are governed by initiatory hierarchy or by democratic consensus.


Paganism has no central theology, but rather embraces a number of different theologies and belief systems including, but not restricted to, polytheism, monotheism, pantheism and animism.

Paganism draws spiritual and religious inspiration from many credible and authentic ancient and modern sources of religious doctrine, theology and philosophy. Modern Pagan theology is composed of beliefs and practices originating in many distinct pre- and post-Christian religious traditions. Modern Pagans may embrace all or part of this tapestry of belief systems.

Pagans may explore their family and ethnic heritage to discover the indigenous practices of their distant ancestors. Others do respectfully incorporate indigenous practices that belong to a wide variety of cultures. Many Pagans create new practices that in turn may form part of a new Pagan tradition.

Nature and Divinity

Many modern Pagan religions encourages a strong environmental ethic. This is expressed in the veneration for the Divine Feminine (God as Goddess), most often portrayed as ‘Earth Mother’ or as the ‘Goddess of the Earth’. Paganism encourages a personal inner relationship with the Divine, in and through Nature, whether through the worship of a Goddess, or through worship of a God and Goddess, or through the worship of many Gods and Goddesses.

Pagans also venerate Nature by observing seasonal changes through religious ritual and ceremony. Paganism encourages reverence for the Divine within Nature, and the pursuit of the development of sacred relationships with Nature in many forms.


Religious ceremony

Neo-Pagan Wiccans and Druids celebrate eight religious holy-days which occur on the solstices, equinoxes and four seasonal mid-points between them. These Irish festivals celebrate the seasons and the turning of the seasonal Wheel of the Year.

*Reconstructionist Pagans do not observe neo-Pagan seasonal holy-days, choosing instead to adopt the religious celebrations, rites and rituals of their pre-Christian ancestors.

Modern Pagans encourage respect for ancestral traditions and respect for the living memory of their Ancestors.


The 8 seasonal neo-Pagan festivals (southern hemisphere)

 1. Samhain

Also known as Halloween.

Celebrating the start of the new spiritual year with the veneration of the ancestors.

Date: 30 April / 1 May

 2. Winter Solstice

Also known as Yule.

Celebrating the Winter Solstice Sun.

Date: 21 June (or on the date of the winter solstice)

 3. Imbolc

Also known as Imbolg.

Celebrating the end of Winter and the quickening of stem and field to new life.

Date: 1 August

 4. Spring Equinox

Also known as Ostara.

Celebrating the Spring Equinox and new life.

Date: 21 September (or on the date of the spring equinox)

 5. Beltane

Also known as Beltain.

Celebrating the fertility of Sun and Earth.

Date: 31 October / 1 November

 6. Summer Solstice

Also known as Litha.

Celebrating the Summer Solstice Sun.

Date: 21 December (or on the date of the summer solstice)

 7. Lughnasadh

Also known as the Festival of First Fruits

Celebrating the First Fruits Harvest.

Date: 2 February

 8. Autumn Equinox

Also known as Mabon.

Celebrating the Autumn Equinox and the second harvest of fruit and vegetable.

Date: 21 March (or on the date of the autumn equinox)


Pagans are encouraged to live ethically and to obey the just laws of the Land.


Part IV. Further Reading