What is Paganism

The word “Paganism” originates from the Classical Latin word “pāgānus” meaning rustic, rural, country dweller, and later used to describe one as a civilian. By the fourth century, Pagan(s) and Paganism became bigoted slurs used by Christians to disparage those who had not converted to Christianity, or more broadly, those who did not convert to an Abrahamic faith. The origins of Paganism used in a derogatory manner are debated, but the result is well known to history.

In the 19th century, Pagan(s) and Paganism became increasingly used as a self-identifying descriptor to explain the beliefs one held. To this day the broadest sense of the terms denote that one is not of an Abrahamic faith.

Sanctuaries, Covens, Communities, Temples, and individuals often have varied and diverse explanations as to what “Paganism” is and thus who quantifies as a “Pagan”. It is one of the common debates in the greater Pagan community sphere.

Sanctuary of the Phoenix does the best we can to be as inclusive as possible while maintaining our sincerely held beliefs in a broad and eclectic manner. In our Sanctuary, since we are of many Paths of Paganism we rely on 2 benchmarks as to determine if one is Pagan and able to join our Coven.

1. One must be liberated from Abrahamic faith, notions, teachings, beliefs, and thinking.
This means one has rejected or had never been exposed to Abrahamism and is also not practicing Abrahamic theology. Abrahamism includes Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

2. The path they observe must conform to our Sanctuary values.
This aspect can be confusing for many and equally difficult to explain in great detail.
However, we generally welcome any Path as long as one does not conduct ritual sacrifice, does not use blood or bodily fluids in Ritual/Magick, does not practice anything Abrahamic, holds no belief that inspires supremacy (Ethnicity, Biological Sex, or Sexual Orientation), and holds no beliefs that are discriminatory (Homophobia, Transphobia, Ableism, Misogyny, or Misandry).

These benchmarks only pertain to our Sanctuary. Ultimately there is no right or wrong way to be Pagan, it is an identity descriptor. This benchmark only serves in our definition as to what faithful we serve in our Sanctuary.
Our Sanctuary is not for everyone, nor is it meant to be. Our community is more of an unorganized religion component that is great for solitary practitioners, individuals new to Paganism or figuring out their Spirituality, and for connecting with each other. Our Coven is the organized religion component, for the devout and the clergy.
However, these benchmarks will help you understand if our Sanctuary is right for you.

Paganism has many forms and modes of beliefs as to the nature of their practice in a world view.
Some examples of world views are Polytheism, Pantheism, Animism, Monotheism, Henotheism, Shamanism, and Atheism.

In Paganism, you find beliefs that are modern and ancient. Some Paths may be modern, some may be ancient, and some may be reconstructions of ancient faiths that had been lost.

Paths, are the varied theologies and teachings. Eclectics observe a mix of Paths but respect those who are on a singular Path.
Some examples of Paths are Wicca, Heathenism, Hellenism, and Druidry.

In our Sanctuary, we also welcome Indigenous beliefs that conform to our 2 benchmarks.
However, we leave it to the practitioner to determine if they self identify as Pagan spiritually.
Some examples of Indigenous beliefs are Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, and Native American Religions.