The Pagans Next Door

By Wendy (Woodwife) on June 16, 2010

Some people may not even know that we exist. Others are aware of our existence but may have misconceptions about us. In this article we would like to tell you a little bit about ourselves.


There’s a new cubit in the neighborhood called The Cottage in the Thicket and the people there call themselves pagans or friends of pagans. It’s a place where those who have spiritual beliefs that are outside the mainstream can come to chat, laugh, complain and just generally have a good time.

What is a pagan? 

Originally Pagani was what the Romans called country dwellers. The country folk clung to the old ways and old rituals for some time after the city folk had converted to Christianity. So it eventually came to mean non-Christian.

Today the pagan community defines itself as anyone who does not follow a Judeo-Christian or Islamic faith and who self-identifies as pagan. That means that someone who doesn’t belong to a JCI faith may not necessarily label themselves as pagan. For example an Atheist or a Buddhist would fit the definition but may or may not call themselves a pagan.

Paganism itself is not a religion. Paganism is an umbrella term for many wide ranging belief systems commonly referred to as “paths“. Some paths are full blown religions with thousands of members, some are simply personal beliefs that may only have a single practitioner. 

Some paths are related to one another and share some common ground while others are completely different. Each individual path has its own set of rules, ethics, rituals, holidays, tools and liturgy. 

What do pagans believe?

The majority of pagan paths are polytheistic, non-dogmatic, non-proselytizing, and so as not to ignore the elephant in the room, they do not worship Satan as is often believed by outsiders.

There is no overarching set of rules or central authority that governs pagans. You can’t say “all pagans do this or all pagans do that” but in very general terms it’s safe to say most pagan paths espouse reverence for the natural world, honor, respect, generosity and duty among other virtues.

Are there really that many pagans today?

It’s hard to say how many pagans there are in the western world, estimates number them in the millions. There are openly pagan people who can be found in all walks of life but many pagans are closeted out of fear. It’s still possible in this day and age to lose your friends, your job and even your children if you publicly claim to be a pagan.

Some have had to fight hard for acceptance. Pagan homes and businesses have been vandalized and open celebrations have been disrupted. In the US many pagans serve in the military and have fought and died for their country and yet they’ve only recently won a 10 year legal battle to have a pagan symbol put on their tombstones.

Who are pagans now? 

We’re clerks and teachers, parents and grandparents. We’re rich and we’re poor, educated and not. We’re soldiers and civilians. We go to work, we struggle, we own homes, we love our children. Some of us dress funny and some of us don’t. You may not know it but we’re your friends and neighbors and we’re a lot like you.

Please join us in the Cottage if you’d like to get to know us better.


The Cottage in the Thicket


About Wendy
Wendy is a digital artist, wife and gardener who lives in the great state of Texas.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
Very interesting Lance Jun 23, 2010 7:21 AM 36
Thank you! Woodwife Jun 17, 2010 1:39 PM 0
Beautifully written! sheryl Jun 17, 2010 6:45 AM 0

The Cottage in the Thicket

This is a place for pagans of all paths and anyone else who wants to join in. Everyone is welcome here. Share your ideas or just share what you did today. C'mon in make yourself at home!

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