An ever-changing life inspired by the pneuma


Why I Consider Myself “Pagan” – for those who may ask

Filed under: Paganism and Spirituality — feyMorgaina @ 22:49


Occasionally, I go on message boards. This time an interesting topic was brought up, and it spawned some amusing comments.

The topic was pretty much “what is pagan?”. Through that it was mentioned that many of the Asian cultures are “pagan” in practice. This was something that I personally observed as well, myself being part of the Asian culture (specifically Chinese). It was early in my studies in paganism that I realized that the practices that my mother engaged in were pagan. Realizing this and also knowing a bit about my ancestors (who were likely peasants, not poor, but peasants nonetheless), I concluded that through my bloodline I was born pagan. My ancestors were, for all practical purposes, pagans (though I hesitate to call modern Chinese people pagan because I don’t like placing labels on people and some Chinese may follow other religions such as Christianity, Catholicism, or Buddhism). Such is why I always called myself “pagan” and do not call myself “neo-pagan”.

I consciously choose to follow Wicca (a neo-pagan religion) and practice witchcraft because I felt a connection to these practices. Strangely enough, it was my Wiccan studies that sparked a renewed interest in studying my own culture more, in particular its spiritual practices.

Chinese culture is fascinating because it is quite rich and varied. The country itself started out with different tribes. Along the way, different groups emerged and mixed together. China, the country, is named for its first emperor, Qin, whose rule began in 221 B.C. Prior to that, China was divided into distinct territories and cultures. It is only recently within the last sixty years that China has been able to have some stability. The people of China over time developed and adopted many different spiritual systems. They weren’t afraid of learning foreign ideas. Thus, they adopted Buddhism from India at a time when China already had Taoism. The Chinese people today tend to be a mix of Taoist, Confucianist, and Buddhist (Ch’an Buddhist to be more precise) – quite an eclectic mix. Perhaps that is why I consciously choose to be eclectic in my spirituality.

My mother is traditional Chinese. She mixes Taoist, Confucianist, and Buddhist ideas while continuing to practice some folk traditions. The folk traditions of China before it was China likely became absorbed into Confucianist and Ch’an Buddhist practices. My mother follows the traditional Chinese calendar (the lunisolar one I discussed before on this blog) as a way of keeping track of when certain spiritual rites should be performed – the most common ones being the autumn moon festival and the new year’s festival. It has been only recently that I’ve looked at other festivals that are celebrated by following the Chinese lunisolar calendar. Coincidentally, many of these festivals fall around the same time as the Wiccan Sabbats. 😀

I grew up with some very pagan practices, even if I didn’t understand them at the time. Now, I’m fortunate to have the chance to study these practices and have a reference point for whether or not I’m getting it right. (Thanks, Mom!)

Thus, even though I follow a neo-pagan religion (Wicca), I am very much pagan in heritage.

Brigid’s Flame

P.S. Time being the way it is, I haven’t had any time to study Chinese history in more depth. 🙁