Life by Choice Anupama Garg

Monthly Archives: January 2014

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Pagan is a term which was derived from latin word Paganus which originally meant rural. It has been said that long after Christianity was accepted in cities and towns of the roman empire the villagers continued idol worship .Gradually in time pagan was used for any non Christian tradition. However the word paganism has varied meanings and towards the end of 20th century “Paganism” was widely being used to describe cults which included Wicca. Wicca was considered a cult than an organized religion. Cults were seen as a sect different from the mainstream religion following rituals which were considered dangerous. They were seen as groups which indulged in sexual abuse, violence and psychological control of its members. The 1980’s the view gradually changed to referring such cults as new religious movement.

Wicca is a neo pagan religion bought into light by Gerald Gardner in 1950’s and 1960’s.He was an English priest who spent most of his time outside his country England with the natives and learnt about their practices .He called Wicca as witchcraft and people who followed Wicca were called Witches. In the 1980’s they were being referred to as Wiccans.

Witchcraft is one of the most ancient belief systems known and archaeological discoveries have shown that it can be traced back to 30,000 years .The paintings discovered in the cave show a man with head of a stag and a pregnant woman with eleven people in a circle. The wiccan view is that the paintings depict God and Goddess aspect of nature.

The image of a witch is that of an evil force however that does not hold true and in the ancient times witches were considered wise. They were people who understood nature and its forces. They had knowledge of herbs and treated their fellow men who suffered from physical and mental illness. Their advice was sought before important decisions. Witches understood that nature is to be respected for human race to survive.

It is stated that between the 15th and 18th century the church spread myths about traditional religions to convert people to Christianity .The misconceptions which were spread about witches helped medical science also greatly which was at a nascent stage that time and still developing. By spreading the word that witches were evil, the power from healer witches was taken and people started to place their trust on doctors instead. The respect which was enjoyed by these wise people traditionally was gradually transferring to the physicians who were struggling to draw people towards medical science from traditional beliefs. Sadly all this misinformation from the past still exists largely. Hence witchcraft is called Wicca to avoid harassment to people who follow the tradition.

Witch craft shares its principles and fate largely with the Indian tradition of Tantra. Tantriks in today’s time are greatly misunderstood and Tantra is seen as an evil tradition by a layman. Cinema has added to the belief that Tantra is associated with the dark forces.

 Wicca and Tantra both are traditions that greatly respect nature. Both traditions believe in responsibility and the practioner is responsible for all his/her actions and consequences. Both are spiritual traditions that teach about oneness with the whole humanity and the universe.

 Wicca uses spells which are meant to create love and harmony. The potions that are made are medicinal and prepared with natural ingredients. The five elements which constitute matter in the universe i.e. earth, water, fire, air and space are worshipped as deities in both the traditions.

  Tantra Shastra also known as Agama Shastra is stated to have been revealed by Lord Shiva as the path to be followed in the fourth yuga. The relationship of guru and disciple is very significant and is a characteristic of Tantra tradition.

 Tantra accepts every aspect of creation without discrimination which leaves enough space for misinterpretations and distortions. There is no fight to renounce but an effortless transformation comes with living and accepting life as it is.

According to Tantra, the entire universe is a manifestation of pure consciousness. One aspect being Shiva, the masculine, retains a static quality and remains unmanifested. The other aspect, Shakti being feminine is the dynamic and creative. Shakti is regarded as the mother of the universe as creation flows from her. Tantra regards a human body as a mini universe and all that is found in the cosmos can be found within each human being.

A Wiccan and a Tantric both have been maligned to be traditions in which they practice bizarre rituals to attain power. However in both the cases it is not true. In essence both the traditions believe in religious freedom, both draw energy from nature and within. They believe in harming no one as actions and consequences is a principle that all nature respecting traditions follow.