Paganism is broad term used to describe ancient, indigenous, or pantheistic religions of a people or region as they existed before the influence of Christianity. Some examples of these would be Celtic, Norse, Greek, and Roman Paganism. Beliefs within these subgroups vary widely, but generally speaking, most Pagans have a reverence for nature and their Ancestors.
Because ancient people rarely kept historical records, many Pagans rely on archaeological evidence and research to dictate their beliefs and practices, with a growing number engaging in reconstruction: the practice of recreating the religious traditions of their Ancestors.
However, not all Pagan religions are ancient. While it certainly has drawn heavily on ancient spiritual practices, the religion of Wicca is actually quite modern. The religion coalesced in the early 20th century, and was later popularized by Gerald Garner in the 1950s. However, despite it’s lack of antiquity, the popularization of Wicca led to the entire Neo-Pagan movement; without which the religion of ancient peoples would be reserved to the pages of history, and not living spiritual traditions.
Because of Wicca’s influence on Paganism, many people outside the religion have difficulty differentiating between the two. While all Wiccans are Pagan, not all Pagans are Wiccan. It should be clear that Wicca has specific characteristics which define its belief system, such as the belief in the dualistic nature God, as a divine feminine Goddess and masculine God; a concept which is not clearly found anywhere in the ancient world.
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