What Are the Different Pagan Religions

What are the Different Pagan Religions?

The word “Paganism” is an umbrella term encompassing hundreds of different religions and spiritual paths. When the word was first used at the end of the Roman Empire, it was meant to describe any person practicing a religion or spiritual path other than the three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. 

Today, the same is still very much true. While some believe that the word “Pagan” simply means a follower of a polytheistic religion, that’s not necessarily true. There are certainly Pagan paths that are monotheistic, and even completely non-theistic or agnostic paths such as Secular Paganism or Humanistic Paganism.

It can be pretty difficult to know or understand all of the different Pagan religions, as there are so many. So let’s take a look at five of the most prevalent in order to help you get a better grasp of such an all-encompassing spirituality.


Probably the most well-known Pagan religion, Wicca has its origins in matriarchal pre-Christian religions. Though there had been many iterations of Wicca since the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the religion was mainly brought to the fore by Gerald Gardner in the 1950s with his Gardnerian tradition. 

Consisting of mainly Goddess worship with other associated deities, such as the Horned God, Wicca is a religious path centered around nature and witchcraft. There are many different ways to practice Wicca, whether as a solitary witch or in a coven. Whether you decide to focus your traditions on the home, like a Kitchen Witch; or nature and garden, like a Green Witch, or the practice of neutral magick, like a Grey Witch, there are paths for everyone in Wicca. Just don’t ever use the terms black or white magick. Magick doesn’t have a color. It is a neutral source whose objectives are set by the intent of the witch performing the magick.

Hellenic Paganism

Hellenism or Hellenic Paganism, Hellenic Polytheism, or Hellenismos, is the Pagan practice of worshipping the Gods and Goddess of Ancient Greece. Hellenism is a reconstructionist religion based on the honoring of the Olympian Gods and Goddesses, Greek heroes, and nature spirits. 

A reconstructionist religion, as you’ll see again later with Kemetism, is the idea of reconstructing an ancient religion to fit modern times. Due to the fact that the original religion of Ancient Greece had no set form of worship or religious practice, modern-day Hellenic Pagans are able to be just as diverse in their worship and practice. As with Ancient Hellenism and unlike many Abrahamic religions, the deities of Hellenic Paganism are not considered to be intangible beings, but are instead believed to be higher beings on the ladder of society. They are tangible forces in the lives of those who worship and follow them.


Heathenism or heathenry is the umbrella term for the worship of Germanic deities. There are many different paths of heathenism including Asatru/Asatro, which is the following of Norse Mythologies; Theodism, or Anglo-Saxon Polytheism, is the reconstruction of the practices and beliefs of Northern European tribes; and Irminism, which is an Ariosophy (which translates to “The Wisdom of the Aryans”) that worships the German God Irmin, who was believed to be the patron God of the Saxons.


Kemetism is the worship of the Ancient religion of Kemet, Egypt. There are two main forms of Kemetism: Kemetic Reconstructionism and Kemetic Orthodoxy. 

Kemetic Reconstructionism, as the word suggests, is a reconstruction of the Ancient Egyptian religion and its pantheon of Gods and Goddess for modern times. Kemetic Reconstructionists strive to be as historically accurate in their worship as possible, while realizing that modern times require modern practices. 

Followers of Kemetic Orthodoxy, on the other hand, consider themselves monolatric, rather than polytheistic, like Reconstructionists. Monolatry is the worship of individual deities as parts of a whole deity. Think of the facets of a diamond. Each facet, in itself, is not a whole diamond, but together, they make up the whole. This whole diamond, in Kemetic Orthodoxy, is called Netjer, which translates to “divine power”.


Modern Druidry, though taking its name from ancient Celtic beliefs, doesn’t necessarily follow the same path as modern Celtic Reconstructionism. Because the ancient Druids left no written record, modern Druidry falls on the eclectic side of the religion spectrum. 

What is the same, though, is that both ancient and modern Druids follow a nature-centric path promoting harmony and connection with all living things, including the earth. Druids believe that the natural world is permeated with Spirit, and therefore believe it is dynamic and alive. Druidry is a polytheistic religion, but there are no set pantheons to which all Druids worship. 

What is your path? Did we list it here? Let us know!

Five Tips for Celebrating Yule as a New Pagan

Five Tips for Celebrating Yule as a New Pagan

If you’re new to paganism and eager to celebrate Yule, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the avalanche of information out there. After all, there are countless ways to observe the Yule holiday, each with its own history and traditions. 

The Sabbat is the longest night of the year. Following Yule, the sun begins its long and meandering journey back to earth. Here are five helpful tips on ways you can celebrate Yule as a new pagan that will help you make the most out of your first winter solstice as an occultist.

1) Decorate a Yule Altar

The altar is where you’ll perform rituals and commune with gods. The time it takes to create an altar depends on your level of ambition, but it’s well worth taking your time to create something that reflects you and honors your spirituality. Don’t worry about getting every detail right—as long as there are objects on your altar that represent you and what matters to you, it will serve its purpose. If your altars need some sprucing up throughout the year, here’s an easy and effective way to refresh them: replace or rearrange photos or stones at new moon. And don’t forget to do an annual deep clean! 

Incorporate meaningful colors such as blues, whites and silvers when you decorate your altar. Include the vibrant reds, whites and greens of the holiday season. Evergreen boughs are a welcome classic, so add some dark greens as well. 

Solar symbols are a very relevant choice for your altar, since Yule is a Sabbat that reflects the return of the sun. Some ideas are to use gold discs, gold candles, and any other object that represents the bright, shining light of the sun. You can also DIY a sun candle by purchasing a large pillar candle and inscribing it with solar symbols and words.You can also add sprigs of holly and pine cones. Boughs from pines, fir, juniper and cedar (which are all part of the evergreen family) are traditionally connected to themes of protection and prosperity, as well as that of a continuation of life and renewal. If you’re up for crafting your own besom, use birch branches to build it. This would be a great tool for your magical workings, spells and rituals related to enchantments, renewal, purification, fresh starts and new beginnings. As long as you have the space for it, let your imagination and creativity run wild and fill your altar with as many things as you want.

Some of these items could come in handy as part of your Sabbat decor: 

Fruit and nuts can be added to your altar. Lay out bowls of winter nuts like walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. Rest some fresh fruit such as oranges and apples on your altar.

Mistletoe symbolizes fertility and abundance and is a classic symbol of the winter holidays around the world.

Snowflakes, icicles and snow bring a little wintertime magic to your altar.

Candy canes: they may be a classic Christmas holiday offering, candy canes can be utilized as a way to direct magical energy in your practice.

Bells are popular in Pagan practice as they are known to drive away evil spirits. However, you can repurpose them to bring harmony to your magical space.

Sun wheels and other solar symbols are a very relevant addition to your altar as they tie into the sun’s long journey back to earth. Use them to feel that connection.

2) Gather with Loved Ones

As you get started in paganism, there may be many people you’d like to spend time with—both old friends and new. However, if you live far away from family or significant others, remember that there are plenty of other pagans out there! If you have trouble finding local groups online, find other pagans on social media sites, like here, on Coven Cloud. You can message your new pagan friends about getting together during your favorite holiday celebrations. Whatever you choose to do, don’t let distance keep you from participating in special events with loved ones who share your beliefs. It’s important to create connections with people who respect your journey—and distance often gets in the way of that.

3) Make an Evergreen Yule Wreath

If you’re already celebrating Christmas, making an evergreen wreath is a nice way to incorporate some of your pagan beliefs into your festivities. Gather fresh greenery—either from your backyard or purchase it at a local florist or craft store—and wrap ribbons or yarn around it in any design you choose. Making wreaths with candles around it is another common practice, which you can easily adopt. While decorating your wreath, recite mantras and manifestations to bring your dreams to life.

4) Give Back to Nature

Pagans believe that nature is sacred. Spending time outdoors during Yule is a great way to strengthen your bond with nature and give back to Mother Earth. Whether you decide to take a walk or go camping, getting into nature gives you an opportunity to connect with something greater than yourself. And, if you really want to get in touch with nature at its core, try tree-planting! You’ll be giving Mother Nature something beautiful while also reducing your carbon footprint. What could be better?

5) Burn a Yule Log

While some may prefer to burn an actual Yule log, others may not be able to find one. If you fall into that category, you can still celebrate with a faux log or candleholder. Decorate your log or candle holder using red and green ribbon and hang a wreath of evergreen over it. Make sure to include traditional elements of celebration, such as holly and mistletoe. Some people also put candles in their Yule logs; however, it is important to be very careful when doing so. Be sure not to leave them unattended when lit and never add anything flammable to your decoration if it isn’t already made from flammable material. The Yule log is typically burned for twelve nights starting on the Winter Solstice and going for 12 nights (from approximately December 21st to the 1st of January). However, the log isn’t kept burning throughout those 12 nights; a portion of the log is burned each night until the 12th night, which would see the last of it burned. Traditionally, the leftover piece is then kept until the following year, when the last year’s Yule log will be used to light the next year’s. 

An interesting note on this tradition: although Christians also practice the “twelve nights of Christmas” starting from Christmas Day through the Epiphany on the 6th of January, this was done as a way of incorporating Pagan traditions into Christian traditions to make conversion of Pagans to Christianity easier.

These are just some of the ways that you can make the most of celebrating Yule as a new pagan and begin developing your own practice around this meaningful time of year.

10 Most Mind Blowing Ways Christianity Stole From Paganismmm

10 Most Mind-Blowing Ways Christianity Stole

When Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, it didn’t come without controversy. The Romans saw Christians as hostile heathens who rejected the religion of their ancestors. But many of the customs practiced by early Christians were actually borrowed from the pagans they so despised, all as a means of converting the Pagans to Christianity. Here are the 10 most mind-blowing ways Christianity stole from Paganism!

1) The Number 12

The number 12 has an important place in both Pagan and Christian traditions. Pagans worshipped a number of gods, usually 12, but also 22, 32, or 36 depending on the region. Early Christians paid homage to Jesus’ 12 apostles and even today it is said that he will return to Earth with his 12 disciples. Likewise, early Pagans often built temples in groups of 12, with circular designs like Stonehenge (in England) or The Sanctuary at Corsepius (in Turkey). Today, Christians are encouraged to welcome Jesus into their lives through 12 steps programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. 12 is also considered a good omen because many people believe it has no imperfections.

2) Christmas Trees

Early Christians were called tree worshippers by Romans who noted their custom of decorating Christmas trees during holidays. The first documented use of Christmas trees was in Germany in 1521. The ancient Greeks and Scandinavians also decorated trees to celebrate the Winter Solstice, but it is uncertain if they were using evergreen or just hung ornaments on their trees. Early Pagans would bring evergreen branches into their homes and decorate them to bring light and life into the home during the dreary winter months. It has been suggested that Pagan cults worshipped sacred groves of evergreens, thus giving rise to modern-day Christmas tree traditions, but there is no hard evidence to support these theories.

3) Fish

If you’ve ever partaken in a Communion service, you’re familiar with its origins: Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding by turning water into wine. (The first documented Communion ritual was practiced in Alexandria and involved bread and wine.) The fish symbol appeared on early Christian tombstones and other artifacts as a nod to Jesus, who stated that he will make you fishers of men. But the reality is that the symbol of the fish finds its roots in Paganism. The Christian symbol of the fish, called the Ichthys, even gets its name from a Pagan God, coincidentally named Ichthys, who was the son of the sea goddess, Atargatis, in Babylonian mythology. Pagans worshipped the symbol of the fish, often drawn by two intersecting crescent moons, as a symbol of fertility, believing it resembled a woman’s womb, thus representing the monthly cycle.

4) Fire

In ancient times, humans used fire as a tool for cooking, keeping warm, and light. In addition to these benefits, fire also had religious significance in many cultures. It was believed that divine forces were responsible for providing fire to humankind and so certain rituals were performed to appease these gods. Fire rituals were performed by Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Hebrews, Incas, Native Americans, and many other cultures around the world. One of these Pagan beliefs is represented in Christmas celebrations where families gather together around a Christmas tree, which has lights adorned on it. Lights that, in ancient times, were actual candles, not the string lights we see today.

5) Easter and Easter Eggs

Pagans and Christians alike observed that eggs were a magical and unique thing: they start out in a lifeless shell and turn into a living, breathing animal over time. It didn’t take long for Pagans to adopt eggs as symbolic of new life, springtime, and transformation, while in Christianity, eggs, and Easter eggs, in particular, symbolize Jesus’ resurrection and emerging from his tomb after three days. Like with many Christian holy days, the holiday known today as Easter got its origins from the Pagan festival of Ostara, a celebration of the Vernal Equinox. 

6) The Virgin Birth

Think Mary was the first virgin to give birth to a god, demi-god, or son of God? Think again! Virgin births have been around in mythologies for centuries before Jesus. One of the earliest mythologies of an immaculate conception was that of the Egyptian God Horus, borne of the virgin Isis. Other virgin births prior to Jesus consist of Zoroaster, Mithra (who’s birthday is also written as December 25th), Krishna, and the Tien-Tse (Sons of Heaven) in China, among others.

7) Death and Resurrection

Like the myth of the virgin birth, Jesus’ resurrection cannot be solely (or even primarily) attributed to Christianity. 5000 years before Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Egyptian God, Osiris was killed and resurrected (more than once!). Osiris’ son, Horus, was also killed and resurrected. Moving onto Greek mythology, Adonis, Hermes, Dionysus, and Herakles all died and were resurrected. Other deities who were killed and subsequently resurrected include Tammuz of Babylonian mythology, Zarathustra, Mithra, and Krishna. The latter of which was believed to be crucified as well.

8) Longer Days at Easter

The earliest Christians may have decided to celebrate Easter on a Sunday because it meant they could worship for longer. During some years, Easter would be celebrated on April 21st or 22nd, rather than March 25th—but Christians still kept their firstfruits celebrations by congregating in church. Pagans, on the other hand, held celebrations at night since they thought that’s when spirits were most likely to wander into our world. It’s no wonder that Christians started celebrating Easter sunrise services!

9) Sunday Rest Days

The ancient Romans had a day of rest on Sunday. The ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Persians, and even ancient Jews had a concept of a day of rest. Some have speculated that Christians stole their Sabbath from Pagans, but it’s possible that all religions were taking a page from history.

10) Christmas

The Christmas tree tradition can be traced to Pagan practices in Germanic Europe. Heathens decorated fir trees in honor of their god, Thor, around December 24—the same day that early Christians used to celebrate Christ’s birth. But the theft from Paganism goes far deeper than simply Christmas trees. The entire holiday of Christmas – you know, the supposed day of Jesus’ birth? – was stolen from the Germanic celebration of Yule, and the Roman festival of Saturnalia. Though it is widely accepted that Jesus’ birth coincides with Christmas Day, historical texts suggest that Jesus was, instead, born in the Spring, however, in an effort to convert Pagans, who were very attached to their holy days, early Christians adopted Pagan celebrations and renamed them. 

Written by Vehemence 

Introduction to Germanic Paganism

Germanic Paganism: What It Is, And Some Different Ways To Practice

Our most important (and almost only) source for the Pagan religion of the Germans is the Germania of Tacitus, written in the first century. The religion described by Tacitus is very different from the Viking-Age religion described in the Norse sagas, like, an awful lot.

The Complex History of Oktoberfest 1

The Complex History of Oktoberfest, and How It Is Influenced by Paganism

Like many other holidays, Oktoberfest stems from an ages-old pagan seasonal celebration — in this case, the bringing in of the harvest, and the consuming of the last of the summer beer stock. It’s a time for families and communities to give thanks for another successful crop and to joyously clear the kegs for winter brewing.

The History of Oktoberfest

There are two conflicting accounts of how this ancient celebration developed. Some claim that it began as a Christian ritual to remember the baptism of Christ, but that story would’ve predated the first German settlement of Austria by at least a thousand years. But the other legend — the old Germanic harvest celebration — is far more plausible. The celebration was, like many other late summer pagan festivals, a time of drinking, dancing, and fun.

Why is Oktoberfest Held in October?

As autumn in Europe began, with the harvest and fall temperatures, certain Germanic tribes who were Christian or nominally Christian began celebrating the ancient Germanic festivals of Samhain and Yule in celebration of the end of the “darker half” of the year. The festival of Samhain, or the festival of the dead, is marked by the festival of Hogmanay in Scotland and the November celebrations in Ireland, and is one of the oldest and most ancient festivals celebrated in Western Europe.  Advertisement – Continue Reading Below  As the Gaelic and Germanic cultures fell under the control of Roman rule, the festivals became more secular.

What Exactly is the Meaning of “Oktoberfest”?

On the one hand, the two most well-known components of Oktoberfest, the parade and the Beer tent, are what many people consider the official reasons why this unique beer festival began, and still exists in today’s modern setting. The Oktoberfest festivities, beginning a week before the Septemberfest that precedes it, are meant to celebrate the beginning of the harvest season in Germany, as well as to celebrate the marriage between Bavaria’s most prominent princess, Princess Christine of Swabia, and King Ludwig I of Bavaria, a process that lasted almost three years.  Unfortunately for anyone who thought the events of Septemberfest were strictly about lager, there are several German customs surrounding the holiday that help to give it a clear religious overtones.

How do Germans Celebrate?

In fact, the German festival is one of the most widely celebrated celebrations on the planet — not only does the world celebrate it in Europe, but also in Germany, Japan, Poland and the United States. While it has evolved over the centuries into its modern form, the origins of the festivities are the celebration of the fertility of the earth, summer harvest and reuniting of the tribes during their yearly migration back to the North.  The original Oktoberfest — known as the “Weiherzogen” or weihnachtlicher Brauch — was celebrated from the last week of October to the first week of November, and each town would hold its own celebration at a different location. As the festival became popular throughout the land, it became the common time that the locals would celebrate.

Is it Just a Beer Festival?

Though it is generally known for beer, in ancient times it was known as “the festival of the field.” When the first Germanic people settled in Bavaria, they built large wooden round towers over sacred and historical sites, so that they could take shelter from lightning strikes, and they hoisted large flags, also called “krauts,” to show their nationality. These were the same krauts that the Saxons and the Scandinavians had used before they were defeated by the Germans.  Although Oktoberfest is normally thought of as a festival that emphasizes beer and sausages, it is much, much more than that. The festivities at the Bavarian festival also include games, dancing, and music. They are intended to raise money for charity, as well.


So, is your favorite German or Austrian beer a great substitute for that Pilsner you can’t bear to give up? While it’s unlikely there’s any real substitute for the more traditional brews, it’s certainly possible to enjoy the many fine options currently being offered by craft beer and microbreweries from all over the world, at home or in the local bars, without falling into despair at the thought of ending your brew streak.