July 27, 2000 News » Cover Story

Of auras and spirit guides 

One of the keys to the pagan mindset is its polytheism (belief in multiple gods). Pagans believe that divinity ("truth," "reality," "the life force") is manifested in many ways and phases, male and female, and that all religions afford valid possibilities for growth -- much the way, say, that jogging, swimming laps or mountain-biking are equally-beneficial forms of exercise. Choose the mode you prefer, practice it diligently, and benefits will amass.

The pagan, in other words, perceives doctrine less as a fixed and final Truth to which one conforms or suffers damnation than as a pointing finger. To fixate on the finger is to miss the point. What ultimately counts is the journey per se, the striving for self- discovery and spiritual growth.

Pagans comfortably co-exist with a wide spectrum of ideas and beliefs. Many evolved into their practice after a lengthy period of exploring other traditions and philosophies, and many incorporate elements of several religions into a personalized practice reflective of their specific needs and inclinations.

They also tend to be a New Agey lot. They speak of spiritual planes, auras, karma, past lives, astral projection, cosmic confluences, chakras and spirit guides with the workaday assurance of a Marxist discussing the dictatorship of the proletariat, a Freudian declaiming the Id, Ego and Superego, or Billy Graham expounding on the Holy Spirit, the Second Coming, and angels.

Pagans, however, are absolutely forbidden from doing evil, which they define as causing harm to others. The pagan ethic centers around two tenets: "The Wiccan Rede" -- "An it harm none, do what thou wilt" -- and "The Threefold Law": Whatever good or evil you do will be visited back on you threefold.


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