by Rev Daniel S. Irwin
The course on Paganism was informative and enlightening. Paganism...ancient religions and new religions created from the old. I particularly liked the historical perspective, the link with the old, the respect for different viewpoints. Respect for different viewpoints in that, no matter the 'path' one chooses to follow, it can be "all good".
I, myself, have always had a healthy respect for the old religions/beliefs, particularly those originating in Europe. Some modern day groups have revived the old religions/cultures showing that these beliefs are not just thrown away but actually are roots to one's heritage.
The lessons devoted to listing Pagan gods and helpers was exceptionally thorough for there are many gods, many beliefs. Yes, as I remarked, there are many paths that one my follow as a pagan with a pantheon of deities and cultures. The importance of ritual, sacred places and sacred spaces is stressed and noted for the binding power which each would exert over the group. These are the things which give us value, teach, and create a religious sense of 'home', as well as, enrich our spiritual being.
The in depth coverage of celebrations and sabbats was, as the rest of the course, enlightening and full of information which one would be hard pressed to find and piece together one's self. Some of these sacred days I was aware of and have participated in the ceremonies...particularly the solstices. The lessons on sacred symbols and runes was, like wise, an in depth coverage of aspects of paganism.
The many pagan views/beliefs of/concerning 'afterlife' are as many and varied as the distinctive pagan religions themselves. From an anthropological viewpoint, much can be learned about a culture or religion in the way they view life beyond death, the manner in which their dead are treated/regarded, and the rites and rituals performed in benefit for the dead and the living.
This course on Paganism was a twenty weeks of positive, informative lessons. I would recommend this course to anyone who would wish to further their knowledge of Paganism. After all, not every one is a member of, what is considered, the 'main stream' religions. Nor should one who is a Pagan be regarded as an eccentric fool. The world is full of different beliefs, different religions...all valid, all sacred to their followers. Respect is due to all.