It's often the case that the word "paganism" is associated with a brutal or ancient religion that includes some sort of human sacrifice or scary masks. People tend to look at pagans as people interested in the dark arts, or black magic. Throughout history, paganism has been demonized and made to look like something quite sinister. But, like a lot of things established before modern Western society, it really isn't as scary as you think.
I've always felt a great appreciation and admiration for nature. I like to be around nature, and I think the natural world has something incredibly spiritual and eye-opening to offer us as humans. And when I was introduced to paganism, I started to understand my views on nature.
In a simple sense, I see magic in nature. I think everything around us is magical, and the fact that we even exist on this planet right now is magical. I am incredibly grateful for the life I have and I owe my gratitude to this amazing earth. The reason I collect crystals is that I see them as a magical and enchanted element of this world, and the energy they harbor influences my energy. The magic they harbor affects the magic that I myself harbor!
(I've already written a short article on crystals, so I'd check that out if you want to know more about that.)
Part of My Crystal Collection
The main reason that paganism has a negative reputation is because of the way it was made to be seen in society by political and religious powers of the past. The word "paganism" was once used as a sort of umbrella term to describe anyone who didn't follow any of the three Abhramic religions, these being Christianity, Islam and Judaism. So, when powerful leaders were trying to convert people to these Abrahamic religions, they demonised paganism to make it look less appealing, therefore bringing more people toward these three more "desired" religions. So, over the centuries, the stigma has somewhat stuck, and many people still consider paganism to be a sort of dark or even Satanic religion (we don't even believe that Satan exists, let alone worship him!).
We also don't follow any rule books like a Bible or Qur'an. The wonderful thing about Paganism is that it's all about finding your own path. You don't live by a set of rules that dictate how you should think, feel or act. You carve out your own way of following this belief, which makes it uniquely personal and special to you!
For example, because Paganism is a nature-based religion, Pagans often use nature in their practices, whether this be plants, herbs, crystals, or any other natural resource. Some people connect more with certain resources, and some people find certain resources more useful or influential in their practices. It's all down to personal preference and what works for you. I personally connect more to amethyst than any other crystal, and use it regularly. But some people will connect more to jasper, citrine, or any other crystal. Each person is different!
We also don't follow any one specific deity. Though there are names for deities in Paganism, they're sort of just personifications of nature. For example, I don't see a goddess of the moon as an actual existing being. I see her as a personification of the moon. She represents the moon. I like this element of Paganism because I never particularly liked the idea of worshipping a specific god like they do in many other religions.
So, there you go! A little insight into the workings of Paganism. It's really enhanced my life and strengthened my love of nature and the world I live in. It's truly magical, if you'll pardon the pun.