Annex G (ii)
ABOUT THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER- DAY SAINTS (MORMON)
1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon Church) is built on a foundation of prophecy and revelation. Mormons believe the prophesies in the Old and New Testaments that the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ would be taken from the earth through unrighteousness but that they would be returned in the Lord's due time.
2. That due time was in the early 1800s when a 15 year old boy, Joseph Smith, prayed to know which church he should join. He received a vision of God and Jesus Christ, who revealed to him that none of the churches at that time were true, but that he would be an instrument in God's hands to restore the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ. A key part of the restoration of the gospel was the translation of the Book of Mormon from plates of gold material, whose whereabouts were revealed to Joseph Smith by an angel, Moroni.
3. Joseph Smith, as a prophet of God, summarised the beliefs of the church into 13 statements as follows:
The 13 Articles of Faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - day Saints
1. We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgressions.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospels.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the gospel are: first, Faith in Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophesy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same organisation that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophesy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues and so forth.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
We claim the privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where and what they may
We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers and magistrates in obeying, honouring and sustaining the law.
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous and in doing good to all men; indeed we may say that we follow the admonish of Paul – we believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
4. The Latter-day Saints observe the major Christian Holy Days and Sunday as the Sabbath, the weekly day of worship and do not work on these days.
5. Members are encouraged to give time for prayer in the morning and evening, individually and the family. The practice is of individual choice.
6. Group worship with the congregation on Sunday is expected. The main service is the Sunday sacrament service using bread and water to represent the body and blood of the Saviour. Children attend Sunday schools and teenagers are encouraged to attend religious education classes.
7. The Church accepts the Bible as the word of God, bearing witness of the Saviour, Jesus Christ. In addition, the Church has another book of scripture, the Book of Mormon, which supports and complements the Bible as a second witness of Jesus Christ. Whereas the Bible relates God's dealings with his people in the eastern world, i.e. the Middle East, the Book of Mormon tells of God's concurrent dealings with his people in the western world, i.e. the American continent. Two further books, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are also considered as revealed scripture. A practising member of the Church would be expected to have copies of all four books of scripture with the King James Version being the preferred rendering of the Bible.
8. The Mormon creed requires its members (called Saints) to follow the health code included in the "Doctrines and Covenants" which demands total abstinence from tea and coffee, tobacco, alcohol and drugs (except drugs prescribed for medical purposes).
9. There are no special requirements.
10. The Church has a hierarchical organisation presided over by prophets and apostles. The Church is divided geographically into stakes and wards, run by a lay ministry. Stakes are presided over by a stake president and are split into wards presided over by a bishop. Wards typically contain between 200 -500 members. The bishop is responsible for calling both men and women as local church officers and all are concerned with the welfare of individuals' material and spiritual needs. Women do not hold the priesthood.
Aspects of social functioning
11 Each saint is required to give a tenth of his earnings in tithe to the Church. The Church emphasises the social aspects of its membership and makes provision for many social facilities of gymnasiums, theatrical stages, kitchens etc in its churches. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has enhanced its international reputation.
12 Great emphasis is placed upon the family, the marriage relationship being regarded as particularly sacred -revealed in the doctrine of celestial marriage. Saints marry, not only for life but for eternity. Couples and families are believed to be reunited after death.
FUNERALS and MARRIAGE
13. Burial is the normal custom. Cremation is not forbidden but is not encouraged.
14. Marriage takes place in chapels before a license officer of the Church; afterwards couples are sealed for time and eternity in the Temple.
"The Articles of Faith" by James E Talmage
“Jesus the Christ" by James E Talmage
Latter -day Saints hymn book
All of these are available from book shops or direct from the Area President
CONTACT FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Religious Consultative Service (RCS) for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints:
Mr Mike Peel (see part I of this Annex for details
Annex H (i)
Part 1 PRACTICE OF PAGANISM IN PRISON
1.1 Requests for a Pagan Chaplain should be made to:
The Pagan Federation Prison Manager
PO Box 1318
1.2 The Pagan Federation has contacts across the various ‘Traditions’ within the Pagan community and can advise and assist with the appointment of a Pagan Chaplain. When seeking a Chaplain, it is helpful if the prisoner's denomination or Tradition can be established, e.g.: Pagan (Eclectic, General) Pagan (Wiccan) Pagan (Asatru or Northern Tradition) Pagan (Druid) Pagan (Other). Most Pagan Chaplains will however be willing to minister to prisoners in all branches of the Pagan community.
1.3 All appointments as Pagan Chaplains require the endorsement of the Pagan Federation.
Worship should take place in a clean, quiet room. Some facilities, i.e. drawer or cupboard storage should be made available to the Pagan Chaplain. Worship often involves the removal of shoes and kneeling on the floor. The room should be suitable for this. When the Pagan Chaplain is not available, where practicable, Pagan prisoners may meet for corporate worship. This will be subject to supervision in the usual way.
2.2 If practical, and security/risk considerations allow, Governors may allow Pagan worship to be held out of doors. A quiet, relatively undisturbed area (eg any grassed area) is ideal where available.
Use of wine
2.3 Wine forms an integral part of some Pagan rituals, across the traditions. Some groups/individuals will use water for this while other groups will use red wine. It is important that both variations be treated equally. Where wine is used, it must be ordered through the Prison Chaplaincy Department (not brought in by the Pagan Chaplain), stored securely and only be used under the Pagan Chaplain’s supervision. Individual consumption will be one sip only. As part of the ceremony the Pagan Chaplain may also anoint the prisoner with wine on the forehead. The Pagan Chaplain will then use a small quantity of wine for libation. This can be done in any of the following ways, as agreed locally between the Pagan Chaplain and local security department:
Pouring the wine into a small sealed container, eg empty film container. The Pagan Chaplain will then pour this onto the earth after the ceremony. (This must be within the prison grounds.)
Pouring the wine onto earth contained in a flower pot specifically for this purpose, (the flower pot should be kept in the multi faith room or chaplaincy, and is not to be used for any other purposes); the Pagan Chaplain will need to empty it from time to time onto earth in the prison grounds.
Pouring the wine into running water, i.e. into a sink while the tap is on (not all Pagan Chaplains will find this acceptable).
3.1 Private practice is possible for individuals in cells/rooms within the normal establishment routine. Private practice may include prayer, meditation, chanting, reading of religious texts and ritual. Pagan prisoners may wish to set up a small altar. If prisoners are sharing a cell, space and local discretion permitting, this may be allowed. Pagan prisoners should be allowed to use incense in accordance with chapter 2 of the PSO (paragraph 2.26 refer).
Religious Festivals/ Holy Days
4.1 Where possible, the festivals should be celebrated on the exact date, but for corporate worship the nearest convenient date for the Pagan Chaplain can also be used. Main observances are usually on Full Moon and sometimes New Moon Days and at seasonal festivals throughout the year. Depending on the tradition of the prisoners, different emphasis will be placed on these dates. The Pagan Chaplain or Pagan Federation will be able to advise further.
4.2 Most Pagans celebrate the 8 festivals set out below, but depending on the particular tradition would attach particular significance to certain days. Because of variations in emphasis between different Pagan Traditions it has been agreed with the Pagan Federation that prisoners may choose two festivals on which they should not be required to work. All others may be observed within normal routines.
1st February - Imbolc
21st March - Spring Equinox
30th April - Beltane
21st June - Midsummer
1st August - Lammas or Lughnasadh
21 Septembe - Autumn Equinox
31st October - Samhain
21st December - Yule
The date of the solstices and equinoxes may vary by a day or two each year. Details of these and other religious festivals are published annually in a PSI.
(See paragraph 14 in part 2 for further information about individual dates.)
4.3 If a Pagan prisoner advises that their Pagan tradition attaches particular significance to more than two days, the advice of the Pagan Chaplain or Pagan Federation should be sought.
5.1 Vegetarian or Vegan Pagans should not be involved in work which involves the slaughter of animals or handling leather. Some Vegans will not wear leather shoes.
5.2 Following the principle of not taking from society without giving, some followers of the Northern Tradition will not eat unless they contribute by working.
6.1 Many Pagans will require a vegetarian diet. Some may request a vegan diet. Strict vegetarians will not use toiletries containing animal fats.
Dress and hygiene
7.1 In everyday life, Pagans do not usually wear special forms of dress. Ritual jewellery is however very common and may have deep personal religious significance.
7.2 The wearing of a chain and symbol appropriate to the tradition is common.
The ankh/crux ansata (cross with top arm replaced by a loop) or pentacle (five‑pointed star, often surrounded by a circle) is common in Wicca,
The triskell (three joined loops) in Druidry or Celtic Wicca
The hammer of Thor in the Northern Tradition.
Such jewellery should be risk assessed in the usual way.
7.3 The wearing of a ring which symbolises the person's adherence to Paganism or a particular Pagan path is common. The removal of such a ring may cause considerable distress. These are usually of silver and inscribed with a pentacle or runes (the letters of the Norse/German alphabet which are considered sacred in the Northern and some Wiccan traditions).
7.4 Most Pagans wear ordinary dress for worship. Some traditions however have special dress for worship (e.g. hoodless robe - see artefacts list below). In prison, Skyclad (naked) worship is not permitted.
7.5 Washing prior to ritual is considered very important in some traditions. Where possible, prisoners should be permitted to shower prior to group worship.
8.1 All religious items should be treated with respect, these may be considered ritually polluted if touched by anyone other than the prisoner. See paragraphs 2.19 of Chapter 2 for arrangements for searching religious artefacts.
Religious items that can be allowed in personal possession are:
Incense and holder (lavender and frankincense are the fragrances most commonly used)
A religious piece of jewellery (e.g. pentagram necklace or ring)
Hoodless Robe (only to be used during private or corporate worship)
Flexible twig for wand
Rune stones (wood, stone or clay tablets with the symbols of the Norse-German alphabet) and bag or box to carry them
An altar (desk, small table, box or similar-see para 3.1)
Tarot Cards (risk assessment required before being allowed in possession - see para 8.3 below)
(Other items that some Pagans may wish to use are mentioned in paragraphs 18 and 19 of Part 2.)
8.3 Some Pagans use Tarot Cards for meditation and guidance. This may be allowed under the supervision of the Pagan Chaplain. If a prisoner requests to be allowed to retain a part or full pack in possession, this may be allowed, but only following a local risk assessment to determine whether there is any reason to preclude cards being kept in possession. The cards are for personal use only and may be withdrawn if used inappropriately (e.g. telling fortunes).
8.4 Paganism is essentially an oral tradition and there is no ultimate revelation made at a particular time and place, which is treated as scripture. Pagans use a number of source texts, some of which are listed in the reading list.
8.5 In addition, in some Pagan traditions, there is a sacred book of devotional practice, which is copied by hand by each practising member. These books are of great significance to the individual. In Wicca, the main sacred writing is the "Book of Shadows".
8.6 Prisoners should be permitted to have in their possession books of Pagan writings. Advice on suitable writings can be sought from the Pagan Federation or the Pagan Chaplain. It should be noted that some Pagan religious symbols may also resemble those used by some groups with racist tendencies. These are not connected to Paganism.
8.7 In addition to sacred writings, most Pagans keep in touch with community activities through the receipt of Pagan magazines. The inmate should be permitted to receive these in order to help maintain his community contacts.
8.8 If there is any doubt about a particular publication the Pagan Federation should be consulted.
Marriage (see also CI 35/88)
9.1 A Pagan wedding ceremony is performed by a Pagan Chaplain or community elder but would require also a Register Office ceremony to be valid under English Law. See also paragraph 30 in part 2.
Death (see also PSO 2710)
10.1 A prisoner who is seriously ill or near death may request a Pagan Chaplain to attend and prepare him or her for death. Please consult the Pagan Chaplain or the Pagan Federation about funeral customs. Should an inmate be attending a Pagan Funeral, guidance may be sought from the Pagan Chaplain or from the Pagan Federation for the escorting officers.
Annex H (ii)
PART 2: ABOUT PAGANISM
1. Paganism has its roots in the traditions of ancient Nature religions and is practised in a number of different forms around the world today. These include European traditions, African Traditional Religion, Shinto in Japan, Afro‑Caribbean religions practised in the Americas, and the Native American traditions.
2. Paganism in Europe is a group of religions venerating primarily the Celtic, Norse, German, Anglo‑Saxon, Greek and Roman deities of Europe. Individual practitioners may also have a personal devotion to a particular deity such as one of the Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Pagans also honour and respect the deities of other pantheons and all are regarded as aspects of the Divine. Paganism is practised all over Europe and is, with Christianity, one of the two official state religions of Iceland.
3. Pagans follow a Nature‑based spirituality. All life, the turning wheel of the seasons, the lives of men and women, the cycles of life and death and love, are seen as part of the Divine mystery. For Pagans, all of creation, both animate and inanimate, is seen as aspects of the Divine Force. Nature is considered sacred and Pagans have a strong sense of guardianship of the Earth. Ecological awareness is strongly emphasised within the Pagan community.
HOW IS PAGANISM ORGANISED
4. The Pagan movement is made up of individuals and small autonomous groups linked by common traditions. There are many organisations that represent particular paths such as Druidry, Wicca or Asatru. There are also a number of umbrella organisations that serve the needs of the Pagan community. In Britain, the principal of these is the Pagan Federation.
5. People come to Paganism in many ways: through reading the myths of our ancestors; through experiencing a sense of the Divine in Nature ‑ a feeling that spiritual forces inhabit the trees, forests, fields and hills; through an awareness that their inner response to the Divine is not just to a male God, but also to a female deity, the Great Goddess; or through participating, sometimes purely by chance, in a Pagan festival, ceremony, conference or workshop. This may be at some gathering formally designated as Pagan, or at some other event where Pagan celebration may arise spontaneously, such as at folk festivals.
6. There are no particular admission ceremonies that make people Pagans. People consider themselves Pagans if their beliefs match those of Pagan thought. Particular Pagan denominations may have entry through a ceremony of dedication, profession or initiation; but people can be Pagans without any of these ceremonies.
7. Some Pagan traditions do not have a distinct ministry and corporate worship and ritual may be conducted by an adult member or elder with sufficient experience. Other traditions have a distinct priesthood. Chaplains are known as: Priest or Priestess ‑ Wicca Gothi (male or female) or Seidkona or Volva (female) ‑ Northern Tradition Druid (male or female) – Druidry
8. Paganism teaches that many answers to the problems of the present lie in the forgotten wisdom of the past, but that our understanding of the Divine is ever‑unfolding. In Paganism, there is no once and for all revelation of the right way to approach the Divine. The choice of spiritual path is one of personal preference. Since there are no ultimate revelations in Paganism, there is little dogma. Pagans believe that truth is revealed to each of us from deep within ourselves. It is found through meditation and inner reflection.
Religions and Denominations within Paganism
9. Within Paganism, the different Pagan religions are usually referred to as 'Traditions'. Some of the most widely ‑practiced Pagan Traditions are:
Druidry : Based on the Celtic deities.
Asatru also known as Odinism or The Northern Tradition: Based on the Norse German Gods.
Wicca: The religion of Witchcraft or Wise‑craft, which worships the Great Goddess and the Horned God.
Shamanism: Shamanism is more properly a technique rather than a religion, but it is at the heart of many Pagan religions. Those practising Shamanism may draw on European and Siberian religious practice, or possibly Native American spirituality.
10. Within the traditions, there may be a number of branches with slightly different forms of religious practice. In addition, some Pagans take an eclectic approach to their faith, preferring to use material from a number of Pagan Traditions to evolve their own spiritual practice, rather than subscribing to one pantheon and a set ritual approach.
11. There are also Goddess groups venerating the Goddess in a variety of ways, using ideas drawn from Wicca, Greece, Rome, the Egyptian mysteries, other Goddess traditions, and combinations of all of these. Increasingly, there are also men's groups who worship ancient male deities, often in gatherings, which are fairly tribal in feel.
12. The different Pagan denominations have their own spiritual philosophies, but these are generally in accord with the Three Principles of Paganism as defined by the Pagan Federation:
1) Love for and kinship with Nature. Reverence for the life force and its ever-renewing cycles of life and death.
2) A positive morality, in which the individual is responsible for the discovery and development of their true nature in harmony with the outer world and community. This is often expressed as ‘Do what you will, as long as it harms none'.
3) Recognition of the Divine, which transcends gender, acknowledging both the female and male aspect of Deity.
13. Observance of these is considered very important. All Pagan traditions are founded upon a vision of Deity manifest in Nature. Drawing upon the traditions of our Pagan ancestors, Pagans celebrate this vision in seasonal festivals. The turning pattern of the seasons is seen as a wheel. Each aspect of seasonal change is understood as a mystery of the Divine. As the wheel turns, so Nature reveals the many faces of the Gods. Pagans shape rituals to express what they see and feel in Nature. In doing so, they share in the mystery of the turning cycle and join more closely with the vision of their Gods. Pagans celebrate the cycles of sowing and reaping, the passage from Winter to Spring then to Summer and Autumn.
14. Most Pagans celebrate eight major festivals, but some branches have some additional festivals. It is not possible to look at all these variations, but some idea of the underlying themes celebrated during seasonal rites can be described. The cycle of eight seasonal festivals is the most typical, with four solar festivals marked by the equinoxes and solstices and four Celtic festivals: Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh and Samhain.
Dates of Religious Observance (The Wheel of the Year)
Samhain ‑ 31st October (pronounced Sow‑in):
For many this is the Celtic New Year. However, some Pagans no longer celebrate Samhain as the New Year, in the light of findings of recent academic research.
Some Pagans like to celebrate Samhain with cider for the celebration of the apple harvest. In prison, an apple on the altar can substitute for cider.
Yule ‑ 21st December (archaic form Geola, pronounced Yule):
Yule is the time of the winter solstice, when the sun child is reborn, an image of the return of all new life born through the love of the Gods.
Imbolc ‑ 1st February
Imbolc, also called Oimelc and Candlemas, celebrates the awakening of the land and the growing power of the Sun. Often, the Goddess is venerated in her aspect as the Virgin of Light and her altar is decked with snowdrops, the heralds of spring.
Spring Equinox ‑ 21st March:
Now night and day stand equal. The Sun grows in power and the land begins to bloom. By Spring Equinox, the powers of the gathering year are equal to the darkness of winter and death. For many Pagans, the youthful God with his hunting call leads the way in dance and celebration. Others dedicate this time to Eostre the Anglo‑Saxon Goddess of fertility.
Beltane ‑ 30th April:
The powers of light and new life now dance and move through all creation. The Wheel continues to turn. Spring gives way to Summer's first full bloom and Pagans celebrate Beltane with maypole dances, symbolising the mystery of the Sacred Marriage of Goddess and God.
Midsummer‑ 21st June:
At summer solstice is the festival of Midsummer, sometimes called Litha. The God in his
light aspect is at the height of his power and is crowned Lord of Light. It is a time of plenty and celebration.
Lammas or Lughnasadh 1st August (pronounced Loo‑nassa):
The time of the corn harvest, when Pagans reap those things they have sown; when they celebrate the fruits of the mystery of Nature. At Lughnasadh, Pagans give thanks for the bounty of the Goddess as Queen of the Land. Some Pagans celebrate with beer brewed from grain at Lammas. In prison an ear of wheat or piece of bread could symbolize the Lammas harvest.
Autumn Equinox ‑ 21 September.
Day and night stand hand in hand as equals. As the shadows lengthen, Pagans see the darker faces of the God and Goddess. For many Pagans, this rite honours old age and the approach of Winter.
15. Pagans prefer to celebrate the festivals on the exact date, but often they will be celebrated on the nearest convenient date. Work on the Sabbats is avoided where possible, but this cannot always be arranged in secular life.
16. This usually take place in front of an Altar placed in the North or around a central Altar. Altars are usually specially made of wood or stone. When these are not available, tables or shelves are used covered with an altar cloth. The altar will usually have a statue or image of one or more of the deities; although some branches of Paganism frown on images and replace these with a symbolic banner. The presence of the deity may also be symbolised by a crystal or other devotional object. Flowers, lighted candles and incense are generally used. Ideally, pagan worship will take place outdoors.
17. The ceremony of “Wine & Cakes” forms an integral part of many Pagan rituals, across the traditions. It is seen as the physical manifestation of the bounty of the Goddess, representing Her blood and life-force, and Her body. However, some groups/individuals do not use alcohol at all, preferring to substitute water.
18. For conducting rituals, Pagans may use a small bowl of clean water, a small dish
of salt and a ritual knife (not permitted in prison establishments) or wand. In some branches, a bowl, or earth and/or a disc of metal or wood carved with symbols (a pentacle) are also used.
19. Other items used by Pagans are: altar cloth images of the god and/or goddess, items for the altar such as feathers, seashells, stones, pictures, seeds etc. A pentacle for the altar, Crystals, two Bowls (for water and salt), supply of water and salt, lunar calendar, tapes and CDs for pathworking / meditating.
20. Ritual cleanliness is considered very important. Before a rite, the space around and/or in front of the Altar is usually purified by asperging it with water to which salt has been added and over which a blessing has been said. The ritual space will then be purified by the burning of incense. Ritual usually takes place within a circle, which is consecrated, anew for each rite. The boundaries of the circle are usually delineated by placing a candle at each of the four cardinal points. The space will then be symbolically separated from the mundane world by the drawing of a circle in the air using a ritual instrument ‑ a wand or a ritual knife (athame). Prayers and devotions to the deity will follow. This is often accompanied by chanting, singing and the playing of musical instruments, in particular drums and flutes.
21. In some traditions, healing spells and prayers for humans, animals or the land may follow. At seasonal celebrations there may be an enactment of the seasonal myth. The rite will usually end with the consecration of wine and small moon‑shaped biscuits (referred to as cakes). In the Northern Tradition, this may be replaced by bread and ale or mead.
22. At seasonal celebrations in many traditions a feast will follow. This is a religious rather than secular meal and is seen as part of the rite. The rite will end with bidding farewell to any ancestral or elemental guardians who have been summoned to guard the rite and a thanking of the deities. In some traditions a libation of wine or ale will be poured on the earth at the end of the ceremony and some of the cakes or bread will be scattered. Consecrated water is also usually disposed of by pouring it on the earth.
Aspects of Social Functioning
23. Social ethics are strongly emphasised in Paganism. Giving, honour and truthfulness are very important in underpinning these. A sense of obligation to society is fostered by an awareness that however strong and powerful we may be, wealth, health and strength are all transient. It is also a matter of honour for the strong to help weaker members of society. To fail to provide for the needy is to fail in honour. The attitudes of hospitality and generosity are therefore encouraged in Pagan society. These are important for the well‑being of the community, but also for the spiritual evolution of the giver. Attachment to material possessions binds us to the world of the transient. These things are to be experienced and enjoyed, but they are not to be clung to; for in the end all passes, all changes. Paganism teaches:
That in the darkest time, there is hope of another day; that in the time of suffering, we shall know release; that all beauty is transient, and though we honour it while it flowers, yet do we give greater honour to that which endures and abides: Love, Honour, Wisdom, Truth, Courage and Compassion.
24. Giving is important in Pagan society. The giving and taking of gifts creates bonds of love and friendship. It is also a way of expressing mutual respect. The purpose is to give unconditionally, to make everything better for everybody and everything. Society helps us, protects us and gives us its gifts. In return, we must protect and help society. Pagans consider that Western society in recent years has emphasised an individualism which taken to extremes can do much harm. The delusion that we can stand alone without the support of others and harm them with impunity is alien to Pagan thought. It leaves us with a "me first", grabbing and grasping society, in which the strong, under a delusion of separateness, tread down the weak. Paganism sees individuals as like waves on the ocean of being. We see ourselves as separate and individual, but it is the sea which gives rise to us and gives us form. One wave alone disappears to be absorbed by the sand and dried by wind and sun. Together we are strong, powerful and eternal.
25. Honour implies integrity. We can only have integrity if we practise truthfulness. To lie, cheat and steal create mistrust and deceit which destroy the fabric of society. Deception also undermines our inner strength ‑ our will. One's word is very important. Oath‑giving is a serious matter because at stake is our integrity ‑ that which makes us whole and what we are.
26. One of the three "Principles of Paganism" which many Pagans follow is "Do what you will as long as it harms none”. This ethic is a simple one and many would argue that it cannot apply in all circumstances. No formula, whether complex or simple, can cover all situations. The more we try and create codes which will cover all eventualities, the more mechanical and unrealistic our ideas of morality become. Simple precepts provide a moral guide to which we can turn and then make the best judgements we can. The emphasis in modern Paganism is not on obeying complex sets of laws, but to teach ourselves to be in tune with the Divine centre of all things, and so to make moral judgements on the basis of "what is eternal and abides".
27. Much of Pagan ethics is about harmony and balance. This is not a striving for an impossible perfection which causes only guilt and despair when we inevitably fail, but a kinder and gentler ethic: a desire to live in a way which does not harm those around us ‑ human beings or others whose environments we impact upon ‑ the animal, plant and mineral life of the Great Mother's kingdom. European Paganism shares ideas similar to those of Native American philosophy: that it is important to live in harmony with our environment and not to cause unnecessary suffering.
Dress/ Ritual Dress
28. Some Pagans wear special clothes usually a long hoodless robe. These can be of any colour or material. More common colours are black red or white. (It should be noted that the colour black has no negative connotations in Paganism.) Some following the Northern Tradition will wear modified traditional Norse/German dress. Some parts of the Wiccan tradition perform indoor ceremonies skyclad (naked). Other Pagans wear ordinary clothes but remove shoes when performing ritual indoors. The wearing of shoes in sacred space is strictly forbidden in many of the Wiccan traditions. Outdoors, special sandals kept for ritual use only may be worn.
29. Just over half of the Pagan community is vegetarian, interpreting the first and second principles of the Pagan Federation "Love for and kinship with Nature" and "If it harms none, do what you will", as precluding the eating of meat or fish and are vegetarians. Some are also vegans.
30. Pagan marriage services are not yet legally recognised in Britain, although they are in many other countries. Pagans will generally have a religious wedding service performed within the Pagan community. This may or may not be accompanied by a secular register office ceremony. Marriage is frequently known as handfasting. Generally a marriage would be validated when it is consummated unless there are exceptions such as illness or physical disability.
31. Most Pagans believe in reincarnation. The emphasis in funerals is on the joyfulness for the departed in passing on to a new life, but also consolation for relatives and friends that the person will be reborn. Disposal of the body may be by burning (cremation) or burial. Funeral services will take place in crematorium chapels, at the graveside or at the deceased's home. In some traditions, any religious items of significance to the deceased must be buried or burned with the body. Where the deceased used ritual dress or robes, it is usual for him or her to be dressed in these. Ritual jewellery, personal ritual items such as the Wiccan athame, and the person's religious writings (such as the Book of Shadows)
are commonly buried with or burned with the body. A wake (mourning ceremony) carried out around the body by friends and relatives is common in some traditions.
This is a list of books recommended by the Pagan Federation, which may provide useful background reading. They may be obtained from general bookshops or via the Pagan Federation.
Ronald Hutton: Pagan Religions of the Ancient British Isles, Blackwell, 1994. Scholarly
exploration of ancient British Paganism.
Peter Jennings: Pagan Paths, A Guide to Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, Shanism and Other
Pagan Practices (2002)
Rae Beth: Hedgewitch. A Guide to the Solitary Practitioner, Hale, 1990.
Doreen Valiente: Witchcraft For Tomorrow, Hale, 1978
Kevin Crossley Holland: Norse Myths, Hodder Wayland, 1995
Nigel Pennick: Practical Magic in the Northern Tradition
Emma Restall Orr: Living Druidry, 2004
Phillip Carr-Gomm: Elements of The Druid Tradition, (Element)
Michael Harner: The Way of the Shaman (Harper & Row, New York)
DJ Conway (Llewellyn): By Oak, Ash and Thorn
Resource Agencies: Paganism
Pagan Federation, BM Box 7097, London WC1A 1LY is the largest and oldest Pagan and Wiccan body in Europe. It provides an annual conference, local group meetings and contacts across Europe and worldwide. It publishes a very informative quarterly journal (Pagan Dawn), and has a useful information pack, which gives basic facts about modern European Paganism. There are also information packs on Wicca, Druidry and the Northern Tradition.
Atlantis Bookshop, 49a Museum Street, London, WC1A 1LY. Telephone: 0207 405 2120.
Sacred Moon (Suppliers of books & incense), 27 Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1XB.
Telephone: 01743 352 829