The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism: Meaningful Ways to Commune with Nature and Follow the Pagan Spiritual Path

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism: Meaningful Ways to Commune with Nature and Follow the Pagan Spiritual Path

by Carl McColman

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Overview

You're no idiot, of course. But finding the perfect expression of your spirituality can prove long and challenging. You might already be attracted to paganism, but considering the variety of traditions and paths that fall in this category, you need a spiritual guide. Seek no further! Whether you're interested in following the pagan path or just curious to know more, 'The Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism' will enlighten you on this fascinating array of nature-based beliefs and practices. In this 'Complete Idiot's Guide', you'll learn about the basic principles of shamanism, druidism, Wicca and more. How to deepen your connection to the Goddess, the God, and nature. The fundamentals of meditation, magic, divination, and spiritual healing. Tips on incorporating pagan rituals into your modern lifestyle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440695742
Publisher: DK
Publication date: 04/01/2002
Series: COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE Series
Sold by: DK
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
File size: 9 MB

About the Author

CARL McCOLMAN is a freelance writer and spiritual teacher based in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of several books including 'The Well-Read Witch' and 'The Aspiring Mystic'. A practicioner of nature spirituality for more than a decade, he is the co-founder and former leader of a druid grove and currently is the co-leader of an interfaith pagan meditation circle.

Table of Contents

I. PAGAN BASICS.

1. Welcome to the Pagan Path.
Telltale Signs of a Pagan Personality. What Pagans Are Not. Diversity, Diversity, Diversity. Welcome to the Pagan Adventure.

2. All-Natural Ingredients.
Pagans Love Nature. Mother Nature Is a Real Goddess! Communing with Nature. Listen and Learn. Taking Care of Mother Earth. The Wilderness Within.

3. Please Don't Squeeze the Shaman!
Welcome to the World's Oldest Spiritual Path. The Elements of Shamanism. The Teachings of Black Elk. Core Shamanism. Shamanism and Paganism.

4. Wicked Good!
A Brief History of Wicca. The Elements of Wicca. What Do Wiccans Do? The Romance of Wicca. Wicca as a Form of Paganism.

5. The Philosophical Pagans: Druids and Other Revivalist Groups.
Popular Conceptions (and Misconceptions) of the Druids. How to Revive an Ancient Religion. The Elements of Druidism. The Druid Contribution. Other Pagan Paths with an Ethnic Orientation.

6. Other Pieces of the Pagan Puzzle.
Welcome to "The Way". Baby, You Can Drive My Karma. The Way of the Western Mysteries. Science Fiction Paganism. Putting It All Together. A Ritual for Embarking on the Pagan Path

II. HOW TO THINK LIKE A PAGAN.

7. This World, That World, and the Otherworld.
A Tale of Two (or More) Worlds: Pagan Cosmology. Understanding the Otherworld. Doorways to the Otherworld. Knock, Knock: Who's There? What Difference Does It Make?

8. Getting to Know the Goddess.
There's Always Been a Yin. The History of Mom. The "Phases" of the Goddess. Light and Dark: Two Aspects of the Goddess. A Few Goddesses from Around the World. The Secret Goddess. The Goddess in Nature.

9. All About the God.
Yang (Yin's Dance Partner). How the Pagan Idea of God Differs from the Monotheist God. My, What Strong Horns You Have! Some Gods from Around the World. The God in Relation to the Goddess. Other Important Roles for the God. The God in Nature.

10. A Field Guide to the Spirit World.
The Many Varieties of Spirits. Spirits of Land, Sea, and Sky. Ancestors: Those Who Came Before Us. Unicorns, Dragons, and Other Mythical Creatures. Putting It All Together.

11. Elementary, My Dear Pagan!
Basic Principles of the Elements. Elemental Symbols. Come On, Baby, Light My Fire. Airheads, Unite! Water, Water, Everywhere. Earth (and the Land). Spirit, the Fifth Element. The Magic of the Elements: Weaving the Energies Together.

12. Going in Circles.
Nature: The Ultimate Teacher. The Summerland: The Ultimate Pagan Vacation Spot. You Reap What You Sow. The Psychology of Reincarnation. The Big Questions.

III. RITUAL.

13. The Wheel of the Year.
Sabbats and Esbats: Understanding the Two Kinds of Pagan Ritual. The Cycle of the Sun: The Dark Half. The Cycle of the Sun: The Light Half. The Cycles of the Moon. Significance of the 13 Moons.

14. Tools for Ritual.
What Are Tools, and How Are They Used? Elemental Tools. Other Common Wiccan and Pagan Tools. Tools from Other Traditions. Miscellaneous-and Optional-Ritual Tools. Your Personal Altar. Why Have an Altar? Elements of a Typical Pagan Altar. Consecrating Your Altar and Tools. Practical Issues. The Only Truly Necessary Tool: Your Self!

15. A Basic Ritual.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Ritual. Round and Round We Go. Creating Sacred Space (Casting the Circle). Invoking the Spirits (Calling the Quarters and the Deities). The Work of the Ritual. Putting Things Back Where They Belong. The Many Faces of Ritual.

16. Rites of Passage.
A One-Way Trip to a New You! The Mark of an Effective Rite of Passage. The Two Kinds of Transitions. Life Transitions. Spiritual Transitions.

IV. MAGIC.

17. Meditation: Welcome to Magical Boot Camp!
Meditation: A Workout for the Mind. Why Bother with Meditation? Brainwaves: The Physics of Meditation. The Meditation-Magic Connection. Opening Up to Spiritual Contact. No-Nonsense Advice for Starting Your Own Meditation Practice.

18. Magic, or Flexing Your Spiritual Muscles.
Magic: Not Required (But Not Prohibited Either). The Many Faces of Magic. Psychic Power: Magic's "Engine". Seven Principles of Magic. Magic: Any Way You Spell It. As I Do Will, So Mote It Be: The Ethics of Magic.

19. Divination and Omens: Listening for the Divine Whisper.
Getting Into Intuition. Divination Tools: Ways to Reconnect with Our Intuitive Power. Astrology and Tarot: The Big Two in Divination. Sacred Alphabets: Spelling Out Intuition. Other Common Divination Tools. Omens: Listening for the Voice of the Spirits in the Natural World.

20. The Pagan as Healer: From Medicine Men to Reiki Masters.
Witches, Shamans, Magicians: All Are Healers. Reiki and Other Forms of Psychic Healing. Ritual as a Healing Process. Visualization and Affirmation. Paganism and Mainstream Medicine.

V. LIVING THE PAGAN LIFE.

21. Pagan Ethics: How to Behave Like an Earthkeeper.
Flower Power Lives Again! Perfect Love and Perfect Trust. Harm None and Do What You Will. Tribal Values. Pagans and Sex. Weaving It All Together.

22. Groups, Groves, and Gatherings.
The Four Ways to Be a Pagan. The Pleasures of Solitude. Small Group Spirituality: A Backyard Full of Pagans. Larger Groups and National Organizations. The Pagan Gathering (and Festivals). Finding Groups and Gatherings.

23. Harry Potter and Beyond: Paganism in Popular Culture.
Books for Pagans. TV Shows for Pagans. Movies for Pagans. Popular Music for Pagans. Classical Music for Pagans. The Pagan Music Scene.

24. Everyday Paganism.
How to Be a Pagan Each and Every Day. Patrons and Matrons: The Gods Who Are Just Right for You. Can Mother Nature and God the Father Be Lovers? Online Paganism. The Varieties of Pagan Websites. E-Mail Lists and Discussion Groups. Summary: Getting to Know the Spirit of the Land.

VI. APPENDIXES.

Appendix A. Recommended Reading.
Appendix B. Resources.
Index.

Customer Reviews

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Complete Idiot's Guide to Paganism 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the book that I reach for if I need a quick answer to a question about Paganism. Such as "Why are you Pagan" or "What is a Pagan". Mr. McColman answers just about every conceivable Pagan question in this book, and has it all put together in a very reader friendly manner. I HIGHLY recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading through this book, I was impressed by the author's depth of subject knowledge and philosophy. He covers a wide range of topics related to Paganism and does so in a way that is neither preachy or on a level above most people's understanding. And also reading this book caused me to notice how much of Paganism seems to appear in other religions, from the various Pagan holidays (Sabbats) to customs (most Christmas traditions originated in the Pagan Yule holiday). And the author correctly points out when it comes to rituals, that most people in our culture already obey some forms of rituals in their own lives (things like weddings or observances of major holidays like Thanksgiving or July 4th). The book covers a wide ranging variety of topics, everything from 'Pagan basics' (shamans, druids, and the so-called 'Pagan path') to information about the Spirit World, Pagan rituals, to 'living the Pagan life.' And the list of related books and resources in the back of the book offers much more information to those wishing to learn more. Another important section is the one dealing with magic. Most non-Pagans and those new to Paganism see magic as some mysterious thing. And it can be, but yet the author takes great pains to explain that magic, like everything else with Paganism has its own set of rules, and that it is something to be approached with care, that while its goal is to promote healing, done in the wrong way can evoke some results that were not intended! This is an excellent introductory book, one that a 'Pagan novice' can learn quite a bit from.
Azmodeous More than 1 year ago
This is an excellent book if your new to paganism. It gives you a good introduction to three major paths of paganism, and most of the different practices generally affiliated with it. It is simple and easy to read.

Those of us who already have a good grasp on paganism may find this book to be "beating the dead horse" so to say, but still can be a good reference guide, and who knows when that opportunity may arise to help someone else look into paganism as their chosen path.
Maghnus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a truly delightful, entertaining and informative work that covers the full spectrum of Neo-Paganism. McColman does an excellent job of providing the newcomer to or casual seeker of (it matters not which the reader is) Neo-Paganism an easily understandable method of obtaining a great deal of knowledge in a relaxed but informative manner that causes me to think of a favorite storybook format. The five sections of this book are divided up into a logical progression of information. Each section¿s contents builds upon knowledge already obtained by previous sections. The first segment introduces the reader to Pagan Basics, a great place to start because even if you think you already know this you will be surprised at how little you really do know for the most part. These first 6 chapters incorporate knowledge regarding the Pagan path, Natural Ingredients, Shamanism, Wicca, Philosophical Pagans (Druids,) and a myriad of misconceptions and contributions regarding Paganism.Secondly the reader is instructed on ¿How to Think Like a Pagan.¿ Once that is completed, one is introduced to ¿Ritual¿ and ¿Magic,¿ followed by ¿Living the Pagan Path.¿ Each of these areas gives one the general overview of what Neo-Paganism is, what is involved for those who choose the path and how different yet alike the various disciplines are. Of particular use are the `Earth Words¿ that are introduced on various pages. These side notes provide a quick understanding of the term and how it is used allowing the reader to digest and comprehend quickly without having to deviate from the work itself causing one to research the word. There are also side notes called `Oracle¿ that provide insight and definition of terms, and `Taboo!¿ that clear up popular misconceptions. In the true style of the ¿Idiots Guide To¿,¿ McColman writes in a down-to-earth manner clarifying within the contextual material questions that frequently arise. For those questions that are not covered in the material he provides further and more in depth resources in the form of websites, e-mail lists, and discussion groups.As an introductory source material for modern day Pagan living it is an essential resource for quick understanding or refreshment of knowledge. It is not a scholarly tome as some other texts portend to be but is more informative for the average person and their reading/comprehension level. While not needing to be `studied¿ as such, the work contains a wealth of valuable information. One such area that leaped out at me and has subsequently aided me tremendously in my development was that of Meditation. McColman advises that ¿¿if a certain type of meditation doesn¿t appeal to you, don¿t worry. You don¿t have to give up on meditation. It just means you have to keep looking to find the kind of meditation that fits your style.¿ (p226)This was just what I needed because I, like some others that I have heard from, have been confounded regarding meditation and being somewhat fixated on a particular format. After reading this I realized why I was not having the success that I envisioned I would have and began experimenting with various forms until I came upon a method that `clicked¿ into place and made a lot of sense, brought me comfort, and was relatively easy for me to use whenever I felt the need. It actually revolved around the type of music I was using to help induce the meditative state, what I was focusing on with my mind and how I was positioning myself for the experience. Once I found the first key the others fell into line immediately and I rapidly achieved my goal.I was impressed that emphasized that Paganism does not proselytize by stating that, ¿The most important rule to keep in mind is that it¿s never your job to convince people that paganism is the right path for them (or even you.) And in the next paragraph says, ¿When telling others that you practice paganism, never argue to prove a point.¿ (pg 330) This may seem like a small point but in today¿s world where so ma
PardaMustang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book covers a wide variety of pagan topics and is a veritable treasure-trove of information that is well-thought out and easy to grasp. It covers what could be called 'core pagan beliefs', beliefs shared by most pagan groups, be they Druid-based, shamanic, Wiccan or any of a number of others. Within, one finds good practical skills to get one started on the pagan path.The Idiot's Guide to Paganism provides a good overview for people new to the pagan path and still trying to find their way. It provides this information in easy to process language that isn't as daunting as some other texts might be. Above all, it stresses the value of individuality and that there is no such thing as a 'right way' when following the pagan path. Hence the differing beliefs and ways of seeing this are all perfectly acceptable. There is no dogma to being pagan. There are chapters devoted to what the author has identified as the three major pagan groups- the Druids, Wiccans and shamans. Other chapters cover magick, meditation and ritual. There are chapters devoted to the Otherworld and to the spirits that dwell there and how to befriend and work with them. There are chapters detailing the Elements and the elemental realms. There are chapters focusing on pagan ethics and even chapters with recommended book, film and music lists. Personally, this book was to me what my 'Introduction to Anthropology' class was in regards to my degree. By the time I got to that class, my degree was pretty much done, so much of the information was very redundant. That being said, this is the /first/ book I would recommend to anyone new to the pagan path and to anyone wishing to broaden their learning scope if they come from a more monotheistic religion. The only qualms I had with it were, despite the author's best intentions, the more Wiccan overtones with the repeated references and emphasis to the Goddess and the possibly the old Gods. This doesn't resonate with my own personal beliefs, but I can respect it and I can acknowledge that the author /did/ go out of his way to say this was only one way of seeing things, not the only way of seeing them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a wealth of information! Teaches you exactly what you need to know without being overwhelming. Good reference for everyone!
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mysticCW More than 1 year ago
Very informative book and easy to read and understand
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