The Influence of Early Religions: The roots between early forms of Paganism and Witchcraft to Catholicism When you’re kneeling in a pew at church with your head down, bowing in prayer, do you ever stop to think about how this ritual came to be? In most common catholic religions today, have you ever wondered where some of the traditions and holidays came from? Throughout the history of Catholicism up until present day, there are a lot of practices and rules set by Catholics are very rigid and narrow-minded.
What some Catholics don’t know is a few Of heir practices and traditions are based upon some of the oldest forms of Pagan religions. Now that is a very controversial subject in the eyes of many Catholics. It is so controversial; many have just completely closed their mind to the idea that other earlier forms of religion could, have adopted their ways of worship. They have completely shunned these claims. There have been times throughout history, when the Catholic Church persecuted witches. It’s interesting to wonder, why would Catholics punish the very people they adopted their ideas and practice of worship from?
The roots of Catholicism re tied within the ancient practices of early Pagan religions, specifically Witchcraft. In this paper the connections between Wicking traditions and Catholicism are explored and verified. Throughout history, there have been many types of religions that have been practiced by people from all over the world. Today, one of the most common religions practiced is Catholicism. Catholicism is a broad term for describing the specific traditions and spiritual followings within the Christian Church (“Christianity”).
The Roman Catholic Church claims it has grounded its origin in the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. Ever since, the church declares it is the one and only religion Jesus died for. The many followers of Jesus were the ones who built upon and created the ways of worship based on the teachings Jesus gave to them when he was alive (Headman). However, these claims may not be exactly true. When taking a closer look into the traditions, holidays, and practices the Catholic Church claims is from their own teaching, there is evidence to prove otherwise.
From the earliest of times, we know there have been other forms of religions practiced before the mass spread and influence of the Catholic Church within the lives of everyday people. In order to grow and spread the word of God, the church would first have to build followers and convert people over, and that’s exactly what they did. But first, there had to be some changes that would appeal to others in order for them to want to convert over. It was then that the influences of Pagan religions were used to draw in these people to the Catholic Church and show them the way of God according to their basic teachings (Christianity).
Today in contemporary Catholicism, the church holds on to an essential belief system as a foundation for the religion. Without these tools and rituals, the Catholic Church wouldn’t be the same. One of the most important things within the entire Catholic Church belief system would be The Bible. According to the church, the bible is the one thing that is free from error and inspired truly on the word of God (Wiley). The Seven Sacraments is another part of Catholicism that is part of their core beliefs and is highly radicalized within the Church.
To Catholics, they believe the sacraments are the means of grace. They are: Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Matrimony, and the Anointing of the Sick (“Seven Catholic Sacraments”). There are rules set within the Church to act like a guideline for Christians to allow in order to appease God. These rules are known as the Ten Commandments and these are the “moral compass” for people to live by in order to do well in life according to Catholics (Wiley). The belief in the Holy Trinity is another very important aspect that Catholics believe in.
The Holy Trinity is the belief in one God, split into three people. There is God who is the over all supreme entity, then there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Wiley). Within Catholicism, these are the basic core beliefs that make up the rest of the Church as a whole. Each one of these principles are giggly radicalized and taken with the most respect and looked upon quite seriously. These principals serve as being connections with God and being a good Christian. Each of these basic beliefs come together to form the foundation of Catholicism, and with other aspects tied within.
Later on, the Catholic Church started to adopt Pagan beliefs into their traditions and ways of worship in order compete with much older religions. By doing this, they would gain more followers by appealing to people who practiced these religions (Day). From the beginning of early people who once practiced early forms of elision, one of the first to be started was Paganism. Paganism is a religion that holds it’s believes in earth-centered ways, magic, and respect for the natural world. It is a religion that is considered polytheistic which is the belief in many different Gods, both those of male and female (Highlighting).
Paganism is a broad umbrella term for other religions to fall under, such that of Witchcraft or Which. The roots of Witchcraft date back to ancient times and are seen in many different countries and cultures all across the world. Witchcraft is very similar to Paganism because they both share the same beliefs. The contemporary form of Witchcraft is commonly known as Which. Which is a religion that was founded within spiritual roots of pre-Christian European beliefs and practices. It is a nature-based religion and the worship of deities that can be both feminine and masculine In nature.
Gerald Garner, who is the founder, brought Which to the publics attention in the sass. Those who practiced it referred to it as the Craft or the Old Religion (Grimaces, “Term: Which”). There are many arts within Witchcraft which include herbalist, divination, magic, ceremonial ritual, healing, potions, and spirit world contact. Throughout the history of Catholicism, during the middle Ages and the Renaissance periods, Witchcraft was viewed as evil when in reality; the true fact of its practice was distorted to keep an order within the church (Grimaces, “Term: Witchcraft’).
The real truth about Witchcraft has been hidden from the public all through history because everything is kept secret. Paganism and Witchcraft share the same core beliefs in their practice of worshiping. There are many different religions that would fall under the Pagan umbrella and because each religion is complex, there is a basic set of beliefs each religion holds its ties to. The belief in deities would be the first core belief in the foundation of Paganism and Witchcraft. Those who practice witchcraft are polytheistic because they believe in more than one God or Goddess.
Each deity holds a special meaning to the person who prays to him or her because they are worshipped for a specific purpose, for example: strength or love. Witches and Pagans have a special connection with their deities. Magic is another very important belief in both Pagan and Witchcraft. Magic is the ability to use your own free will in order to make something happen. Magic is the foundation to most Pagan religions, because it is very cared to them. Another important belief in a broad term would be rituals. Rituals are held at a specific time for an important event for example: birth, death, marriage, and so forth.
Rituals are usually ceremonial because they happen at times when a thanks is given to deities through the use of offerings. Rituals also have ties within another belief for Pagans, which is Sabbath. Sabbath are the eight major holy days in the Pagan and Wicking calendar (Vote Ohio State”). The eight major holy days are; Sashimi, Yule, Candles, Spring Equinox, Belton, Summer Solstice, Llamas, and the Fall Equinox. Also, some Wisconsin also celebrate Kebabs, which correspond to the phases of the moon (Steiner 4). Witches and Pagans hold these beliefs with the most respect.
Witchcraft is mysterious and secretive so there are many other aspects to the way witches worship. These are the core beliefs in which they hold their groundings to and where the magic starts (Witchcraft). When Catholicism began to grow throughout the years, they had to compete in a way with other religions that have been around for much longer. With most forms for Catholicism today, they believe their way is the right way and the best. These feelings are what trigger followers of the elision to try and convert people in order to gain more followers of the religion.
This is exactly what Catholics did to these old religions such that of Paganism and Witchcraft. In order to appeal to the people they were trying to convert, they adopted their ways of worship and Christianizes them (Day). This would appeal to Pagans and Witches but it also would make the ritual that was newly adopted Catholic in name but Pagan in nature. There were festivals and celebrations that are part of Wicking calendar that were adopted by Catholics who changed the name in order to appeal more to Christians. Starting the calendar with Sashimi, which today is known as All Hallows Eve or Halloween, it is celebrated on October 31 SST.
For Pagans and Witches it was a time of the end of the harvest and when the supernatural barrier between the living and the dead was down and spirits could pass through to the land of the living. Pagans made talismans against evil spirits and caved vegetables in order to protect themselves from these malevolent spirits that could harm them (Cob). Today Halloween is a holiday where people walk from house to house dressed in a costume in their neighborhood saying, “Trick-or-Treat” to et candy. The tradition has changed when the Catholic Church adopted it (Day).
The next holiday would be Christmas. In Catholicism it is the day of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. But the real celebrating dates back to pre-biblical times. For pagans it was the time around Yule, which marks the Winter Solstice. An early pagan ritualistic tradition was decorating green plants and trees to honor the sun god in the time of the solstice (Cob). Today We decorate a tree in Our house where the presents are placed under on the day of Christmas. Easter is yet another holiday that was Christianizes by the Catholic Church.
The name “Easter” comes from the name of an ancient goddess Stared who was know as the Queen of Heaven and the goddess of love and fertility. Her symbols were eggs and rabbits, which are the main symbols we see and use today in celebrating Easter. Pagans would worship her around the time of the Spring Equinox in order for her blessing for a good crop season. The ritual of decorating and coloring eggs was used to worship the goddess (Cob). Celebrating Easter today, we decorate eggs, get chocolate rabbits and have an egg hunt where eggs full of candy are hidden and one has to go and find them.
Christian’s celebrate Jesus death and resurrection on Easter when in fact Easter is a pagan holiday. The death and resurrection is baptism (Day). The Roman Emperor Constantine was very much into the Pagan way of worship until he had a Christian experience and wanted to convert over. In order to seal his rule over his people, he incorporated the Pagan holidays and rituals within the Catholic Church. This attracted Pagans and many converted over. When holidays and festivals were converted over, the emperor changed the names to give them more of a Christian identity.
Over the years, this continued until present day where now, o can look at Catholicism and Paganism as having the same origins (Day). Paganism and Witchcraft is merely just dressed up the Christian clothing. Christians have accepted all of the holidays and rituals that were once practiced by these religions and many today are unaware of where the real origins lie. Everything evolves eventually and we can see this throughout the history of religions. Contemporary Catholicism is different than it was about a hundred years ago just as Which is practiced in some ways differently than ancient Witchcraft.
Throughout time, “proper ways of worship are passed own by word of mouth or what’s written in a sacred text. Both of these ways can always be open to change and in some cases, completely new religions and belief systems are formed off of the ideas of another. When Catholics tired to persecute people that didn’t share the same beliefs as them, it was mostly out of fear. Their core belief system is what ran the religion and all of the other traditions and rituals were used in order to please the people that practiced them. Witchcraft and Paganism is so much older than Catholicism so of course there are going to be similarities.