Pagan History Essay

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Pagan History

Paganism is a loose word for the large variety of polytheistic, shamanistic, and mystical non-monotheistic religions. Paganism exists in all cultures, from paleolithic to technological, but has historically waxed and waned. The ancient Egyptians are an example of a highly pagan society; so are the ancient Romans; and all paleolithic cultures from the Old Stone Age to the present have strong pagan elements. An example of a less pagan culture would be the West for the last thousand years or so, since the centuries following the Fall of Rome. The domination of the Middle East by Christians and Moslems has also largely shut out paganism.

Characteristic of paganism is a tolerance for other paganistic ideas, even those that
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The Renaissance lasted until the 16th century. Note that the Inquisitions lasted effectively until the Enlightenment period, and were bad during the Renaissance, but ceased to be mostly ideologically motivated after the first three centuries. The Inquisition had become a political arm of the Vatican, a force useful in many ways other than suppressing heresy. It spent much of its time accomplishing political, antifeminist, and covert goals of the Church. We see in the trial of the Templars in the fourteenth century that uncommonly faithful people were caught in a secular political struggle between the King of France and the Pope. They were routinely tortured, the usual prompted confessions were given, and they were executed, for reasons having nothing to do with ideology or heresy except as excuses.

It is also during the Renaissance that we begin to have evidence of what we may consider explicitly religious paganism again. Most of the grimoires we have date from this era; alchemists, often overtly Christian but employing pagan symbolism and texts, were most common during the Renaissance; the Kabbalah and Tarot originate in the Renaissance, forming the backbone of modern pagan symbolism. The Renaissance also saw the obscure origins of a rebirth, in improved form, of Greek humanism, technically pagan because of its suppression by Christian Rome and its use of theistic