|About four of us, two from MCOI and two from Haven Ministries attended Paganicon 2023 [in March]. After we returned, I emailed Twin Cities Pagan Pride and asked if they have an attendance count and was told 1,000 had registered. Carl Teichrib at Forcing Change attended Paganicon in the past and contributed two articles on the event, Journeys in Paganistan -Part 1 and Journeys in Paganistan – Part 2. In Carl’s first article, he described: “a reality beyond books and TV screens – a spiritual worldview that honors creation over the Creator. Is a new Pagan age dawning? It appears so.”|
What happens at Paganicon? Attendees gather to connect as a community with a shared spirituality. They participate in a variety of workshops to learn about paganism’s “ancient history,” how to better engage in ritual and worship – and how to connect with the deity or deities of their choosing. Many of them are looking to find a personalized faith – unlike their experience in Christian churches, which ideally still believe in and present “the faith once delivered to the saints.”…But some pagans just read a new and happier (in their thinking) understanding into the ancient book without throwing the whole thing out. There is a melding going on, as Carl points out: “This workshop reinforced something I would hear more than once; that many who formerly identified as Christians now follow Pagan paths….”
This is not only occurring within the pagan community but, as we already mentioned, Christians are embracing some pagan practices within the church as well. One of the workshops I attended was “Shamanic Journeying” and was led by Shaman Sherry L.M. Merriam, MA, LPCC, TCHI. She described the reason for these spiritual journeys:” Shamanistic journeying is to receive new personal revelation from spirit beings instead of information from an old religious book.”
As Shaman Sherry was preparing the group to enter into the spiritual realm for a short Shamanistic journey, she said that those who have practiced Contemplative Meditation will be familiar with these techniques….I raised my hand and asked Merriam what would happen if someone inadvertently encountered an evil spirit while on this “journey?” She assured the attendees this would never happen because each of us will have a “spirit guide.” I then asked how we would know our spirit guide is good, and she responded: “The spirit guide is always good and is your protector from evil spirits.”Even Rocky the flying squirrel knew to ask Bullwinkle if the spirits he was calling up were “friendly,” but perhaps that simple precaution is lost on people today.
I also want to give a word of precaution. In the silent contemplation of God we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm, and there is such a thing as supernatural guidance that is not divine guidance. While the Bible does not give us a lot of information on the nature of the spiritual world, we do know enough to recognize that there are various orders of spiritual beings, and some of them are definitely not in cooperation with God and his way!
I say these things not to make you fearful but to make you knowledgeable. You need to know that “like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour,” (1 Peter 5:8). You also need to know that “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).
We spent over an hour with Jean (Drum) Pagano, who is a member of the Reformed Druids of North America. He describes himself as a polytheistic pantheist, one who believes in many gods and believes that God is in the cosmos and all things. After our conversation, he presented his workshop, “An Introduction to Devotional Polytheism.” He described the various rituals he performs in his attempts to build relationships with deities. During our initial discussion, he explained that often when he teaches about Paganism, he takes along a box that is labeled “The History of Paganism.” At the beginning of his presentations, he lets the audience know that he is going to show them all the information we have about ancient paganism and ritual. He opens the box to reveal it is empty. There is, in fact, very little actual information about ancient Paganism passed down from ancient practitioners. Pagano and the other pagan groups are, in truth, creating their own traditions, deities, and practices today.
In another workshop, “Lessons from the Indigenous Pagan Survivals,” offered by Andras Corban-Arthen, Andras mentioned that he has traveled to 67 countries in search of information on ancient Pagan practices. His findings could not add anything to Jean Pagano’s empty box.
Not only is it the ancient history of paganism and its rituals that is an empty box, but the newly minted paganism itself is devoid of anything that can enrich one’s life or save a lost and seeking soul. As we met and spoke with a variety of Pagans, Wiccans, Witches, Druids, and Satanists, I noted that none of them understood Christianity in the least. They don’t see themselves as sinners needing salvation and assert that all religions are essentially the same at the core (perennialism).
We leave those with whom we shared the gospel with God. We clearly presented the gospel to many people and are praying for them. However, we are merely ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). God may use us to plant the seed and others to water while He causes the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7).