If we were a nation, this would be our flag!
Many Pagans dislike the word “creed,” and there are sensible reasons for this. The ancient polytheistic faiths were primarily concerned with practices, not beliefs. It didn’t matter so much what you thought or believed so long as you engaged the Gods of your family, community and/or country according to the procedures that were accepted in your area. As long as you offered the right things to the right Deities in the right ways and at the right times, you were free to think whatever you liked. In this way, ancient paganism had no regulated beliefs and no concept of “heresy” as such; the cult of Yahweh was really the first on record to make a big deal about such things.
Bearing this in mind, many of today’s modern Pagans are not polytheists; some are pantheists, monotheists, duotheists, agnostics, or even atheists. Even in Wicca, greater emphasis is usually placed on how the different traditions practice their rituals than on what they believe or don’t believe. Unfortunately, this lack of emphasis doesn’t always translate into how Pagans treat each other. (This is best exemplified by the ongoing “hard polytheists vs. naturalistic pantheist Pagans” baloney that keeps flaring up every couple of months or so.) I feel this is an unfortunate result of the fact that so many of us are still socialized as Abrahamic monotheists when we are children. Even after we become Pagans, some of us still can’t entirely shed the warped mental programming that makes us want to reject those who don’t follow “the party line.”
That being said, I don’t care what anyone believes; as long as you’re following some kind of nature-based spiritual path, you’re Pagan enough for me. Gods bless you, so mote it be, [your preferred spiritual phrase here]. But what exactly does it take to be an initiate of the LV-426 Tradition? That’s a whole different kettle of elephantfish. To answer this question, something must certainly be said about our practices…but our beliefs are also very important. There’s more than enough discursive space for each of us to see things in their own particular way, but there are still certain things we believe and certain things we don’t. Perhaps this too is a result of Abrahamic conditioning during childhood (and if so, then it is what it is). But at least we don’t go bonkers over “Who’s Pagan And Who Isn’t”; we decided it would be better (and more fun) to just make up our own crazy-sounding name. That way, we can draw lines as much as we like without stepping on anyone else’s toes (and without letting anyone else step on ours). Zzuzsanna Budapest can’t speak for all witches, but she can certainly speak for the Dianic Tradition, and the same thing applies to us and LV-426.
Now that I’ve bored you all to tears, here is what we think of as our basic “creed.”
We believe in many Gods and Goddesses who animate this world from within; who keep it alive with Their various activities; who are not necessarily all-powerful or morally perfect; who are magically present in the sacred images that human beings create for Them; and who each have Their own preferred myths, rites, and congregations.
We believe there is a cosmic bond called Ma’at that exists between all people, animals, Gods and spirits; that Ma’at requires us to treat all beings with dignity; that it is constantly under attack from the forces of evil; and that it is so integral to nature that, should it ever be destroyed, all things would dissolve back into chaos forever (including the Gods).
We believe there is a difference between the dark side of nature, which includes things that are unpleasant but necessary to the cycles of life (such as pain and death), and true spiritual evil, which actively seeks to destroy all of nature (including its dark side). We refer to the ultimate source of evil as
Apophis, the Supreme Enemy of all Gods and people.
We believe in Seth-Typhon, the mighty Red God, who causes all storms, earthquakes, and other disturbances in nature; who rules all places that are hostile to life; who created death; who counterbalances the forces of civilization; who keeps the wheel of life in constant motion; and who personally defends the Prime Mover from
We believe there are many different ways to interact with Seth, and that they are all valid insofar as they require upholding Ma’at. We believe Seth has ordained the four of us to serve Him as priests and to worship Him together as our chief Deity. We believe in keeping a weekly Sabbath in His honor, in celebrating Friday the Thirteenth as a holy day, and in battling
Apophis with apotropaic magic. We also believe Seth leaves omens for us to divine in much of our favorite art, and we hope to join Him in the Northern Sky after death.
Seth-Typhon be praised!