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P2P Aspects of Paganism

Markus Petz:

"Classical Paganism would be as practiced in the times of the Roman Empire.

Neo-Paganism and Wicca would have many elements of more modern philosophies incorporated in them.

Norse paganism should be considered separately from these broad forms.

Paganism as seen as non mainstream religion is very broad - so please say which form you are talking about as clearly as you can. And list under here if it is not one of the forms above.

  • Wicca

This belief system contains inherent aspects of p2p ethics. Commonly the wicca meet in a coven and nowadays these are oft called circles. Circle shows a peer equality element.

shows the circle as a ritual space and is DIFFERENT from the meaning of circle as a group. Many different sorts of circles (they are found in Native American forms - medicine wheels and also in Finland Samí religion - here circles have a wide variety of different meanings and applications - for a good analogy think of a room and what it is used for.) The discussion section on that wikipedia article touches on some aspects worth considering-

There are several writings that have p2p elements in them:

here at

The Laws from Lady Sheba

"51. If you would keep a book (your Black Book) let it be in your own

         hand of write, let Brothers and Sisters copy what they will, but never
         let the book out of your hands and never keep the writings of another."

" 57. And our oppressors know well: "Ye may not be a Witch alone.""

" 95. Ever recognizing there be people who can never agree to work under

         96. But at the same time, there be some people who cannot rule justly.
         97. To those who ever must be chief, there is one answer.
         98. Void the Coven, or  seek another one or make a Coven  of your own,
         taking with you those who will go.
         99.  To those who cannot rule justly  the answer be, "Those who cannot
         bear your rule will leave you."
         100. For none  may come to meetings  with those with whom  they are at
         101.  So, an either cannot agree, "Get  hence, for the Craft must ever

This deals with group dynamics and tries to keep peers still in a network and working to the same ends even when it may be they have slightly different directions.

" 108. That none shall use the Art in any way to do ill to any.

         109. However much they injure us, HARM NONE"

shows an awareness of spiritual equality.

" 136. Let the Craft keep books with the names of all herbs which are

         good for men, and all cures, so all may learn.
         137. But keep another book  with all the Bales and Apies  and let only
         the Elders and other trustworthy people have this knowledge."


         [sources: The Book of The Law, The Old Laws for the Old Religion, The 
         Great Book of the Law, The Dragon Law] 

"11. The Temples of the Gods, which are Their abode on Earth, shall

         belong to  all Their children, and each Circle shall be as a special 
         family.  Do naught against any Temple or any family of the Wicca, lest
         you do that thing unto the Gods, and against yourself. "

"25. You shall never take unduly from any human, animal or elemental

         that  which is not yours to take --  for if you steal from another, in
         the end you will have   to sacrifice something dearer to you  in order
         to attain the balance. "

"28. If a stranger sojourns with you, you shall do them no wrong; they

         shall be as  one of the  Circle, born amongst ye,  and you shall  deal
         with them as you would yourself. "

" 36. Remember that your children are Goddess-spawned, and are free

         spirits.  You  do not own nor control them.  They are your brethren, 
         come to visit for a while, that they may share in the vision of your 
         love and wisdom. Let each parent realize that although they may teach 
         and guide  with love, the child  shall also teach the  parent, and aid
         them in their growth and lesson "

under 39

"... For the children of

         the Wicca  must aid the Gods,  and work with Them,  otherwise the Gods
         cannot  aid and  work with  you.   Ever remember  that the  Priest and
         Priestess  are  the living  representatives  of  the  God and  Goddess
         Forces, and likewise that  all humans carry these forces  within them,
         though they may lie dormant and unawakened. "

"47. Let each of you inscribe your own record of our ways and teach-

         ings.  For the  course  of each  Wiccan  should be  charted,  that the
         patterns  of their life-web may be made  known and utilized.  Let each
         Wiccan start their Book of Light  with the teachings and lore of their
         tradition, yet  let it also  contain the  rites and ways  of each  in-
         dividual, which are the harvest of each child of the Wicca, to use the
         wisdom of their heritage as the seeds of their own wisdom.  Thus shall
         our lore and knowledge continue  to grow and unfold, like  a beautiful
         flower. "

"49. If your Circle owns any land, let all guard it, and help to keep

         it clean. Let  all justly guard all  monies of the Circle, as  well as
         the rights and property of all members of the Circle. "

"69. The Elders of the old and new Circles shall meet in peace and with

         respect, to decide the level of interaction and connection between the
         Circles.  Yet it is known that the splitting of a Circle often means 
         strife. So only if it is truly in a spirit of peace and harmony should
         the Circles meet for the celebration of the Great Festivals. 
         70.  None shall enter  the Circle that  have a sickness  or an ailment
         which  may be passed on to  the Lady's other children --  for to do so
         causes  harm to  yourself, as  well as  to the  others of  the Circle.
         Rather should  the Healers go unto the sick one, that through the love
         of the Gods they shall be made well and whole once more. "

THIS section may be useful too

" 78. Of those who would inquire as to the ways of the Goddess, or who

         wish to  become of the Wicca,  ye shall search their  hearts, and even
         into  their spirits you shall look, as you are able.  For the Wicca do
         not look to acquire  mere numbers.  Let  none be turned away  if their
         hearts are true, and their desire earnest. 
         79. The hidden children are like the strings of a harp: each one may 
         give a clear note, and when gathered together in sympathy and accord, 
         they shall give rise to a beautiful symphony.  Yet when struck without
         reason or thought, these notes may cause discord or disharmony. 
         Therefore the Gods decree to Their Teachers and  Priests that all must
         be taught to master their harp, and to pluck their  strings with care,
         that they cause no discord or imbalance. 
         80. Choose  the Priests and Teachers  of the Wicca with  diligence and
         with care. The  qualities that you should  search for within them  are
         Faith, Belief, Knowledge, Ability, Patience, Leadership, Humility, and
         a loving nature --  for they must lead and  teach the children of  the
         Goddess, and will thereby have the power to do great good, or to cause
         great imbalance. "

www DOT circlesanctuary DOT org/aboutpagan/contours DOT htm

Spiritual Contours of the Contemporary Pagan Worldview, by Dr. Dennis D. Carpenter

"Selected for examination are the theme of interconnectedness, the immanent/transcendent dimension, animism and spiritism, the monotheism/polytheism dimension, and the concept of magic. In summary, the main purpose of this article is to describe the major spiritual contours of the worldview inherent in contemporary Paganism. In presenting this information, it is recognized that the diversity that typifies contemporary Paganism makes it difficult, if not impossible, to identify a worldview that characterizes all Pagans. In recognition of this situation, this article explores Pagan worldview along the contours specified as revealed in some of the available Pagan literature."

so the article touches on the aspects that are revealing of who peers are in a pagan context. BUT it is very broad.

www DOT

"There ARE some circumstances where a spell may be shared. There are group projections that covens may do for a specific situation or by request from someone that they know well."

"Q: Where can I find a coven?

A: Covens are usually an "invitation only" group of people who work very hard to blend their personalities and magic for a common purpose. This would not be an easy thing to create with an "open door" policy. Chances are, you will have to meet the approval of the entire group to be considered for membership and you must have the recommendation of a current member to be considered. That said, if you are starting out or have been solitary, but are now looking for a group to join, you have to "go where the Witches are!" Visit your local Pagan shop and check for workshops and local meetings. Attend open circles and events in your area. Go to the Witches of The World section and email some of the Pagans listed near you. Witches are strong individuals, so most covens are looking for people who can hold their own in Life and not for followers or hangers-on. Some covens or groups do offer "outer circle' training or teaching for new seekers. Study, study, study! If you can bring something TO a group, you will increase your chances of being asked to join one."