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Saturday, September 09, 2006

A Primer On Paganism

The rough plot of "The Wicker Man" is a very Christian policeman who investigates a missing girl on a very remote island.

The locals are very secretive, and practice a very twisted version of pagan rituals — and I don't want to give away the end of the film, but suffice it to say that the policeman is in for a surprise.

The movie plays on a tension between Christianity and Paganism, throws in some sexually provocative scenes and, voila, you've got a "classic." Pagan, in Latin, means from the country or rural citizen, so before you get the idea that it is all about animal sacrifice and devil worship, realize that most indigenous religions are by definition pagan — the word doesn't carry any of those stereotypes in its definition.

It is also important to keep in mind that while we look at paganism, our piece looked at one branch, Wicca — and that there are several sub-branches of practices and faiths. One thing both the witches we spoke to in the piece strongly agree on is that there is no devil worship or human sacrifice in their craft, and that there never will be. Paganism flourished in the 1970s and '80s and according to a religious studies professor in California there could be anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people who practice the faith around the United States. Full Story

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