Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Ang Paganong Filipino (The Filipino Pagan)

What is the definition of a Filipino Pagan or a Paganong Pilipino?

This has been a source of discourse among the many yet divided Philippine Pagan and Wiccan groups. In my more than 20 years of observing, founding and assisting some of the groups here in the Philippines, this has been a topic that was still not resolved even until today.

True there are a lot of groups here in the country that would claim that they're Pagans even when they do not fit in the accepted definition of a Pagan. Now, what is a Pagan?

As defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary, a Pagan is a heathen, especially a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome). While Dictionary.com defines a Pagan as a member of a religious, spiritual, or cultural community based on the worship of nature or the earth; a neopagan. I

In both definitions, we can agree (possibly) that a Pagan is a person who is number one, a follower of a Polytheistic (Believes in many Gods) and is a member of a religious, spiritual or cultural community that worships nature or the earth. In all the known magicko-spiritual religions or practices here in the Philippines what can be considered Pagan?

First, lets visit LNK or Lihim na Karunungan. This practice includes the use of oraciones, anting-anting, Sacred Names and libretas with Latin Invocations. Observing the practitioners of LNK, some of them would call it Kabbalah or Filipino Kabbalah, the practice is rooted on the Jewish/Catholic beliefs. The Name of God is often used in its rites along with angels, saints, the Virgin Mary and the Diyos Ama. Does LNK fit the umbrella of Paganism?

If we based it on the definitions given, LNK/Filipino Kabbalah cannot be considered Pagan. Some of the LNK Practitioners are even unhappy if someone calls them a Pagan. To them, their magick is a form of Theurgy and therefore High Magick.

The next practice we will visit is Babaylanismo (I categorize this under Philippine Shamanic Practices, which also include other culturally centered "religion" in the country) . This is one of the pre-Hispanic practices that the Philippines has, although, some of the known Babaylans now use a mixture of animistic practices and LNK. The original practice of Babaylanismo is really animistic and they practice the reverence of the ancestors and Gods. Some of the tribes in the highlands still maintain this type of practice and would still honor the anitos and the Diwata. The Philippines also has a lot of Gods and Goddesses in our mythology and each Tribe has their own set of Gods. As Babaylanismo believes in the existence of multiple deities and harvest and the earth is also a big part of its practices, I could clearly say that it is Pagan.

The Western Religions in the Philippines. The Filipinos, being one of the most adaptable people in the world, also adopted a few Western religions and practices. The first and the most common is Wicca. Wicca is of course both a Polytheistic and a nature/earth based religion so it qualifies as Pagan. There are still a few religions from the west that are being practiced here. But for me, as long as they meet the criteria of being polytheistic and worships the earth and nature, then they are Pagan.

Now what is a "Paganong Pinoy"? We have cleared the definition of a Pagan and now lets define a Filipino Pagan. We can say that a Filipino Pagan is a Pinoy practicing Paganism in the Philippines. They might be someone who practicing an adopted Western Pagan Tradition or Philippine Shamanism. They might also be Filipinos who practices their very own Family Tradition.

We can continue to improve and define the Filipino Pagan as we go along the Path.


-pictures

from the internet-
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