In Wicca and other Neo-Pagan Traditions, this rite of passage is perceived, as in most orthodox religious beliefs, as being the shedding of the physical body and the liberation of the spirit to seek a new existence, whether that constitutes an eternal one in a spirit world, or Reincarnation.
Death is generally considered to be an integral and necessary part of a cyclical process.
To a Neo-Pagan, the seasonal cycles of nature mirror those of human passage. Thus, at Lammas, the Goddess Morrigan appears as the harbinger of death, the aspect (in company with those of war and panic) who wields the sickle that reaps the Corn King. This heralds the decay of winter, out of whose: dismemberment will spring the shoots of new life, the genesis of Spring.
One of the major problems with 'defining' Paganism and/or its beliefs and practices is that it is an 'organic' movement, in that it is undergoing constant change and re-evaluation from within, and as such any 'one-size-fits-all' approach to understanding Paganism will be found wanting.
Due to the very 'organic' nature of Paganism, and the many differing Paths and Traditions within it, in many cases no one definition may be universally accepted by all Pagans. Therefore, where such cases of possible conflicting and/or contradictory meanings of certain terms occur I have endevoured to give not only the generally accepted meaning, but also any major 'variations' in belief and/or practice.
Christians who believe this difference in meaning of certain key terms, beliefs and practices to be unique to Paganism need to remember that such conflicts also arise within the Body of Christ - the Church. Take for instance the differing practices amongst Christians concerning Baptism and the different attitudes towards women in the clergy.
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