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Pagan beliefs about the "end times"

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine is doing research about different religions and their views on the Apocalypse and other end of the world beliefs. He emailed me and asked what pagans believe about end times and I'm stumped? I'm Christopagan, was raised Catholic, and I really try not to think about the end of the world. I can't think of ever really encountering the subject in anything I've read over the past 15 years. And now I'm curious, too. Is there a standard belief among Wiccans or other pagans about the end of the world? What are your beliefs? Any information would be appreciated lots. :-)
post #2 of 22
I don't think there is a standard of belief. Personally I believe that if the world as we know should be destroyed, and all of humanity ceases to exist, that's it. I don't believe in an afterlife, or a heaven and hell, nor a judgement of my life by a higher being. It all just ends. The dust particles will float on forever, and that's about it. Hope that makes sense!
post #3 of 22
Well, as pagan is such a broad term, I am sure there are a million answers. I believe in reincarnation but I dont know for how long or what would happen if earth would become inhospitable to life.

My perception of the end times is always a vengeful god coming down to smite us all, except for his "chosen". This does not into a typical pagans view I would say.

ETA: I should clarify....my perception of other view of the end times is what I should have said above. I dont but it. End times, apocalypse....to me its all just a way to keep people scared and in line
post #4 of 22
I don't believe in any 'end times' apoclyptical stuff really. I DO believe that man, not any god, will be the end of itself eventually. As a species we just can't NOT destroy :
post #5 of 22
I don't disbelieve in an afterlife or heaven/hell types of things, but I don't believe in the any biblical "End Times" per se, where Jesus comes again and we will stand in judgment. I think we will all get the same kind of judgment regardless of when we die. And even from the start of Christianity, people have always said we're living in the end times.

Obviously the world WILL end, and who knows, it might be soon. And I don't think we'll realize it's coming. So the "thief in the night" analogy works there. Whether by asteroid or nuclear bomb or whatever, we probably won't have much warning. And yes, possibly it will happen within our generation. (It also might not, who knows?)

There's a Hindu analogy about the world as a cow standing on four legs, then three, then two, and I think right now we're supposed to be on the balancing on one hoof times. With each "era" and one less hoof on the ground, the world becomes more chaotic and less stable. I don't know what happens at the end, I think it goes back to standing on four legs again? Or just topples? As far as society is concerned, that makes sense. There's a lot of chaos in the world, and instability. Things either must change, as in a radical change of the human consciousness, or the world will cease to be habitable. I'm pretty sure of that. But I don't know what happens after our era.
post #6 of 22
Well I'm a pagan and I have to say...aren't "end times" a fundamentally Christian (and I suppose some other religions as well) thing? I've never in my life, in any Wiccan writings, come across any kind of "end times" scenario. Really, what you do comes back to you three times, so therefore in principal, any "end times" would be created by man, not by the Goddess...

Forgive me if I'm wrong - I just find your friend's question a little confusing!

*HUGS* XXX
post #7 of 22
I've never come across any pagan version of an "end times".
IMO it is mostly an idea to create fear, and control. That's not to say I think the earth will continue on- the state of the environment is a major issue, I also consider the cycles of birth, death, and rebirth.
I also believe in reincarnation.

Sounds like an interesting project!
post #8 of 22
Well, as with any question when regarding paganism, the answer depends on who you talk to There is no dogma involved in paganism and, at least within my circle of pagan friends, no one belief. Everyone tends to be very ecclectic. I have heard many different ideas from my pagan friends. Astrologically you could say December 21st, 2012 (but that's highly debatable). But still some say that will just be a shift in conciousness (many different theories). I think it's safe to say that most pagans believe that the human race will destroy themselves, not goddess or god. When it comes down to it, there is not just one answer.
post #9 of 22
It does not make sense to me that an earth-based spirituality would have any belief in an end time. One of the great things about Paganism (broadly speaking) is the focus on cycles: birth/death/decay/rebirth. Death is simply a part of life, it creates life even. So an abrupt severing of time/life does not fit within the cosmic dance really.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by saphire View Post
I've never come across any pagan version of an "end times".
:

As a non-Wiccan Pagan, I'll chime in. My path identifies the Cosmos Itself as a non-anthropomorphic Goddess. She is imminent within everything and nothing exist outside of Her. Her endless forms include our Mother Earth and She is manifest in the continual cycles of the seasons and in the cycles of life experienced by all beings.

I cannot credit the notion that there is an "end time" when I see the cycles of the Cosmos are infinite. It is completely contrary to my understanding of deity that the Mother, who by Her nature is continuously conceiving, gestating, birthing, nurturing, and then consuming to bring forth again everything from galaxies to dandelions could suddenly "call stop" on just humans. Science tells me that humans have the power to render Gaia lifeless, or at least so vastly different She is uninhabitable by us. But there are other forms of existence beyond the physical life of Gaia. As physics has established, in the end nothing can ever be truly destroyed, merely transformed. In my faith change is the constant nature of being, so transformation isn't "the end", it's just business as usual.

This "end times" idea just doesn't fit into any Pagan theology that I've ever encountered. The types of religious thought that fits under the broad "Pagan" umbrella tends to conceptualization existence in terms of cycles. A wheel of existence that spirals ever on, a very different idea from a liner existence that starts with an arbitrary "creation" and ends with an imposed "apocalypse".

Hope I was able to make sense of this for you.
post #11 of 22
Very well put Asha+Joy. I have to agree with you.
post #12 of 22
It really does depend on what you mean by "pagan". And what you mean by "end time". You might suggest to your friend that they grab the nearest reference librarian and ask for help in exploring Eschatology (basically the study of the "end of the world" and while much of the literature deals with christian or jewish teaching/mythology/philosophy/theology, eschatology is by no means confined to the study of these faiths!). If they can't get to the library (or a 24/7 online librarian), a good starting point might be the Pagan Theology wiki article on pagan eschatology.

Many modern pagan recon traditions do have prophecies/traditions that anticipate periods of ending/renewal, etc. Other pagan traditions (often those that were established more recently, actively embrace the "neopagan" lable, or which rely more heavily on syncretic practices) don't. And if your friend is using "pagan" to cover all faiths outside the so-called big three (Christianity, Judaism, Islam) then there are many religions that include beliefs in an ending/renewal scenario (for example, Hindu teachings about the "ages" of the world).

Just off the top of my head, many Norse recon groups hold to a belief in an end time/world renewal (Ragnarok). Both Greek and Celtic recon groups talk about "ages" and the ending of those ages. Groups that follow a Mayan recon tradition anticipate an end/beginning with the coming "end" of their calendar.

I think the primary difference in how "end times" are expressed by different faiths has to do with "and then what happens?". Many pagan (recon as well as neopagan) groups are explicit in the thought that ending=beginning=ending=beginning in a sort of eternal cycle of change. Sort of reincarnation writ large. While other faiths teach that the "end time" is more of a one-time event with a clear before and after.

Sounds like a fun research topic though!
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CariOfOz View Post
I don't believe in any 'end times' apocalyptic stuff really. I DO believe that man, not any god, will be the end of itself eventually. As a species we just can't NOT destroy :


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post
It does not make sense to me that an earth-based spirituality would have any belief in an end time. One of the great things about Paganism (broadly speaking) is the focus on cycles: birth/death/decay/rebirth. Death is simply a part of life, it creates life even. So an abrupt severing of time/life does not fit within the cosmic dance really.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Asha+Joy View Post
:

As a non-Wicca Pagan, I'll chime in. My path identifies the Cosmos Itself as a non-anthropomorphic Goddess. She is imminent within everything and nothing exist outside of Her. Her endless forms include our Mother Earth and She is manifest in the continual cycles of the seasons and in the cycles of life experienced by all beings.

I cannot credit the notion that there is an "end time" when I see the cycles of the Cosmos are infinite. It is completely contrary to my understanding of deity that the Mother, who by Her nature is continuously conceiving, gestating, birthing, nurturing, and then consuming to bring forth again everything from galaxies to dandelions could suddenly "call stop" on just humans. Science tells me that humans have the power to render Gaia lifeless, or at least so vastly different She is uninhabitable by us. But there are other forms of existence beyond the physical life of Gaia. As physics has established, in the end nothing can ever be truly destroyed, merely transformed. In my faith change is the constant nature of being, so transformation isn't "the end", it's just business as usual.

This "end times" idea just doesn't fit into any Pagan theology that I've ever encountered. The types of religious thought that fits under the broad "Pagan" umbrella tends to conceptualization existence in terms of cycles. A wheel of existence that spirals ever on, a very different idea from a liner existence that starts with an arbitrary "creation" and ends with an imposed "apocalypse".

Hope I was able to make sense of this for you.
post #14 of 22
It's all about the cycles. The lead characters will change but the story repeats. :
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by CariOfOz View Post
I don't believe in any 'end times' apoclyptical stuff really. I DO believe that man, not any god, will be the end of itself eventually. As a species we just can't NOT destroy :
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChampagneBlossom View Post
Obviously the world WILL end, and who knows, it might be soon. And I don't think we'll realize it's coming. So the "thief in the night" analogy works there. Whether by asteroid or nuclear bomb or whatever, we probably won't have much warning. And yes, possibly it will happen within our generation. (It also might not, who knows?)

...Things either must change, as in a radical change of the human consciousness, or the world will cease to be habitable. I'm pretty sure of that. But I don't know what happens after our era.
Personally, I think the human race will destroy the sustainability of the earth, and we as a race will cease to exist, along with most life forms that currently share this planet with us. However, I think the Mother will prevail and eventually, the earth will regenerate without us, perhaps to give birth to a more eco-conscious race that will take better care of the resources.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by she View Post
It's all about the cycles. The lead characters will change but the story repeats. :
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingSerenity View Post
Personally, I think the human race will destroy the sustainability of the earth, and we as a race will cease to exist, along with most life forms that currently share this planet with us. However, I think the Mother will prevail and eventually, the earth will regenerate without us, perhaps to give birth to a more eco-conscious race that will take better care of the resources.

I'd like to think so.
post #18 of 22
Well..."pagan" encompasses a HUGE variety of belief. Do you mean Tahitian natives? Nordic Heathens? Mayans?
In my study, there is no standard Wiccan answer to the end of the world question. But many indigenous belief systems have prophecies etc. Just Google "Ragnarok" for starters!! There's an entire Icelandic epic on the end of the world!!
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingSerenity View Post
Personally, I think the human race will destroy the sustainability of the earth, and we as a race will cease to exist, along with most life forms that currently share this planet with us. However, I think the Mother will prevail and eventually, the earth will regenerate without us, perhaps to give birth to a more eco-conscious race that will take better care of the resources.
i think this as well. as far as "apocalypse" as a word, doesnt it mean catastrophic event?

where there is an end there is then a beginning, whether humans will be here for that or not ...

there Earth might blow up someday or whatever, but something new would come out of it.

i really try to live one day at a time. i think that our actions on Earth does cause the Earth pain and we should be changing everything about how we live.

just like the dinosaurs died, just like the DoDo bird died. everything has an end. everything has a beginning. what replaced the dinosaurs? did the Dodo dying leave room for something else to thrive.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for the input and feedback. I fowarded it to him. I had told him that the word "pagan" encompasses about 80 million different beliefs. I told him there are no set doctrines or dogmas as you would find in organized religions.
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