This semester marks the beginning of APSU’s own chapter of the Society of University Pagans.
During the fall 2016 semester, the Society of University Pagans became an APSU student organization and began inviting students to join and attend biweekly meetings. During these meetings, the members share their personal experiences with their pagan belief, encourage each other, and offer helpful tips to help them grow in their beliefs. The goal of the organization’s officers is for all students to feel welcome, even non-pagans.
“We want to foster an environment where students can ask questions and we can straighten out any misconceptions about paganism,” president and sophomore business major Loreli McCole said. McCole said any student willing to have open minded discussions or wanting to know more about the belief are encouraged to attend.
Paganism does not have a set system of beliefs or practices; therefore, the belief means something different to each person that practices paganism. While there is no specific belief system, paganism has a universal foundation that sets it apart from other faiths.
“Paganism is all about balance of higher power, therefore polytheistic belief,” McCole said. “At the very least, if a pagan believes in a male god, they also believe in a female goddess by his side”.
Beyond the foundation, each pagan has his or her own beliefs and values, a path, for spiritual guidance that revolves around the gods of different cultures such as Greek and Egyptian. Paganism also embodies eight major holidays based on the planting, growing, harvesting, resting seasons of the natural calendar.
“Paganism, unlike other religious beliefs, is less about the past and more about the present and how to deal with things happening right now,” secretary and senior nursing major Mary Richards said.
In APSU’s chapter, the officers teach and encourage meditation as a way for students to stay focused on the present. During the meetings, there are short meditations or tips on healthy and effective meditation. The Society fo University Pagans encourages participants to keep perusing their beliefs and change them as necessary.
The organization’s other goals are to provide a safe environment, an umbrella of beliefs, for APSU’s pagan students. The group also encourages students to come and ask questions, and one of their visions as an organization is to debunk the myths of their belief, paganism, on APSU’s campus.