Letter: Confused creed of the modern Pagans

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Sir: People are entitled to practise whatever religion they like, but to say that the growth of Paganism on Britain's campuses (report, August 29) represents a return to the country's oldest religion is misleading.

"Paganism" is not traditionally, the name of a particular creed, but a catch-all term to denote the religious practices of preliterate peoples. Neither the ancient Britons nor the Anglo-Saxons left any record of their religious beliefs and practices. Modern "pagans" seem to pick and choose whatever takes their fancy, celebrating Beltane (a Celtic festival) and Yule (a Saxon one), worshipping at Stonehenge (which the Celts didn't) but not going in for animal, let alone human, sacrifice, which is one thing we know from the writings of Roman historians did figure largely in the religion of the ancient Celtic peoples.

Those who want to discredit modern Paganism could do so more effectively by challenging its pretensions to antiquity than by spreading rumours of Satanic and drug-taking rituals.

FRANCES H KILLINGLEY

Colchester

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