Census April 2016: Consider answering “PAGAN” to the Religion Question

A Census will be held on 24th April, 2016. We, at PLR, ask you to consider answering “PAGAN” to the question on religion. 

Why?

We believe that the 2011 census may not have truly reflected the actual number of Pagans in Ireland. This is because people either put down the praxis with which they self-identify or marked “No Religion” in the Religion section. As a result, the Central Statistics Office split the “Other” category into very small numbers recording Druid, Shaman, Pantheist, Polytheist, Pagan, Wiccan, Witch, etc. separately and these figures are often omitted from published reports. This makes it difficult, in terms of representations to the State, regarding our beliefs in the areas of health and education.

There are many people who do not identify with any particular tradition or path but are still seeking or curious. There are also many people who follow an earth-based or magical practice, but do not normally define themselves as “Pagan.” These people may, however, have ticked “No Religion.” Other countries have encouraged a policy of putting “Pagan –“ and then adding your path or tradition, such as Pagan-Druid or Pagan-Witch. However, this might well prove to be counter-productive as each will be separated into different categories on the census results and we will be in the same position as we were before, with smaller categories not getting listed in published State figures.

censusgraphicIn order to get an accurate measure of how many Pagans there actually are in Ireland, we encourage people to simply enter “PAGAN” into the “Other” field in the Census question regarding religion. In this way, we hope that, by the time the next census rolls around in 2021, “Pagan” will be an accepted category under “Religion” and just a box to tick. This will also mean that when it comes to health, work and education matters, having a recognised standing will make life easier for everyone fighting the red tape of Government.

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Election of new Board

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March 15th sees the introduction of a new Board for Pagan Life Rites. As per our Constitution, the Board is rotated annually and made up of four elected Regional Officers. We thank our previous Board Members, Ailish Farragher, Barbara Lee, Kristian Märkus and Gavin Morrison for their year of service and dedication and welcome our new Board, Francis Devenney, Lora O’Brien, Fionnuala O’Regan and Vinnie Woods. As with our remaining Clergy Members, the outgoing Board Members continue to serve as Regional Officers.

PRESS RELEASE – 11/02/16

10483695_10152275773128456_5291685223322335938_nTwelve Solemnisers Newly Registered In Order To Meet Demand

Pagan Life Rites (Ireland) is delighted to announce that, on the 5th of February, twelve of its Priestesses and Priests were registered by the Office of the General Register (GRO) as legal solemnisers of marriage.

The Priestesses and Priests of Pagan Life Rites have many years of experience and are held in high regard within their respective spiritual traditions on the paths of Druidry, Witchcraft, Wicca, and Shamanism.

As an organisation representing the interests of Pagan traditions in Ireland, Pagan Life Rites has the largest general membership and the largest number of Pagan clergy appointed by the Department of Social Protection as legal solemnisers of marriage.

Pagan Life Rites serves the Pagan community of the island of Ireland by providing trained clergy for the administering of traditional religious rites pertaining to birth, marriage, death and other rites of passage.

Handfasting is the term for the traditional religious wedding rite. Handfasting is a continuation of Ireland’s indigenous practice which was recognised in Brehon law.

Through our Old Ways and Other Ways, Pagan Life Rites offers legal Handfasting to the many couples seeking a wedding ceremony with a spiritual element that is more aligned to an Earth based belief system.

Pagan Life Rites offers legal Handfastings to opposite-sex and same-sex couples of adult age, including persons who identify as transgender, intersex, and gender-fluid. There is absolutely no objection to LGBT people or marriage equality from Pagan clergy, some of whom also freely identify as LGBT.

Our clergy are socially integrated into their communities around the country and quietly minister to those in need of pastoral support and those who seek ceremonies to mark their rites of passage in life. Pagan Life Rites also offers chaplaincy support to persons in hospitals and prisons.

Pagan Life Rites hosts open monthly Moot gatherings, seasonal rituals, workshops and lectures around the country. Our community is served by our registered clergy in their respective regions of abode: the Greater Dublin Area, the South-East, the South-West, the West, and the North.

Pagan Life Rites welcomes the decision of the Department of Social Protection and is grateful to those public servants who upheld the State’s commitment to fairness, diversity and pluralism.