Labels can be misleading, hurtful and unfair. The term Pagan is from the Latin word paganus, an adjective originally meaning "rural", "rustic" or "of the country." A Paganus was a country dweller or villager in the eyes of the three largest, organized faiths. Both pagan and heathen have historically been used as a label by those who follow Judaism, Christianity and Islam to indicate a disbeliever of their religion.
Today, Pagans enjoy freedom to follow and practice their faith in the manner most comfortable and meaningful to them. Being a Pagan is a blanket term for many faiths like Historical Polytheism (such as Celtic polytheism, Norse paganism, and Hellenic Polytheistic Reconstructionism also called Hellenismos), Folk/ethnic/Indigenous religions (such as Chinese folk religion and African traditional religion), and Neopaganism (such as Wicca and Germanic Neopaganism).
Yes, it IS confusing, but there are specific names for different faiths, just like Catholic and Protestants are Christian...then Wicca and Native Americans are considered Pagans. Labels, that's all the words are...Labels. It is the deeds, history and the people of a faith that should be considered, not a label.
If you ask any Pagan what the word means to them, you may be surprised to hear many different definitions. People will express themselves in unique ways and their faith is an expression of their inner soul. So leave the labels on the jar of peaches and try to reach out with your heart to understand what is new to you.
For centuries, Gypsies, Pagans, Wiccans and others have had to bear terrible repercussions as other developing faiths tried to strip the "villagers" from their personal beliefs. Now is a time of mending, to live side-by-side in the light and forget the past grievances. Each soul has a right to choose how to reach Summerland or wherever you desire to find peace. Blessed Be )O(