Historic day as pagan druid addresses MSPs during Time for Reflection at Holyrood

A pagan has addressed MSPs in what has been a historic day for druids and witches at Holyrood.

Reverend Linda Haggerstone delivered the Time for Reflection on Tuesday - the first pagan address in the Scottish parliament's 25-year history.

Rev Haggerstone, national interfaith officer at the Scottish Pagan Federation, thanked the chamber for the invite.

She said: "By the power of star and stone, by the power of the land within and without, by all that is fair and free, I welcome you today to this Time for Reflection."

The reverend explained that paganism has evolved over time from a "slur that still lingers in the world today and is often met with discrimination and scorn" to a "beautifully messy tapestry of spiritual paths".

She said: "Modern paganism's greatest benefit, and its biggest challenge, is its diversity in both belief and practice.

"My chosen path is druidry. But a pagan may, for example, identify as wiccan, heathen, or a witch."

The reverend explained that pagans may have differing faiths, such as humanist - the idea that people do not need a god or religion to satisfy their spiritual and emotional needs; polytheistic - a belief or worship of more than one god; or animist - a belief that all living things have a soul.

Rev Haggerstone said: "I view paganism as a tapestry woven with threads of many different lens, textures and hues.

"What these diverse threads have in common is generally fourfold - recognition of our interconnectedness with each other, with the earth, and with all existences seen and unseen.

"The belief that we are here to consciously honour, respect, and care for the Earth - to which we are inextricably connected.

"Celebration of cycles, for example the seasons, each solstice and equinox, the phases of the moon or life transitions. Valuing creativity, individual accountability, and a balance of masculine and feminine energies."

The reverend said pagans are "continuously learning" to be more inclusive of differing ability, culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, age, and other characteristics.

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Ending with a druid prayer, Rev Haggerstone said: "Grant, O divine spirit, thy protection. And in protection, strength. And in strength, understanding. And in understanding, knowledge.

"And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice. And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it. And in the love of it, the love of all existences. And in the love of all existences, the love of divine spirit and all goodness.

"To conclude, I share a prayer I offer in interfaith circles.

"Deep within the still centre of my being, may I find peace. Silently, within the quiet of the grove, may I share peace. Gently, within the greater circles of humankind, may I radiate peace."