Pagan or Heathen - What's in a Name?
This is meant only as a brief explanation of what we mean when using Pagan or Heathen, not as an authoritative definition.
Today 'Pagan' and 'Heathen' are both used as terms for polytheistic and/or 'earth centered' religions. Etymologically, 'Pagan' comes from Latin paganus, meaning those who dwell in the country. 'Heathen' comes from Germanic/Anglo-Saxon meaning 'dweller on the heath'. In either case the meaning seems to be derived from the impression that rural people clung to the Old Ways much longer than did the citified.
' Heathen' today tends to be mostly used by Norse/Germanic pagans. Despite the fact that our primary focus as a family is indeed on the Northern and Celtic Gods and Goddesses, on this site we will generally use 'Pagan'. We think that it is more inclusive, and especially emphasizes that we acknowledge our connection with the vast body of Pagan writings from Greek and Roman times, which is one of the main cultural heritages of the West in general.