What is the SPF?

The Scottish Pagan Federation, also known as the Pagan Federation (Scotland), is part of the Pagan Federation family. The Pagan Federation was founded in 1971, with Scotland becoming a specific district in the early 1990s and becoming an independent organisation in 2006.

SPF is a democratic organisation with members from all Pagans traditions. Paganism is a spiritual way of life which has its roots in the ancient nature religions of the world. It is principally rooted in the old religions of Europe, though some Pagans find great worth in the indigenous beliefs of other continents.

What we do is:

  • Promote tolerance, respect and mutual understanding of Paganism
  • Campaign for respect and equality alongside other religions in Scotland
  • Defend and protect Pagans from defamation and religious discrimination
  • Provides accurate and factual information on modern Paganism to the Scottish Government, non-government organisations, civic society, the media and the general public

Services we provide:

  • Reputable registered celebrants who can perform legal marriage Pagan wedding ceremonies as well as baby naming, funerals and other rites of passage
  • Host an annual national conference and a family-friendly summer camp
  • Publish our magazine – SPIN – for our members
  • Host a list of moots and groups across the country
  • Provides information on Paganism and suggestions for further study upon request

What we have achieved:

  • Successfully campaigned for same-sex marriage as well as having an SPF celebrant performing the first-ever same-sex marriage in Scotland
  • Lobbied MSPs, petitioned the Scottish Parliament and finally raised. £2,000 to access information from census 2011 on the number of Pagans and other minority groups extracted and freely circulated. This information has been analysed and is available here. (link to article)
  • Gained acceptance into Interfaith Scotland following many years of working with the civic interfaith movement to win respect and recognition for Paganism.
  • Defended Pagans against attacks from sections of the media and sought to improve the balance and accuracy of their coverage of matters relating to Paganism.

The Three Principles

The three principles of the Pagan Federation (Scotland) are a general outline of some key, mainstream Pagan attitudes and beliefs. They look at how we relate to the Earth, other living beings, and the divine (our Goddesses or Gods or a more abstract spirit of life). Each is open to a range of honourable and reasonable interpretations.

Our principles are not a doctrinally definitive Pagan creed.

We are aware that the Pagan Federation (England and Wales) have updated their three principles, however our principles are linked in with our recognition with the Scottish Government and other public sector organisations. This recognition has enabled us to conduct legal Pagan weddings, often known as handfastings, and be a part of Interfaith.

  1. "Love for and Kinship with Nature. Reverence for the life force and its ever-renewing cycles of life and death."

    The first principle emphasises the importance of love and respect for nature in Paganism. It recognises that human beings are part of nature and that our lives are intimately interwoven with the web of life and death.

  2. "A positive morality, in which the individual is responsible for the discovery and development of their true nature in harmony with the outer world and community. This is often expressed as 'Do what you will, as long as it harms none'."

    The second principle puts forward a broadly humanistic approach to ethics which seeks to maximise both individual freedom and personal responsibility. It recognises our place as human beings within the web of life and that everything we do, or refrain from doing, has consequences for ourselves and for others. It encourages working towards peaceful outcomes while acknowledging the legitimacy of both self-defence and justice.

    This is compatible with all Pagan paths, and essential for a tolerant, diverse and humane society. The Wiccan Rede is given as an illustrative, but not definitive, example of this general approach to ethics - this does not insist that we harm none under any or all circumstances. It does encourage us to be aware of the context in which our actions operate, to consider the probable consequences of the choices we make, to choose those that are reasonable and proportionate in the circumstances and minimise such harm as cannot be prevented, and take responsibility for our contribution, by either action or inaction, to the outcome. Hard ethical decisions are not about whether harm will happen, but about where it will fall.

  3. "Recognition of the Divine, which transcends gender."

    This principle encompasses a range of Pagan understandings of divinity including, but not restricted to, pantheism, all forms of polytheism including duotheism, Goddess-recognisant monotheism, non-binary divinity and animism. It requires us to acknowledge that where the divine is understood as deity or deities having gender, it must include a Goddess or Goddesses as well as a God or Gods.

    It also recognises that there are Pagan understandings of divinity which cannot be categorised by gender. Modern Paganism tends to approach theology through a synergy of multiple understandings of the divine or Divinity in the abstract, and modern Pagans tend to regard the honouring of the Gods, of the divine as it is manifest within this living world, as of greater importance than theological speculation as to its or their precise nature.

Our History

In the early 1990s, Scotland became its own distinct district within the Pagan Federation, bolstered by the success of the first-ever Scottish conference. Jean Fowler and her husband were the first District Managers (DMs), looking after both Scotland and Ireland at the time.

In 1997, John and Kitty Macintyre took over as DMs and were instrumental in the development of the SPF. Their dedication was the driving force for improving understanding and recognition of Paganism in Scotland. Interfaith recognition formed the backbone of John's activism, helping the SPF to be accepted into membership of the Edinburgh Inter Faith Association in 1996.

It was also through John and Kitty's hard work that the SPF became independent of the Pagan Federation in 2006, though the organisation still maintains a close relationship with all PF organisations.

In 2017, Steffy VonScott and Jennifer Connolly were appointed as DMs following an announcement by John that he and Kitty were retiring from the role. John and Kitty remain as part of the SPF Council as Honorary Members.

Two important SPF activists, Louise Park and Fiona Tinker, helped improve Pagan recognition in terms of legal marriage and education.

Louise Park who was also Presiding Officer between 2009 and 2015, ensured that our organisation became a recognised religious body authorised to nominate Celebrants to conduct legal Pagan marriages in Scotland in 2004. Louise has been our Celebrants Coordinator ever since and she also successfully campaign for same-sex marriage equality, leading to her conducting the first-ever same-sex marriage in the country.

In 2008, Fiona Tinker developed an 'Introduction to Paganism' teaching module suitable to be taught as part of religious, moral and philosophical studies in schools. Fiona served as Depute Presiding Officer between 2009 and 2015.

Our Goals

The SPF is ambitious for Pagan recognition in Scotland and have several objectives for the next five years.

  • To successfully campaign for a Pagan tick box in the next census, which will be in 2021
  • To continuously campaign for tolerance, acceptance and understanding of LGBTQIA+ people. A significant proportion of Pagans identify as LGBTQIA+
  • To create a third Pagan event in the West of Scotland, ensuring there is something annually in each region of the SPF
  • To continually work within the civic interfaith movement to ensure mutual understanding and respect between different faiths
  • Develop our digital channels to educate others on Paganism and provide a strong voice for the community

We are always reviewing our goals, so if you have a suggestion, please get in touch.