Holyrood’s time for reflection will be taken over by Pagans this week for the first time in the Scottish Parliament’s 25 year history.

Reverend Linda Haggerstone, who describes herself as “Christo-Pagan” will offer an “insight into what Paganism is, along with a message of peace” when she addresses MSPs tomorrow.

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It is a significant moment in the religion’s history, Matt Cormack, the Acting Presiding Officer at the Scottish Pagan Federation tells The Herald.

“This will be the first time Time for Reflection has been given by a Pagan speaker. It represents the beautiful diversity of Scotland's population and symbolises the importance of including the voices of people from different backgrounds.

“For many Pagans this will carry a lot of meaning and a level of recognition from the Scottish Parliament for our beliefs.”

The 2011 census showed 5,194 pagans living in Scotland, but Mr Cormack expects that number to have increased.

The number of pagans in England and Wales grew from 57,000 in 2011 to 87,000 in 2021. He expects a corresponding rise north of the border.

Rev Haggerstone’s homily comes after a bad-tempered row last month when Equalities Minister Emma Roddick was mocked for wishing pagans a happy winter solstice on the Scottish Government’s social media.

“The response from some people to the Minister wishing Pagans a happy Solstice was sadly unsurprising,” Mr Cormack said. “Many of the comments resonated with the issues and experiences documented in the Pagan Discrimination Survey we conducted in 2020.

“It highlights that there is still a lot of work to be done around understanding and accepting different faiths.”

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Time for Reflection is normally the first item of business on a Tuesday, with speakers allowed to address MSPs for up to four minutes. 

Invitations to address the Parliament come from the Presiding Officer but are based on recommendations from MSPs. 

Rev Haggerstone's sermon will be followed by a debate on the proposed tourist tax.