Showing posts with label Anthropology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anthropology. Show all posts

What Is the Adventure Tradition Of Wicca?

Wicca is a relatively young religion that draws on ancient and modern affirmations of life and recognizes the sacredness of natural energies. 

  • Adventure is an archetypal attitude, a style of perceiving experience, and a connection. 
  • The adventure tradition of Wicca has been created by Camp sight Coven. Synthesis and invention characterize (and are acknowledged by) adventure. 
  • This tradition questions highly controlled experience and "establishment" assumptions; 
  • To go from doctrine, tradition, and ease and pitch up camp in the forests beyond. One of Wicca's youngest traditions is the Adventure tradition. 

After a few years as a circle, Camp sight was given coven status in 1991. 

Ashleen O'Gaea, and Canyondancer who had previously worked with the Camp sight Coven in southern Arizona, developed the Adventure Wicca tradition. 

The first coven to proclaim itself an Adventure tradition group was Camp sight. 

While Wicca gives its theology, there is a separate Adventure interpretation and focus; nonetheless, the Adventure age tradition does not delve into the details of ceremony. 

What occurs in one traditional coven is quite similar to what occurs in another coven of the same lineage. 

However, what happens in one Adventure coven may vary from what happens in another in a variety of ways. 

  • Adventure covens may differ in how a circle is formed and called, what pantheon is revered, how the group interacts with the rest of the community, how magic is performed, and how guardians are dealt with. This is due to the Adventure culture's reliance on individuality. 
  • Take a look at life: diversity reigns supreme! Listen to the following tales about cheerful bands: Individual members come from a variety of backgrounds, ensuring that each organization has access to a broad range of resources and capabilities. 
  • Adventure Wicca primarily deploys these resources and capabilities into guardian combat. Ulysses' return journey, Gawain's combat with the Green Knight, and Robin Hood's checks on the sheriff's abuses of power are all examples of individual and societal guards. 
  • These energies, like the water ice in the polar ice caps, might be blocked by our fears and biases, making them inaccessible to us. 
  • When we challenge these guardians, we recapture energy that powers personal and cultural change. 
  • The works and idioms selected by each Adventure coven—scholarship? healing? minstrelsy? 
  • What do you mean, public service? camping?-are one-of-a-kind. 
  • Wicca's Anglo-Celtic roots connects adventure covens via shared sources of image, ritual, and metaphor. 
  • This covers old Celtic traditions and myths, Arthur's tales, Robin Hood's tales, and even Frodo and Luke Skywalker's! 
  • The foundations of adventure are a fearless narrator, a welcoming camp (home, heart, and mind), and the desire to explore what's around the next turn.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Who Was Margot Adler?

Margot Adler was born in 1946 into a family that was Jewish, Marxist, and atheist. She was attracted to the spiritual from an early age and would travel to Mass with her best friend, who was a Catholic, to immerse herself in the church's music, incense, and ceremonies. 

Her class was brought out early on May 1st when she was ten years old to the rural residence of her teacher's sister. They had learnt medieval May Day melodies and began singing and plucking flowers as the sun rose. 

They returned to New York City with armfuls of flowers and flung them around the classroom while singing May Day tunes. After that, the students danced around the maypole. This was one of Adler's defining spiritual encounters, and she was attracted to rituals. 

Her seventh-grade class was studying ancient Greece, and she was fascinated to the goddesses Artemis and Athena's tremendous imagery of confidence and inner strength. They evolved into her ideas. 

She had grasped the social impracticality of worshiping Greek gods by the age of fourteen and had silently put them away for future use. 

In 1970, Adler was inspired by the environmental movement as well as writers such as Thoreau, Eisley, Dubos, and Carson. 

She characterizes her response to these works as religious, and in the universe, she discovered a new knowledge of everything's connection. 

She felt for the first time in her life that she knew her position in the universe. 

She read two pieces shortly after that that had a great impact on her: Arnold Toynbee's "The Religious Roots of Our Environmental Crisis" and Lynn Vhire's "The Historic Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis" 

The directive in Genesis to "be prolific and multiply and have dominion over the world" has a flaw, according to these studies: It elevates us to a higher level. Nature, granting unrestricted permission to destroy the planet. 

Older Pagan traditions and their views that the divine was present in everything were also discussed in the writings. 

  • She believed that the ancient view gave the world a more holy feel and a reluctance to harm it. 
  • She was traumatized and on the lookout for an ecological religion. 
  • She discovered many various sorts of Pagan organizations as she traveled through the United States. 
  • She liked the concept that certain traditions were not universal, and that they were not for everyone. These were more metaphorical and theologically flexible since they were based on oral tradition rather than the written word. 
  • She discovered that as she developed, she no longer believed in an exclusive "either -o r" dichotomy and instead concluded that most dichotomies were nonsense. 
  • Finally, Adler has decided to worship with a Unitarian church while maintaining her Wiccan Priestess practice. She feels that this provides her with the necessary balance. 
  • She believes that the Pagan community has introduced the pleasure of ritual to Unitarian Universalism, as well as a great deal of creative and artistic skills, which will result in a richer liturgy and a bit more juice and mystery for the faith. 

Drawing Down the Moon, a famous study of Goddess spirituality and modern Paganism, and A journey Through Spirit and Revolution are among Adler's works. 

  • She was a reporter for National Public Radio, and her stories have aired on award-winning programs such as All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition. 
  • She was the host of Justice Talking, a new radio program created by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Center for Public Policy on the topic of the United States Constitution. 
  • She also gave talks on Paganism and Earth Traditions all around the country. 
  • She had been a Wiccan Priestess for almost twenty-five years.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Who Is An Adept in Wicca and Neopaganism?

To be adept in ordinary language implies to be talented at and informed about one's trade. As a result, an adept is someone who is a master in their trade. 

  • An adept is a person who is regarded extremely knowledgeable in a certain body of occult knowledge and, specifically, certain occult activities in the specialized language of esotericism. 
  • An adept is a Neopagan who, by his or her successes and study, has mastered a certain magical system. It's worth noting that someone might be an expert in one system but a beginner in another.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Pagan Origins - Indo-European And Pre-Christian Past

All current Pagan religious movements are concerned in rebuilding religious traditions from the past in diverse ways and to varying degrees. 

However, one can wonder how ancient these pre-Christian root traditions are and how far back in time they should be dated. 

  • The basic explanation is that Christianization began and ended at different periods in different parts of Europe before Christianity, or at least before Christianity became so powerful in a specific area that it caused the fall and repression of native European religious traditions. 
  • In the first centuries CE, the Roman Empire became Christianized, followed by England and Ireland in the middle of the first millennium CE, Russia and other Slavic nations of Eastern Europe at the end of the first millennium, and Scandinavia in the late first and early second millennia CE (Latourette 1938; Fedotov 1960; Finnestad 1990; Pennick and Jones 1995; Fletcher 1997; Cusack 1998). 
  • The Lithuanian royalty did not accept Christianization until 1386, while the rural population did not accept the new faith for generations (Gimbutas 1963; Rowell 1994; Christiansen 1997). 
  • Accordingly, the period designated as the "golden era" of ancient Paganism differs from one Pagan movement to the next, based on their understanding and interpretation of their specific Pagan tradition's historical history. 
  • However, there is a deeper historical question that has piqued the curiosity of many modern Pagans: if there was an ancient civilization or cultural complex that was the original source of their European forebears, and hence their Pagan religious beliefs. 

Many Pagans have taken a positive interest in the theories of scholars such as Max Muller, Émile Benveniste, Georges Dumézil, Jaan Puhvel, and Marija Gimbutas concerning the possible existence of a "Indo-European homeland," a common, ProtoIndo-European civilization, hypothetically dated as early as 4500 BCE and usually located in the steppe region of southern Rus by most theorists and researchers. 

  • The location of the mythical homeland has been a source of contention since the eighteenth century. No one has yet been able to create a perfect match between linguistic evidence of language origins and expansion and archaeological evidence of ancient cultures and civilizations' material relics. 
  • In Search of the Indo-Europeans (1989), J. P. Mallory examines a variety of conflicting ideas and concludes that the homeland is somewhere in Central Asia. This viewpoint may be interpreted to represent the consensus opinion of a significant number of researchers—but not all—at this time. 
  • This common culture is thought to have splintered into smaller culture groups associated with various Indo-European languages, which were then carried by migrants or invaders to various lands across Asia and Europe, from India and Iran in the east to Ireland and Iceland in the west, over the course of many centuries. 
  • Even though many of the texts, folkloric traditions, and other such source materials used by modern Pagan movements date only from the medieval period of European history or later, not from the much more distant time, the theory of Indo-European origins provides contemporary Pagans with a respectable academic basis for claiming an extremely ancient pedigree for their religious traditions.

Pagans nowadays argue that their traditions are considerably older than the medieval sources, which are just late crystallizations of the original Pagan religious traditions during their final era of life before or after Christianization. 

  • The parallels between myths recorded in medieval European texts and myths recorded in far older Greek, Roman, Iranian, and Indian mythological texts do indeed suggest a common body of myths and beliefs from which the various regional mythologies and religious traditions appear to have been derived (Littleton 1982; Puhvel 1987). 
  • These variant forms, like the Indo-European language families, are thought to have evolved over millennia of separation, migration, and adaptation to a variety of cultural environments, including interaction with non-Indo-European peoples, cultures, and religions, while retaining discernible common elements. 
  • As a result, how one views current proponents of Pagan religions' claims of vast antiquity is substantially dependent on how one views the notion of a very old, Proto-Indo-European, common source of all these connected religious traditions. 

It's worth noting that one large element of current Pagan religion holds a totally different perspective on European Paganism's Indo-European roots. 

  • Reclaiming Tradition, Goddess Spirituality, and other feminist Pagan traditions do not consider pre-Christian European Pagan religion or a possible earlier time of Proto-IndoEuropean religion to be golden periods. 
  • They see the invasion of Indo-European peoples from Central Asia's steppe region as a Holocaust-like disaster, in which an original matriarchal civilization of goddess-worshipping peoples, which they idealize as completely peace-loving, egalitarian, artistic, and prosperous, was disrupted and polluted by the Indo-European ancestors' warworshipping, patriarchal social and religious system (Neitz 1993; Salomonsen 2002; Starhawk 1982, 1989). 

Most modern Pagan movements, with the exception of feminist forms of Paganism such as Goddess Spirituality and Reclaiming, do not share this pessimistic view of ancient Indo-European religion, but rather see its hypothetical ProtoIndo-European origins or final expressions among the various nations of pre-Christian Europe as their foundation and inspiration.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Eclectic Paganism vs. Traditional Paganism - Reconstructing the Past vs. Reinventing It

A key challenge that today's Pagan movements face is their differing views and approaches to the texts, folklore, and other cultural traditions that they utilize as the foundation for their modern religious rituals and beliefs. 

  • The character of modern Pagan movements is primarily determined by the sort of cultural materials that supply knowledge and inspiration, as well as how they are used. 
  • The fact that little knowledge about old customs was written down by Pagans in the past is a big problem for today's Pagans. 
  • Much of the existing information about Pagan mythology, beliefs, and rituals was written down by Christian clergymen, either in the form of clerical letters, chronicles, and other documents dealing with the spread of Christianity and the suppression of Paganism in Europe, or in post-conversion literary re-creations of Pagan myths, poems, and epics. 
  • In the case of Iceland, the Old Norse literary tradition of Eddas and Sagas contains narratives of Pagan myth and religion that are only equaled or surpassed by those of ancient Greece in terms of richness and vividness. 
  • Many of the Icelandic literature are thought to have depended on pagan oral traditions, but were transformed to written form by Christian authors in the post-conversion era, with significant influence from post-pagan, medieval Christian ideas. 

As a result, it's impossible to say how much of the Pagan religion and mythology in the Icelandic manuscripts was "pure" Pagan tradition and how much was altered, removed, or manufactured by the Christian writers who decided the structure and substance of the writings. 

Modern attempt to rebuild other Pagan religious systems are considerably hampered by the same challenge of differentiating Pagan source materials from Christian editorial influence. 

The amount and manner in which contemporary Pagans add new beliefs and practices, either inherited from or inspired by other religious or cultural traditions, or developed through their own creative efforts, is a second, related problem. 

  • All modern Pagan religious movements mix and match old, traditional elements with new ideas and practices from other sources, but they can be divided along a continuum: at one end are those who strive to reconstruct ancient religious traditions of a particular ethnic group, linguistic or geographic area to the greatest extent possible; at the other end are those who freely blend the two. 
  • The two extremes of this continuum shall be referred to as Reconstructionist and Eclectic versions of contemporary Paganism, and its supporters will be referred to as Reconstructionists and Eclectics, respectively, for the purpose of convenience. 
  • Reconstructionists devote themselves to a scientific study of historical writings, folklore, archaeology, and languages that are thought to convey trustworthy information about the peoples of their specific region of interest's historical religious traditions. 
  • The older the data that provides knowledge about former Pagan religions, the better for Reconstructionist Pagans. On the other hand, the more current Pagan rituals and beliefs can be aligned with what is known about ancient Pagan religion, the better. 
  • This isn't to suggest that Reconstructionists don't make their own interpretations and adaptations of ancient traditions to fit current ideals and lifestyles; rather, they see earlier traditions as more established, authoritative, and real than freshly developed or vaguely conceived ones.
  • Reconstructionists devote a great deal of time and effort to following scholarly debates and research trends in history, archaeology, folklore, and other academic fields related to the Pagan traditions they are attempting to resurrect because they are so concerned with understanding, respecting, and, wherever and whenever possible, imitating and continuing the Pagan traditions of the past. 
  • Some Reconstructionist Pagans are academics themselves, and virtually all are interested in what academics have to say about the religious traditions they want to conserve, defend, and promote.
  •  Eclectic Pagans are similarly interested in learning about past Pagan traditions, but unlike Reconstructionists, they do not regard historical religious traditions of a given location as their ultimate frame of reference; rather, they consider the traditions as a temporary portal to deeper spiritual experience. 

Eclectics see the pagan history of Europe as a broad source of spiritual inspiration, but they don't try to replicate historical rituals, beliefs, or religious traditions with scholarly precision. 

  • They are less likely than Reconstructionists, for example, to study the original languages of their source sources. 
  • Eclectics, unlike Reconstructionists, do not devote themselves to a thorough study or reconstruction of a region's or people's former Pagan religion. 
  • Eclectics are more likely to mix and match religious ideas, rituals, and even deities from a wide range of European and non-European sources, based on what they perceive to be their resemblance or complementarity. 
  • Although the religious traditions of a particular people or place may serve as the major theme or identity of an Eclectic Pagan movement, there is no reason why elements from other sources cannot be incorporated. 
  • The more Eclectic contemporary Paganism moves away from any specific geographic or ethnic background, the closer it becomes to New Age religion, with its concept of cosmic harmony and human perfectibility glaringly devoid of any ethnic identity or sense of location or history. 
  • With relation to the formation of "core Shamanism" in modern Neoshamanism, Robert Wallis (2003) defined this de-ethnicizing and universalizing tendency. 
  • Jone Salomonsen has done the same with regard to the widely accepted but largely unsupported thesis of a worldwide, prehistoric, matriarchal society, which serves as the pseudohistorical foundation myth of the Reclaiming Tradition and other forms of Goddess Spirituality (Salomonsen 2002; see also Neitz 1993). 
  • People who value ethnic identification highly choose the Reconstructionist version of contemporary Paganism, whereas others who have little interest or even a positive scorn for ethnic identification prefer the Eclectic kind. 

Eclectic Neopaganism is more prevalent in the British Isles and North America, where ethnic identity has tended to be de-emphasized and where completely ethnic-free forms of New Age religion have flouted, whereas Reconstructionist Neopaganism is most strongly attested in Eastern Europe.

  • Here ethnic culture and identity remain important organizing principles of social life and cultural activities, whereas Reconstructionist Neopaganism is most strongly attested in Eastern Europe, where ethnic culture and identity remain important organizing principles of social life and cultural activities.
  • Dievturi, a contemporary Pagan religious movement that exists solely in Latvia and among Latvian diaspora populations in Canada, the United States, and abroad, is one example that sadly could not be represented here. Dievturi is based on ancient Latvian song lyrics known as dainas, as well as the celebration of traditional Latvian calendar events (Misane 2000; Strmiska 2005). 
  • As a result, it's an excellent illustration of modern Paganism's more conventional, Reconstructionist style. Wicca is a great example of the Eclectic kind of modern Pagan religion, with its mostly contemporary bundle of rituals and generic male/female deities derived from various sources. 

This Reconstructionist/Eclectic polarity is a valuable framework for debate, but its application to specific Pagan religious movements is not as simple as it appears at first glance. 

  • As committed as Dievturi is to preserving and continuing Latvian traditions, some scholars have noted that some aspects of its ritual activities are strikingly similar to Lutheran church services—for example, the gatherings at which dainas are sung in place of Christian hymns and a religious leader delivers a speech that sounds eerily similar to a Christian minister's sermon. 
  • Furthermore, Dievturi's monotheistic interpretation of its Pagan pantheon reveals a significant Christian impact. 

Even the most ardent Wiccan will admit that much of what the movement's founder Gerald Gardner claimed to be ancient tradition was really just his own creation based on British folklore and other sources available to him (Kelly 1991), the rituals Gardner and associates devised have led many people around the world into a sincere belief in Wicca.

  • Thus, the most Reconstructionist form of Paganism may contain a number of nontraditional elements, just as the most Eclectic form of Paganism may lead to people having imaginative encounters with very ancient spiritual realities. 
  • In fact, familiarity with specific deities has prompted some Wiccans to seek out more detailed information about the deities' original historical and cultural contexts, resulting in the same kind of intensive research into source materials and regional traditions that Reconstructionists devote themselves to. 

Some Wiccans have gone on to create their own variations of Wicca, which draw on elements of ethnically based, geographically distinct Pagan faiths, giving rise to Celtic Wicca, Norse Wicca, and others; such Wicca adaptations become less Eclectic and more Reconstructionist. 

  • On a third level, that of identity discourses, the Reconstructionist/Eclectic divide might be understood. Reconstructionist Pagans are preoccupied with establishing an identity as loyal links in a lengthy chain of spiritual, ethnic, and cultural traditions rooted in a specific location and among a certain people. 
  • Theirs is a discourse of historical continuity and profound rootedness in tradition, which they think binds them to their forefathers and their predecessors' gods. Eclectic Pagans' discourse takes a different path and deals with slightly different themes. 
  • Theirs is an identity that emphasizes openness and naturalness, linked not so much to any particular region of the earth as to the earth itself, and associated not with any particular group of humans speaking any particular language or following any particular traditions, but with a larger and also more hazy sense of universal humanity (Harris 2000). 
  • The spiritual traditions of any given people or location are not the last goal for Eclectics; they are not ends in themselves, as they may be for Reconstructionists, but rather the starting point for a new spiritual journey. 
  • Spiritual and political meanings and motives are tightly connected for environmentally and feministically oriented Eclectics in a desire for global social change that transcends any particular region or identity. 

To summarize this issue, Reconstructionist Pagans romanticize the past whereas Eclectic Pagans idealize the future. In the one, there is a strong desire to connect with the past as a source of spiritual power and knowledge; in the second, there is an idealistic optimism that a natural spirituality may be gathered from ancient sources and shared with all humankind. 

Eclectic Paganism's universalistic component is another evidence of its resemblance to current New Age faiths.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Paganism And Ethnicity - To Be Or Not To Be Ethnic

The debate of whether ethnic identification is fundamental to modern Paganism or not has sparked heated debate. 

Members of various Pagan organizations from across Europe and North America, as well as a small group of scholarly observers were invited to attend a conference originally called the World Pagan Congress, which took place in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital, in June 1998.

  • Following many days of lectures and debates, during which it was decided to make the World Pagan Congress an annual conference with a continuous organization, the key participants assembled to ponder what the organization's name should be. 
  • Because of its historic use by Christian authority as a term of opprobrium for non-Christian and purportedly inferior and immoral religious ideas and practices, the majority of delegates rejected the name Pagan as being unduly derogatory. 

On the same basis, the term "heathen" was disallowed. 

  • Despite the fact that the vast majority of those gathered in Vilnius were Europeans or Euro-Americans, the suggestion of Native European Religion was dismissed as inadequate to the congress's ambitions to eventually include representatives of non-Christian, non-Muslim, non-missionary, Indigenous, and traditional religions from around the world. 
  • Indigenous was deemed appropriate because of its appropriation by native peoples of the Americas and other regions as a linguistic tool for distinguishing themselves from the colonizing, missionizing Europeans who conquered their lands, disrupted their societies, and attempted to eradicate native culture. 
  • Traditional was proposed as a phrase that many thought would emphasize the shared endeavor to conserve and follow previous spiritual and folkloric traditions, but it was rejected because it lacked specificity. 

The group was renamed the World Congress of Ethnic Religions in the end (WCER). 

Some attendees were concerned about the term ethnic's possible associations with such deplorable concepts as "ethnic purity" and "ethnic cleansing," as seen recently in the bloody aftermath of the collapse of Yugoslavia's multiethnic nation-state, but the majority found it appealing because of its roots in the Greek term ethnos and its associations with the European Union. 

Many observers are shocked, distrustful, or even terrified by the term ethnic in our name, as Denis Dornoy, a founding member of the WCER, subsequently wrote in The Oaks, the WCER's official newsletter: 

  1. Is there a link between ethnic cleansing and ethnic cleansing? 
  2. Is this yet another racial ideology? 
  3. Is it necessary to be ethnic if you come from a long-forgotten people? 
  4. Isn't ethnic studies the domain of white-haired academics? 

Ethnic isn't any of the aforementioned, and its meaning is much more straightforward. Ethnos is Greek for people, and ethnic refers to anything that characterizes a group of people, such as their language, customs, everyday behavior, food, and spiritual viewpoint. 

This last aspect is referred to as ethnic religion. It refers to a group of people's customs, worship, and way of life. Ancestor worship is frequently, but not always, involved. 

  • It is often so ingrained in daily life that it is no longer considered “religion” (i.e., belief) by Western definitions. (The Oaks, no. 1, August 1999, viewed on October 12, 2003 at However, a mostly European majority decided on ethnic religion as the key descriptive phrase for the nature and aim of the organization. 
  • Another name, such as nature religions, which has been a popular descriptive name among religious studies experts in the United States and Canada, might have been adopted by a group of North Americans. 
  • The Nature Religions Network, an Internet mailing list started and managed by Chas Clifton, a professor at the University of Colorado, has been one of the key discussion platforms for researchers interested in Paganism and related themes in North America. 
  • This situation exemplifies the greater importance European Pagans place on cultural and spiritual traditions in preserving ethnic identity, as opposed to the American and Canadian tendency to place nature worship at the center of their Pagan religious activities, downplaying or dismissing ethnic identity as irrelevant. 

The lack of interest in ethnicity among certain North American Pagans has a long history. 

From the colonial period until very recently, immigrants in the United States saw the rejection or hiding of ethnic identity as an essential first step toward integration into mainstream American society: 

  • In the seventeenth century, the form of minority life formed in the English colonies set the bar for future European minorities in this nation. 
  • The majority group of English colonists and subsequently Americans valued the work that newcomers could supply, but they expected the immigrants to swiftly embrace the prevailing culture while discarding their own. 
  • Minority group members were desired for their work but disliked for their lack of understanding of English, devotion to Old World traditions and beliefs, and ignorance of the American way of life. 13 (Dinnerstein and Reimers, 1988). 
  • That is, significant pressure to erase any indications of ethnicity in favor of assimilation to the so-called melting pot ideal of de-ethicized national unity is firmly rooted in the social construction of American identity, with comparable sentiments existing in Canada (Gans 1979; Waters 1990; Jacobson 2002). 
  • Although there has been a greater embrace of ethnic variety and identity in recent decades, a better knowledge of the multiethnic, multicultural makeup of American and Canadian culture has elicited mixed feelings of gratitude and worry. 
  • Modern North American Pagans who boldly embrace ethnic identity as a significant component of their religious values system may find themselves facing accusations of racism and even Nazism. 
  • Greater awareness of African slaves' suffering and the annihilation of Native American and Native Canadian peoples and cultures by the European founders of modern North American nation-states has led some Canadians and Americans to question whether European ethnic heritage is worth celebrating, while others believe that all forms of ethnic distinctiveness are inherently valuable. 
  • The sheer variety of ethnic identity in modern Canada and the United States is another problematic element. With immigration from all over the world and rising marriages between ethnic groups, North America has a population that is more ethnically mixed and varied than Europe. Understanding and articulating one's ethnic identity is frequently a difficult task. 

For all of these reasons, ethnicity in the United States and Canada has become a far more complicated and contentious topic than it is in many areas of Europe. 

As a result, many modern American and Canadian Pagans, like many of their non-Pagan neighbors, prefer to categorize themselves simply as Americans or Canadians, avoiding any attempt to untangle the befuddling complexity of mixed and splintered ethnic identities across generations of immigration and intermarriage. 

Choosing the religious path of Paganism may involve a desire to more closely affiliate with some single strand of their mixed-ethnic, ancestral tapestry; to identify with one or another ethnic group whose history or traditions they find particularly appealing; or to reach toward a spiritual identity beyond ethnic distinctions altogether for North Americans of such complex and convoluted ancestry.

Creative Redefining of Ethnicity

  • Ethnic identity is a considerably more obvious and appealing idea for Europeans with a lengthy line of ancestors in the same nation, speaking the same language, and performing the same traditions across many generations. 
  • With the probable exception of Britain, this is mirrored in the increasing prominence given to ethnicity in modern European Paganism. 
  • Decades of immigration from former British Empire territories as well as other places have greatly expanded ethnic diversity in the United Kingdom, making it far closer to North America than Europe in this sense. 
  • As a result, one may anticipate British paganism to lay less emphasis on ethnic identification than that of more ethnically homogeneous European nations. 
  • The debate between modern European and North American Pagans over whether ethnic identity should be at the heart or on the perimeter of their religious identity has numerous repercussions. 
  • Modern Pagans that hold ethnicity in high regard may limit membership in their organization to those who claim or demonstrate ancestral ties to the ethnic group traditionally linked with the resurrected religious tradition. 
  • Language plays a role in the ethnic equation for European Pagans, since knowing the language of a specific Pagan tradition is one of the ways to demonstrate ethnic identity.
  • As a result, some Pagans have entirely rejected ethnic identification as a requirement for membership, which has been extensively discussed and occasionally criticized as racism by observers and opponents. 
  • They believe that persons who have a strong emotional attachment to the gods and goddesses or other components of a Pagan tradition are eligible to membership based on their sense of personal belonging. 
  • In the context of modern Celtic Paganism, Marion Bowman (2000) developed the term Cardiac Celts to describe a large category of persons with no specific Celtic lineage who are emotionally drawn to Celtic myth and religion and identify as spiritual, rather than ethnic, Celts. Individual affinity and choice, rather than communal ancestry, determine religious identification for such Pagans. 

The notion of rebirth is used by some modern-day Pagans to avoid ethnicity issues. 

According to them, the affinity that people of various ethnic backgrounds have to a specific ethnically based Pagan tradition, such as the Celtic or Scandinavian heritage, may stem from a previous existence as a Celt or a Scandinavian. 

A non-ethnically Scandinavian individual may be invited to join an ethnically Scandinavian Pagan movement, and the same may be true of many other ethnically focused Pagan groups, thanks to this creative redefining of ethnicity.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

Pagans, Europeans, And Indigenous Peoples

Another topic of contention is the choice to limit the consideration of Paganism to religious groupings that draw on pre-Christian European religious traditions as a source of inspiration. 

First and foremost, it should be emphasized that this Eurocentric definition is not shared by all researchers and practitioners of modern Pagan religious traditions. Gus DiZerega, a political scientist and Wiccan, wrote Pagans and Christians: 

  • The Personal Spiritual Experience (2001), and Michael York, a sociologist of religion, wrote Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion (2003), both of which make a compelling case for using the term Pagan to refer to all religious traditions worldwide that are locally based, polytheistic, and nature-oriented. 
  • In this view, Pagan is synonymous with Indigenous, and the traditional, hereditary religions of Indigenous peoples such as Native Americans, Africans, and Australian Aborigines, which are often referred to as Indigenous religions, can all be grouped under Paganism as a very broad umbrella term that encompasses a large portion of humanity. 

As York puts it, "a name is necessary for contending perspectives embracing or characterized by animism, polytheism, pantheism, and Shamanism within the vast range of world religions." 

  • One argument against the word pagan is that it connotes Eurocentric imperialism, which denies indigenous peoples their own identities. Some argue that the term pagan should only be used to pre-Christian European customs... 
  • Subsuming primitive religions under a Eurocentric term [Paganism] is not "politically wrong," in my opinion... Although Christian missionaries used the word pagan in a derogatory way, they did notice the connections between the faiths they fought... 

It is time to liberate paganism from its historically negative implications as a beneficial and affirmative affirmation of a neglected practice and marginalized viewpoint in today's more cosmopolitan society.

I have chosen not to follow this line of thought because I believe that blending the religious traditions of these many different peoples, with their vastly different historical and contemporary circumstances, does a disservice to Indigenous peoples' struggles for postcolonial self-determination by conflating them with the very peoples they see as their oppressors and colonizers. 

In this work, the phrases Indigenous and Pagan shall be capitalized to show respect for the peoples, cultures, and spiritual traditions associated with these terms. 

Indigenous peoples have shared a universal experience of destruction and suffering as a result of colonialism and racism, a universe of misery perpetrated on them by Euro-American Caucasians, the same people that make up the bulk of current Pagan faith traditions such as Wicca and Asatru. 

There are similarities and differences between modern European-derived Paganism and Native American and other Indigenous religions of non-European origins, such as reverence for nature, polytheistic pantheons, and life-affirming worldviews, but there are also differences due to their different cultural, linguistic, and historical backgrounds. 

  • Regardless matter how sympathetic modern Euro-American Pagans are to Indigenous peoples and how keen they are to learn about parts of Indigenous cultural and religious traditions, Indigenous peoples' current circumstances are very different from those of most modern Pagans in North America and Europe. 
  • This harsh social reality, as well as the enormous historical, economic, and political realities that lay behind it, cannot be bridged or alleviated by a unilateral declaration of spiritual connection between modern Pagans and Indigenous peoples. 

Because of current Indigenous peoples' battles to demonstrate their rights to govern and perpetuate their ancestral spiritual traditions, the labeling problem is extremely complex. 

These conflicts stem from long-standing grievances against Europeans, Euro-Americans, and others of European/Caucasian ancestry who have taken and claimed different portions of Indigenous religious traditions as their own. 

European and American Pagans who have adapted Shamanic practices from the Saami of Northern Europe or native peoples of North America for use in Wiccan or other modern Pagan rituals without first obtaining the consent of the Indigenous peoples for whom the Shamanic practices are sacred, ancestral traditions are included in this group. 

  • Jenny Blain (2001), Susan Mumm (2002), and Robert Wallis (2003), in their recent works on Neo-Shamanism, address the difficult issue of the threat posed to Indigenous peoples' rights to control their Shamanic and other religious traditions by the appropriation of these traditions by Caucasian Europeans and Americans. 
  • In addition to the devastation inflicted by missionaries and other colonial agencies focused on destroying and replacing indigenous spiritual traditions, such insensitive and irresponsible uses of Indigenous traditions have left scars of wrath and distrust. 

Only by a long period of persistent, respectful discussion between members of the many groups involved can these historical wounds be healed. 

It is so arrogant at best and offensive at worst for mostly Euro-American Caucasian Pagans to imagine that they can simply make common cause with Indigenous peoples and their religious traditions without first creating true and time-tested mutual trust and respect ties. This conversation may turn out to be extremely significant, as one would hope, but it is still in its early phases. 

It's also important remembering the simple politeness of addressing individuals by their preferred names rather than those they despise or are uncomfortable with. Native Americans and other Indigenous peoples do not commonly use the labels Pagan or Paganism, let alone Neopagan or Neopaganism, to describe themselves or their religious traditions. 

These concepts, on the other hand, are widely accepted among those active in resurrecting and reconstructing pre-Christian European religions, as they have been debated in these circles for several generations. 

  • Members of such Pagan groups, on the other hand, employ a variety of names, and members of modern Pagan religious organizations, as well as their scholarly observers and critics, have evolved a variety of self-designation methods. 
  • The curious reader who goes beyond these pages to look into specific varieties of Paganism will find a larger range of terminology in religious groups around the globe, as well as much controversy about the actual definition and correct usage of terms like Pagan. 
  • As a result, the reader should never take these phrases for granted in any situation and should constantly enquire about how they are used and interpreted in different places and by different people and groups. 
  • Disagreements over nomenclature may appear minor, but when we consider what is at stake for modern Pagans, they are not. 

It's not only a case of Pagans picking names for themselves that they think are acceptable or appealing to communities of like-minded people. 

Because of the history of churches, governments, and other sectors of society condemning, suppressing, and even persecuting Pagans, many modern Pagans are very concerned about how they will be represented in popular discourse and judged by the general public, knowing that a negative public image could be used as a legal and political weapon against them by those who oppose them.

Contemporary Pagans are conscious of shaping public perception and media scrutiny of matters that are highly significant and indeed sacred to them, touching on the most precious, private, and sensitive points of personal identity, when debating which terms to use to describe themselves and their religious beliefs and activities. 

One of the most sensitive of such topics for many modern Pagans, though not all, is ethnic identification.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.

What Is Pagan And Neopagan?

Today The Terms Pagan And Neopagan Are Used Interchangeably. 

The origins of the name Pagan are a fascinating topic. The phrases "pantheist," "polytheist," "non-Christian," "non-Jew," "non-Muslim," "nonreligious person," "nonbeliever," "atheist," "hedonist," and "heathen" are commonly used in modern English dictionaries to describe Pagan. 

  • Many of these descriptions portray a Pagan as someone who is either religiously illiterate or anti-religious (“nonreligious person,” “nonbeliever,” “atheist”). 
  • Two definitions imply different sorts of religion (“pantheist” or “polytheist”), however the term hedonist is defined as “a person who lacks morals or self-control.” 

As a result, the majority of the definitions are negative and derogatory. 

  • Pagan is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary (2001) as "one who is neither a Christian, Muslim, or Jew," citing the word's origins in the Latin term paganus, which means "country inhabitant." 

The following are four meanings from the Scribner-Bantam English Dictionary (1991): 

1. pagan; 

2. idolator or worshipper of numerous gods; 

3. non-Christian, Jew, or Muslim; 

4. non-believer in any religion.

On the one hand, the Pagan is portrayed as a nonreligious someone who is neither Christian, Muslim, nor Jew, or who has no religious views at all. The Pagan, on the other hand, is portrayed as someone who is not religious; a worshipper of other gods. 

Obviously, the two senses are intertwined. People who do not worship the correct god, the deity of monotheistic religions, are regarded to be either nonreligious or religiously incorrectly and terribly.

Pagan is derived from “Latin paganus, rustic, peasant, citizen, civilian, non-Christian (in Christian literature), non-Jewish, from pagus (rural) district, the country, originally landmark fixed in the earth, from Indo-European *pagas in Latin pangere fix...” according to the Oxford Concise Dictionary of English Etymology (1996). 

“The origin of the Latin paganus meaning ‘heathen' is unknown.” 

The term "heathen" is derived from Christian interpretations of an older Gothic-Germanic phrase that meant "one who lives in open land and is a barbarian." 

Many modern Pagans associated in revivals and re-creations of pre-Christian Germanic and Scandinavian religious traditions use the term Heathen because of its Germanic origins and despite its negative connotations (Harvey 2000; Blain 2001; Strmiska 2000). 

Most current dictionaries make it difficult to get a favorable opinion of Pagans or Heathens, who appear to be strange, misguided, and potentially dangerous. 

This exercise in negative classification has its origins in earlier periods of European history when the distinction between officially sanctioned belief and officially condemned heresy could mean the difference between life and death for those accused of religious crimes by state-backed religious authorities. 

We must go back to the Bible to consider one of the labels typically used as a synonym for Pagan: idolator, for even older beginnings of this enmity toward unorthodox believers. 

Those who worshipped deities other than Yahweh, the God of the monotheistic Hebrew tribes, were viewed as ignorant worshippers of empty idols in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible, a behavior that was harshly punished. 

  • When Moses returned from Mount Sinai with the stone tablets holding the commandments reportedly handed to him by God, he saw some of his Hebrew brethren worshipping a Golden Calf, as did other Near Eastern peoples of the period, rather than the God of Abraham and Isaac. 
  • The Hebrews who refused to abandon their worship of this "idol" were put to death at Moses' instruction, with the text indicating that 3,000 idol worshippers were killed by Moses' followers (Exodus 32:28). Idolatry became linked with wickedness and perversion as a result of such scriptural origins. 

The biblical prohibition against worshiping non-Hebrew gods was carried over into Christianity, with the exception of depictions of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. 

The taboo on religious pictures was extended even further in Islam, with calligraphic illustrations of Qur'anic verses serving as an alternate form of nonfigurative religious art in mosques and elsewhere. 

The world's attention was drawn to Islamic resistance to creative portrayals of the divine in the spring of 2002, when famed Buddhist sculptures in Bamiya, Afghanistan, were exploded by operatives of the hardline Islamic Taliban regime. 

  • When Christianity expanded through Europe and beyond, Christian authorities viewed non-Christian deities' worship as an evil that needed to be eradicated by any means necessary. 
  • Many individuals who came to Christianity continued to worship so-called idols symbolizing the spirits and gods of their local, pre-Christian faiths, which alarmed Christian authorities greatly. 
  • George Fedotov (1960, 10) used the term "dual faith" to characterize the simultaneous worship of Christian and non-Christian deities in Russian folk religion. 

Consider the sermon of Maximus, the bishop of Turin in the early fifth century, in which he chastised his landowner parishioners for tolerating idolatry among their farmhands and workers: 

  • “You should remove all pollution of idols from your properties and cast out the whole error of paganism from your fields,” to give just one example (which could easily be multiplied). 
  • Because it is not acceptable for you, who have Christ in your hearts, to have Antichrist in your homes, and for your men to worship the devil in his shrines while you pray to God in his church” (quoted in Fletcher 1997, 39). 

The derogatory definitions of Pagan and Heathen in current dictionaries are historically based on this innate aversion toward any non-Christian or non-biblical kind of divinity. 

  • The pessimism with which the dictionaries infuse these phrases is a true representation of many Christians' feelings toward non-Christians throughout European and American history, an antipathy that still exists in certain parts today. 
  • As previously stated, the English term Pagan is derived from the Latin pagus, which in ancient Rome originally indicated a rural territory. As a result, a "paganus" was just a person who lived in an area outside of the city—basically, a peasant (Chuvin 1990, 7–13; Fox 1986, 30–31). 
  • Scholars believe that Paganism did not begin as a religious designation in ancient Rome; it was only later, following the Christianization of the Roman Empire and the gradual ban of all other faiths, that it became one. 

The bulk of Roman residents followed a traditional but ever-evolving polytheistic religion that incorporated ancestor and emperor worship. 

  • There was a large variety of religious groups, some local, others imported, such as the worship of the Egyptian deities Isis and Osiris, in addition to this shared religious heritage. 
  • It was precisely because of this theological variety that Christianity was able to gain a foothold in the Roman society and grow in popularity over time, despite periodic persecution (Drake 2000, 94).

Pagan only became a religious word in the fourth century, when Christianity had established itself as the dominant religion in the Roman Empire following Emperor Constantine's battlefield conversion in 312 CE and the imperial capital's move from Rome to Constantinople. 

  • With imperial backing for the establishment of churches and communities in Constantinople, Rome, and other major locations, the outlying provinces, or pagus districts, were linked with ongoing adherence to the Roman Empire's ancient polytheistic faith. 
  • As a result, the “Pagan” Romans of these regions were viewed as enemies of the newly ascendant religion of Christianity, and their religion, which had previously been the Roman Empire's common religious tradition, was reframed in negative terms in line with biblical hostility toward all nonbiblical faiths. 
  • In this way, an originally nonreligious term was transformed into a religious definition with negative and derogatory connotations, which Christian authorities would use to define and defame religious traditions that they wished to replace with their own religion, which they considered to be the One True Faith (Platinga 1999). 
  • Given the word's tumultuous past, it's somewhat surprising that current Pagans would pick this title for their religious beliefs, practices, and organizations. 

Why would you wear as a badge of identification a phrase of abuse that your critics and opponents have long used as a rhetorical weapon of mass defamation? 

Why not come up with a fresh moniker that is devoid of all bad connotations? 

The persistence of the label Pagan—and its change from a term of hate to a title of respect—can be attributed to a variety of circumstances and causes.

Many people join or form modern Pagan organizations as a result of their dissatisfaction with Christianity—a dissatisfaction that causes them to abandon the religion of their childhood and family in search of a religious community with a spiritual viewpoint more in line with their particular beliefs (Salomonsen 2002, 5, 111). 

Jews, Muslims, and others who choose to abandon Judaism, Islam, or other faiths in favor of a Pagan religion have a similar purpose. 

  • However, the bulk of Neopagans who have had a past religious connection have been former Christians up to this point. 
  • This was confirmed by J. G. Melton's (1991) study, which indicated that 78.5 percent of current Pagans in the United States were former Christians, with 25.8% being Catholic and 42.7 percent being Protestant.
  • Loretta Orion (1995), four years later, discovered that 85 percent of modern Pagans in the United States were former Christians, with 26 percent once Catholic and 59 percent formerly Protestant. 
  • Because it denotes something so definitely non-Christian, something shunned and loathed by Christian authority, modern Pagans may find the name Pagan an attractive identifier of their shift in religious orientation. 

Identifying as a Pagan allows a person to encapsulate his or her decisive rupture with Christianity or other mainstream religions in a single phrase. 

The favorable picture of European Pagan religion and mythology propagated in nineteenth-century Romantic literature and the work of certain anthropologists, folklorists, and historians in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is a second reason for the term's popularity. 

  • As Ronald Hutton has eloquently described in relation to the development of modern forms of Paganism and Witchcraft in the British Isles, works like James Frazer's compendium of global folklore and ethnography, The Golden Bough, and Margaret Murray's purported history of European Witchcraft, The God of the Witches, drew a wide readership and sparked a positive curiosity about pre-Christian cultures. 
  • Similar volumes were published in different countries of Europe and North America, imbuing Pagan faiths with a sense of mystery and appeal and instilling patriotic pride in Pagan folklore, mythology, and religious traditions. 
  • Even when the facts and results of such scholarly and semi-scholarly writings were contested or dismissed by succeeding generations of researchers, as was the case with Frazer and Murray's works (Hutton 1999, 272–276, 381–383), their impact among the general people did not wane. 

Popular, semi-scholarly publications like The Spiral Dance, authored by Starhawk (also known as Miriam Simos, a dedicated devotee of Judaism in her youth) and initially published in 1989 and reissued several times since, have sparked new interest in the Pagan past and the changing variety of current Paganism. 

  • Scholarly critique or rejection of these popular literature, like with previous works, does not damper public excitement, but rather stimulates it by igniting debate about Pagan history and current interpretations, as well as sparking occasional conversations in the media. 
  • Neopaganism has become a cultural commodity to some level, with huge American bookstore chains allocating a growing fraction of shelf space to books on Pagan themes, not to mention an ever-growing amount of material available via the Internet. 

An increasing number of Christian authors are condemning contemporary Paganism's expanding popularity as an insidious danger to morals and civilization. 

  • Spirit Wars: Pagan Revival in Christian America, for example, written by Peter Jones and released in 1997, makes it plain from the title alone that certain Christian theologians regard modern Paganism as a type of religion that must be battled and overcome. 
  • Such works may inadvertently pique the interest of disillusioned or doubting Christians in modern Paganism. 
  • A sympathetic response among many readers of Pagan-related literature is sparked by knowledge of how Christian authorities suppressed Pagan religions and persecuted their adherents in the past—and how some contemporary Christians appear ready to do the same—leading to a third major reason for modern Pagans preferring the term Pagan to other possibly less contentious labels.

Today's Pagans aspire to commemorate those long-ago Pagans they consider as their forefathers by adopting a moniker derived from a word that has long served as a term of condemnation and hate.

  •  Present Pagans commit themselves to fighting historical and contemporary forces of religious intolerance by expressing and practicing publicly what was formerly outlawed and punished by learning, reinterpreting, and resurrecting old Pagan religious ideas and practices. 
  • As a result, claiming a Pagan identity is sometimes interpreted as a rejection of long-standing patterns of religious intolerance and injustice. 

The adoption of the term Witch as a self-designation among adherents of the Wicca and Goddess Spirituality groups follows a similar rationale (Pearson 2002b; Salomonsen 2002). 

  • The use of the derogatory term by modern Pagans as a deliberate act of defiance is comparable to African Americans' use of the letter X as a simple but powerful reminder of the loss of surnames and family relationships suffered by Africans brought to America during the cruel centuries of slavery, particularly the 1960s Black Muslim leader Malcolm X. 
  • In a related case, some homosexuals in the United States and elsewhere have adopted queer, a term of approval directed at them by hostile heterosexuals, as their preferred self-designation in protest marches and other actions aimed at obtaining civil rights and legal protections comparable to those enjoyed by the "straight," heterosexual majority. 

Pagans have found pride and power in the revaluation of a formerly derogatory name, and, in the same way that African Americans, homosexuals, and other members of repressed social minorities have worked to educate the general public about their respective groups' past achievements and contributions, modern Pagans have begun to assert the accomplishments of past Pagan peoples. 

  • This effort necessitates a radically different interpretation of Western history and culture than that often advocated by previous generations (Strmiska 2003), noting, for example, that the exquisite cultures and advanced civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome were the work of Pagans, not Christians. 
  • However, not everyone active in Pagan revival groups approaches the term Pagan with the same interpretation of the term, much alone the same purpose of reclaiming a derogatory label and turning it into a source of pride. 
  • Others prefer to use a specific name for their religious tradition and avoid any general identification with other Pagan associations. 

Some reject the term Pagan and prefer alternate designations such as Heathen, Witch, or traditional, whereas others prefer to use a specific name for their religious tradition and avoid any general identification with other Pagan associations. 

  • The distinction between the labels Pagan and Neopagan (or Neo-pagan) that was previously mentioned is much more contentious. 
  • To emphasize their link with the Pagans of the past and avoid any separation between themselves and their forefathers, many modern Pagans reject the label Neopagan, defining themselves solely as Pagans, pure and simple. 

The term "Neopaganism" is avoided here at the specific request of modern Pagans who do not want to be labeled as "Neo," which they consider pejorative and unneeded. 

Several Pagan believers interviewed pointed out that modern Christians and Muslims are not referred to as Neo-Christians or Neo-Muslims, despite obvious differences between today's forms of Christianity and those of centuries past: why, they wondered, should Paganism be labeled as such? 

A number of academics have seen the Pagan/Neopagan divide as a valuable tool for exposing a significant historical issue. 

Modern Pagan religious traditions are inspired by or based on historic Pagan religions, although they are not always the same as these old faiths, and they may entail significant deviations from the previous faiths. 

  • Even if the word Neopaganism is avoided, this historical issue is crucial and will be a major focus of the pieces here. 
  • Because such language is a source of ongoing debate and controversy here I use whichever language—Pagan/ism, Neopagan/ism, or other—I believe is most appropriate to the themes. 
  • Such a wide range of vocabulary may irritate or confuse the reader, but it accurately reflects the unsettled, developing character of the public's perception of these religious groups, as well as the self-understanding of these religious groups. 

Modern Pagans are recovering, recreating, and recreating religious traditions from the past that have been suppressed for a long time, sometimes to the point of extinction.

With a few exceptions, today's Pagans cannot claim to be carrying on religious traditions that have been passed down in an uninterrupted line from ancient times to the present. 

  • They are modern individuals who have a deep respect for the spirituality of the past, and they are creating a new religion—modern Paganism—out of the ruins of the past, which they interpret, adapt, and alter to fit current thinking. 
  • In this way, modern paganism is both old and new: an ancient/modern hybrid, like a tree with deep roots but branches that extend into the sky. 
  • Pagan religious traditions may have been practiced in areas of Europe from ancient times to the present day, particularly in Eastern European countries like Lithuania, where many pagan rites have survived in popular culture despite government Christianization efforts. 

Even in such circumstances, however, it is undeniable that the arrival of Christianity wreaked havoc on the Pagan faith. 

  • It's also worth noting that Lithuania's current Pagan movement, Romuva, is a twentieth-century construct, not an old one, even if the myths, rites, and other traditions it practices and supports are from medieval or even earlier periods. 
  • As a result, although if the religion's substance is taken from extremely old Pagan traditions, it is correct to refer to Romuva's religious movement as a "new" religion, a "modern" Pagan religion. 

As this discussion shows, the fundamental historical condition of these religious movements is that they are a return, rebuilding, and reimagining of religious traditions that were forcibly suppressed—and in many regions, all but erased—with Christianity's rise to supremacy in Europe between 500 and 1500 CE.

You may also want to read more about Paganism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on Religion here.