Neo-Paganism: Historical Inspiration & Contemporary Creativity

I’m happy to announce the publication of Neo-Paganism: Historical Inspiration and Contemporary Creativity. This book the the culmination of 15 years of research and direct experience with Neo-Paganism.

Neo-Paganism is a new religious movement, the central characteristics of which are a perception of divinity as immanent, a multiplicity of deities, both feminine and masculine, a commitment to environmental responsibility, and a creative approach to ritual.

Neo-Paganism is distinguishable from other forms of contemporary Paganism in that it is

  • eclectic, rather than traditional (i.e., not reconstructionism)
  • open, rather than initiatory (i.e., not traditional Wicca)
  • exoteric, rather than esoteric (i.e., not ceremonial magic)
  • earth-centered, rather than deity-centered (i.e., not devotional polytheism).

From the back cover:

A living relationship with the wild natural world is our birthright as human beings. But two hundred years of capitalism and industrial­ism, three hundred years of Enlightenment philosophy and reductionist science, two thousand years of Christianity and tran­scendental monotheism, and five thousand years of patriarchy and civilization, have done their work, breaking the connection be­tween humankind and nature.

To be Neo-Pagan today is to reclaim our original relation with the world. It is nothing more and nothing less than to be fully hu­man. To (re-)learn what this means, we need to strip away the layers of estrangement that have accreted to our collective soul over the centuries. So we look back to our ancestors, to those who lived prior to the Scientific Revolution, prior to Christianity, prior to civilization.

There is a connection between us and the pagan peoples who lived so long ago. We carry it in our flesh and blood. At our most funda­mental, we are still the same human beings we were then. We can be pagan again today because we live under the same Sun and on the same Earth, and we feel the same wind blowing through our hair and the same rain falling on our skin.

 

6 thoughts on “Neo-Paganism: Historical Inspiration & Contemporary Creativity

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  1. Congratulations! I look forward to reading the complete work. One choice turn of phrase from the back cover strikes me as a sort of synecdoche: “fully human” as a distillation of the concept of Paganism. I have been trying to trace this particular usage back to its earliest instance. Do you, by chance, know where it originated? The earliest instance I am aware of is in my own blog from February 2015 (see the last line of http://web.archive.org/web/20150219194005/http://reformpagan.org/our-movement/faith/paganism/), but perhaps an earlier instance of “fully human” to distill or define “Paganism” exists.

    1. I did a little more digging, and while I have found my own WordPress edit history going back 2012 with that definition of Paganism as being “fully human”, I have also found an instance from May 2010 on Patheos (https://www.patheos.com/blogs/pantheon/2010/05/feri-an-apparent-digression-part-2/) that indicates that Victor Anderson (of the Feri Tradition) may have earlier spoken of Feri as “the religion of being fully human”! Wherever it originated, this development in Pagan thought is, in my view, a critical one. I’m glad to see it gaining wider usage.

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