What is Paganism?
Neo-Paganism has its roots in the 19th century Romantic Movement and Transcendentalism, both of which saw ancient paganism and direct contact with wild nature as ideological and aesthetic counters to the influence of Western modernity and industrialization. Neo-Paganism arose out of the American Counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Like the Romantics and the Transcendentalists before them, the Neo-Pagans of those decades saw in paganism an antidote for the spiritual alienation of modern civilization and capitalist culture. Neo-Paganism integrated nature worship, feminist spirituality, and popular psychology with creative reinterpretations of ancient pagan mythologies.
Neo-Paganism is often described as an “Earth religion” or “nature religion.” Neo-Pagans perceive the divine manifest in the physical world and they recognize the Earth as sacred. Their religious practices have a this-worldly focus. Modern life has the tendency to cut us off from our kinship with the world of living nature, making us feel like cogs in a vast, impersonal machine. Neo-Pagans seek to restore a sense of our oneness with nature through ritual and other spiritual practices. In addition, many Neo-Pagans express their religious values through sustainable living, composting, and permaculture, as well as in political action against the environmentally irresponsible actions of business, industry, and government.
The following is adapted from a post by Glen Gordon:
Paganism is about being here and now.
Paganism is the moment when you are the most alive and most aware of the world around you.
Paganism is the moment that sweeps you away into spontaneous ceremony and celebration of the life within and all around you.
Paganism is the place where you feel the most at home, the place where you connect to the natural living world in deep and intimate ways.
A Pagan someone who sees the sacred everywhere they go.
A Pagan takes breath as sacrament.
A Pagan is someone who feels with their whole being.
A Pagan can be anybody at any time.