Researching Contemporary Paganism


Researching Contemporary Paganism

For all those researching contemporary Pagans in Europe and America

Location: Web based
Members: 20
Latest Activity: Oct 26, 2016

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New to this group

Greetings, all.  I am new to this group and I'm very interested in the work everyone is doing toward this topic.  Can we get a discussion going? ChristinaContinue

Started by Christina Beard-Moose Oct 12, 2012.

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Comment by Rut Rosenthal on May 2, 2013 at 4:51pm

I am starting my research about the uprising of what we can call "Natural Religions", such as neo-paganism and neo-shamanism, and the enviromental dimension of their  political speech. If you know any bibliography about this theme, please, let me know!

Comment by Ian UK on August 29, 2011 at 12:11pm

William Rathouse wrote ".... I'm very curious as to what parallels you find between fundamental Christianity and contemporary Paganism..."

I apologise William, I don't seem to get notifications from this topic and I assumed the thread was dead. Perhaps parallels was the wrong word. My somewhat unscientific impression, gathered as a "watcher" on various forums is of a tension between dogma and personal revelation in both christianity and paganism in the US. As  Kierin has noted, the UK scene is more post literalist and easy going.  In fact, the submission for charitable status by the Druid Network in the UK, is almost deliberately vague! My interest was sparked by a debate on a UK forum discussing the Northern Tradition and the Folkist element, much of the argument for ethnicity qualification was imported from the US, where "roots" seem to be a real issue.




Comment by William Rathouse on February 15, 2011 at 12:15pm

I'd agree that it's not always, probably not usually at the forefront of people's minds but if you accept that identity is largely constructed on the basis of affiliation (membership of groups) and alterity (whereby those not in affiliate groups are considered outsiders or other) then the primary other is generally Christianity although rationalist atheism also looms large. Within a pagan group, e.g. Asatruar, those who are from a different tradition or 'fluffy' overly eclectic etc. may be considered other to the point of abjection (being made actively undesirable).


In short whilst the countercultural opposition to Christianity is not the defining feature of contemporary Paganism, it is an important part of the construction of Pagan identity


Indeed Green Christianity and non-dogmatic Christianity are not oxymorons but they are not embraced as core to Christian mainstream values still less seen as such from outside and as such do not feature in the Pagan alterity of Christianity. Indeed Christianity itself constructed it's identity in opposition to the old pagan religions largely as a result of abjection of early Christians by the pagan Roman Empire.

Comment by William Rathouse on February 14, 2011 at 11:45am

Dear Ian,

I've met a few Quaker Pagans over the years. Very nice people all of them. When you say you're meeting an increasing number of self-described Pagans, do you mean as patients in your mental health work? I'm very curious as to what parallels you find between fundamental Christianity and contemporary Paganism. My initial thought is that Paganism is a counter-cultural movement defining itself in opposition to what is often perceived as a Christian mainstream. However the fundamentalists could also be said to formulate their identity in opposition to a Christian mainstream they see as impure or excessively liberal.

Comment by Ian UK on February 13, 2011 at 8:38pm
This is a rather quiet group! I am interested in neo-paganism in the UK from a personal perspective As I wandered away from the mainstream of christianity many years ago and found I had much in common with a group of Quaker Pagans. My interest is also professional. As I work in Mental Health I find I am meeting an increasing number of self described pagans in the UK. As an amateur I am also interested in the phenomenon of religion in the US and the parallels between fundamental christianity and paganism.
Comment by William Rathouse on May 18, 2010 at 3:57pm
I must apologise for my abscence, I have had some computing issues of late. I must confess I'm woefully ill informed about contemporary Paganism in continental Europe, especially Eastern Europe. Contemporary Pagism in the UK is (in my opinion) very different from the kind of thing you seem to be describing. Nationalism plays little or no part for most people. There is a love of the land but in a romanticised rather than patriotic way. Violence has little part in British contemporary Paganism from what I've seen, British Pagans are more likely to be pacifist than militaristic or aggressive.
Comment by Layla AbdelRahim on May 13, 2010 at 7:52pm
NB. I just saw the pictures you've posted on one of these medieval practices, and it seems that they are not embracing the anarcho-primitivist ideals, but rather the contrary, some idealised nationalist past, where domestication and violence are a big part of identity (the swords, the knights, the stratification, etc.). I wonder what the participants make of it, though, and again, what are their motivations - is it a sort of real-life virtual-games sort of thing?
Comment by Layla AbdelRahim on May 13, 2010 at 7:47pm
Pozdrav, Ivana,
I'd be really interested to read your study or getting updates. I wonder if you've inquired as to the original motivation of the members of the group or to those who decide to adopt paganism on an individual basis: is it the disenchantment with the spiritual aspect? Is it the general socio-economic culture that feels oppressive and the religious practice reflects it? Handmade clothes and spirituality are connected and it seems that these people are embracing the larger principles of anarcho-primitivism.
Good luck and I hope to hear more on your study,
Comment by Ivana Fuskova on November 1, 2009 at 11:06pm
I am student of ethnology and I wrote the contribution about Slavonic neopaganism. In Slovakia, there are organized some groups, which members try to live as old Slavs lived 1200 years ago. They celebrate ancestoral saints-days, wear handmade clothes and so on. Of course, everything is in context with contemporary middle Europe culture.
I know from my research, that some of these members started like Indians. They knew their culture, they like it and so they changed their way of life. After time, they started to look for their rootage and they found it in old Slavonic traditions.
I would like to know some other reasons, why people become a members of neopaganism groups, why they come back to the old, natural traditions or ways of live. If you have some experience, share with it. Thanks.

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