Question of the Week #12 – Is it just a word

So what does the word Pagan mean to us?

Being Pagan is about being a member of a modern religious movement:

  • that’s not rooted in Abrahamic religious tradition,
  • that has romanticized the past and other ancient religions,
  • and focuses on exploratory worship and ritual.

I like Isaac Bonewits’s breakdown of the definition of Pagan; Paleo-Pagan, Meso-Pagan and Neo-Pagan. This sub-sectioning kinda fits my views. So often when I say or read Pagan it really refers to the Neo-Pagan. But for me there is the Classical Pagan which corresponds well to Bonewits’s Paleo-Pagan. This would include the ancient religions of the Middle East, the Far East, the Classical religions of the Mediterranean, the indigenous tribal religions of Europe, the Americas and Polynesia. I feel a good cut off is somewhere in the 1800’s as I don’t recall any minor religions attracting the attention of history. It is this lull that I think prepares the way for a new view of things. And I’m viewing this very organically, open to change and revision.

The biggest dividing line that I see are religions before Christianity and religions after Christianity. And Neo-Paganism has maintained it’s roots outside of the Christian story but it has been influenced and in some cases stunted by the presence of the dominant religion.

The Neo-Paganism seen in America today is a mixture of Eclectic Wicca, Native American icons, myths and traditions; Reconstruction and adaptations of Classical Pagan religious; New Age methods and ideas and even Eastern religious influences. Even political sub-movements are finding the freedom of expression within Paganism such as deep ecology, feminism, and LGBT Pride. It truly is a melting pot of religious ideas and almost a direct reflection of the faces of America today.

This QtoW was brought to you by The Modern Pagan.


About Isabella LeCour

She is nothing more than the collections of thoughts placed into the virtual worlds. She is a poet, a mother, a lover, many things to different people. But mostly, she is nothing but smoke and mirrors - some ethereal thing that blinks in an out of existence.
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