Semitic neopaganism

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Semitic Neopaganism refers to a group of religions based on or attempting to reconstruct the old religious traditions of the Semitic peoples, including the pre-Semitic Sumerian elements of Ancient Mesopotamian religion.

Semitic neopaganism is both ethnic and non-ethnic in nature: there are groups recovering their ancient polytheistic cults among the Jews,[1] the Lebanese,[2] and non-Semite Americans adopting Semitic Pagan worship. The Semitic Neopagan religions are divided into Levantine and Arabian movements. Forms of Witchcraft religions inspired by the Semitic milieu, such as Jewitchery, may also be enclosed within the Semitic Neopagan movement. These Witchcraft groups are particularly influenced by Jewish feminism, focusing on the goddess cults of the Israelites.[3]

The reconstruction of polytheistic practices of the Levant or Canaan, including Phoenicia and the Israel and Judah, the Canaanite religions, has antecedents in the Palestinian Jewish cultural movement of Canaanism of the 1930s, which called upon Jews in Israel to distance themselves from Judaism and instead embrace a renewal of ancient Hebrew and Canaanite mythos.[dubious ]

In the United States, the notion of historical Israelite or Jewish polytheism has been popularized in the 1960s by Raphael Patai in The Hebrew Goddess, focusing on the cult of female goddesses such as the cult of Asherah in the Solomon's Temple.

Levantine neopaganism[edit]

During the 1970s growth of Neopaganism in the United States, a number of minor Canaanite or Israelite oriented groups emerged, mostly containing syncretistic elements from Western esotericism.

The most notable contemporary Levantine Neopagan group is known as Am Ha Aretz (עם הארץ, lit. "People of the Land", a rabbinical term for uneducated and religiously unobservant Jews), "AmHA" for short, based in Israel. This group grew out of Ohavei Falcha, "Lovers of the Soil", a movement founded in the late 19th century.[4]

Elie Sheva, according to her own testimony an "elected leader of AmHA" reportedly founded an American branch of the group, known as "Primitive Hebrew Assembly".[5][6]

Beit Asherah ("House of the Goddess Asherah"), was one of the first Jewish Neopagan groups, founded in the early 1990s by Stephanie Fox, Steven Posch, and Magenta Griffiths. Magenta Griffiths is High Priestess of the Beit Asherah coven, and a former board member of the Covenant of the Goddess.[7][8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ofri Ilani. Paganism returns to the Holy Land. Haaretz, 2009.
  2. ^ Hanibaael. Paganism and Occultism in Lebanon: These are our beliefs.
  3. ^ Jenny Kien, Reinstating the Divine Woman in Judaism (2000), ISBN 978-1-58112-763-8.
  4. ^ Jennifer Hunter, Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan and Jewish Practice. Citadel Press Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, New York, 2006, pp. 18–19.
  5. ^ Interview with Elie in Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today, by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond (2001), p. 105.
  6. ^ Witchvox article on Jewish Pagan organizations
  7. ^ Witchcraft today: an encyclopedia of Wiccan and neopagan traditions By James R. Lewis - pg.162
  8. ^ Covenant of the Goddess (Official website)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]