Semitic neopaganism

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Semitic neopaganism is a group of religions based on or attempting to reconstruct the ancient Semitic religions, mostly practiced among ethnic Jews in the United States.

Jewish neopaganism[edit]

A pink Chai seen in Jewitchery

The notion of historical Israelite or Jewish polytheism was popularized in the United States during the 1960s by Raphael Patai in The Hebrew Goddess, focusing on the cult of female goddesses such as the cult of Asherah in Solomon's Temple.[citation needed]

During the growth of Neopaganism in the United States throughout the 1970s, a number of minor Canaanite or Israelite oriented groups emerged. Most contained syncretistic elements from Western esotericism.[citation needed]

Forms of witchcraft religions inspired by the Semitic milieu, such as Jewitchery, may also be enclosed within the Semitic neopagan movement. These groups are particularly influenced by Jewish feminism, focusing on the goddess cults of the Israelites.[1]

A 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.[2]

Elie Sheva, according to her own testimony an "elected leader of AmHA" reportedly founded an American branch of the group, known as the Primitive Hebrew Assembly.[3][4]

Beit Asherah ("House of 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.[5][6]

Semitic neopagan movements have also been reported in Israel[7] and in Lebanon.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jenny Kien, Reinstating the Divine Woman in Judaism (2000), ISBN 978-1-58112-763-8.
  2. ^ Jennifer Hunter, Magickal Judaism: Connecting Pagan and Jewish Practice. Citadel Press Books, Kensington Publishing Corp., New York, New York, 2006, pp. 18–19.
  3. ^ Interview with Elie in Being a Pagan: Druids, Wiccans, and Witches Today, by Ellen Evert Hopman and Lawrence Bond (2001), p. 105.
  4. ^ "Witchvox Article". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  5. ^ Lewis, James R. (1 January 1999). Witchcraft Today: An Encyclopedia of Wiccan and Neopagan Traditions. ABC-CLIO. p. 163. Retrieved 8 December 2016 – via Internet Archive. beit asherah.
  6. ^ "Covenant of the Goddess - Representing Witches and Wiccans since 1975". Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  7. ^ Ofri Ilani. Paganism returns to the Holy Land. Haaretz, 2009.
  8. ^ Naim, Hani (2010-03-31). "الباطنيـون والوثنيـون فـي لبنـان: هـذه هـي معتقداتنـا". As-Safir. Retrieved 2019-01-09.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]