Talk:Modern paganism

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Definitions of Neopaganism[edit]

I missed most of the discussion around "Neopaganism" vs "Modern Paganism" vs "Paganism (contemporary)," and had no significant attachment to the outcome. However, this was brought to my attention, and I think it is relevant to how we are naming various articles in the project:

Definition of neopaganism in English: neopaganism - noun - 'A modern religious movement that seeks to incorporate beliefs or ritual practices from traditions outside the main world religions, especially those of pre-Christian Europe and North America. Neopaganism is a highly varied mixture of ancient and modern elements, in which nature worship (influenced by modern environmentalism) often plays a major role. Other influences include shamanism, magical and occult traditions, and radical feminist critiques of Christianity.'" -

I think this has a bearing on ethnic and reconstructionist traditions that are opposed to "incorporat[ing] beliefs or ritual practices from...North America." While it's common knowledge that many Neopagans do this, there are traditions that are opposed to it, so are now excluded from this definition. (crossposted to Wikiproject Neopaganism) - CorbieV 21:04, 4 June 2014 (UTC)

Very rarely (read as never) have I encountered North American beliefs referred to as "Paganism". They are mostly incorporated into New Age beliefs which bleed over into some of the more liberal Wiccan groups. For my experience within the Pagan Community, (Contemporary) Paganism is a group of modern beliefs built upon pre-Christian cultural beliefs and practices of Europe. Which is why I also have some issue with Kemeticism and Semitic beliefs being included as "Modern Paganism." The only Kemeticists I know of who call themselves Pagans are more accurately described as Wiccan, and I've only ever known Semitics to call themselves either Semitic or Canaanite polytheists. (talk) 22:03, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

Does neopaganism exist?[edit]

The opinions above have raised the relevant problems that the use of the term "neopaganism" as a catch-all category generates. Does "neopaganism", as a unified phenomenon, exist? Actually no: "neopaganism" is a virtual category that has been constructed through a series of publications from the Anglophone world. It originally referred strictly to Wicca and the modern syntheses that have emerged in America (ex. Church of All Worlds, Feri). Then the term was forced on all the so-called "reconstructionist" movements of the Old World, which rarely or in no case name themselves "neopagan".

Well, I think this article should be reduced to a list, or disambiguation page, of the different things to which the name "neopaganism" has been attached.

I suggest you look up the website of the late Isaac Bonewits. It is maintained by his widow now. He spent his entire life as a scholar defining the term that this is issue is talked about in and writing about it. Kannath Raymaker 21:01, 24 June 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Kannathraymaker (talkcontribs)

Please don't take over article to insist one POV dominates the subject[edit]

I've reverted all the "Cleanup needed" tags inserted by anonymous user for two reasons. First, this user clearly has a personal view of the subject which insists that any presentation of it emphasize differences among various pagan groups over what they have in common. Anonymous user has a right to their opinion, but I don't think they have a right to insist that their opinion dominate the article by plastering cleanup needed tags all over it. If anonymous user thinks that the differences in these groups should be given emphasis over their similarities, then what anonymous user should do is argue on this Talk page that respected mainstream scholars of the subject take this approach to it, so the Wikipedia article should too. Second, anonymous user's repeated claims that most of the sources cited are "hardly reliable" is wrong. Most the the sources cited are from respectable, mainstream commercial and academic publishers such as Penguin, Routlege, Oxford University Press, Brill, etc. This is not to say of course that the views in these sources must be accepted as correct, but it certainly means that these sources are reliable mainstream academic opinion. If anonymous user thinks the article's general approach needs revising, please discuss that proposal on this talk page, instead of covering the page with their own POV in the form of cleanup needed tags. Littlewindow (talk) 16:43, 28 December 2014 (UTC)

I have reverted the tags. The problems highlighted are not my personal view. The article is a totally unscientific analysis, and lumps together Wicca, new age movements and revival of indigenous religions as if they are the same phenomenon. This is not true: Wicca and European indigenous religions have different origins and aims. The main problem is not constituted by the type of sources used, but by the WP:SYNTH and WP:OR nature of this article. It should be deconstructed entirely, and the topics synthesised here should be re-analysed, independently, in a scientific and factual way.-- (talk) 16:48, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
"I have reverted the tags. The problems highlighted are not my personal view..." followed by a restatement of the anonymous user's personal views, which have also been replastered all over the article. I'm not going to get in a war over this, I'll merely point out that this article as it now stands is about two things: 1) contemporary paganism, and 2) anonymous user 's personal opinions as embodied in the ubiquitous tags. If others interested in the subject are satisfied that this is what a Wikipedia article on it should look like, fine with me. Littlewindow (talk) 20:13, 29 December 2014 (UTC)
My personal experience from what the few neo-pagans I have spoken with and the little I've read from various neo-pagan grouls is that they do emphasise two things, which may be controversial for some other people.
  1. They tend to claim that their faith is not just a revival of old ideas, but a continuation in other forms of some kind of `undercurrent' which has gone on for a long time, in spite of the pagan faiths having been prohibited and persecuted.
  2. They tend to emphasize that different neo-pagan movements in different locations actually more or less are parts of the same movement.
As I said, I do not know to what extent this really is true for a majority of the groups and adherents. However, if it is true, then it should be possible to document this. This would not then be a question of OR, but of finding sufficiently clear such "synthesis" statements among these groups themselves.
To the extent that especially the second point is true, this page is a good place for exhibiting this perceived widespread movement.
Note, that the question about how objectively true the statements are, is a different one. Personally, I suspect both that the unity with the respective older local faiths, and theclaims of a continuity in time, may be exaggerated. As to the claims about the present common movement, I think that there may a bit more truth in this. First, there may be fairly modern impulses (like new age) having influenced many of them. (E.g., theosophists were involved in the revival of Ásatrú on Iceland, which in its turn was a large inspiration for similar movements in the other Nordic countries.) Second, those I've heard, and the texts I've read seem to stress a general attitude, which they share with most of what we know about ancient pagan religions: They are rather tolerant, as regards faiths.
This may be a bit hart to grasp for people who are mainly acquaintainced with Abrahamitic faiths; but the old pagans in general did not believe that belief itself was of a particular value. Their deities might reward their followers for their sacrifices, and for their observance of proper rites and (sometimes) moral rules; but not for belief itself. Therefore, it would be no great matter, if your neighbours, or people you met on travels, partly worshipped other gods, or believed other myths about them. Even the idea of "a religion" or "a denomination of faith" seems to have been foreign. Antique travellers may report on which gods foreign people worship, and how they do it, and a little about their myths; but without treating them as belonging to "another relogion". Instead, Romans or Greek narrators often substitute the names of their own deities for the foreign ones; considering the foreigners as worshipping mainly the same gods, an perhaps a few gods unknown in the narrator's home.
Actually, some of the Nordic neo-pagans seem to have had some trouble of being officially recognised as "denominations", precisely since they are not interested in the kind of dogmas, which traditionally are so central for most Abrahamitic denominations. Our legislations are much better adapted for traditional groups of e.g. Christians, with very sharp dogmatic differences between them. (However, at least in my part of Europe, most contemporary Christians seem not to take the dogmatic differences very seriously. An active minority does.) JoergenB (talk) 19:15, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
I have reverted the unwarranted tags applied to this article by a single user. Neopaganism is a well established field of study and this article has a fair number of citations which establish that. Rather than just dropping tags into the article I suggest that it is more constructive to engage in depth with the article and try to improve any perceived shortcomings. It is easy to dump a tag on a section but it is much harder to do actual editing to improve the article. Simply nay saying other's opinions is not a constructive way to proceed.
editor makes claims that are unsubstantiated and contradictory, for example, "Wicca and European indigenous religions have different origins and aims". This is confusing as Wicca is a European indigenous religion. But the editor says nothing more to this point so it is impossible to discern the intended meaning. Perhaps more talk and less tagging would be more productive. Morgan Leigh | Talk 05:31, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks to Morgan Leigh for deleting those unnecessary, inappropriate and intrusive tags. That simple edit makes the article look vastly better. Other editors please note that since we now have at least two editors who have deleted the tags and strongly object to their presence, WP good practice would be not to re-insert them without further discussion here. Littlewindow (talk) 01:41, 4 July 2015 (UTC)

Missing Cited Source[edit]

The "Terminology and Definitions" section says

The American scholar of religious studies Michael F. Strmiska in 2005 argued 
that the modern adoption of the term "Pagan" was "a deliberate act of defiance" 
against "traditional, Christian-dominated society", and that, on the other hand, 
"Neopagan" is often deemed offensive and not used by many contemporary Pagans, 
who claim that the inclusion of the term "neo" disconnects them from their ancient 
polytheistic ancestors.[γ]

Unfortunately, the footnote associated with that only says "^ Strmiska (2005) p. 9" The book or article from which it draws is entirely absent. Anyone have a reference?

*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 23:56, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

I've added the reference; if the format isn't exactly right someone please correct it. Littlewindow (talk) 23:18, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
Lovely! Thanks :)
*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 03:49, 11 April 2015 (UTC)


Dbachmann added a COI tag to this article. I'm not going to remove it, but I think a little explanation would be good. It's true that many of the editors here are Pagan, but that doesn't necessarily rise to a conflict of interest.

*Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 21:36, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

As I've noted above, the article is littered with unjustified tags by one anonymous user, and now there's another intrusive unjustified tag. In effect, the personal opinions of these two users about what the article should be like have taken over the article. I reverted some of these tags before and called for discussion, but the anonymous user simply undid the reversion without waiting for others to discuss it. To repeat, I'm not going to get into a war on this, but because of all these personally biased tags I think the article at present is unreadable. If others agree, then they should make their views known here. Littlewindow (talk) 15:41, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
I see that user Morgan Leigh has deleted these tags, which I fully support. Since we now have at least two editors, myself and ML, who think these tags are inappropriate, WP good practice would be not to reinsert them without discussion here first to reach a consensus. Littlewindow (talk) 01:34, 4 July 2015 (UTC)


Does anyone have any idea why some of the references are numbered and others have Greek letters? Morgan Leigh | Talk 06:02, 29 June 2015 (UTC)