Talk:Modern Paganism

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Requested move 28 July 2017[edit]

Modern PaganismModern paganismMOS:ISMCAPS, and WP:CONSISTENCY with Germanic paganism, etc. This is not a religion, but a blanket term for a class of them.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  08:39, 28 July 2017 (UTC)--Relisting. EvertonFC13(talk2me) 23:10, 8 August 2017 (UTC)

While it may be claimed that Paganism is not a single religion, the way it is used by those who fall under its umbrella tend to see it as a formal or proper name. See how it is used by the Pagan Federation or Patheos, both highly used and reputable sources. If anything, in the English-speaking world by those who consider themselves as Modern Pagans, the term Modern is not commonly used, in favor of the more accepted term Pagan itself. Wikipedia sees pagan as a broader term than how it is used by adherents. FULBERT (talk) 10:18, 28 July 2017 (UTC)
Midnightblueowl may provide convincing arguments in favour of capitalisation. Besides, from a quick reading of the article I would say that the uppercase letter is of lesser importance compared to other problems that the article has. I take this opportunity to explain some of them. — 1) First of all, the term "Paganism" itself is problematic when applied to Eastern Europe where the strongest of these movements apparently have sprung up. This is already elucidated in the first sections but I think it should be given more prominence; for example by adding the names that are used by these eastern movements (Native Faith, Gentile) to the lede together with "Paganism". — 2) The "beliefs" section presents rather stereotypical notions and, again, Eastern European visions are underrepresented. — 3) "Encompassed religions and movements" is a chaos, giving prominence to fringe and esoteric movements while leaving out others, major ones like Slavic Native Faith. I think that a good idea would be to create one subsection for each one of the movements that are listed in this template. — 3) "Demographics" and "Paganism in society" more or less present the same problems, i.e. they focus on the Western side of this movement, often providing excessive detail such as in the case of the "Socio-economic breakdown of U.S. Pagans". In sum, I think that the article needs a thorough rewriting. At the same time, I think that "List of Neopagan movements" and "Polytheistic reconstructionism" are rather meaningless as standalone articles and they should be merged into the general article.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 02:09, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
"Midnightblueowl may provide convincing arguments in favour of capitalisation." Not really. The same people overcapitalize everything else related to paganism. I've been surrounded by these people my entire adult life, and am quite familiar with the books they read and write, which are typically in a style like "The Ritual must be conducted at Midnight, under a Full Moon, and must involve a Chalice and a Sword which the Shaman or Priestess must ...", yadda yadda. While this is fine as a style in insiders-to-insiders writing (you'll find this "Capitalization to Signify" used in business memos, in gamer blogs, even in ornithology journals), it is not encyclopedic style and it is not WP style. We've been over this literally hundreds of times in the past, and the answer is always the same: If mainstream, independent sources (hint: Pagan Federation, etc., do not qualify) written for a general audience do not overwhelmingly consistently use a capitalization (or other stylization), then Wikipedia doesn't either. This is a rule in MOS:CAPS, MOS:TM, MOS:TEXT, etc., and a version of it is also at the core of WP:COMMONNAME. Also, a tremendous number of these people do not see paganism as a religion at all but a generalized and ill-defined spiritual path, range of traditions, folkloric lifestyle, whathaveyou. We do not apply capitalization like this to anything else this general. It's only being overcapitalized here for PoV-pushing reasons, since the article is dominated by pagan editors, and American ones from particular organizations in particular (and it shows; this is the source of most of the problems identified by Eckardt, above).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:05, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I do not see anyone here suggesting that we capitalise "Magic", "Ritual", "Chalice" or anything of that nature, SMcCandlish. The argument is purely that this article refer to modern Paganism with a capital letter because a) that is the academic convention within the study of religion, b) a widely used convention within the Pagan community itself, and c) it is a proper noun. If those conventions change, then so should the article. Until then, the capital letter must remain. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:18, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

To quote from the article itself: "Several academics operating in Pagan studies, such as Ronald Hutton and Sabina Magliocco, have emphasized the use of the upper-case "Paganism" to distinguish the modern movement from the lower-case "paganism", a term which is commonly used for pre-Christian belief systems.[30] In 2015, Rountree stated that this lower case/upper case division was "now [the] convention" in Pagan studies.[20]". Basically, the academic convention (as well as the convention within the Pagan community itself) is to capitalise the term, and this article should follow that convention. As for Eckhardt's view that the article presently privileges forms of Paganism dominant in Western countries, I would have to agree; the article certainly needs greater expansion when it comes to forms of Paganism in Eastern Europe and Russia. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:14, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

This is a fantastic reason to not capitalize here. This is not HuttonAndMaglioccoPedia, and we are not here to advocate the language hypotheses of anyone, much less the linguistic activism of those they are studying! FFS.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:05, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I really don't follow... The academics actually studying this phenomenon use the capital-P as a convention. The practitioners following this group of religions tend to use the capital-P as a convention. Why do you therefore suggest that we ignore both the academics and the practitioners themselves? And why the need for expletives like "FFS"? Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:13, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
The capitalization is consistent with the Voices from the Pagan Census[1] research and even an acknowledgement in the U.S. Census statistics on religion[2]. Further to the issue Midnightblueowl is raising, it could be argued that not only should Paganism be capitalized, but at least in Western usage, the term Modern itself could be dropped, as the notion of Paganism is used by adherents as the name itself. Modern is a term that seems used by those who do not follow any of those paths. FULBERT (talk) 12:52, 29 July 2017 (UTC)


  1. ^ 1949-, Berger, Helen A., (2003). Voices from the pagan census : a national survey of witches and neo-pagans in the United States. Leach, Evan A., Shaffer, Leigh S. Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 9781570034886. OCLC 51566739. 
  2. ^ Bureau, US Census. "Section 1. Population". Retrieved 2017-07-29. 
I think that we need some way of distinguishing this article from that on Paganism (i.e. the older and broader concept) - using "modern" in some form achieves that. We could always use something like "Paganism (modern)" or "Paganism (new religious movement)" as opposed to "Modern Paganism", however. Midnightblueowl (talk) 12:54, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
I think Paganism (new religious movement) is most accurate, as it used the term as found in the literature and the () can be useful for reader disambiguation. FULBERT (talk) 13:02, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
I support Paganism (new religious movements) as a good solution, with the "s"-plural.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 16:09, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
Do we have RS's that actually refer to Paganism as a series of "new religious movements", however? I think that we would need to establish RS usage first before moving to such a term. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:27, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
I think so. See for example books such as The New Religious Movements Experience in America, Encyclopedia of New Religious Movement, and The Oxford Handbook of New Religious Movements, Volume 2. All have entries of Paganism, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, etc. --Editor B (talk) 18:18, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose for reasons given by others above. *Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 20:01, 31 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Midnightblueowl and others, and favor Paganism (modern) rather than 'new' (a descriptor which seems to connote it's 'brand new'). Randy Kryn (talk) 00:48, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
    • Consider that we have the article entitled Heathenry (new religious movement), so the renaming Paganism (new religious movements) would be consistent with an already well-written good article and with the established study field of new religious movements.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 21:30, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
      • Either of those suggestions are fine by me; the issue is the Overcapitalization For Emphasis; I'm quite amenable to a parenthetical disambiguation. This, however, will not resolve the in-text overcapitalization, which would then have to go to an RfC.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  05:48, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
        • "Overcapitalization For Emphasis"? No, it is simply the capitalization of a proper noun because that is the convention within the academic literature on the subject and within the community who use that term as a self-description. Capital P Paganism is the WP:COMMONNAME. Where is the over-capitalisation in that? Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:24, 13 August 2017 (UTC)

Expanse of "Europe"[edit]

I don't want to remove it without consensus, because it's cited, but the lead explicitly states the practices which fall under the umbrella of "Modern paganism" have their origins (or claim to) in Europe. However, the article goes on to include Kemetic reconstructionism. This is inconsistent, any thoughts? Wasechun tashunkaHOWLTRACK 09:41, 29 July 2017 (UTC) Wasechun tashunkaHOWLTRACK 09:41, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

I think that this could be removed. We have an RS cited in the article itself that defines modern Paganism as "a collection of modern religious, spiritual, and magical traditions that are self-consciously inspired by the pre-Judaic, pre-Christian, and pre-Islamic belief systems of Europe, North Africa, and the Near East." That suggests that we are not dealing purely with Europe itself, but also neighbouring regions. Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:20, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
Wasechun tashunka: It is not completely wrong, though, if Europe is not intended as a mere geographic expression. Egypt and Near Eastern countries were wholly part of the late Roman Empire (European classical civilisation) and participated in its cultural melting pot prior that Christianity was codified as the new official synthesis. Forms of Egyptian religion were widespread as far north as Britain, and they were classified as "pagan" when Christianity became official. Hermetism and later the philosopher Giordano Bruno were influenced by Egyptian thought.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 16:01, 29 July 2017 (UTC)
That's all well and good, but the subset of Kemeticism that Kemetic Reconstructionists typically focus on is the pre-Roman, pre-Greek period of Egypt, when the civilisation was in every way African. The syncretic beliefs that arose during the 4th century Hellenistic influx are generally overlooked by reconstructionists, who claim to inherit their spirituality from the Ancient Egyptian religion, which had more or less died out by the end of the new kingdom and the corresponding increase of trade with Europe. The later adoption of deities into European religions was more a deliberate choice by classicist Europeans than a sign of the religion's spread, and certainly didn't change the status of ancient Egypt itself. Regardless, the page is about a modern take of paganism, so modern definitions are assumed by most readers.
For that reason, I'm in favour of Midnightblueowl's suggestion to match that sentence with that quote from the body.Wasechun tashunkaHOWLTRACK 17:17, 29 July 2017 (UTC)

Proposal for merging "polytheistic reconstructionism" with "modern Paganism"[edit]

I propose that "polytheistic reconstructionism" is merged into the main article "modern Paganism". The reason is that the article is of a very low quality, lacking substance and poorly sourced, and the term "reconstructionism" seems to be a fringe descriptor or have largely fallen out of favour both within the communities of modern Pagans and within the academia. Religions that some have classified as "reconstructionist" largely employ the terms "traditional", "indigenous" and "native" to present themselves, as it is already described in the main article itself.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 16:04, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

I'm not especially opposed to a merge, I would just like to raise the following points:
  • Given that this pages is already bulging with the number of different varieties of Modern Paganism described, would it not be better to improve the quality and sourcing of the reconstructionism page, rather than increase the length of this page?
  • The reconstructionism page has a quite detailed explanation of the proposed differences between reconstructionism and "classical paganism", and the page itself states that many reconstructionists don't adopt the term "pagan".
  • I don't think it's the case that "reconstructionist" has fallen out of favour, the major groups still describe themselves as reconstructionists even if they don't use the word in the name of their religion (Nova Roma, Hellenismos etc.).Wasechun tashunkaHOWLTRACK 16:29, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
As for (n) I think:
1) The merger would not require copying the current content "polytheistic reconstructionism" article into the "modern Paganism" article since the latter already treats the topic, and that content is not really qualitatively good.
2) That strengthens the motivations for a merger, since it makes the content of "polytheistic reconstructionism" an unuseful duplicate of content that is already, and more thoroughly, treated in "modern Paganism".
3) Based on what I have read, "reconstructionism" is an academic descriptor that was used by the very first scholars who studied the phenomenon (Bonewits, Adler), and is not really used by Pagans describing themselves ("I am a reconstructionist"). Among the most recent academic publications about Paganism, Aitamurto 2016 about Slavic Native Faith in Russia uses "reconstructionism" as a synonym for "historical reconstruction", in many cases unrelated to religion (p. 53).--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 18:30, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
I'm not going to argue about the first point, I agree that the Polytheistic Reconstructionism page in its current form is seriously lacking. However,
2) I don't see where the Modern Paganism page properly describes the idea behind reconstructionism, and it doesn't properly explain the difference in opinion on the use of the words "reconstructionism" and "paganism". Although this in itself isn't reason enough not to merge the pages, that information would need to be migrated to this article, and it seems a little counter-intuitive to be explaining on a paganism page why certain groups described don't identify as pagan!
3) That's an interesting book, but its reach is quite narrow, and when it comes to what people call themselves, it's useful to consider primary sources also. Maybe it differs by area, but many of the groups I've come across are more likely to use reconstructionism to describe themselves, and strictly in a religious context. For example, Hellenismos define reconstructists as being very serious practitioners of the religion, and place themselves somewhere between that and "neopagan groups like wicca"; some individual practitioners of Hellenismos describe it solely as reconstructionism; the YSEE refer to their group more as "restorationists" rather than reconstructionists, but avoid the word pagan; the Kemetic Temples of the US (apparently they have an umbrella organisation) use "reconstructionist", while stating that they only focus on the religious side of reconstructionism; Nova Roma use the word reconstructionism in a religious sense only, although they are also reenactors; and although the House of Netjer do not mention reconstructionism, they explicitly state they are not pagan. Wasechun tashunkaHOWLTRACK 19:49, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
I respond to 2): "reconstructionism" is already discussed in the "eclecticism and reconstructionism" section of the present article.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 21:18, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The Modern Paganism article is at a pretty good length right now, after having been trimmed back significantly from what, at some points in the past, has been a very rambling and disjointed article. I don't think we should make it longer by merging other articles in. While some overlap between the two is necessary, I support fleshing out the Polytheistic reconstructionism article rather than expanding the section here. To expand the section here would result in undue weight, which would most likely result in the desire of other editors to again add more content to other sections and bloat this article again. The fact most Polytheists do not call themselves "Pagans" or "Neopagans" is also worthy of consideration, especially at a time when some groups are adamant about the differences between the groups, and there would be bold edits, complaints, and vandalism in response to this forced teaming, were we to go ahead with it based solely on the consensus of wikipedia editors. - CorbieV 20:49, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
    • I concur. These are valid concerns. We don't need to "merge away" articles that are well-supported by sources (even if they badly need rewriting), especially if doing so may be conflating distinct subjects.  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:07, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
There is also an oppose over on Talk:Polytheistic reconstructionism. I will direct them here. - CorbieV 21:36, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Support. Google Scholar reveals virtually no references to "polytheistic reconstructionism". There are insufficient Reliable Sources to warrant its existence as a separate article. Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:37, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
Noting that you just went and deleted partially-sourced (the book was named and already in the sources of the article), easily more fully footnoted content from Polytheistic reconstructionism rather than improving the article:[1]. This not a good look. Especially while people are trying to evaluate these. - CorbieV 21:36, 13 August 2017 (UTC)
User:CorbieVreccan; my thought process was that paring it down purely to that which is properly referenced to RS would make it easier for the decision regarding merging (or not) to be made. I can see your point, however. Midnightblueowl (talk) 10:57, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
I also support this. While polytheistic reconstructionism is a subset of Modern Paganism, I have not seen much evidence in the literature that people look for this term on its own. However, regarding usage here on Wikipedia, we may want to consider the average of 71 page views each day into this discussion. FULBERT (talk) 18:41, 14 August 2017 (UTC)
  • Oppose Just because Polytheistic Reconstructionism could use some work doesn't mean we should merge it to Modern Paganism. It is a separate portion of the movement, and is detailed enough to deserve its own page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fabianzzz (talkcontribs) 15:47, 15 August 2017 (UTC)

Proposal for merging "list of Neopagan movements" with "modern Paganism"[edit]

I propose that "list of Neopagan movements" is merged into the main article "modern Paganism". The reason is that the list is a list of organisations rather than of major movements which fit within the category "modern Paganism". It is instrinsically incomplete and totally unsourced. Lists of significant organisations should be kept in the page of the pertinent major movement. The list could be transformed into a number of subsections within the chapter "encompassed religions and movements" of the article "modern Paganism"; these subsections could reflect the list of major movements as it is reported in this template (with the exclusions of fringe groups such as the "Church of All Worlds").--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 16:04, 30 July 2017 (UTC)

  • Oppose - Lists are easier to manage when kept separate. Modern Paganism is already long and doesn't need to be expanded by merging. See reasons above, as well. - CorbieV 20:52, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
    • I respond here to both of your comments. The article "modern Paganism" is not large at all compared to other articles (see for instance "Pope Francis") and for the capabilities of modern processors and browsers. Besides, as I explained both hereabove and in the section above, the merger of the two articles would not require the incorporation of all their content, since "polytheistic reconstructionism" is mostly based on unreliable sources (Bill Linzie is self-published) and the list has no sources at all, and its merger would equate to its total disappearance.--Eckhardt Etheling (talk) 21:08, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
    • I concur with CorbieVreccan. What's needed is list inclusion criteria, per WP:SAL, to clean up the list and keep it clean of non-notable chaff. If it were merged in here, it would just need to be split back out later as both this article's regular content and the list developed. It's fine for material best suited to being in a list to remain in one; we have thousands of list articles most of which also have a main topic article of some sort to which they could be merged in theory, yet we do not merge them. The present article does and should focus on the nature and overall history of the modern paganism movements/trend/whatever (and it needs work in this regard; see the bias and other issues raised by a commenter in the RM discussion above).  — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  06:12, 13 August 2017 (UTC)