Talk:Modern Paganism/Archive 3

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

Atheist NeoPaganism?

I would like to call myself a NeoPagan Atheist. Would that be a possibility? I like meditating and I admire the pagan culture. Do you think that this is a possible notation? --RichardT

Just to let you know, RichardT, an article's talk page is for discussion about the article in question - not a place to ask general questions concerning the article. No, you cannot call yourself a Neo-Pagan atheist - even Neo-Pagans believe in God(s) and/or Goddess(es), which totally goes against the definition of "atheism." Xxglennxx (talk) 04:48, 23 February 2010 (UTC)
If you can call yourself a neo-pagan pantheist, I don't see why you shouldn't be able to call yourself a neo-pagan atheist. Pantheism is sexed up atheism.

--RichardT —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:45, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Pantheism is not "sexed up atheism." I've never met an atheist who viewed the natural world as divine. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Spock of Vulcan (talkcontribs) 17:49, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

"See also" Sex Magick et al.

A user would like to add sex magic and the great rite to this articles See also section. Most information relating to this had been discussed on Wicca's discussion page, and it was decided to keep them out of that article. I have previously removed them from here, as the "See also" section contains a list of Wikipedia articles that expand upon critical points raised within the specific article (if it needs to be, that is). As sex magic isn't integral to Neo-Paganism itself (but to individual practitioners), I see there no reason to have it linked in the "See also" section. What does everyone else think? Xxglennxx (talk) 01:02, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Agreed—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 19:45, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Wicca is not Pagan?

I'm still trying to pull together information from various sources, but it seems that the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions has come to an interfaith understanding and agreement that Pagan religions include only the traditional indigenous religions of Europe, and not neo-religions such as Wicca. Therefore, reconstructionist religions such as Celtic Reconstructionism, Religio Romano, and Hellenismos are Pagan (only when used to describe the traditional cultural religion), while Wicca, Neo-druidism, and other neo-religions are not. Paganism and Neopaganism would seem, based on this global interfaith council, to be distinct identities and movements, and should not be commingled in the way Wikipedia is presenting them currently. Will the Paganism and Neopaganism articles be updated to reflect this understanding? -- (talk) 19:14, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Parliament of the World’s Religions doesn't control the English language and I doubt any "neo-religion" is adequately represented by them.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 19:42, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
It would seem that the Circle Sanctuary, Earth Spirit Community, Covenant of the Goddess, and Fellowship of Isis have been representing Neopagan religions within the Parliament since 1993, and other organizations such as Cherry Hill Seminary, Correllian Nativist Tradition, EarthSpirit, PaGaian Cosmology, Reclaiming, Witch School, and others have been added over time. The Parliament of the World’s Religions would seem to be a legitimate source for interreligious understanding and legitimate information. Wikipedia contributors seem to use proof by assertion to include revivals of the traditional indigenous religions of Europe under the "umbrella term" of Neopaganism dispite many of these groups making public statements they have no association with them, and at least this global interfaith organization wanting to make the distinction. -- (talk) 13:16, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm aware organizations have made efforts to be involved. Surely, those you mention make little pretense of speaking for the representative majority of "[neo]pagan" groups. For example, membership in Covenant of the Goddess (CoG) is exclusively for groups (and Elders) whose religious practice qualifies under specific criteria and who self-identify as practicing "Wicca" or "Witchcraft" and being a "Wiccan" or "Witch". (BTW, Cherry Hill Seminary is or was affiliated with CoG's interfaith efforts). Whilst a denial-of-use "understanding and agreement" wouldn't exactly leave Wiccans/Witches without a means to freely identify themselves as members of their own religion, there's still no chance CoG would agree to such a thing (for example).
Frankly, I'm not clear how this, apparently obscure (?), yet clearly controversial statement/recommendation "should" prompt changes to how Wikipedia editors "commingle" groups under an "umbrella term" against their wishes. Is it appropriate to conflate the POV of specific pagan groups with the POV of the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions? I remain skeptical. However, if you can pull together a policy statement from your sources, I don't see why it wouldn't be discussed and included.
Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 17:36, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia generally tries to be a follower, rather than a leader, when it comes to terminology so we wouldn't necessarily change anything based on a recent conference, even if it had all the legitimacy in the world. When general usage (among reliable sources) has changed we would change. But even apart from that, these PoWR definitions appear to be by no means universally accepted by contemporary pagans. They were hotly debated on The Wild Hunt blog, to name one popular resource. Haukur (talk) 14:33, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Agreed. I'll have a look at The Wild Hunt blog, thanks—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 17:47, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
Not only do you both continue down the proof by assertion path, but you have added an argumentum ad populum fallacy. Those groups engaged in restoring and rebuilding traditional indigenous religions of Europe, which finds some unity with the World Congress of Ethnic Religions, often vehemently and publicly reject being part of the Neopagan movement. It is only the assertion by obvious Neopagans that these reconstructions are under the Neopagan umbrella, and that is what is being used as the basis for Wikipedia including them, with a subsequent argument that this is the consensus opinion of the majority.
I also want to add that the reason I did not just start editing the appropriate articles to provide the opposing point of view coming both from reconstructionist groups, and the greater interfaith community, is because these articles are obviously contributed primarily by Neopagans who have an agenda and want a certain image. There was enough information put out by reconstructionist groups prior to the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions that the difference between conflicting claims and opinions should have been more prominent and accurately depicted in the associated articles. -- (talk) 15:25, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
When reliable sources start drawing a sharp distinction between "reconstructionists" and "neopagans" then Wikipedia will start doing so. My personal opinion is that this is not likely to happen anytime soon as almost all contemporary pagan groups represent an amalgamation of reconstructionism, innovation and other elements. Tell me, for example, does Ásatrúarfélagið represent one of the "traditional indigenous religions of Europe" or a "neo-religion"? Haukur (talk) 16:07, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Add to the growing list of fallacies used to support the way these articles are crafted is an appeal to authority. Is Margot Adler and Isaac Bonewits really reliable sources for arguing the revivals of Indigenous European Religions are Neopagan? It is like if the Christians got together and said Jews and Muslims are really Christians dispite their claims otherwise, and then Wikipedia proclaiming the Christian opinion is more authoritative and therefore the correct one. Point to Wikipedia policy all you want, but Wikipedia policy also states there must be a Neutral Point of View that requires articles should fairly represent all significant viewpoints. Just because Neopagans want these revivals and reconstructions to be Neopagan, does not make it true no matter how many Neopagan sources are cited. -- (talk) 17:37, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Look, claiming Wicca is not pagan or fanning some more-authentic-than-thou pissing contest is not on the table here. And it's not like we could do what you ask us even if we tried - you didn't even answer my question about Ásatrúarfélagið. How are we to distinguish between "reconstructionists" and "neopagans" if you won't tell us which is which?
Now, what could be on the table is trying to reduce usage of the word 'neopagan'. There's been some movement in academia towards talking about "contemporary paganism" or "pagan revival" and among pagans, the word 'neopagan' is often as not used as a slur. Not many people strongly self-identify as 'neopagan' but lots of people like to throw around accusations of 'neopaganism'.
What's also totally on the table is improving this article in various ways. It's certainly true that Bonewits isn't a final authority on anything - though I note that the only claim the article cites to his work is this one: Some Reconstructionists reject the term "Neopagan" because they wish to set their historically oriented approach apart from generic "Neopagan" eclecticism You don't disagree with that, do you? What specific reliable sources do you suggest we use to improve the article? Haukur (talk) 18:35, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The statement I read out of the Parliament of the World’s Religions was "Wicca, for example, cannot be seen as an indigenous Pagan faith practice and is instead a modern syncretic movement. Under this description Wicca therefore would not fall under the definition of Pagan, and would be squarely a New Religious Movement, while British Traditional Witchcraft could be considered a Pagan and Indigenous faith tradition."
The World Congress of Ethnic Religions states unequivocally indigenous religions are the "religion, spirituality, and cosmology that is firmly grounded in a particular people's traditions [and] does not include modern occult or ariosophic theories/ideologies, nor syncretic neo-religions."
Read what you wrote. Your whole premise is based on an ideology rather than a neutral point of view. The article on Ásatrúarfelagið calls them Neopagan, but I had a hard time finding that word used on their website with them describing themselves. So then the real question is, does the organization actually call themselves Neopagan or has the writers on Wikipedia decided they are Neopagan? It still goes back to you (you referring to the contributors of various articles) deciding that the Neopagan perspective is more authoritative than other sources, including these actual groups and the greater global interfaith community. Neopagans are absolutely right to assimilate these religions, and these religions and the greater interfaith community are absolutely wrong to reject the classification, therefore the objections can be ignored. That is hardly unbiased. -- (talk) 19:14, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Please make specific suggestions on how articles can be improved. Haukur (talk) 19:52, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
My suggestion is segregate indigenous religions from Neopagan articles, and make clear when referenced the relationship is dubious. Religions such as Asatru, CR, Religio Romana and Hellenismos should be reclassified to distinguish them, and references identifying them as Neopagan removed. Religions such as Wicca and Neodruidism should be clearly identified as Neopagan and/or New Religious Movements. I mean really, all things considered, doesn't it strike anyone as odd that Paganism is listed as a system under Neopaganism on this article's sidebar? Even if Neopagans are Pagans, it would be Neopaganism as a system under Paganism, not the other way around, and that would still allow for the distinction and segregation of indigenous religions from Neopagan articles. -- (talk) 20:15, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm sorry but we can't do this - that's not the way reliable sources generally classify things. Nor does it fit well with self-identication of adherents. Many Wiccans vehemently reject the label 'neopagan', for one thing.
All you've cited in support of your ideas is that statement by discussion at the Parliament and you keep ignoring that the statement this has widely been a source of controversy. Here's Chas Clifton's take on the 'indigenous' word: [1] The person you've actually quoted above is Andras Corban-Arthen and apparently it's something of a misquotation.[2] The root of the whole hoobla is that Andras Corban-Arthen thinks he represents a direct survival of a European indigenous pagan religion which he supposedly was introduced to some decades ago in Scotland. In his preferred terminology he gets to be 'indigenous' while almost all other Western-European or North-American pagans get classified as adhering to 'new religions movements'. That's what this Parliament brouhaha is about. Haukur (talk) 21:58, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Also, the PWR doesn't vote on resolutions - whatever Corban-Arthen et al. were saying in their presentations there doesn't represent a consensus of the Parliament or anything like that. Haukur (talk) 22:25, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
What reliable sources? I think you are still showing your bias here. First of, logically Paganism would not be a subdivision of Neopaganism as represented in this article's sidebar. It is a question of which came first, and there is just no way to defend it. Second, the controversy was with Wiccans and others who want to be Pagan because they interpret being Neopagan as less than. Your also saying that that organizations specifically dedicated to the restorations of the traditional indigenous religions denying links to Neopaganism, modern Esotericism and the New Age are not reliable, and is not a significant viewpoint to be fairly' represented? You are also saying that a global interfaith organization that has exited over 200 years working for interfaith understanding and cooperation is not reliable? Nowhere on the Ásatrúarfélagið website did I see them describe themselves as Neopagan. What "reliable source" was used to classify them as such in their article? Oh wait, there was no cited source... is there? -- (talk) 12:40, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
What is my "bias"? What "ideology" do I follow? What are you talking about? What "global interfaith organization that has exited over 200 years" are you talking about and where is your citation to what they have to say? Haukur (talk) 13:43, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Your bias is placing certain opinions, which may or may not be relevant, above others. Representing Paganism as a subdivision of Neopaganism is not correct, and you don't even try defend it, but are uwilling to allow the change. There is no reliable source stating Ásatrúarfélagið is a neopagan organization, but you deny the reliability of organizations at the forefront of the movements to rebuild the indigenous cultural religions of Europe. You place weight of reliability on Neopagan opinions who want these groups and movements to be included under them above the opinions of the groups themselves that identify otherwise. This is not rocket science. -- (talk) 15:19, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
For the umpteenth time, almost no-one self-identifies as "neopagan". Some modern pagans (including many Wiccans) dislike the word, others don't mind it but almost no-one prefers it as a self-designation. Like I've said before I think a reasonable case should be made for reducing usage of it on Wikipedia. Maybe this article should be renamed Contemporary paganism or something like that.
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ásatrúarfélagið is the pagan organization I'm most familiar with so I wanted to know if they were "indigenous" or "reconstructionist" or "neopagan" in your eyes. Apparently you think it's not a neopagan identification and you suspect that it doesn't self-identify as neopagan. But it is an organization with roots in, among other things, theosophy and it has some Wiccan members. It has, at times, expliclitly disavowed reconstructionism. It just goes to show that the clear boundaries you're trying to draw are illusory or, at the very least, that there are plenty of grey areas. Haukur (talk) 15:40, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
1) How many books and websites do I need to reference to prove people do self-identifies as "neopagan"? Your idea that modern pagans dislike the word is anecdotal, and therefore unreliable and unusable in an article that is intended to be encyclopedic.
2) The word reconstructionist is dubious, and has been adopted and rejected by many groups for different reasons. That is why I have tried to stay away from it and focus on the phrase traditional indigenous religion. Lets not start building a straw man on top of the other fallacies used to defend the way these articles were crafted.
3) The idea that Ásatrúarfélagið may admit people who practice dual religions does not diminish their organization's mission or focus. Moreover, it is still anecdotal.
4) Think about this, with your logic and reasoning Buddhism, Hindu, Taoism, Native American Spirituality and many other religions should be under the Neopagan banner because in the broadest sense of the word they are Pagan, and you insist Pagan is a subset of Neopaganism. Make sense? No, not at all. Why can Buddhism, Hindu, Taoism, Native American Spirituality and other religions self-identify and it is reliable, but the religions of Europe cannot? -- (talk) 16:18, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Words have more than one sense. The article isn't using the word 'neopagan' in the sense you're using it. In the sense the article is using it the reconstructionist pagans and pagans who say they are practicing a "traditional indigenous religion" are neopagans. But you prefer some other sense for the word 'neopagan' which includes only a subset of the religions the article describes as 'neopagan'.
No-one has ever said "Pagan is a subset of Neopaganism" or anything like that. I certainly haven't "insisted" on it. Don't just make up stuff. Where did you get this from? That template on neopaganism? It's just a link on a template, not some master hierarchy. And I haven't even touched this template.
You started this discussion with the ridiculous idea that we should not describe Wiccans as 'pagan' even though they usually self-identify like that. Yet in the next breath you're saying that self-identification is the main thing we should go by. As far as I can tell you're saying Wiccans are neopagans and neopagans are pagans but Wiccans are not pagans? Huh?
Your main line of evidence for a split between "neopaganism" and "indigenous" paganism is the Parliament but you still haven't cited any statement from the Parliament about this because no such statement was made. There is no "interfaith understanding" validating your views. Haukur (talk) 16:33, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
I pointed out to you that the sidebar shows Paganism as a subdivision of Neopaganism several times in this conversation. In response, you were unwilling to allow a change. I know the article reflect that "reconstructionist pagans and pagans who say they are practicing a 'traditional indigenous religion' are neopagans." My point still stands... Buddhism, Hindu, Taoism, Native American Spirituality and other religions self-identify and it is reliable, but your saying the religions of Europe self-identifying is not reliable. The Parliament is not the crux of my argument, and I did cite Andras Corban-Arthen, as quoted by Pagans at the Parliament, who is on the Parliament's Board of Trustees and spiritual director of the EarthSpirit Community. I'm sorry I didn't name him specifically in the quote. However, my main line of evidence for a split between "neopaganism" and "indigenous" paganism is not the Parliament. It is the religious organizations at the forefront of these revivals. I also quoted the World Congress of Ethnic Religions directly from their website. Your example of Ásatrúarfélagið doesn't use the word neopagan anywhere on their site, but it is used uncited in their article on Wikipedia. Who determened they were Neopagan? You don't address any of the issues I raise, you just continue ad nauseam. You just make assertions and then when those assertions are challenged move on to something else to try and out talk me, and then will start repeating your unsupported assertions again.... like neopagans don't use the word neopagan. The fact that Neopagans continuously repeat the assertion these movements to rebuild traditional indigenous religions are a subset of their movement does not make it true, especially when these movement don't accept it. -- (talk) 17:06, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
I regret that we were not able to have a productive discussion aimed at improving Wikipedia articles. I'm sorry for wasting your time. Haukur (talk) 17:29, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

RfC Discussion: "Wicca is not Pagan?"

There is a question about article following Neutral point of view and Verifiability. Please see Wicca is not Pagan?. (talk) 13:13, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

What is this even about? "Pagan" is a rather fuzzy or polysemous word. Read Paganism. Wheter you want to classify Wicca as "pagan" is a matter of personal taste, not WP:TRUTH.

Wicca is one major example of a Neopagan religion. Some people dislike the "Neo" and drop it. Others insist on the "Neo" and use "pagan" without "neo" as a concept distinct from "Neopaganism". This is just terminology, and there is no interesting discussion in there. It is unclear what you want. As I see it, you are just pestering Haukur without making any sort of coherent point. Your distinction of "traditional" and "non-traditional" religions is rather opaque. If Europe has one traditional religion, it is Roman Catholicism in the Latin sphere, and Greek or Slavic Orthodoxy in Eastern Europe. It doesn't get any more traditional than that (15 centuries of unbroken liturgical tradition). Of course Protestantism is also very traditional by now, with a proud four centuries of liturgical tradition. None of the Neopagan religions, and none of the animistic folk customs can compete with that.

Haukur told you to cite a good source for whatever point it is you are trying to make. Instead you just kept linking to interesting fallacies. If you have a good reference that says what you want to say, we can certainly include it as one opinion. As long as you don't, you do not have yourself a debate. --dab (𒁳) 17:35, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

I cited Andras Corban-Arthen, who is on the Parliament's Board of Trustees and spiritual director of the EarthSpirit Community, and the World Congress of Ethnic Religions, while Haukur was unable to cite anyone or anything to validate Ásatrúarfélagið being described as Neopagan. As articles that are to be encyclopedic the burden of proof and verifiability is on what is written based on Wikipedia's own policies, not the challenges. Maybe I would be able to understand if you could tell me why Ásatrúarfélagið is Neopagan and Scientology is not. From where I'm sitting, the only difference is that there are Neopagans who have chosen to assimilate Ásatrúarfélagið. As I asked Haukur, and he ignored even though they were part of his argument, who determined Ásatrúarfélagið is Neopagan? -- (talk) 17:54, 19 February 2010 (UTC)
Seems to me that you're probably placing undue emphasis on a single source. When a majority of cited reliable sources agree with your claims, they'll carry more weight. – Luna Santin (talk) 15:32, 10 March 2010 (UTC)
I have to agree. The sourcing needs to be improved. --→James Kidd (contr/talk/email) 10:26, 19 March 2010 (UTC)
The IP user was just stirring up trouble based on a misquote in Ed Hubbard's blog. Like User:Haukurth said, there was a big fuss at the Wild Hunt blog and it's easy to miss Arthen's response there, so I copied it here: User:Machine Elf 1735/Andras Corban Arthen.—Machine Elf 1735 (talk) 12:20, 19 March 2010 (UTC)

So, it turns out we had this discussion because somebody stirred up some "controversy" on their blog. This would be the moment to point out that Wikipedia is WP:NOT a blog, nor a discussion forum, and that controversies are perhaps best kept within the confines of the comments section. --dab (𒁳) 15:33, 4 April 2010 (UTC)

Restored link to polytheism

Why remove the link to polytheism? Many Neopagans are avowedly polytheistic. Greer even wrote a book about it -- A World Full of Gods. Peccavimus (talk) 00:03, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

I removed the internal link Polytheism in the "See also" section since it was already linked several times throughout the article per WP:Seealso, WP:Overlink, and WP:Repeatlink. I have no objections to the link being re-listed though, if you feel it should be there. All is One (talk) 23:26, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

Added a link to new Pagan Portal on a mainstream religious discussion site

The Pantheon is a Pagan Portal and blog on the website. Patheos is an emerging and respected mainstream religious discussion and exploratory resource site; their addition of a Pagan Portal supports the legitimacy of Paganism as a mainstream religion in today's society. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:43, 8 June 2010 (UTC)


I'm surprised there's nothing about Islam and Neopaganism in this. They should do that. After all, they've already hypothesized blending Judaism and Neopaganism together. Imagine, such a thing as Islamo-Paganism (Wizlam for short). (talk) 21:06, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

Judeopaganism/Jewitchery is not a blend of Judaism and Neopaganism, it's a revival of the polytheistic religion of the Jews. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:04, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Too much emphasis on New Age-American versions of Neopaganisms

This article introduces Neopaganism focusing on the New-Age-American brands of the religions. For example half of the "worship and ritual" section describes homosexual Wiccan-like groups such as Radical Fairies and Dianic Wicca, which are minority and maybe transient American phenomena totally alien to European Neopaganism and abhorred by most of the European Reconstructionist Neopagans (who are traditionalist in ideology). Meanwhile the article lacks any information about important movements such as Armenian Hetanism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:02, 30 October 2010 (UTC)

Bring in reliable sources that describe notable groups, and they'll be included. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:05, 30 October 2010 (UTC)
Just a note: Dianic Wicca is not a "homosexual Wiccan-like group". It is a religion which worships only the goddess. Something being feminist does not make it lesbian. Spock of Vulcan (talk) 18:01, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

North America

The section titled North America contains only information about the United States, and even links to Neopaganism in the United States for further information. This section should either be renamed United States, or, preferably, have information pertaining to the rest of North America added to it. I'll see what I can find, but any help would be appreciated. Spock of Vulcan (talk) 18:20, 3 November 2010 (UTC)

Help please

The article Neo-Pagan (literature) is one of Wikipedias article tagged the longest as needing references, if someone knowledgeable could take a look it would be a great help. JeepdaySock (AKA, Jeepday) 12:01, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

Removed 'see also' link to Heidegger

It may be a minor point, but I've just removed this link from the see also section. Heidegger was the only philosopher linked there and there's no reason I can see either here at Neopaganism, or on the Heidegger page, as to why he should be singled out. I'm not saying he's not appropriate - I have no specialist knowledge! Just that I can't see any particular reason why he should be emphasised thus. Happy to be put right by those who know better! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 14:00, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Replacing "Neopaganism" with "Paganism (new religious movement)"

Hello Wikipedia editors ! As many of you have been aware, I've been active on Neopagan articles for many years now, and all of the time we've been using the term "Neopagan". However I've been having doubts as to whether that is the appropriate term to use, considering both the contemporary Pagan community and academia both overwhelmingly use the term "Paganism" instead. By its very nature, Wikipedia is supposed to reflect the mainstream use of terminology, and in this issue, the evidence is overwhelmingly on the adoption of the term "Paganism". From an academic perspective, Ronald Hutton, Chas S. Clifton, Margot Adler, Graham Harvey, Robert Wallis, Jenny Blain, Dave Evans, Joanne Pearson, Caroline Tully, Douglas E. Cowan, Ethan Doyle White and Michael York (to name but a few) all use "Paganism". Indeed, Sabina Magliocco and Helen Berger are the only academics that I am aware of that actually use the term "Neo-Paganism". The only academic journal to discuss the subject, The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies, insists that its authors use "Paganism" because it is the most widely used terminology whilst AltaMira Press refer to their books on the subject as the "Pagan Studies" series. Now, I don't personally object to the term "Neopaganism", but I just don't think that we can justify its continued usage on Wikipedia when the academic and popular consensus is so overwhelmingly one sided on this issue. (Midnightblueowl (Talk) 17:13, 22 May 2011 (UTC))

I agree Neo-pagan is badly outdated term, I think contemporary paganism since its the most applicable term for the subject covered here. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 18:36, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
The main issue I see with this is making it clear whether the subject is modern "pagan" movements or the historical polytheistic religions that the term was originally applied as a slur for. On top of this is an additional complication in that "paganism" seems to have simply become a synonym for "Wicca" or "Wiccan-influenced" in a number of modern circles. Wicca, of course, has little to nothing to do with any pre-Christian religion.
That said, on a personal level, I very much dislike using the terms pagan or neopagan if solely due to the fact that terms are so uselessly general. Groups falling under said categories frequently have little to do with one another other than not being focused on Yahweh. The fact that pagan originates as a slur doesn't help matters either. In my opinion, polytheism is far more appropriate a term to employ than paganism. :bloodofox: (talk) 20:14, 22 May 2011 (UTC)
My initial reaction to MBO's suggestion was negative, but the arguments are nevertheless persuasive. I like the fact that the different article titles as they stand differentiate Paganism and Neopaganism quite well - a distinction that has been stable for several years now. However, as MBO points out, few or no modern pagans (I am Wiccan myself) describe themselves as neopagans. The UK's biggest pagan organisation is NOT called the Neopagan Federation....
I think it was the tag of "New religious movement" that raised my hackles; the term makes me think of wholly negative, cultish groups - even though the article on Neopaganism is linked from there! I'd go along with the suggestion of "Contemporary paganism" as a title. I don't think "Polytheism" works - it's much too broad and anyway that article is already there. Can we kick this around a bit more and canvass wider opinion? It's a big change and would be good to get a real consensus before we act. I'll put some posts out! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 18:40, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
My issue with the term "Contemporary Paganism" (and I must stress, we have to use a capital "P" when describing this religious phenomenon as this is what is used in the overwhelming majority of sources) is that it is not used in many of the academic sources. Hence why I believe that "Paganism (contemporary religions)" or "Paganism (new religious movements)" would be preferable. Then again, Graham Harvey did publish a book entitled Listening People, Speaking Earth: Contemporary Paganism... (Midnightblueowl (Talk) 22:45, 23 May 2011 (UTC))
I am not opposed to capitol "P" in "Contemporary Paganism." I am looking at email from Chas S. Clifton (editor of the Pomegranate) confirming that it is the correct term for what the article discusses. The Resident Anthropologist (talk)•(contribs) 22:59, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Chas Clifton posted here about it→

I think it's an excellent suggestion and in some ways, inevitable I think. I never would have thought a "neo" or capitalization should matter too much, if it clarified historical v. contemporary... But I'm not sure the two are ever in serious danger of being confused. It's actually pretty hard to imagine what contexts would permit the ambiguity; there's typically no question about it. The Paganism article informed me “...ethnologists avoid the term "paganism," with its uncertain and varied meanings, in referring to traditional or historic faiths, preferring more precise categories such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism”, so I doubt it ever really served that purpose very well.

It's sad that the “neo” prefix picked up some derogatory connotations... (as mentioned above in 2008 #Please skip the NEO), but I think the editors here were arguing in good faith, even though neo-like-it-or-not, in hindsight, can't be so easily justified. I haven't read through the two articles lately, but I think linking to the Paganism article (as opposed to Neopaganism) has been under-utilized as an alternative. Changing the article name is one thing, but all the neo/Neo links are a concern too. I wonder about the implications of a name change vis-à-vis the Paganism article, would it precipitate a self-fulfilling ambiguity?

I'd favor "Paganism (contemporary religions)" over "Paganism (new religious movements)" because the latter might imply a more inclusive definition of Paganism, “Paganism, i.e. new religious movements”... like UFO-based new religious movements, for example. The equivalent parenthetical for “Contemporary paganism” should probably be “Paganism (contemporary)”... it can capture a “spiritual but not religious” factor in a way that “contemporary religions” does not. A bit of an an oxymoron in that, philosophers were pagan simply on account of not being Christian and theology was a branch of physics. I think paganism and physics are awfully full of religions these days.

One minority to keep in mind are people who do self-identify with Neopaganism and mean it as the proper name of their religion, not just an -ism. A recent thread at Talk:Paganism#Pagan or pagan?, was prompted by what appears to be the self-same sentiment (sans “Neo”) given the edit summary “Capitalized the word Pagan, as it is a religion and should be afforded the same respect as Christianity.” I'm reminded of Isaac Bonwitz encouraging (Neopagans, effectively) to take it as a slight on their religion if “Pagan”/“Paganism” [sic] isn't capitalized:

  • ‘Like the members of every other religious community, we Pagans have the right to define ourselves and to demand that our definitions, rather than (or in addition to) those invented by individuals and institutions hostile to us, be quoted or referenced when we are discussed by the mass media.’
  • ‘Like the names of all other religions and their followers, “Pagan” and “Paganism” deserve a capital letter, just as “Buddhist,” “Christian,” “Protestant,” or “Bahai” do.’
  • ‘Like other general terms for religions, “Pagan/Paganism” requires modifying prefixes or adjectives in order to communicate specific approaches, denominations or sects. The following are the ones I have settled upon over the last thirtyfive years...’( )

Bonewitz goes on to present his Paleo/Meso/Neo classification scheme (I wonder if a tolerance for religious category error selects for Neopagans?) For the eastern hemisphere and sundry “original polytheistic, nature-centered faiths”, the term “Paleopagan” is hardly less obnoxious than “savage” (“Savage” even). Of the people who actually do get associated with contemporary paganism, he's really only sorting “Neopagans” form Non-Neopagans... ostensibly due to influence from Abrahamic religions (apparently contagious amongst religions) or else racism, sexism, homophobia etc. (The term “Mesopagan” doesn't seem to have caught for some reason... And Wicca (proper) isn't Neopagan, imagine that...) People who aren't adverse to identifying as a member of the religion Neopaganism, or rather, Paganism, as he explicitly calls it, probably don't have too much to complain about. Apparently, [Neo]paganism is a religion with denominations/sects called Taoism, Shinto, (Ab negative) Hinduism, the various religions of indigenous peoples, the whole mess o'subpaganoid religions (who don't quite get it) and, of course, Neopagans. (Or to put that another way, non-Abrahamic/UFO/vampire based religions).

I don't mean to harsh anyone's buzz—I'm just saying that what might be plausible for Neopaganism can be an irrational without the “Neo”, analogous to expecting “Religion” and “Religiosity” to be capitalized because ‘Neoreligion isn't just a “religion”, it's our Religion and no one should call their Subreligion “a religion”’.

I can see a case for capitalizing Neopagan in reference to those who self-identify as that religion. I'd think they're sufficiently organized, for example, they engage with each other on the Internet about what members of their religion believe. However, if it's not at the beginning of a sentence, I can't imagine where or why paganism should be capitalized, least of all on account of being a religion. A respondent to the Talk:Paganism#Pagan or pagan? thread described why lowercase would be grammatically/stylistically correct. It sounded plausible... ? Midnightblueowl raises a point in favor of capitalization based on convention in WP:RS. I wonder why they would be grammatically/stylistically incorrect though? I'm a bit confused about that.—Machine Elf 1735 02:21, 26 May 2011 (UTC)

Bonewits might have been a key figure in the American Druidic movement, but no-one else of any note has ever adopted his Paleo-Meso-Neo definitions. As such it should only really be discussed on his own Wiki page, and not here or anywhere else on Wikipedia. (Midnightblueowl (Talk) 20:10, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
I'd agree with Midnightblueowl about the Bonewits classifications; elegant though they were I don't know that anyone else ever took them up and used them - certainly not the 'Meso-pagan' group, of whom by his definition I am one! As far as capitalisation goes, modern pagan movements such as Wicca or Druidry I think deserve the honorific of a capital. Christianity and Buddhism get one because of the proper name of their founder, but then so do Judaism and Islam.... However I'm not sure there is a single, definable modern religion of Paganism - just a collection of paths more or less closely allied. Hence I'd be usually inclined to see pagan/ism as generic nouns rather than the proper name of some entity.
So far of all the options I've seen, I'm tending towards Paganism (contemporary religions) as it avoids the 'neo' word and the 'new religious movements' terminology, as well as identifying the religious nature of the movements and their plural nature. There are indeed some non-religious pagans - interested in ecology, the cycle of the seasons etc but not engaging in religious practice. But I think by that token there are probably many non-religious Christians too! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 21:12, 26 May 2011 (UTC)
Well, with respect to you both, it's come up often enough here on this talk page, at Wikiproject Neopaganism, it was an argument in favor of the mandatory “neo”, and (I'll bet you a donut) it was exactly what motivated that brief edit-skirmish at Paganism. But point taken regarding religiosity, Kim. Ecology is probably a better contemporary example. Although many individuals do, I don't expect contemporary paganisms will overcome the monolithic of religion, certainly not while legal systems reward the opposite.—Machine Elf 1735 00:47, 27 May 2011 (UTC)
To clarify my point, in case “elegant” wasn't meant facetiously, the scheme is ridiculous.—Machine Elf 1735 01:04, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I oppose the changing. Neopaganism defines the contemporary reconstruction and reestablishment or reinvention of the Pagan religions (the ethnic religions of Europe and Near East as defined by the ECER and Parliament of World Religions, not all the ethnic religions of the world), and these reconstructions are surely very different in sociological and organisational terms from the old religions. Calling both pre-Christian Paganism and post-Christian Paganism just "Paganism" makes only a lot of confusion. As for caps or non-caps, I surely think capitalisation is preferable for a variety of reasons. -- (talk) 13:15, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

I'm with you. I'm surprised "Neopaganism" is even seen as a problematic term, as the "neo" differentiates it as a reconstructionist, new religious movement (I have no problem with Bonewits's paleo/meso/neo terminology as I've found it quite handy myself). From an anthropological point of view, omitting the "neo" mixes the new movements up with the now increasingly un-PC concept of "paganism" (=anything non-monotheistic and non-Abrahamic). Technically, omitting the "neo" would be very unwieldy and confusing as the old concept of "paganism" isn't going to disappear from older literature. The "(contemporary religions)" and equivalents are very clunky when tacked onto the end of "Paganism" when Neopaganism is being discussed. Imagine a scholar writing about religious movements in any context--would they use the term "Paganism (contemporary religion)" instead of just "Neopagan" if they had to keep using the term repeatedly in text? Thought not. That, and I also get a bad New Age vibe from "contemporary religious movement", and "contemporary Paganism" is also clunky in comparison to "Neopaganism" (and then there's the problem of defining what's "contemporary" as times keep changing--let's not even go there). "Neopaganism" sums everything up pretty well, so why reinvent the wheel? --Snowgrouse (talk) 16:12, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Contemporary Paganism is normally used in WP:RS, and few use the term Paganism in the sense of non-Catholic/non-Abrahamic religion, (though contemporary pagans sometimes forget that's a no-no). Why not continue the use of a contentious term to label an heterogeneous set of minority religions, philosophies and/or practices? To avoid offending people, if one can reasonably do so.—Machine Elf 1735 17:56, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, the consensus seems to be in favour of switching from "Neopaganism" to "Paganism (contemporary religions)". I shall make the alteration. (Midnightblueowl (Talk) 20:30, 10 June 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, this is completely unacceptable. You haven't even begun to establish WP:UCN. If you can do this, I will be happy to support the move. But you haven't even tried. You seem to be labouring under the misapprehension that the article title is to be the "most correct" term. This is wrong. The article title is supposed to be the most commonly used term in English langauge academic literature. If you can show that this isn't "Neopaganism", fine, but so far you have not. --dab (𒁳) 13:02, 5 July 2011 (UTC)

I did a search on Google Trends (shows the statistical trends in what people are searching for) for Neopaganism and Paganism. I did a set of searches for the United States and a set for "All Regions." Interestingly, both searches for Neopaganism did "not have enough volume to show graphs." See links below:

Neopaganism (US):
Neopaganism (All):
Paganism (US):
Paganism (All):

While this is by no means scholarly research, it is interesting to see that there aren't enough Google searches for Neopaganism to even register. WarriorPrincessDanu (talk) 14:48, 5 July 2011 (UTC)WarriorPrincessDanu

Out of curiosity, I also did a regular Google search for Neopaganism, Paganism, and contemporary Paganism. The search results were:
Neopaganism: 319,000
Paganism: 6,660,000
Contemporary Paganism: 1,800,000,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=c306e119a7d85f91&biw=1280&bih=685
WarriorPrincessDanu (talk) 15:07, 5 July 2011 (UTC)WarriorPrincessDanu
Sorry Dab, but I just don't see your argument. I have shown that the most widely used term in English language academic texts on the subject is "Paganism", not "Neopaganism" (and anyone familiar with the academic literature on contemporary Paganism would recognise this). I don't mean to be antagonistic, but I am going to return the page name to "Paganism (contemporary religions)" because not only has that decision been the consensus of editors here, but it is - I assure you - the most commonly used term amongst both academics and the Pagan community. Surely the information provided in this discussion would have told you this... (Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:56, 7 July 2011 (UTC))

Main Currents and Denominations

I suggest changing "denominations" to "traditions," since denominations implies that Paganism/Neo-Paganism is one religion with several branches. Paganism/Neo-Paganism is not one religions, and I think this needs to be made clear. Plus, traditions is the word used within the community, so I think it would be appropriate here. Thoughts? WarriorPrincessDanu (talk) 17:34, 1 June 2011 (UTC)WarriorPrincessDanu

Seems reasonable to me. carl bunderson (talk) (contributions) 18:35, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

Some other concerns regarding the Main Currents and Denominations section:

Judeo-Paganism and "Jewitchery" are listed under the Wicca sub-section. This doesn't seem to make any sense. What does pre-monotheistic Judaism have to do with Wicca? Wouldn't it fit better in the Reconstructionist sub-section?

Also under Wicca, in the last sentence describing the common denominators of the various varieties of Wicca there is no mention of ritual practices, which seems to me to be one of the biggest similarities.

Under Neo-Druidism, it is described as "the largest Neopagan sub-denomination after Wicca." This just doesn't seem right. Wicca is called a religion up in its section, so why isn't Neo-Druidism listed as a religion? Also, using sub-denomination implies that it is a twig on a branch of a religion. And with Wicca mentioned so soon afterwards, it could be confused as being part of Wicca. I think it would be better to say that Neo-Druidism is "the second largest Neopagan religion" or "the largest Neopagan religion after Wicca." Though this claim has no citation, and it would be nice to see one.

I also have an issue with the New Age Syncretism sub-section. Neopaganism is not part of the New Age movement. They may have emerged at about the same time, and have a few points of commonality, but they are not the same thing. Also, there is nothing mentioned about the New Age after the first sentence, so it doesn't seem to be an appropriate title. WarriorPrincessDanu (talk) 16:33, 5 June 2011 (UTC)WarriorPrincessDanu

I agree with your points, but I suggest a further change from "currents and traditions" (which doesn't solve the problem since it implies they're "currents" of one religion) to simply "religions and movements". -- (talk) 10:43, 8 August 2011 (UTC)


The North American section uses data from the early 2000s. ARIS and the Pew Forum have recently done surveys again. Wouldn't it be a good idea to up date this section to include this new data? WarriorPrincessDanu (talk) 15:44, 11 June 2011 (UTC)WarriorPrincessDanu

Yes it's a good idea. The latest ARIS survey (that of 2008) shows an increase to 2.8 million or 1.2% of the total population of adherents to the new religious movements (including "Scientology, New Age, Eckankar, Spiritualist, Unitarian-Universalist, Deist, Wiccan, Pagan, Druid, Indian Religion, Santeria, Rastafarian"). Of these 682.000 are Pagans. -- (talk) 10:58, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

John J. Coughlin

I removed the hyperlink to "John J Coughlin" inasmuch as the hyperlink jumped to the Wikipedia entry on the John J Coughlin who is a Roman Catholic priest and authority on canon law. The Coughlin referenced in this entry is a practitioner of occultism and Wicca and is not the priest.LAWinans (talk) 01:47, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Outdated Adler, redundant title and other doubts about recent edits

The previous title "Paganism (contemporary religion)" (without "movements") was better, the current one is redundant. Besides this, I think the article is now expanding too much and I find unnecessary the latest modifications made by user Midnightblueowl. In my opinion, the construction of the entire article on the works and the categories elaborated by Adler is wrong, both since it should use a wider array of authors and since Adler's work is somewhat outdated (it dates back to 1979!!!), and influenced by a New Age view of Paganism. I strongly suggest to use Michael Strmiska's Modern Paganism in World Cultures (2005). --Bhlegkorbh (talk) 21:27, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

If you can improve the article with some citations from Strmiska, by all means go ahead! I don't myself think that Adler is so outdated as to be useless (though we could perhaps cite the more recent, updated edition she issued.) But it would be good to have as wide a reference list as possible. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 21:40, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
Another problem with Adler is that she is virtually focused only on 70s American Paganism. Currently I prefer not to help in fields other than Germanic Heathenry. However I can suggest Victor Shnirelman, Adrian Ivakhiv and Kaarina Aitamurto for Slavic and other Eastern European Paganisms, particularly Shnirelman's “Christians! Go home”: A Revival of Neo-Paganism between the Baltic Sea and Transcaucasia and Ivakhiv's In Search of Deeper Identities. --Bhlegkorbh (talk) 22:14, 21 November 2011 (UTC)
I've just had another look at the references here and I agree that there are too many to Adler. Not that she is a bad source or that her information is wrong, but there are more divers sources to confirm the same material. There's Leo Ruickbie's work for a start which is newer and UK-based, plus the book based on the anthropology PhD where the author was initiated into a London coven, plus of course Ronald Hutton's many works. Then all those references you've just provided are very helpful too.
I tend to agree about the page name but it was changed to this not long ago after a lengthy discussion and I'm loth for it to move again - of course just moving a page is easy, it's the renaming all the templates and wikilinks that is such a pain! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 22:20, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

I agree wholeheartedly with Bhlegkorbh that we need more references from those academics working on Germanic and other ethnic forms of Paganism, but we must be careful not to swamp this page with them. This article has to reflect the huge variety of Pagan religions that exist, including Wicca, Thelema, Heathenry, the Radical Faeries etc. etc and as such must draw equally from those academics working within the mainstream U.S. Pagan community, such as Sabina Magliocco and Margot Adler, as much as it draws from the work of those scholars studying fringe elements of contemporary Paganism, such as Matthias Gardell. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 16:18, 25 November 2011 (UTC))

A bold move

Well, I wasn't expecting this! It's certainly bold but it miught have been better to have at least some discussion first? Dab, could you perhaps at least say how far back this reversion takes us and make a case for it? I don't see any discussion, let alone any consensus, for this? Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 13:04, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Okay, now this is getting silly. Dab's reversion and page move have been reverted, again without discussion here. I have fully protected this page for 24 hours so that we can have some discussion here. This is without prejudice to the content and title of the page: I'm not protecting the "good" version, I just want the back and forth nonsense to stop. Now please let's discuss here with the maximum amount of good faith and minimum of putting out fires with gasoline, please (thank you David Bowie for the quote...) Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 14:27, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Well, you've simply beat me to it. Unfortunately, the explanation I gave in the move itself was truncated and if it was not, in fact, necessary for a non-admin to pick a different name, I was not aware of that. Consensus was clearly against the name Neopaganism, so for the time being, I've changed it back (as best I could?) to something closer to the name that appears in WP:RS that's been discussed (not that I'm opposed to the long name). Additionally, Dab didn't move the talk page to Neopaganism so I cleared that tick box.
If by “putting out fires with gasoline” you're referring to me, take your own advice… Let the children lose it. Let the children use it. Let all the children boogie.Machine Elf 1735 15:19, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
Actually, so no-one's in any doubt, the "gasoline" I was thinking of was Dab's edit summary about 'agenda driven editorializing'. I respect Dab and normally agree with much of the content and process that I see from that account. But those words were very unfortunate and also rather non-specific! I don't myself see an agenda having been recently been pursued, but I'm always willing to have my eyes opened. I think perhaps what I should have said was "please can we have some examples of 'editorialising' so I can better understand what the complaint is." (Can't think of a further Bowie quote to continue the sequence, sorry...) Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 15:44, 22 November 2011 (UTC)
I think there's a problem here. Dbachmann acts without any kind of consensus literally destroying articles as he recently did to Germanic Heathenry. As I exposed in the discussion above, I myself think this article has some problems related to Adler and a "New Age" view of Paganism, but most of the problems I exposed are related to the last ten-days edits by Midnightblueowl; it's not the case to return the article to a months-old revision. --Bhlegkorbh Talk 15:55, 22 November 2011 (UTC)

Very simple, the revert takes us back to the revision before the blatant agenda-driven attack on this article by User:Midnightblueowl. We aren't a neopagan (or "pagan") blog or community site. Such editing is clearly unwelcome here. If you want to publish a pagan zine or something, don't abuse wikipedia as your webspace provider. There isn't really much to discuss as long as this blatant disregard of project fundamentals continues. As soon as some kind of reasonable attitude resurfaces, I would be happy to have a discussion among grown-up editors. Before that happens, I suppose all we can do is tag the article as broken.

The accusation by "Bhlegkorbh" that I am "destroying" articles is beyond the pale. These articles are the product of years of careful balance and research. I did not see "Bhlegkorbh" participate in the building up of the coverage on these topics in 2005, or 2006, or 2007, or 2008, or 2009, or indeed 2010 or most of 2011. This account appears out of nowhere in July 2011 and seems dedicated to making agenda-driven edits to neopagan topics, but for some reason it is now "their" article to do with as they please, never mind previous considerations or debate by editors who have spent literally years in building and discussing these topics within our encyclopedicity guidelines. Read WP:BRD. The default revision is the one before this neopagan revisionist campaign came out of the woodwork. It you have a complaint, kindly seek consensus before making substantial changes. It is unacceptable to sneak in what are clearly biased changes and then ask people to seek consensus before reverting to the long-standing consensus revision.

What on earth do you mean by "consensus was against the name Neopaganism"? You mean that four or five neopagan editors came to the talkpage of an article which has been stable under the current name since 2003 and quickly built "consensus" among them to move it? This is just ridiculous. There is no case whatsoever to be made for the move. Any clean review of WP:UCN will dictate the long-standing title as the obvious choice. This kind of moving major articles around by quick "consensus" when people are not looking is not how it works at all, it is in volation of all principles of encyclopedicity and wikiquette, and I refuse to even waste time addressing this as if it was a bona fide issue.

--dab (𒁳) 09:31, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Dab, what on earth are you attacking me for ? There is absolutely no reason for accusing me of trying to turn this article into a Pagan blog or community site! Not a single shred! Nor, do I believe, is anyone else doing that either, and lord knows where you are getting this idea from. If you look at my additions, you will see that what I have been doing is adding academically referenced information from the field of Pagan studies (yes, "Pagan studies", not "Neopagan studies"); hardly the actions of someone trying to create a Pagan zine... If you want to be constructive then I welcome your input but so far your behaviour over the last week or so has been counterproductive in the extreme, dragging this page back to former and clearly inferior stages and complaining that there is no consensus or reason to term this new religious movement "Paganism" when in fact both have been supplied to you. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 15:48, 28 November 2011 (UTC))
Alas, almost two months on and still no response I see... (Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:33, 23 January 2012 (UTC))

caps and hyphens

I took the liberty of moving the case and punctuation toward what is more common in sources, and more in line with our WP:MOS. As some have noted, there may be cases where Pagan, Paganism, Neopaganism, etc., should be capitalized, if they refer to specific religions or the religious affiliations of individuals, but I didn't see many uses of that sort. They are almost all generic, describing types of religions and beliefs. If I got some wrong, we should fix those. I didn't get all the through, just about half way, so there are still lots of excess caps to fix. The hyphens are also much less common than "neopagan", "neopaganism", etc. Dicklyon (talk) 02:36, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

This issue has already been discussed many times in past, and all the times the consensus was for the capitalisation of the terms since they're terms for religions. "Protestantism" is also a generic term, used for a variety of denominations and churches, but it's always capitalised. --Bhlegkorbh Talk 09:13, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I'm afraid Blegkorbh remembers incorrectly; there was no such consensus. The most recent discussion ended with a view that a capital letter was right when a proper noun or noun phrase was being used, eg the Pagan Federation, or (fictitious example) "I follow the religious path of Paganism". However a lower case letter was right when a for example a simple adjective was involved - eg "I follow a pagan lifestyle". That's my memory of the discussion and of course it's likely to be biased; I freely admit that this is the construction I prefer so I'm remembering what I want!
Unfortunately this article has been moved at least once recently and the associated talk pages and archives have not been renamed to keep up with it. I will try and find these and link or rename now! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 09:32, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Well I've had a quick look. In the last year the article has had the names Neopaganism, Paganism (contemporary religious movements) and Paganism (contemporary). The associated talk pages obviously should have been renamed and the history maintained across these moves but clearly this has not happened. I can't now find the archives for this talk page, which are quite extensive and helpful - this is a real shame and another reason for page moves not to be done unilaterally, boldly, frequently or carelessly. I will carry on looking (I may be able to find the pages by trawling my contribs) but if anyone else has clever ideas and knows the intricacies of the Wiki interface better than I, please help! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 09:47, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
I've found them. They are just three. However I still can't find the discussions on capitalisation, but I'm sure they took place. Perhaps they are in the Project Neopaganism talkpages. --Bhlegkorbh Talk 10:01, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I found them at the same time you did! The discussion we need wasn't there actually, but here: Talk:Paganism#Pagan or pagan? and that discussion is referred to higher up this page in this section. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 10:11, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
The discussions seem to support what I did, which is to make the generic terms lower case. The two reasons for reverting my changes don't seem to hold up: (1) that there's a consensus to capitalize; (2) that "they're terms for religions", which is contradicted in the lead of the article itself, which is about "an umbrella term used to identify a wide variety of modern religious movements, particularly those influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe". There's no support for that approach in sources, and it conflicts with our MOS:CAPS. Dicklyon (talk) 16:46, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Endorsing Dicklyon's view, which is not surprising since it seems to be identical to mine! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 16:57, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Academically, there is little argument to be had here. If this article is to follow academic convention (which is indeed Wikipedia policy), we must use the capital "P" for "Paganism" when referring to the contemporary religious movements. This isn't an issue of consensus among Wikipedia editors, it's a matter of following academic convention. Now I don't mean to demean your points of view Kim and Dicklyon, but there's a reason why The Pomegranate, the only peer-reviewed academic journal devoted to Pagan studies insists on all its articles containing a capital "P".... (Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:04, 25 November 2011 (UTC))

I've changed it back to lower case for now, as that follows both MOS:CAPS and the dominant style in books (and it was only going to get harder to fix if I didn't act soon). I have no objection to capitalizing those uses that refer to specific named religions, but do object for the generic uses, which seem to be most. What is the evidence for your assertion that "academic convention" is to always capitalize pagan? Or that WP policy is to follow "academic convention"? Dicklyon (talk) 17:12, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Hey Dickylon, thanks for your swift reply. Regarding your latte point, i'd point to Wikipedia:Verifiability, where it states that "Where available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science." There is a wealth of academic sources for Pagan studies (which I have listen in the article's references section), and whilst some indeed use the lower case "pagan" or "Neo-pagan", the majority - including the more recent texts, The Pomegranate and AltaMira's Pagan studies series, instead use "Pagan". It is not the job of Wikipedia editors to decide whether or not the contemporary Pagan movement warrants capitalization (that would contradict Wikipedia:No original research). Instead, it is our job to relate the facts, as they have been put forward by academic and, to a lesser extent, other reliable sources. Sorry if i'm coming across a bit too harsh in this, it's not my intention, but it's just the way that it's gotta be because that's the way the Pagan studies community operates, and Wikipedia must follow their lead. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:29, 25 November 2011 (UTC))
With respect MBO, you can't unilaterally decide that "there is little argument to be had here". I disagree with your contention, ergo we are having an argument. You of course believe you are right and can't believe I can realistically think otherwise - hence your view that the argument is a non-starter. And yet here we are, arguing....
A style decision by one academic journal is not a fact. The Pomegranate is not reporting anywhere in its peer review pages a finding that pagans everywhere agree they should be described as Pagans. Rather you assert that it has made an editorial decision that the words Pagan and Paganism should be capitalised and it asks its authors to follow this style. (I assume this is what their MOS prescribes - I haven't checked.) I can understand the reasons why The Pomegranate might decide to insist on this style, but their decision is not binding on us; we are writing for Wikipedia, not them.
We are discussing one article on this encyclopaedia and we have to see the wider context. There are other articles that use the word pagan and where a lower case 'p' is clearly appropriate; why not here? Conversely, if you are asserting that whenever Wikipedians use the words pagan or paganism, they should capitalise them, then this needs to be discussed and agreed at the WP:MOS and not in an isolated article talk page. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 19:00, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Just checked The Pomegranate's style guide here. It says: "Capitalize Pagan when referring the various polytheistic religious traditions, whether contemporary or ancient. Lowercase pagan when it is used to mean merely “irreligious.” In quoted material, however, follow the original author’s usage." It isn't clear what one should do when one is neither meaning "irreligious" nor referring to a specific religious tradition, so I'm not sure whether this helps either of us decisively....Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 19:08, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
Just to clarify, my view on this issue (which I have adopted because it is the dominant academic term in this area; on a personal level I prefer the term "Neopagan"), is that when discussing these contemporary religious movements, i.e. Wicca, Heathenry, Goddess Spirituality, we should use the upper-case "Pagan"; whereas when discussing historical religion or irreligious things we should use "pagan". I think that this is a good distinction to make, and it is used for instance by Ronald Hutton (in Witches, Druids and King Arthur (2003) onwards, his earlier works use the lower case "pagan" for all three terms). (Midnightblueowl (talk) 19:33, 25 November 2011 (UTC))
I agree with MBO. --Bhlegkorbh Talk 20:59, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think Dick Lyon may have the most-correct approach to analyzing the problem (what is more common in sources), the only issue is in identifying what is truly the most common practice of the RSs; which is to say, establish the facts as to what is truly the predominant practice of reliable and most-reliable secondary sources.

Midnightblueowl properly quotes Wikipedia policy regarding identifying what are most-reliable sources when he wrote "Where available, academic and peer-reviewed publications are usually the most reliable sources, such as in history, medicine, and science." However, Kim Dent-Brown cited The Pomegranate's style guide (PDF, here) as an RS as if that is an example of a scholarly paper; it isn’t. The Pomegranate website is subtitled The International Journal of Pagan Studies; it is an open-membership organization or club that is in the business of discussing itself and is far from a truly scholarly paper by a true academic studying pagan/Pagan rituals. It is not a secondary source. *I* could sign up to be a member of The International Journal of Pagan Studies. Nowhere else in this world could I sign up and create a password to instantly become established as an academic who authors peer-reviewed papers (though I am a published author of a medical paper on how Dicyclomine (an anticholergic) affects gastric motility in a canine model).

Think about it: Whether “Pastafarianism” is properly capitalized depends not so much on whether The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (a mostly tongue-in-cheek, to-make-a-point atheist group) spells the word, but whether the true, classic RSs like National Geographic and The New York Times and truly scientific, peer-reviewed, scholarly papers write that it is “Pastafarianism”. It is RSs and most-reliable RSs (peer-reviewed scientific journals) Wikipedia looks towards. So, let’s examine the classic RSs regarding “Pastafarianism”…

The New York Times (here), spells it Pastafarian (with a capital C) but puts the first instance in quotes before sanctifying it as a (proper) proper noun.

Speaking to the matter at hand (Paganism/paganism), I note that National Geographic in “Pagan Burial Altar Found in Israel” reads …served Ashqelon's general pagan population… and this: At the time Pagans revered… So I am a bit confused as to what the rule is based on this one article; seemingly if one can put “the” before “Pagan” to form a construct that reads At the time the Pagans revered… it is capitalized.

My position can thus be summed as follows:

  1. An open-membership club in search of adherents is not an academic and peer-reviewed publication (a most-reliable, secondary source).
  2. The test as to whether one capitalizes “Pagans/pagans” and other purported proper nouns must be satisfied by looking (as per Wikipedia policy) towards the classic RSs such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, National Geographic, etc as well as most-reliable RSs such as academic and peer-reviewed scholarly publications.
  3. Arguing about what seems to be the most proper practice by trying to achieve “fairness” or “consistency” across the project is a prescription for disaster because there are all sorts of inconsistencies in English-language practices (the unit of measure “micron” would not be used in many scientific contexts but it is common in infrared astronomy and this drives some wikipedians bat-shit crazy who would have Wikipedia run off and do its own thing in the endeavor to make the English-speaking world have complete harmony and consistency and *fairness* in all-things-English, but that’s the reality). It is not within the purview of mere wikipedians—where 16-year-old kids have as much say as a Ph.D. researcher on a given subject—to debate with pouted lower lip and furrowed brow whether capitalization of this or that is *proper and fair*; that’s why we look to the RSs. Ergo…
  4. This issue can only properly be resolved in accordance with the totality of Wikipedia’s policies by looking towards the predominant practices of reliable and most-reliable secondary sources.

Greg L (talk) 22:55, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

A very minor point Greg - I wasn't suggesting that The Pomegranate's author guide should be treated as a RS. On the contrary, my point to Midnightblueowl above was exactly that; it's a style guide, not a scholarly article. On the other hand, TP clearly is peer-reviewed and articles published in it would make excellent RSs The journal main page is here; it's indexed by some serious abstracting and citation indexing authorities and is in no way An open-membership club in search of adherents. Are we even talking about the same publication? Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 23:03, 25 November 2011 (UTC)
We will just have to agree to disagree about whether “following reliable secondary sources” (the thrust of my argument) is a “very minor point.” Yes, we are talking about the same organization (The International Journal of Pagan Studies). You can sign up and become a member of this pagan/Pagan group here. As I wrote above, nowhere else in this world could one sign up and create a password to instantly become established as an academic who authors peer-reviewed papers. The International Journal of Pagan Studies appears to be a primary source, not a secondary one, to which Wikipedia must look in matters such as this.

The open organization reminds me of an open-membership “The International Order of Witches”: whether “witches” is capitalized depends upon most-reliable secondary sources and reliable secondary sources, not an organization discussing and promoting itself and is one that *I too* can sign up and become a member of something that is self-referentially sanctifying itself as a proper noun worthy of the exalted *Uppercase letter of substance & importance.*

If the The International Journal of Pagan Studies has links to genuine peer-reviewed scientific papers, then it is those we look towards (the peer-reviwed scientific papers), not a style guide by the club itself. “Bring on the peer-reviewed scientific papers” and establish with facts what is their predominant practice. Failing to find many peer-reviewed scientific papers, then Wikipedia just needs to follow the predominant practices of reliable secondary sources.

In short, I think Dick Lyon may have the most-correct approach to analyzing the problem (what is more common in sources), the only issue is in identifying what is truly the most common practice of the RSs; which is to say, establish the facts as to what is truly the predominant practice of reliable and most-reliable secondary sources. Greg L (talk) 23:18, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Of course following reliable secondary sources is not a minor point. I never said that it is. My minor point was that I was not putting forward The Pomegranate's author guide as a scholarly article. It isn't, it's a style guide! I was objecting to MBO citing a style guide as a reliable source - something I think we can agree on.
Where we cannot agree is on the status of The Pomegranate. I'm going to be extremely blunt here because you are describing yourself as a published academic author and you therefore should know how this works; clearly however, you do not. Learned societies very frequently have journals which they publish, and one of the membership benefits of joining the society is a copy of the journal. I'm a member of the Society for Psychotherapy Research and as such I get a copy of their journal, Psychotherapy Research. In the same way, I could subscribe to the International Association of Pagan Studies and receive their journal, The Pomegranate. In neither case does subscription or membership "make me an academic"! Members and non-members alike can submit papers to the editors who go through a peer-review process which is good enough to satisfy the citation indices at Web of Science - both of the journals I'm referring to are indexed there and believe me, WoS does not index self-referential blogs! Have a look at the editorial board listed here and if you know anything about the topic, tell me if this doesn't sound like a roll-call of internationally known academic authorities on the topic at hand? Where I agree with you of course is that The Pomegranate is not a scientific journal. Oddly enough, academic departments of comparative religion tend to be in their university's arts and humanities faculties, not those of science or engineering. Nevertheless the former areas can and do produce peer-reviewed secondary sources which are perfectly citable - unless you are going to allow only journals in the hard sciences to be WP:RS? Is your objection because you can't conceive that paganism is somehow a topic that's amenable to academic study? What would a reliable, peer-reviewed journal in the field look like, if not like this?
Greg, I've written articles in peer-reviewed journals as well so I do know what I'm talking about here. I'm also pretty knowledgable about paganism which I suspect from looking at your contributions you are not. Please have a good look at the whole of the pages at The Pomegranate and compare it to the pages for Psychotherapy Research or any other peer-reviewed journal to see how it stacks up. If you're still not convinced, then rather than take up more space here we'll take it straight to WP:RSN. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 00:07, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I think Greg misinterprets my approach, though I appreciate the support, and I think the approach he describes leads to the same conclusion. Relative to MOS:CAPS, it's not what's "most common" in reliable sources that determines our style; but sources are still important in interpreting the guideline "Wikipedia avoids unnecessary capitalization. Most capitalization is for proper names..." Even a minority of lowercase usage in reliable sources is enough to establish that a term is not a proper noun, and that capitalization is not necessary; so in some cases we do what a minority does. That doesn't apply here, though, as there's a clear majority usage of "pagan" and "neopagan" in lower case, in books, which are reliable secondary sources. See these n-gram frequencies, for example. The usage in topic-specific academic journals does not trump other reliable sources (because interest groups tend to promote their own stuff via capitalization), so the argument over the status of the journal is irrelevant, I think. Dicklyon (talk) 02:02, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Further, of sources that do capitalize Pagan, many do so for stylistic reasons incompatible with the statement of MOS:CAPS. For example, read the bottom of p.76 of this book, which explains that the caps are for "attention and respect", not because Pagan is a proper noun. Other books discuss why and when they capitalize such terms; they are explaining their "MOS" so we'll understand the intent of the capitalization; that's what we do in WP, too. Dicklyon (talk) 03:49, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
Despite Greg L's and my long-standing wikifriendship, I have to disagree with some of his points. First, the decision of whether to cap (as with many other stylistic matters) relies on balancing our in-house practice of trying to maximise consistency across the project with what we find in external sources, and what external style guides recommend. In considering this balance, a healthy grain of salt is required where specialists in a field, through their own daily exposure to items specific to their field, tend to drop the typographical aids that are common practice in professional writing in the language as a whole. Capitalisation has also become rampant in specialist corners and is widely as used in organisational and corporate environments in a kind of eye-poking oneupmanship. As a reading psychologist, I quail. Look at any Job Ad on the Net or in a Newspaper and you'd think English had become German, with every Noun capitalised. Wikipedia is right not to join this bandwagon in presenting text for a much wider audience of non-specialists. This should play strongly in our decisions. I'm with Dick Lyon. Tony (talk) 06:11, 26 November 2011 (UTC)
I completely agree with this bit from Tony: Capitalisation has also become rampant in specialist corners and is widely as used in organisational and corporate environments in a kind of eye-poking oneupmanship. I completely disagree with this bit: maximise consistency across the project. The people who care most about consistency across the project are wikipedians. The job of any good encyclopedia is to educate its readership and prepare them for their continuing studies on that subject. We have had our share of wikipedians who considered themselves SI purists. They had noble and wonderful motivations regarding “project-wide consistency” who went to articles like Gravimetry and changed instances of 3.1 µGal per centimeter of height to 3.1×10−6 s–2. Why? Because the latter is SI-pure and achieves project-wide consistency. But what good is *project-wide consistency* if all experts in gravimetry and all books on the subject use mGal and µGal? We would do our readership a major disservice. Now…

The same principle applies to capitalization of pagan/Pagen. If someone comes to our article on paganism/Paganism to find out whether to capitalize it when they are writing about the subject in an email to someone who is expert in the subject, they don’t want to be *corrected* by the expert because we gave them a bum steer. That’s why the best procedure is to identify what is the predominant practice of most-reliable RSs on that subject; that’s how we best educate our readership and prepare them for their continuing studies on this subject.

Though it might annoy wikipedians who have a keen eye for consistency, our readership doesn’t give a rip if the atomic level details underlying why “Chevron Techron fuel additive” is capitalized the way it is varies from the rules applied to “Pagen/pagen.” This principle of “follow the practices of the most-reliable RSs” underlies why it is “Golden Retriever”; the AKC and dog breeders do it that way. That example, by the way, shouldn’t be interpreted as my supporting capitalization of “pagen/Pagen”, just that secondary RSs should be looked to for guidance on this. Greg L (talk) 01:35, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Could anyone explain me why Paganism and Heathenism should be kept lowercase while Protestantism and similar movements, which are also collections of different denominations and not single churches, should be capitalised? --Bhlegkorbh Talk 10:59, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
Basically because a look at reliable sources supports Protestantism as being a proper noun, and supports paganism and heathenism as generics. Far be it from me to reduce it to a matter of counting, but counts do provide a simple and compelling picture: [3] and [4], [5]. Dicklyon (talk) 20:29, 27 November 2011 (UTC)
I agree. English is as it is. As tempting as it is, it is not within the purview of mere wikipedians to put forth arguments that we ought to buck the predominant practices of the RSs based on well-meaning notions like “But, all religions should be treated *equally*, maaan. We’re not here to Change The World®™©. Greg L (talk) 21:44, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

As I said at the outset, there may be cases where some of these terms should be capitalized. If anyone wants to go ahead and look for such cases and make specific changes where the term is not used generically, that might be progress. Dicklyon (talk) 15:53, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

(Cross-posted from my discussion on the Talk:Paganism page)

We are talking of two different meanings of the same word, one a proper noun, the other not.

When used as an adjective describing a type of religion or a people, rather than a noun labeling a faith, then the lower-case "pagan" is appropriate.

However, I counter Silvensis's above arguments with a comparative analogue: Catholic, Mormon, Episcopalian, and Baptist are all specific faiths with clearly identifiable distinctions between them, but collectively "christianity" is too broad of a term to be capitalized as a proper noun because it is not referencing a specific religious tradition. None of you would accept that, and I reject the same. Certainly, Paganism is a broad family of various religions who share similar elements, the term is, in modern usage, equally justified in distinction as Christianity, Islam, or Buddhism. Wicca, Druidry, Stregheria, and Asatru are all distinct faiths clearly identifiable from one another, but each of them are Pagan traditions in the same vein that Sunni, Shia, and Sufi are each distinct traditions of Islam.

Generally speaking, I would suspect that the older the subject matter, the more likely that "pagan" be the proper term. If for no other reason than when referencing history in this manner, you'll be describing the subject peoples more specifically than their faiths. As the article turns more modern (late-medieval period and later) the terminology will change because the people, previously described, no longer exist as they had prior to the mass conversions of the Catholic Church. By this period, any reference to "pagan" would most likely be directly identifying beliefs (or belief systems), rather than an adjective, and thus should be capitalized.

(New post specific to this discussion)

1. Registering an account on The Pomegranate website does not make you a member of IJPS--it means you're signed up for the webpage's forum, email updates, and purchased a subscription to The Pomegranite. (Coincidentally, you can "sign up" to create an account on the NEJM website in exactly the same manner.)

2. The Pomegranate is NOT a journal about itself. There are no Pomegranate articles about The Pomegranite or IJPS--there ARE articles about Paganism and pagan faiths (which makes sense considering its subject matter). Would anyone doubt the authority of the New England Journal of Medicine? It's a periodical, with articles about medicine submitted and reviewed by medical students and doctors. Nobody would consider it a primary source. IJPS is a periodical with articles about Paganism submitted and reviewed by religious scholars and practicioners.

3. If the above is not enough to nullify the argument that IJPS is a primary source, I point out that The Pomegranate is published by Equinox Publishing, which releases several journals on differing subjects ranging from humanities to performing arts.

4. Articles from the IJPS are via submission and vetted by their staff before selection for review... not unlike article submissions for the NEJM.

5. The IJPS regularly sees contributions from many well known students, teachers, practitioners, and accepted experts in the field of Pagaism and religious studies to include Dr. Ray Buckland, Mr. Raven Grimassi, Prof. Charles Clifton, Ms. Szusanna Budapest, Prof. Margot Adler, Ms. Gerina Dunwich, Dr. Carl Weschcke, Prof. Chris Chase, Dr. Isaac Bonewitz, Ms. Sandra Kynes, Mr. Michael York, Rev. Janet Farrar, Dr. Stuart Farrar, Rev. Gavin Bone, and Prof. Phyllis Curott.

If that is not a small selection of reasons should easily count the Pomegranate as a reputable source on the subject then nothing ever will be. It fits the same criteria of the NEJM--are you willing to repudiate that as a reputable source? While I use NEJM as a comparisson strictly due to its widespread familiarity, it is by no means the only peer-journal which follows the same series of criteria that IJPS utilizes.

Quod erat demonstrandum. The Pomegranite is a reliable source in accordance with established standards.Gawain VIII (talk) 21:28, 20 March 2012 (UTC)

Another change of title

I have just reverted this rename of this page, made without any preliminary discussion. I don't myself have a strong view over the right title for this page - I'm much more concerned about content - but these frequent, unannounced moves of title are not good. The problem is not the title of the page or the redirects to it, but rather the knock on effect on the talk page (which already has a different name from its parent article) and also on the dozens of wikilinks elsewhere in the encyclopaedia. For the sake of the other articles in this related family, can we once and for all reach a consensus on the name for this page?

May I suggest that those who feel strongly for one name or another make their arguments below? If a consensus emerges then let's move, if we arrive at two candidates which we can't decide on thenj let's take it to WP:RM. Then at least we will have stable name that we can rely on for another year or two.

Apologies if the tone of this sounds finger-wagging. I'm just trying to referee another disputed page move at Germanic Neopaganism and we have spent a lot of energy there with little net benefit to the article; I don't want to see the same ping-pong game played here. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 21:20, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Finger wagging is better than title wagging. Given the number of times this one has been back and forth, an RM would seem to be in order. Are there live options besides the current title and Neopaganism? We should also ask an admin to repair the talk page naming mess. Dicklyon (talk) 22:14, 21 December 2011 (UTC)
I've renamed the talk page so hopefully they are aligned again. Not certain about the archives - will wait to see what the outcome is of any move discussions... Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 22:33, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

Proper names

I see pagan, paganism, neopaganism sometimes capitalized and sometimes not. Are there times when they are proper names and sometimes when they are not? If so, how is the distinction being made? Jojalozzo 19:36, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Unfortunately, among those Wikipedia editors with an interest in the contemporary Pagan movement, there is currently much debate and confusion as to which terms we should actually use on this site. In earlier discussions on this issue (all of which can be found on this talk page), it has been made clear that aome favour "Neopagan" and/or "neopagan", while others have argued for the capitalized "Paganism", and yet others have made the case for the lower case "paganism". Over the past year or so of debating this issue (which can largely be seen on this talk page), the only thing that we have developed something close to a consensus on is that we should not be using the term "Neopaganism", unless directly quoting a particular source. The reasons for this are threefold:
  • The term "Neopagan" is no longer widely used among the contemporary Pagan community, with the consensus among practitioners being overwhelmingly towards "Paganism". After all, the term employed by the Pagan Federation is not "Neopagan Federation" !
  • The term "Neopagan" is also very rarely used by the many anthropologists, sociologists, historians, archaeologists and religious studies scholars engaged in the discipline of Pagan studies – perhaps the only notable exception being the Italian-American folklorist Sabina Magliocco, author of Witching Culture.
  • Furthermore, the term "Neopaganism" is actually rejected as offensive by many contemporary Pagans (see Michael Strmiska, Modern Paganism in World Cultures, page 9), who argue that the addition of "Neo" invalidates their spiritual connection with other animistic and/or polytheistic worldviews (in this manner subscribing to the ideas about world paganism as "root religion" purported by Professor Michael York in his book Pagan Theology). This alone would make it unsuitable as the primary term that Wikipedia should use.
The only Wikipedia editor vocally supporting the use of "Neopagan" has been Dbachmann (or Dab), whose recent edits and actions on this page have been somewhat bizarre and un-courteous to other editors, myself included, labelling us all Pagan apologists who wish to turn this article into a "Neopagan zine". His reasons for holding such a view have never been revealed, but he has previously changed the page name to "Neopaganism" despite the majority of editors agreeing that other terms would be more appropriate.
Regarding the usage of "paganism" or "Paganism" here on Wikipedia, there is still a great debate that can be waged. Within the academic discipline of Pagan studies, there is definitely a trend toward the latter (and for this reason I believe Wikipedia must adopt it, because being an encyclopedia it is Wikipedia policy to follow academic terminology), but several editors have argued that the former is more grammatically appropriate because contemporary Paganism is a broad movement and not a singular faith. It is a debate that we really need to have, once and for all. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 21:39, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
The question of capitalisation is discussed a couple of sections above under "caps and hyphens". There's a very thorough rehearsal of the arguments there. In summary, some folks take the view that 'pagan' is purely an adjective and 'paganism' an abstract noun and that neither deserve capitals. Others take the view that Pagan and Paganism have the same linguistic status as Christian and Christianity and do merit capitals. To be honest the matter has never been definiticvely resolved and will probably continue to raise its head every few months! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 09:56, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I noticed that previous discussion after I started this section. I don't have anything definitive to add and can see this is not going to be easily resolved. I suppose the current inconsistent usage may be the best temporary solution for avoiding acrimony and disruptive editing. Would outside input (e.g. RfC or arbitration) be useful? Jojalozzo 17:31, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
RfC or arbitration might come in useful at some point, but at the moment I certainly don't think that the discussion has become heated or problematic enough to warrant it. Thankfully, with one singular exception, those editors working on this page have been courteous and helpful to one another, even in the midst of disputes. On a personal level I believe that it is far more important for now to ensure that this article is properly academically-referenced, using texts written by the various scholars involved in Pagan studies and also to get rid of the ridiculous neutrality tag that has been slapped on it with no explanation whatsoever. Once these tasks are done, then out attention can be better focused on the usage of terminology, and from then on the article can (hopefully) go on to attain GA and then FA status. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 22:17, 24 January 2012 (UTC))
I've been bold and removed the two tags. I can't see any ongoing dispute here that warrants the neutrality tag, and no suggestions have been made to justify the rewrite tag. If someone wants to restore them and argue the case, be my guest. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 22:57, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
Good move, Kim, you have my support on that one. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 13:35, 26 January 2012 (UTC))

"Queer" not PC

I don't think the title "Queer Paganism" is PC. I think it should be changed. Steve (talk) 22:48, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Although true that the term was originally a derogatory term for homosexual or effeminate men, the word "queer" has been re-appropriated by members of the LGBT community in recent decades; hence you get queercore music, queer theology, queer cinema, even queer nationalism. Indeed, members of the Radical Faeries typically refer to their particular Pagan variant as "Queer Spirituality". In this context the term is perfectly appropriate, and certainly more applicable than "Gay Paganism" would be, excluding as it does bisexuals, transgendered persons, intersex individuals etc... (Midnightblueowl (talk) 11:34, 29 January 2012 (UTC))

Queer Paganism? Gay/political correctness propaganda!

I think that section is hurtful for most Pagans, particularly traditional Pagans who don't agree with such things. It's clearly obvious that such a thing as a "Queer Paganism" is an ideological invention of an author, surely for political correctness and "human rights-thumper" ideology propaganda purposes. Please keep gay propaganda OUT of this article. -- (talk) 13:59, 16 April 2012 (UTC)

Hi IP, welcome to Wikipedia. You may be aware that Wikipedia is not censored. It contains content that some people might object to, and we do not remove them just because they might cause offence. The "queer paganism" section is a small section in this article and nobody would think it is saying that traditional pagans necessarily "agree" with it. Frankly, they don't need to agree with it for it to exist, and for it to be included in the article on the general subject of paganism. We have two book sources supporting the existence of organised "queer paganism" groups and they are both about pagans or witches in general, they are certainly not "gay propaganda" publications.
I have to say I'm quite amused that two comments in succession have criticised the "queer paganism" section on political correctness grounds, but the first comment was saying it is not politically correct and the second was saying it is political correctness propaganda! It just goes to show that people have vastly different perspectives, I take it as a good sign that Wikipedia is walking the line of impartiality. ~ Kimelea (talk) 15:30, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Whoever this unregistered individual is, they have just clearly displayed a chronic lack of accurate knowledge regarding the contemporary Pagan movement. From their statement, I certainly get the impression that they are only really acquainted with their own particular tradition, which might even be an invention of their own. For one thing, the term "traditional Pagan" is not at all widely used, either within mainstream Pagan publications or Pagan Studies scholarship; perhaps it is adopted within some fringe elements of the Pagan community who are involved with Reconstructionist traditions, groups of which I admittedly know little. As the author responsible for the section in question, I can confirm that I did by no means invent the term "Queer Paganism". It has a long pedigree within Paganism, being used by groups like the Minoan Brotherhood and the Radical Faeries, and has been discussed in academic publications, which I - shock horror - actually referenced in that section, if this individual had cared to even notice. Also, they might be interested to know that sociologists and religious studies scholars active in investigating Paganism have noted the extraordinarily high percentage of "queer" or LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi and trans) individuals active in the movement, and the high level of tolerance that they are accorded. This particular reactionary's views that the inclusion of this section was "hurtful to most Pagans" is therefore laughable. What's more, their hateful and homophobic attitude is deplorable, and only serves to illuminate the extent of their own pathetic ignorance to the world. Rant (defending my position and rejecting hate speech) over. Midnightblueowl (talk) 00:09, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
What you assume to be a mainstream tendence within Paganism is actually true just for Wicca and other "New Age" pseudo-Paganisms which are endemic in the United States just like "alternative sexuality" countercultures. Such inventions like the "Radical Faeries" are peculiar to the United States "culture" and totally unknown among traditional European Pagans. -- (talk) 14:36, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
We'd need some references for that assertion, IP. My personal experience (which of course counts for nothing) as a European is that your assertions of European sexual purity are incorrect. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 14:49, 19 April 2012 (UTC), surely you are aware that what you erroneously and disdainfully call "New Age pseudo-Paganisms" (such as Druidry and Wicca), actually make up the "mainstream" of the Pagan movement across the globe if you look at the demographics? The "ethnic Paganisms" of reconstructionists in Germanic and Slavic-speaking Europe make up a very small percentage of the global Pagan community; that doesn't devalue their beliefs and practices in any way, but it does make them a minority. As a European, I am also well aware that your claims regarding both sexuality and Paganism in Europe are largely nonsense; Wiccan, Radical Faerie and other Pagan groups flourish across Western Europe and in other parts of the world as well, not just in the U.S.. Please, visit the page at Pagan studies, look at the Bibliography, go to your local library and read some of those texts for a better understanding of the subject on a global scale. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 18:51, 19 April 2012 (UTC))
First of all New Age pseudo-Paganisms are not mainstream at all in Europe (with the exception of England). In Greece, Hungary, Eastern Europe, non-ethnic Paganisms are almost non-existent, and surely Pagans there don't "tolerate" diverted Gay Pride-like things disguised as mish-mash pseudo-religions such as the "Radical Faeries". What I read in the Pagan studies article is a bunch of pseudo-academic works focussed on the aforesaid pseudo-Paganisms. -- (talk) 11:59, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Firstly, why are academic papers published in peer-reviewed academic journals labelled as "pseudo-academic" ? Secondly, why are the mainstream forms of contemporary Paganism labelled as "pseudo-Paganisms" ? Thirdly, why is a new religious and/or spiritual movement such as that of the Radical Faeries labelled a "mish-mash pseudo-religion" ? These are clearly your own opinions, not in any way facts. Now, you are perfectly entitled to your own opinions on issues such as societal and/or Pagan tolerance of homosexuality. However, when you are coming onto Wikipedia trying to propagate these incorrect assertions as fact then that is when we are going to have a problem. Please, there are many internet forums and chat rooms on which you can go to discuss and propagate your views, but the Wikipedia talk page, and more importantly the Wikipedia article, are not a correct place for you to put forward such beliefs. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 17:49, 21 April 2012 (UTC))
Article talk pages are for discussing improvements to articles, not as a forum for general discussion on a topic. If the IP has any reliable sources for these assertions, let's see them in the article. In the absence of these, further discussion here isn't fruitful. MBO, if the IP posts again I suggest not replying; to do so is only to invite an extended off-topic discussion. Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 17:55, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Agreed, I'll ignore reactionary provocation from such unregistered Internet Trolls on this talk page in future. (Midnightblueowl (talk) 14:25, 25 April 2012 (UTC))

There isn't need for sources to assert that the Radical Fairies and similar movements like the "Minoan Brotherhood" (which is virtually non-existent out of minor Neopagan websites) are fringe movements, not even clearly "Pagan", which have been given a fulsome prominence in this article, even citing them in the introduction. The current revision of the article is a shame, and It's bright that it has been written by a user who identifies as gay (or similar) driven by his own gay agenda. -- (talk) 11:41, 22 April 2012 (UTC)

Removal of npov tag

An IP editor recently added the npov tag to this article but I've removed it. The tag refers to an active discussion here on the talk page but as far as I can see there is no such discussion. I've removed the tag until someone tells us what alleged WP:npov violation it refers to. The rather pointed edit summary for the tag addition mentioned "...deconstruction by ill-advised agenda-driven editorialising" which I don't really understand. However it is similar to previous complaints by User:Dbachmann so maybe it was this user editing while logged out. If not, I apologise in advance for the assumption! Kim Dent-Brown (Talk) 10:11, 18 July 2012 (UTC)